On Cloudrock is a speed hiking boot made from lightweight mesh. It comes in a unique outsole that many hikers love. How does it compare to other lightweight hiking boots? The Cloudrock will you feel like “The Cloudrock”?
Running Are you interested in “hiking on the clouds”? Will its performance be comparable to its price? These are just a few of the questions that On Cloudrock reviews.
quick review: On’s trail collection
On is a Swiss running shoe brand with a distinctive logo–one that resembles the sign that represented “the artist formerly known as Prince.”
On is most well-known for its running shoes. Their premium trail collection includes one hiking boot, Cloudrock.
On Cloudrock is a speed hiking boot. It’s lightweight and suitable for light hikers. It’s a hybrid, combining the support and cushioning of a hiking boot with the feel of trail running shoes. Although it isn’t designed for running, it can be used for short distances to jog for hikers who want to speed down the trail.
Trail running shoes are often preferred by the fast and light. The Cloudrock, however, is a mid-cut option that provides the ankle and foot protection of a hiking boot while being relatively lightweight. On’s unique outsoles are featured, as described below. They have hollow pods that compress for soft landings but rebound for energy return. Cloudrocks have a cloud-like feel because of this.
Cloudrocks have a new look, lightweight mesh and a cloud-inspired cushion. They are also up against the best lightweight hiking boot, most of which cost much less. My On Cloudrock review focuses on the unique boot’s support and weight as well as its durability, waterproofing, traction, fit and price.
On Cloudrock review
Cloudrock was a cloudrock, which I admit to being skeptical about. It seemed like a pair of “hiking shoes” that had very little substance. But I was wrong. Cloudrock provides excellent foot and ankle support. It does more than I thought. This includes a
Mid-cut ankle collar to provide protection above the ankle
- Stiff speedboard to protect your underfoot from rocks and provide torsional rigidity. This may help you avoid turning your ankles on uneven terrain.
- Rubber toe cap may protect toes and toenails from some injuries
- Rubber rand and heel cup to provide additional stability and weather resistance
The boot’s soft ankle collars aren’t the most supportive for ankles. They are a significant improvement over hiking shoes and trail running shoes in support. They may provide a bit more protection for the ankle than Salomon’s X Ultra 4 which is one of the best lightweight hiking boot. Cloudrocks were very supportive and stable for my messed-up ankles and feet. They felt fresh after a few 12-15 mile hikes.
This boot is not the right choice for off-trail hiking, gnarly trails or backpacking with a large pack. It delivers the support and weight that speed hikers need, but it is not heavy.
Cloudrocks are marketed as a speed hiking boot (2-2.5 lbs per pair).
These boots are lighter than your average hiking boot. My Cloudrocks weigh 4-5 ounces more than my Oboz backpacking and hiking boots. If you hike fast enough, or long enough, this may give you an increase in speed and energy savings.
They are also heavier than the Salomon X Ultra 4 Mids and Hoka Anacapa Mids. Although they are not as light as the best lightweight hiking boots, they are lighter than average hiking boots.
Comfort is subjective. It has a lot do with fit. The comfort of this boot is what makes it so popular with women and men.
Cloudrock provides a comfortable feel on the trails. It’s also comfortable enough to wear every day. Cloudrock is loved by people who use it for work as well as everyday wear.
Cloudrock’s combination a moderately cushioned outsole and springy midsoles give it a cushiony feel. Cloudtec’s exclusive “Cloudtec”outsoles are hollow pods which can compress and rebound on hard surfaces to provide additional cushioning and speed.
This boot is not “max-cushion” like Hoka One One Sky Kaha. Cloudtec pods by On provide some shock absorption effect, making the Cloudrock more comfortable than most hiking boots. Ons are a bit like running (in this instance hiking) on Clouds.
Comfort is the most important selling point of this boot.
The Cloudrocks’ traction has been good in all conditions, according to my experience. These are made for easy hikes on well-maintained trails, not backpacking and hardcore hiking. But On’s unique outsoles offer decent traction.
These Cloudtec pods are squared at the edges and have some bite for soft and shifting surfaces. The Mission Grip rubber, also soft, provides grip on rocks. Mine have done well on the talus and scree slopes of Rothrock State Forest. They are not good on wet rocks, however, as with most treads.
My pair has performed well on moderate terrain. If I am hiking on technical terrain, I will choose other shoes and boots from my pack. There’s still enough traction to get the average hiker.
My pair of On Cloudrocks failed in waterproofing. They were initially fine. My boots started out fine, but they have gradually and steadily become less water- and weather-resistant over time. They have limitations.
- Breathability: My feet felt warmer in my Cloudrocks, which are lighter than my leather hiking boots. This points to limits in On’s waterproof-breathable membranes.
- waterproofing: My Cloudrock’s waterproof membrane was worn out after 150 miles. My boots are now able to take in water easily in puddles or mud, and dry very slowly when they get wet.
On’s waterproofing is far less durable than other hiking boots that I have owned.
A fair review of the On Cloudrock must acknowledge durability concerns. My Coudrocks didn’t disintegrate in less than 100 miles, like my On Cloudventures ( review). They were still quite worn after 200 miles of trail. They are more trail runners than hiking boots in terms of durability.
My waterproof membrane has now failed, as I have already stated. My Cloudrocks are leaking water very quickly now. This means that I am limited in the places and times I can wear my Cloudrocks.
On’s lightweight shoelaces are not strong enough to withstand steeper terrain. My first snap was on a moderately steep descent-before I reached 100 miles. The replacement laces last for two hikes before they snap again. This is embarrassing for a hiking boot that costs $200+.
Finally, the Mission Grip rubber on my boots has worn out of their outsoles. I’ve noticed some bald spots and holes in the tread. And I still haven’t gotten to 200 miles.
This is a mediocre mileage for an average trail running shoe. This is a very low mileage hiking boot.
Cloudrocks are a standard fit, with more space in the toe box than other brands. Cloudrocks fit my feet comfortably, even though they are a bit wider than normal. The Cloudrock is a better choice for wide-footed people.
This is important for this niche. The majority of lightweight hiking boots are narrow, especially in the toe box. On’s standard fit is an option for those with wider feet, such as mine.
Cloudrocks are available for purchase at $230 This is a high price for a speed-hiking boot.
Cloudrock should be able to stand out at least in one area for the price, if not multiple. They don’t. My picks for best lightweight hiking boots are more supportive and lighter.
That’s me. Cloudrock is a unique option that you should consider if you love its look. It may be worth $230 if it fits better than the other lightweight options, especially if your hiking is light and quick. If you are looking for cushion, but not the look and feel of Hoka One Ones, the On Cloudrock might be worth the investment. In these situations, the Cloudrock may be a good choice. It’s super comfortable.