|Weight:||8.5 oz (in Women’s size 7)|
About Me, My Running & My Feet
At the time of this report my weekly mileage hovers around 45 miles with a bit of cross-training and a lot of yoga mixed in. Physically, I stand at 5’6” and weigh anywhere between 120-125. I wear a 6 or 6 ½ in street shoes. I have high arches, a narrow heel and an average, if not wide forefoot/toe region.
Fit and Construction
Sizing: I elected to go with a full size up from my street shoes for these shoes for two reasons: 1) they run a tad smaller than their non-waterproof counterpart and 2) I tend to wear slightly thicker socks in the colder fall and winter months. This sizing worked perfectly, and I found the full size up to provide adequate room for my toes and socks without feeling sloppy.
Uppers: The uppers are comprised of an advanced On membrane and is 100% water and wind proof, and is physical, not chemically coated, meaning it does not wash out over time.
Soles: The CloudTec® sole has 11 individual pods that stretch back upon impact to offset the forces of downhill running. The company calls this “horizontal cushioning” as opposed to “vertical cushioning” which is designed to offset the typical forces of the foot landing on a flat surface. The Grip-Rubber profile of the sole provides four distinct levels of grip, providing extra traction on various surfaces.
So how did these shoes perform? Well, here goes….
Part I – Wet, Rainy, Muddy Conditions:
I took these shoes out for a 5-mile run in a full downpour on one of the wettest and rainiest days of the year. I wore rain pants but opted against gaiters to expose the shoes to the maximum amount of water possible in different circumstances.
As for the conditions, there was a lot of rain, a lot of mud and plenty of puddles. It made for a fun, messy and wet little excursion. I ran straight through the puddles and mud. I even stood in a puddle that was arch-deep for about 60 seconds just for giggles. There was no issue with water seeping into the shoes through the uppers whatsoever. The only water that made its way into the shoe, was splashed up onto my ankles and then trickled down to the heel. This would easily be eliminated with gaiters if desired.
The most frequent question I get about these shoes is regarding the soles. Do rocks or mud get stuck in the pods? Surprisingly, I didn’t have an issue with mud or debris working its way into the pods on this run, however it’s entirely possible that the excessive amount of water on the trail simply washed it out before it could coagulate. With that said, I didn’t have an issue with debris being trapped in the soles of the non-waterproof version of the shoes this past summer.
By the time I got home, the rain had rinsed away any evidence of mud and the shoes looked almost as good as they did out of the box. My feet were dry except for my ankles and heels from the water splashing up and trickling into the shoes as mentioned above. I’d say these shoes performed above expectations for a really wet run.
Stay tuned for more as our winter conditions evolve…
Part II – Winter Snow and Ice Conditions:
Well, it took a few months but I was able to test these shoes out in different snow conditions. I tested them in conditions from slippery, ice-covered streets to ankle-deep crunch to calf-deep powder. Hands down, the waterproofing is far superior to any other “water-proof” shoe I’ve owned.
Ice: Perhaps the only area which these shoes lost points with me was on ice. I wore them, without traction devices, to take my daughter to the school bus stop prior to heading out for a run. The roads had been plowed after a major storm, but an ice skating rink had managed to form underneath the two-ish inches of snow that fell after the plow had been by. In short, my legs flew out from underneath me and I ended up flat on my back in the middle of an icy road. In all fairness, I’m not sure any of my running shoes would have performed any better, but I was really disappointed that the On Cloudventure WP didn’t at least provide a little traction in this scenario. Bottom line on this – you’ll still need traction devices such as Kahtoola microspikes in slick conditions.
Crunchy/Punch Through Snow: I took these out on trail a few days after a small storm had been though and after the snow had largely melted out. I specifically went looking for the crusty, crunchy, punch-through snow that tends to set up after the repeat cycle of warmer days coupled with colder nights. For this run, I wore just the shoes, no traction devices, no gaiters and no snowshoes. They worked perfectly! The crust was about ankle deep and the only parts of my feet that got wet and cold were my ankles. They also got a bit scratched up. The shoes however, didn’t tear nor did they let any snow through the uppers. My feet stayed dry and warm throughout this run as expected.
Powder: Finally! I got a chance to run with these things in REAL snow! First, I tried them out without snowshoes but with gaiters. Then I tried them out with both gaiters and snowshoes. The Waterproof Cloudventures, in combination with gaiters, make for the perfect, happy, warm and cozy combination!
First, I ran (if you can call it that) in about 5-6 inches of fresh powder with gaiters, but without snowshoes. My feet, ankles and calves stayed dry and warm without any issue.
About a week later, after our biggest snowfall of the season, I put them on with gaiters and snowshoes to go and break trail through 18ish inches of snow. As you can see from the picture, my legs were covered in snow. The only part of me that did stay dry was my feet. The gaiter/waterproof Cloudventure combination again worked beautifully!
The waterproof Cloudventures also paired nicely with the snowshoes. They were far more nimble than a boot would be strapped into snowshoes, but still offered the same protection from the elements you’d expect from a boot. Furthermore, the fact that my feet did stay so dry (and warm) made the experience far more pleasant than I’ve had with other running shoe/snowshoe combinations.
You can’t really tell from these pictures, but I promise the shoes are under all that snow!
Based on the waterproofing I experienced when running through really wet and rainy conditions, I expected these shoes to perform in snow and they absolutely did!
About On Shoes
On running shoes are the brainchild of World Duathlon Champion and multiple Ironman Winner, Olivier Bernhard and likeminded Swiss engineers, David Allemann and Caspar Coppetti. The company was created in Zurich, Switzerland in January 2010 with the first shoes hitting the European markets later that same year. The company opened their US headquarters in Portland, Oregon and entered the US markets in 2014.
Click below to read about other On-Running Shoes
Former park ranger turned writer/marketer. Always down for a sufferfest, as long as it ends with ice cream. Favorite activities include backcountry skiing, trail running, and backpacking.