The 11 Best On Running Shoes to Buy in 2023, According to Fitness Editors

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The 11 Best On Running Shoes to Buy in 2023, According to Fitness Editors

WE'RE STARTING to dip our toes (and running shoes) into cooler weather, which for many of us, means more time spent running outside before winter. But hardcore runners know that every season is running season. Whether you're new to running this season or a veteran runner seeking upgraded footwear, allow us to direct your attention towards On running shoes.

Read more: How Men's Health Thoroughly Tests and Reviews Fitness Products

The Swiss-based brand has gained popularity for its innovative designs and unique technology, and their aesthetic is instantly recognizable to most runners. Bold, distinct, with a touch of funk yet timeless—On shoes are sure to label you as an experienced runner to those in the loop. But, it’s not all about eye-popping good looks. The company’s proprietary CloudTec elements—a series of circular pods that form the foundation of every shoe in its lineup—are its hallmark trait. By combining clever use of geometry with traditional foam materials, CloudTec pods compress with each footstrike for maximum cushioning and immediately bounce back to propel you through explosive takeoffs. The result? Compared to running shoes featuring less advanced cushioning technology, On running shoes result in reduced impact, enhanced energy transfer, and improved efficiency in both running and recovery.

We've gotten to know the complete range of On's offerings, from the popular long-distance runner Cloudmonster to trail running models like Cloudultra. Over the last few years, MH fitness editors and experts, including Senior Fitness Editor Brett Williams, NASM, and Fitness and Commerce Editor Talene Appleton, NASM, have thoroughly tested On running shoes in various scenarios–from daily training to races and everything in between. To assess fit, comfort, durability, performance, and naturally, price, we've logged miles wearing many of the best On shoes. We also sought expertise from top podiatrists including Dr. Mark Mendeszoon to round out a breakdown of each model's perks and drawbacks.

It’s no secret that we’re huge fans of On. Whether you're a laid-back minimalism enthusiast, an afterwork road runner, or an ultra-marathon champion covering substantial distances regularly, there's an On running shoe for everyone.

So, if you’re looking for your next (or first) pair, let us help. Shop the 11 best On running shoes of 2023 below.

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The Cloud X 3 is one of the most lightweight models from On, making it easy to move quickly and efficiently when running.

It was born from running, but the highly responsive "CloudTec" technology provides cushioning that adapts to your footstrike, resulting in a secure and comfortable stride. Meaning it's a highly versatile shoe that can handle a variety of different workouts, from running and jumping to lifting and agility training. The shoe features a breathable upper mesh material that helps keep your feet cool and comfortable during a workout, too.

This model's sturdy outsole can withstand wear and tear, ensuring that it will last for multiple workouts. It's lighter on cushioning than some other picks on this list, so if joint pain in a concern, you might want to opt for another model.

On has made a mission of delivering pro-athlete-grade footwear to the everyman. At just 8.4 ounces, the Cloudflow is an extremely lightweight shoe that’s designed for ultra-light road runs. Bonus points for an aesthetic that works for casual, everyday wear too. Like all of On’s best running shoes, this model features proprietary CloudTec technology with Helion superfoam for full cushioning that doesn’t sacrifice a fast, responsive feeling. Unlike some of its bulkier brethren, these feature a streamlined aesthetic—great for minimalists who want everything they need in a shoe and nothing they don’t. Grippy rubber pads add extra traction to provide for more surefooted running in wet weather and around tight corners.

At less than $140 delivered, these are not only On’s best lightweight running shoe, but also one of its most affordable. In our research, we found only minor gripes from buyers. Some noted the cushioning is fine for shorter runs (a few miles or less), but insufficient for longer hauls.

What do buyers say? “My first run in these was amazing. These shoes are half the weight of my old ones and have really good arch support,” said one reviewer.

On ups the ante every year with a new “best in show” running shoe. But for us, the Cloudmonster from 2022 is still a winner. With a bold rocker design and some of the biggest cushioning On has ever offered in a running shoe, they’re built for long road runs from “light” 5Ks to longer 20s. Plus, the addition of a proprietary Speedboard guarantees softer landings and explosive rebounds for the best, most effective running experience. In addition to the ultra-cushioned build, a solid list of next-gen features—a lightweight, temperature-resistant construction and a soft sockliner and upper— guarantee an incredibly comfortable wear, even on the longest runs. We also like the eco-friendliness of this model with 80% recycled polyester and 35% total recycled materials.

