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On Cloudmonster 2 Initial Thoughts

BY: James Dunn
15 February 2024

On my commute into the office, I’ll usually see a dozen pairs of On Running’s Cloudmonsters. However, they look like they have never been run in. With the rise of On being considered a fashion brand as well as a running brand, is the On Cloudmonster 2 a shoe more for middle managers than middle-distance runners?

When the first Cloudmonster was released in 2022 it really caught my attention. I loved On’s innovation and dedication to their CloudTec foam, their iconic honeycomb voids in their midsole that compress when you land and lock back into shape as you push off to help propel you forward.  However, since first trying them in 2018 I’ve always found them difficult to get on with. As a heavier runner, I’ve struggled with their lack of cushioning, finding that the compression of their CloudTec foam was optimised for runners much lighter and more efficient than me. Would the max cushioned Cloudmonster change that running experience?

Unfortunately not. Despite loving how the shoe looked, when I tested it I found the same problem as before, just on a larger platform. It seemed like the CloudTec was being left behind in a shoe industry that was moving towards a higher stack height and even lighter foams. While I managed about 50km of running in the Cloudmonster (including having to stop and dislodge stones which get stuck in the groove down the length of the shoe, not ideal for someone like me who runs in the countryside), I’ve walked more than 500km in them – so I fully understand all those commuters on the London underground.

When I heard that there was going to be a second iteration of the Cloudmonster, I was actually a bit shocked, because in my mind that shoe already existed: the On Cloudeclipse. That shoe brought On more in line with the rest of the shoe manufacturers, stripping back the CloudTec in favour of a more traditional foam outer and giving a 40mm stack height that feels like a true max cushion shoe. This compromise in design created one of the best running shoes On have made, in my opinion. 

So what is new with the Cloudmonster 2 and how does it stack (pun intended) up compared to other max cushioned shoes?

I’ve run around 30km in the Cloudmonster 2’s so far and it is safe to say those of you who enjoyed the first iteration will also enjoy this shoe. In fact, side by side it is hard to tell the two apart. The ride feels almost identical; surprisingly firm from a max cushion shoe. The outer and midsole are where I felt the changes the most and for the better. The gap I struggled with in the first iteration has been filled in, in favour of more foam. The grip has been increased marginally too but it was noticeable to me on slippy wet roads. 

The Cloudmonster 2’s have a higher stack height, increasing from 29mm to 35mm, using a new Dual-density Helios super foam while still keeping the 6mm drop seen in the Cloudmonster 1’s. Usually when a shoe increases its stack height by a few mm it is barely noticeable but these shoes feel much taller and with the increased foam the ground feel is minimal – exactly what you’d expect in a max cushioned shoe. This increase has added an extra 20 grams to my 11.5 shoes which was noticeable as I started to tire in my long run. Speaking of increases, it is also more expensive – up £20 in the UK compared to the 1’s – making it one of the most expensive daily trainers on the market. 

Will a regular runner notice the difference and will it be worth the update? The increase in stack height and the general changes to the looks are noticeable and definitely a positive, but the rest of the upgrades are minimal, with the shoe being more of a refinement than a reinvention. The stack and comfort alone might be enough for some runners (or commuters!), but I’d also suggest looking at the original Cloudmonsters which will be heavily discounted following the launch of this shoe or try the Cloudeclipse as our pick of best max cushioned shoes On make. 

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