If you’re looking for a trail running shoe that is built for miles, yet feels light enough to forget it’s on your feet, the new ultra-distance trail runner from On Running may be right up your alley. Seemingly straddling the fence between rugged and nimble, the CloudUltra really does excel at both.
Weight: 10.41oz / 295g
Heel-Toe Drop: 8mm
A little about my favorite trail shoes…
My biases are based on primarily one shoe that I fell in love with; the LaSportiva Mutant. The Mutant may have gotten a bit lost in LaSportiva’s busy and redundant line of trail running shoes but was the perfect ‘foot armor’ for me for many years. Last year I started getting some heel pains thought to be due to the tight fit and rigid sole of the Mutant and started branching out for other shoes after years of dedicated use. My foot runs pretty narrow and I prefer a decent drop on a trail shoe, so I have never particularly connected with the more popular models out there, like the Salomon Speedcross/Ultra Pro or the Hoka Speedgoat.
On CloudUltra Fit
Right out of the box I was not overwhelmed with the fit of the CloudUltra. They were comfortable but felt a little wide and roomy through the arch. The shoe has a unique no-tongue, soft, neoprene wrap around the ankle that I was not initially impressed by. Over the miles I have been pleasantly surprised that the fit on this shoe seems to be improving. I went back down to TMS and grabbed some Sidas footbeds that really dialed in the fit for my foot. These kicks have seemed to mold to my feet and I have liked them more over time.
Tahoe Trail Rugged
We can certainly find some rocky, rough terrain around Truckee and Tahoe trails. So far, these shoes have been up for the challenge. I have to admit, I was immediately skeptical of how robust they felt when pounding down a slope of loose rocks due to the relative soft, light and comfortable fit. There seems to be a sturdy rock plate that runs through the sole, past the arch, and ends around the balls of my feet. This feature feels rock resistant. I have never noticed such a mid-sole change in the flex of any other shoes. This hasn’t presented any problems thus far. I am curious about how the area under the toes will wear compared to the rest of the shoe. Kudos for the hard rubber toe bumper. All trail runners know that moment when your toe painfully kicks a boulder. Well, these shoes make that moment a little less miserable.
While the CloudUltra has held up well over my 100 or so miles of trail testing, time will be the ultimate test for overall durability. These runners are remarkably light and airy feeling for a shoe marketed for ultramarathon distances. I am curious to see how many miles of abuse before they start to break down. I have found the shoe to be light but still offering protection in all the areas you need. Another cool feature is the toggle on the laces, with the flip of a switch the laces can slightly loosen. This accommodates the swelling that can occur after longer runs in the shoe.
I am a fan! Traditionally I have liked trail shoes that feel like heavy duty trail armor wrapping my feet. I was slow to realize that this shoe seems to have the sturdy benefits of a burly shoe without the weight. So far, I’m impressed!