Honestly, there’s little to dislike about these kicks. Some reviewers note a wider-than-usual fit, especially in the toebox. And On admits that these aren’t built for competition runs. But, at less than $170 delivered (with free returns), the Cloudmonster is our pick for the best cushioned On running shoe of 2023.

What do buyers say? “These are the most cushioned, comfortable road shoes I have ever worn! They definitely help with form and are such a smooth ride that I forget I’m running on road!” said one reviewer.

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For the minimalist runner without the need for unnecessary cushioning and tech and an overblown design, there’s On’s Cloudeasy. The brand proudly boasts that each of these shoes is made from just 15 individual pieces “carefully chosen for fit, function, comfort and sustainability.” Indeed, they’re made from 37% total recycled content which is pretty respectable. But, these ultra-streamlined shoes are designed first and foremost for casual, everyday wear. The aesthetic is reminiscent of Allbirds with a dash of understated ready-to-perform vibe. The roughly 9-ounce weight is reasonably lightweight and the half Speedboard design helps keep things light, while ensuring you’re ready to run (literally) when the mood strikes.

The $130 price tag on these is as attractive as the shoes themselves. We love the minimalist ethos of the Cloudeasy, which makes them an “easy” shoe to love for all-day wear. Still, they might be a little too minimal for hardcore runners. But, for anyone looking for a reasonably priced street shoe with performance running chops under the hood, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better alternative.

What do buyers say? “As the name says, super easy and light shoe for everyday wear. Love them!” said one reviewer.

The Cloud 5 running shoe is one of the main showstoppers from On, considering it makes just as good of an everyday shoe for leisure activities as it does an everyday running shoe. Its unique quick-tie slip-on lacing system is comfortable and functional to transition between activities, too. With a wide range of color choices, it’s as aesthetically-pleasing as it is functional.

You can feel On's CloudTec tech at work in the midsole of these shoes, providing both soft landings and a lightweight feel. The updated Cloud 5 features even more cushioning than past models. The blend of style and comfort without compromising on performance makes this our favorite all-around pick in a few different ways, but overall, it shines for everyday running.

On the other end of the spectrum are On’s simple, supportive Cloudrunner shoes. “Support” is the key word here. These feature a wide outsole at the forefoot for improved stability and reducing the potential for lateral ankle roll (especially helpful for newbie runners). Beefy support at the ankle and heel areas, plus a CloudTech cushioned outsole also provide for more comfortable and surefooted runs. A cleverly engineered mesh upper makes for incredible breathability and temperature regulation, even during long runs. For all these reasons, the Cloudrunner is a great shoe for beginner and intermediate runners just getting started. But, they’re also a great supplemental shoe for veterans looking to work more recovery runs into their weekly routine.

What’s more, these are not only On’s best shoes for recovery runs, but one of its most affordable running shoes too. They’re a steal at $150 delivered (with free returns should you need to swap them). There’s not much to dislike here. They’re a little on the heavy side (only compared to On’s other great shoes, though), so they’re not exactly competition-friendly. But, then again, they’re not pretending to be.

What do buyers say? “I honestly cannot recommend Cloudrunners enough. I love them,” said one reviewer.

Read more: Best Recovery Shoes for Runners

On’s Cloudstratus 3 is a workhorse of a shoe. The dual layers of Helion-enriched CloudTec provide maximum cushioning both horizontally and vertically for incredible comfort, even over long distances. These elements work in tandem with the springy Speedboard to maximize performance without sacrifice on the road. The outsole features exceptional rubber grip for extra road traction too. What truly sets this model apart is the wide-fitting forefoot (according to many reviewers, it’s On’s widest running shoe yet) which makes this a great option for runners with wide feet. Still, the star-lacing system ensures a great fit for just about any runner.

We like that the streamlined modern design is casual enough for everyday wear, both while walking to work or running after. They’re also available in a handful of modern colors, from flat black to the Lake/Flare colorway seen above. At $170, they’re on par with most of On’s running shoes and, by ordering directly through, you get free shipping and free returns should you need to swap sizes.

What do buyers say? “These shoes are very lightweight yet extremely comfortable. They have wonderful cushioning, and they are wider than many of the other shoes I've tried,” said one reviewer.

