The On Cloudmonster Running Shoe Proves Bigger Is a Whole Lot Better

SHOP $170, on-running.com


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Bigger isn’t always better. If the excesses of the Dad Shoe craze that took place over the last few years taught us anything, it’s that. But that doesn’t mean that upsized stuff should be dismissed without a second thought. As with so many things, it’s all about intention: Was this thing, whatever it is, beefed up because that was the right thing to do, or just because someone in some design studio thought it looked cooler that way? As long as the size serves a purpose, bigger might be a whole lot better.

Which brings us to the On Cloudmonster, a beautifully burly beast of a shoe that takes all the good stuff about On’s always-on-point runners and turns the volume up to 11. Here’s why you should have a pair in your rotation.

the cloudmonster features the biggest cloudtec cushioning in on's lineup of running shoes

The Cloudmonster features the biggest CloudTec cushioning in On’s lineup of running shoes.

Timothy Mulcare

It’s blissfully comfortable

Have you ever tried On’s proprietary CloudTec cushioning? If you have, you’ve got a pretty good idea of what I’m about to explain. If you haven’t, believe me when I say that the name is way more accurate than you might be inclined to believe. It really is like walking—or running—on clouds. If, that is, the clouds you were walking on were springy and supportive and cushy all at the same time. (As opposed to, you know, a bunch of water vapor hanging out in the troposphere that you’d fall right through before plummeting to your doom.) What I’m saying is that the stuff feels amazingly comfortable underfoot. And with the Cloudmonster, you get more of it—a lot more. The biggest CloudTec cushioning available in any On shoe currently available, in fact. And having worn a pair for a while now, I can tell you that upping the amount of cushioning doesn’t lead to any sinking or sluggishness; you just get even more comfort and spring in your step.

SHOP $170, on-running.com

with a lightweight and recycled upper and a responsive speedboard paired with cloudtec cushioning, the cloudmonster is a true performance runner

With a lightweight (and recycled) upper and a responsive Speedboard paired with CloudTec cushioning, the Cloudmonster is a true performance runner.

Timothy Mulcare

It’s fast

Speaking of spring in your step: The Cloudmonster isn’t one of those “lifestyle” propositions better suited to an Instagram post than a personal record. This is a proper running shoe, and the reason it’s so damn comfortable when you’re not pounding the pavement is the same reason it works so well when you’re putting in the miles. All that cushioning, paired with On’s Speedboard (a rigid shank embedded in the midsole), means that you get super soft landings as well as a burst of energy on the rebound. I’ll admit, I haven’t put my pair to the test when it comes to true competitive running, but given my experience with the Cloudmonster, I believe the reviews on the website—from longtime recreational runners, folks training for marathons, and the like—when they say this shoe can really go the distance.

SHOP $170, on-running.com

even if you're not a runner, the cloudmonster looks so good it's worth adding to your rotation regardless

Even if you’re not a runner, the Cloudmonster looks so good it’s worth adding to your rotation regardless.

Timothy Mulcare

It looks great

Like I said, even though this isn’t a “lifestyle” shoe, that’s kind of how I’ve been treating my pair. Why? Well, because it works really well that way, too. (That, and I’m a far better cyclist than I am a runner.) And the reason it works so well for the day-to-day is simply this: It looks cool. That big sole unit gives the Cloudmonster the necessary oomph to sit nicely with wider-legged jeans and chinos, and the first two colorways—the purply Acai/Aloe combo and it’s fresh Frost/Surf counterpart—balance a bit of levity with big doses of wearability and versatility. That’s not to mention the recently released triple-black colorway, which is sure to get the dark lords of fashion and their techwear-enthusiast buddies all hot under the collar. I recently took a trip where I needed some formal-ish shoes and had room in my carry-on for just one more pair. I brought the Cloudmonsters, naturally. And while no one had a thing to say about my nicely shined Chelsea boots, everyone wanted to know what the deal with my runners was—and where they could get a pair for themselves.

SHOP $170, on-running.com


Photography by Timothy Mulcare. Prop styling John Olson for Halley Resources.

Jonathan Evans is the style director of Esquire, covering all things fashion, grooming, accessories, and, of course, sneakers. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and son. You can follow him at @MrJonathanEvans on Twitter and Instagram.