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ON CloudSurfer - Actual Race Shoe Review

The only shoe that I breaked-in in one day on a 19K race (accumulated distance), and already recorded to date a total of 192.64 kilometer of mileage after just 10 races and training run combinations.

The First Break-In

The first break-in I did for the ON CloudSurfer was a few hours of strolling and walking at the Mall of Asia (well that is if you will consider that as break-in). Unlike when I am in flats or other not-so-cushioned shoes, my calves and lower back gets tired and aches after around two hours of continuous mall strolling. With the CloudSurfer, my calf muscles remained relaxed throughout the entire afternoon (6 hours) at the mall.

First Impressions: The shoe fits well and good! For the same size of US 7.5 as my racing flats (Adidas Adizero Boston), there is more room for my toes to wiggle up and down and around. Although the shoes looks bulky and not-so running-shoe-like as the conventional shoes, it attracts attention and curiosity specially when they see the pod cushionings on the sole.

Actual Break-In

A day after malling with the CloudSurfer, it's time to put the shoe on actual race and stress test. I know a break-in run should only be done conservatively, ranging from a few 3km run, and slowly increasing the break-in mileage each training days. But excited as I am, I treaded the shoes in an actual race with a 16km distance during the RunFest 2011, and a slower 3km at the Rexona Adventure Run 2011, which were both held on the same day. I finished the 16k race in 1 hour 25 minutes while the slower 3k in 24 minutes (plus a 22 minutes of standing and waiting for some 21k runner-colleagues whom I could pace going back to the finish line).

The outcome: The shoes performed well, gave me a better cushioning and over-all fit during the entire run. There were times that I knew I was heel-striking but there was no solid and braking impact felt. The CloudTec cushioning gave me a spring-type propel effect.

A Few Challenge

Two weeks after the actual race break-in, I have to test if the shoe was really made for longer distance running. So Leo and I went for an LSD training from V.Luna to St. Paul in Pasig and vice versa. This is my first LSD training in LSD pace, completing a distance of 24.92km in a span of three (3) hours.

The outcome: The training day have not been a very good day for me as I lacked sleep the night before. After completing the course, I felt so exhausted that I ended up sleeping for the remaining day and at the office the next day. What amazed me though with the CloudSurfer during my sprint upwards the St. Paul street in Pasig, was that there was lesser effort on each of my foot's drive phase but the propel back still feels powerful as my toes loses contact from the ground. The shoe also still felt light even during the ascent.

Thirteen days after the LSD, a 10K rainy day race baptized my CloudSurfer during the 1st Camp Run. I was targeting a sub-53 minutes for this event, but just like the LSD, it turned out that my feet started to hate the shoe as it felt heavier when it got wet with the heavy downpour of the rain before the race started.

The outcome: I finished the race with an official time of 00:59:43 with heavy weighted feeling on my legs and calves during the entire course. My plantar fasciitis also almost acted-up after the race.

Photo Captured by BazuSports
The next day, I thought to myself that I have to regain those lost moments of my runs and trainings. Another race event with a good distance of 21km (20.05km as plotted at Runkeeper) tested the CloudSurfer at the RunRio Trilogy 2011 Leg 2. I still felt heavy as the race started and throughout the entire course that my legs started to cramp at the last 2km of the route and a full left leg cramp upon reaching the finish line. The most fearful part also happened at the last 500-meter (approx) when my plantar fasciitis finally gave me its torture as it was when it first manifested on my right foot.

The outcome: During the last 2.5km of the route, I have to heel strike as I was already feeling tired and exhausted and just let the pods do its job where it gave me the needed foot support specially at the final 2km when I was no longer striding properly due to the pains of leg cramps. In contrast, the mesh-type construction of the shoes also kept my feet ventilated throughout.

When The Shoe Finally Broke

As with all other things on earth, even the shoes will reach its ripening stage. And the CloudSurfer did too after a few more trainings during my first-time run towards a running store in Roxas Blvd. from V.Luna. I completed this rave road run at around 1 hour and 19 minutes with only a few burst of plantar pains on my right foot. Aside from that, my feet was already getting used to the shoes that I can already run at a Tempo pace for a straight 2km distance.