If you find yourself reaching for sky-high stacks like New Balance Fresh Foams and HOKAs on the regular, you should give the Cloudsurfer a try. As soon as we tried these, we knew we’d feel fast. And they didn’t disappoint–the metarocker outsole propels you forward with each step, helping you to pick up the pace for speedwork or stay consistent on long runs.

With a legacy dating back to the original Cloudsurfer in 2012, this series captures the sensation floating–no doubt. This version of the model brings that feeling a step further with even more cushioning, comfort, and response than previous versions. We also love the engineered mesh upper, which feels light and breathable yet supportive for any type of run. For any HOKA Clifton fans in the audience, we highly recommend taking this shoe from On for a spin.

The Cloudflyer 4 is one of On's best running shoes, and it offers all the support you'd want from the best stability running shoes. In our experience in the shoe, its larger dual-density CloudTec® midsole and a wider platform provide a sturdy base and ample room for wider feet. It's an especially good choice for those with flexible arches or who overpronate, thanks to features like an external heel counter, star lacing pattern, and molded sock liner. Its innovative Speedboard and Helion superfoam technology make it feel incredibly responsive, too.

The Cloudflyer 4 is also environmentally conscious, crafted from recycled materials without compromising quality. We did experience some minor squeaking during the break-in period (which we've heard from other users is common), but it resolved after a few runs.

As one of On’s flagship shoes, the new Cloudboom Echo 3 takes everything we love about the original Cloudboom to an incredible new level. In fact, it’s billed as their “fastest-ever marathon shoe”—built for a combination of speed, performance, and endurance. At just 7.65 ounces, it’s remarkably lightweight, thanks in large part to a Carbon Speedboard and other next-gen materials. The exaggerated 10 mm heel-to-toe drop makes for a more aggressive lean forward to encourage constant motion. Plus, the extreme rocker shape provides a more powerful return, while the streamlined upper and bolstered forefoot cushioning ensure maximum comfort, even on the longest road runs.

On the downside, the Cloudboom Echo are pricey. At $290, they’re among On’s most expensive shoes. But, with high-tech materials throughout and one of the company’s most aggressive, competition-ready designs, we think it’s well worth it for performance runners looking to wreck their own personal records. Beginners may want to look elsewhere, however, as these might be a little too much for those just getting into running.

What do buyers say? “Super light feeling and breathable! Fits true to size and is great if [you're] chasing that PB!” said one reviewer.

Read more: Best Insoles for Men

Trail runners are exceptionally hard on their sneaks, and long-distance trail runners doubly so. On’s Cloudultra 2s are built for hardcore runs over uneven forest trails and gravel paths. With twin layers of CloudTec and Helion superfoam, they offer maximum cushioning and comfort. Missiongrip tech maximizes grip over the toughest terrain, while a closed-channel outsole helps stop stones from sticking mid-run. A breathable mesh upper keeps things airy and is reinforced with featherweight TPU for a more rugged wear.

Like most of the On running shoes on this list, there’s not much to dislike about the Cloudultra 2. Some reviewers complain of a too-tight fit, especially around the ankle and arch. For that reason, we (and On) recommend going up one half-size. This model is made with only 5% total recycled content—the lowest of any of On’s running shoes. Still, if you’re looking for a legit cushioned trail running shoe, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better option.

What do buyers say? “Great long distance and trail running shoe. I really couldn’t be any happier with these,” said one reviewer.

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If you're new to the brand or looking to compare their product line to other sneaker makers, you might might be wondering: Why On? Here's the lowdown:

Weight: On running shoes are known for being lightweight, which is a result of the brand's focus on minimalism and efficiency. Depending on its intended use, a lightweight shoe can help improve running speed and reduce fatigue.

Design: On running shoes are known for their stylish and sleek design. The shoes come in a variety of colors and designs, allowing runners to choose a shoe that matches their personal style.

Comfort: On shoes are designed to fit comfortably and provide excellent support to the foot. The shoes are known for their lightweight design and the use of breathable materials that keep the feet cool and dry during long runs.

Durability: Despite being incredibly lightweight, On shoes are also known for their durability. The shoes are designed to withstand the wear and tear of long-distance running and are built to last. Runners can expect their On shoes to last through several months or even years of regular use (but, as with all runners, should be replaced every 300-500 miles).

