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From humble beginnings with pieces of garden hose to redefining the ride for runners around the world. Now in its fourth iteration after eight years of development, this is the story of the all-new On Cloudsurfer.

In many ways the story of the Cloudsurfer is the story of On Running. If you’ve stepped into an On shoe, you know that running on clouds is a ride that’s unique. Soft landings followed by explosive take-offs. And the Cloudsurfer is the shoe that started it all.

Back in 2010, former world duathlon champion and multiple Ironman triathlon winner Olivier Bernhard was seeking a new running sensation. He wanted the best of all worlds – reduced impact on striking the ground, but a hard, speedy push off for kicking past that final competitor at the finish line.

From Garden Shed to Global

Unable to find a shoe that delivered the ride he wanted, Olivier began building his own. He partnered up with a like-minded Swiss engineer, cut up pieces of a garden hose and glued them onto a traditional racing flat. He didn’t know it then, but the first prototype Cloudsurfer was born.

Olivier was convinced that this was how running should feel. Those that tried it agreed. The shoe soon evolved from a simple homemade construction to a Swiss-engineered performance model. The Cloudsurfer had arrived, and so had On.

The Cloudsurfer is what initially put us on that map. People thought it was gimmicky at first, but soon realized it was a truly unique technology and sensation – something the running industry was missing

Olivier, now On Co-Founder and Head of R&D


Eight years of constant development have seen a four-iteration evolution of the Cloudsurfer. Each time, improvements have been built on the same central principles. It’s always been a neutral shoe with a special sensation. The Cloudsurfer is known for a playful ride when running on the road – high comfort and high speed. With a focus on the heel-to-forefoot transition, it actively encourages you to accelerate.

While the shoe has seen step-by-step modifications, the latest iteration marks a step change. In the all-new Cloudsurfer, the characteristics that make the shoe unique have been amped up for the ultimate ride.


More cushioning than ever before means the new Cloudsurfer takes the impact out of road running like never before. An added layer of EVA foam at the heel softens the foot strike on hard surfaces so even long runs on asphalt feel easy. Together with the arc of the Speedboard, this added wedge of cushioning raises the heel for a constant feeling of forward motion.  As one tester put it, “it’s like running downhill all the time.”


Just as master surfboard shapers craft their boards, the On engineers have shaped and reshaped the Cloudsurfer’s Speedboard for the ultimate explosive take-off. You can see this thin plate of stiff high-performance elastomer along the side of the shoe just under the midsole. It fires like a longbow at every step, converting the energy of impact into forward motion. The all-new Cloudsurfer has more propulsion than ever, with a Speedboard that curves more steeply than its predecessor.

The forefoot of the new Cloudsurfer features eleven Cloud elements to the previous version’s nine. The reason? As the Speedboard rocks you forward, the increased contact area supports an even smoother roll into the push off. This not only supports the transition into the next stride but adds cushioning and traction – both of which are helpful when you’re pushing the pace. And talking of traction, an updated zig-zag grip pattern has been added for even greater control on wet roads.


Take a close look at the upper of the Cloudsurfer and you’ll see that the engineered mesh is divided into distinct zones. The pattern of the mesh has been developed with a functional gradient with the anatomy of the foot, and comfort, in mind. Mesh with a wider weave over the forefoot offers breathability and mobility, while the banded sections are woven tighter to keep the metatarsal area and midfoot in place as you run. Another new feature to lock in performance at pace is the external TPU heel counter. This addition increases stability without adding weight, wrapping the heel for hold as the Speedboard and Cloudtec® combine to power you forwards.


For runners around the world that already consider the Cloudsurfer their go-to shoe, this update offers a dialed-up version of a familiar feeling. If you’re new to On, it offers the ultimate introduction to running on clouds. Either way, your first run in the all-new Cloudsurfer will be a ride you won’t forget.

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