The past two days were a pretty cool experience- I had the opportunity to go to Amelia Island courtesy of ON Running and have an interactive demo experience where I tried on shoes from the On shoe line to run in. On is a newer brand of shoes (the company started in 2010) that focuses on a more minimalistic design and brand new technology for their cushioning system called ‘Cloud-tec.’ (Linking up with Fairytales and Fitness and Running on Happy for the Friday Five- this is a bit of an untraditional Friday Five post, but I give five demo runs and reviews, so that counts right? 😉 )
Arrival & Demo Run
We arrived on the island around 2:30 and checked in at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation resort. After getting to our rooms to put our stuff down, we headed back to the meeting room to meet with the On team and get a brief introduction to the day’s activities. The hotel was pretty nice and the views were beautiful!
Once we met and had our introductory session, we headed out to Fort Clinch to do a demo run with the On shoes. They brought Cloudsurfer’s and very few Cloudventure’s (I was disappointed they didn’t have the women’s version) to try on the trails of Fort Clinch. There were plenty of trails to choose from! It was hilly (for Florida) and the trails were mostly single track. We went around the park on various trails- I ended up going in the part where they said there were gators (but I didn’t see one). It was nice and breezy and the tree cover was awesome.
As far as the shoes, I was surprised at how well a non-trail shoe worked on these trails. I tried the Cloudsurfer, and although it slipped a little on the downhills, it did remarkably well on most of the trails. Had it been muddier, I believe the lack of grip would have been an issue, but overall it was a very comfortable shoe. The surfer had more ankle support than I originally thought which made me feel comfortable running in it as I typically have pretty bad ankles.
After the run we went back to the hotel to get showered, changed and ready to head to dinner. They had made reservations at the Amelia Tavern. It was fun getting to know the On guys and the other people from different running stores that came to this event. At the end of the meal, On offered to buy us drinks at a hotel bar as well, but I declined because I’m not a big drinker and I also don’t like staying out late. 10pm is bedtime for me!
The next morning, we were up with the sunrise. My alarm went off originally at 6:30 am because I was planning on going down and running a few miles along the beach while watching the sun rise. I made it to my balcony before I decided that was basically the same thing, however. So I made coffee and watched the sunrise from my balcony. I forgot how amazing it is to watch it rise directly over the ocean.
We got dressed and headed down to the conference center again to meet and get ready for the interactive demo run with multiple pairs of On shoes. First up?
A lightweight and ultra-responsive running shoe, the Cloudflow is the newest addition to On’s lineup. We all put these shoes on and began our run along the beachside paths and shaded walkways of the hotel. The shoe lives up to it’s description: it is definitely lightweight. It barely feels like you have a shoe on. It’s well cushioned for being so lightweight and definitely a comfortable shoe. The one downside I discovered while running in it is that it bothered the arch of my right foot. I have high arches and sometimes lower drop shoes irritate the arches of my feet. I don’t think I’d be able to run very far in this shoe, so for me it’s better used as a lifestyle/work shoe. But I can definitely see how someone who likes lightweight performance shoes such as the Saucony Kinvara, Newton shoes, Brooks Launch, might find this an easy and smooth transition.
The Flyer is On’s stability model. It’s a lightweight stability that has cloud elements that only stabilize you when you need it. The benefit of this is that it can be worn by someone who’s traditionally run neutral shoes when they need a bit of extra stability for longer runs (like marathon training) or if someone pronates only in one foot. Coming from the Flow, the Flyer definitely has more noticeable weight to it, but its still a light shoe for its category. This was a very comfortable ride and its evident that it would perform well on longer runs and races of a half marathon distance or longer.
Out of all the On shoes, this is the one I was most confused about when it hit the market. I honestly thought it was a lifestyle shoe and not a running shoe, but on this trip I learned that the Cloud is the most popular running shoe in Switzerland! After running in it, I can see the appeal. I laced the Cloud up with the traditional shoelaces rather than the speed-lace system because I felt it would help my ankles with the stability I like in that area, and it worked well. I didn’t feel like the shoe slipped around at all, and it was surprisingly comfortable to run in, even though it’s the lightest shoe. This one is another 6mm drop, so I don’t think I’d run in this for longer distances, but for a fast 5k or as a racing shoe? I’m ready to test it out and see what it can do!
This was the only shoe we tried with the rebound rubber outsole (as opposed to the other shoes that had the zero gravity one). On roads, this shoe definitely has a nice bouncy feel. It absorbs shock supremely well and cushions the impact of landing while still allowing for a fast and agile takeoff to maximize running efficiency. This shoe is also heavier than its much lighter predecessor, the Cloud, however, if I added it into my normal rotation (with my Nimbus and Glycerin) I doubt I’d notice it as much as coming straight off a lightweight shoe. What I liked most about this shoe is that it transitions well from road to trail, so you wouldn’t have to worry about wearing two different shoes as long as you were on dry trails.
Out of all the shoes I tried, I liked the Cloudflyer the best. It felt like it had the most stability for my ankle and, even though I don’t routinely wear stability shoes, it didn’t feel like it was pushing me outward too much. It also supported my arches much better than the other models. I’m a big proponent of rotating different shoes into your running lineup because they build different muscles. I definitely plan to add this to my lineup and see what it does for my running.
Following the run we went back to the conference room where we learned more about the On brand as well as selling techniques and ideas to bring On to the customers. With the way the running industry is going, I feel like the technology that On is using is going to become more and more popular. Runners are now looking for shoes that increase their overall performance and are less interested in the traditional running shoe than before. This was a very informative two days and I enjoyed having the chance to try multiple shoes from the company’s lineup. Wearing them and running in them myself makes me better able to discuss their features with customers in the store and it gives me the ability to form my own opinions about the performance of the shoes. I highly recommend trying the On brand to anyone who is looking to revolutionize their running!
Have you tried On shoes before? What did you think?