Three days after, I switched back onto LSD pace training with the CloudSurfer in preparation for my upcoming 1st Ultramarathon. I completed a much longer distance of 27.33km in 3 hours 17 minutes, than my first LSD training with the CloudSurfer where I gained 2.41km distance with just a time difference of 17 minutes and a much lesser stress after the run.

The final training run I did for the shoe was a week before the Ultimate day of my Ultramarathon that was coupled with heat training for a total distance of 23.77km from V.Luna to Cogeo, Antipolo and down from Cogeo to Masinag.

Photo thanks to Jeric Estabillo
The outcome: As the shoe got finally breaked-in from these last three trainings and LSD, my plantar fasciitis no longer acted up. Cramps did not manifest also. During the 50K PAU-T2N, I first wore the Adidas Adizero Boston. I planned to wear it up to the 20km distance but I finally decided to change to the CloudSurfer at the 15km mark when my calves and plantar fascia already felt beaten. The CloudSurfer's cushion made me last long for the remaining 35km distance.

Faster LSD

The full appreciation to the CloudSurfer came by just a few days ago during my V.Luna to Lagro LSD under the soft rainfall of tropical storm "Quiel". The route was a mix of beaten and uneven concrete and asphalt, two pedestrian overpass which I just walked onto, reaching the highest elevation of 94 meters, with around 10 meters maximum increase of elevation for an approximate of less than 1 kilometer distance.

The total of 13 pods CloudTec cushioning proved not only to provide cushion but as well as great support when running in an uneven road surface. The mesh construction gives enough ventilation, while the soft fabric all around the shoe ensures comfortable fit throughout a longer run.


  1. Comfortable - For longer runs, the soft material around proves to be valuable as it keeps the feet relaxed.
  2. Ventilation - The mesh upper also keeps the air flowing in which also helps the feet stay fresh and "oxygenated" even when under the heat.
  3. Distance Loving Shoe - Probably my most distance-friendly pair of running shoe. Unlike the shoe which I used during my first Marathon, this shoe kept my feet comfortable throughout the entire 35km distance at the PAU-T2N.
  4. Lightweight - Despite the bulky-looking figure, the shoe proves to be lightweight at an approximately 11 ounces for size US 7.5.
  5. Heel-Striker Friendly - Although I can run mid-foot with the shoes naturally, the 4 CloudTec heel pods of the shoes proves to be helpful for heel strikers.
  6. Variable Cushioning - The shoe doesn't just gives you an upward cushioning support system, but also with the horizontal movements. You will feel this when you're running on uneven road surface specially on sidewalks or driveways.
  1. Bulky Looking - If you're used to the conventional running shoes, you wouldn't believe that the bulk of the shoe's design is really meant for running.
  2. Warm Color - I think the most appealing among the CloudSurfer model is the black/lime color combination, but we all know that darker color absorbs more heat. Fortunately, the mesh construction compensates enough to keep your feet ventilated.
  3. Hard to Break-In - Before I was able to feel the responsiveness of the shoes, I have to experience its stiffness for around 90km mileage. But despite that, my feet never felt sore and beaten again after the break-in.
  4. Laundry Unfriendly - Due to the thick material (which in the other way keeps your feet comfortable for longer period), the shoes needs more time to dry than the usual flats.
If there are shoes designed as racing flats, minimalist running or for minimalist trekking, the ON CloudSurfer is one-type of cushioning at it's best. I haven't tried other cushioned shoes yet but I can say, the 3D CloudTec is superb in its purpose.

One question though that I have is, how long would these pods would last? However, should these 13 pods gets dislocated or disjoined from its sole, I think I'll have a brand new racing flats that will come out of it as a result. :)

Visit my pre-review post about this shoe for more of it's Technical Specs.


  1. sana ma subukan ko din yan shoes na yan! hehehehehehe -ambow-

  2. Kuya Ambow, maganda sya... promise! Sa bilis mong yan, lalo ka pang bibilis :)


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