Wide range of models: On offers a range of running shoe models, each designed for a different type of runner. Each model is designed to cater to specific running styles and preferences, which helps to ensure that runners can find a shoe that suits their needs.

Innovative technology: On has gained a reputation for its innovative technology in the design of their shoes. The CloudTec technology is a prime example of this, which features individual pods that compress and cushion the foot as it strikes the ground. This technology is unique and has been highly praised by runners for its comfort and efficiency.

Buyer reviews: On has a huge catalog of positive reviews from runners and industry experts, which have helped to solidify its reputation as a high-quality shoe brand. The brand has even won several awards, including the ISPO Gold Award and the Best Running Shoe award from Runner's World.

On has one of the deepest and best selections of running shoes of any brand on the market. No matter what breed of runner you are—where you like to run, how hard you run, or what time of day—On makes a running shoe that fits our needs. Here are the most important considerations for finding the best on running shoes for you:

Intended use: Above all else, consider where you plan to run is important. Running shoes are designed differently for the road than they are for the trail. Road-running shoes are usually lighter and more flexible with enough cushion to support your stride over even, hard-packed surfaces like roads and sidewalks. Trail running shoes, on the other hand, are stiffer and more rugged for running on uneven off-road surfaces. They also have larger lugs (or “cleats”) for improved traction on the trail.

Cushion: The ideal amount of cushion in your running shoes is a matter of personal preference. Like mattresses, running shoes are available in a variety of cushion heights from “barefoot” shoes (with as little as 3 mm of cushioning) to ultra-plush, maximum comfort kicks. Barefoot and minimal shoes are preferred by some runners because they feel more natural (like running with no shoes at all), while maximum cushion shoes can feel like running with tiny memory foam pillows strapped to your feet.

It’s up to you to decide what works best for your running style, which is why we recommend trying them beforehand. Keep in mind that, in general, more padding usually makes for less responsiveness. That can affect both how you run and your overall performance.

Durability: You, of course, want running shoes that literally go the extra mile(s). Regular runners can expect a decent pair of running shoes to last about 500 miles (that’s about 3-4 months). You’ll know when it’s time to upgrade by examining your outsoles and midsoles. If they look worn or compressed, it’s time for a new pair.

Support: Most On running shoes offer medium arch support. They’re specifically designed to fit a broad range of feet—”average” runners, if you will. If you have flat feet and need a little extra support under the medial arch, check out our recommendations for the best running shoes for guys with flat feet.

Fit: Of course, only you know if your shoes fit properly—another reason why it’s important to try before you buy or shop retailers (like On) with free return shipping in case you need to swap for a different size or different model altogether. Note that some running shoe models are better suited to wide feet than others. Bottom line: Your new kicks should fit right from day one with little to no break-in period.

On’s deep catalog of premium running shoes can make finding the right pair a challenge. We researched, tested, and conferred with our own Men’s Health fitness experts, including our fitness director, Ebenezer Samuel, on the best On footwear for every type of runner, from casual road runners to trail runners to hardened marathon and race runners. The list above represents our honest picks of the seven best On running shoes worth shopping in 2022.

Talene Appleton is a fitness and food writer and editor, certified personal trainer (NASM-CPT), and former professional dancer based in New York City. Passionate about both exercise and cuisine, she merges her fitness, nutrition and culinary expertise with the goal of motivating others to embrace balanced healthy living. Her work has appeared in Men’s Health, General Surgery News, The Food Institute, The Nessie, and more.

Mike Richard has traveled the world since 2008. He's kayaked in Antarctica, tracked endangered African wild dogs in South Africa, and survived a near-miss great white shark attack in Mexico. His travel advice has appeared on the websites for Forbes, Travel + Leisure, CNET, and National Geographic. He loves the great outdoors and good bourbon, and (usually) calls Tulsa, Oklahoma home. Mike also enjoys speaking in the third person. 

Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S., is the fitness director of Men's Health and a certified trainer with more than 10 years of training experience. He's logged training time with NFL athletes and track athletes and his current training regimen includes weight training, HIIT conditioning, and yoga. Before joining Men's Health in 2017, he served as a sports columnist and tech columnist for the New York Daily News.  

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The 11 Best On Running Shoes to Buy in 2023, According to Fitness Editors

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