An Honest Review Of On's Cloudultra 2 Running Sneakers

They provide a literal pep in my step.

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An honest review of the On Cloudultra 2 running sneaker.
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Hear me out: One of the best parts of training for a half marathon isn’t the runner’s high or the sense of accomplishment that comes from working towards a goal — it’s getting brand-new running shoes. Nothing beats lacing up a fresh pair of kicks, especially when you need a little motivation to hit the road. Not to mention, the right sneakers can make all the difference when it comes to how you feel as you add more miles to your routine.

As a long-time casual jogger, I recently upped my game by starting a 20-week half marathon training program from Women’s Running that’s similar to Couch to 5K. The goal is to build up to race day ever-so-slowly by adding miles and alternating cross-training days as you go. I started off in my trusty Nike Revolution 6s, then tried jogging in the super-affordable Avia High-Tails — a shoe that went viral on TikTok as a Hoka dupe. But as I got further into my training, I decided it was officially time for something a little more serious. And that’s where the On Cloudultra 2 came in.

The Cloudultras from On have been a fan fave for years, which is why the shoe company recently gave them a refresh. I’ve been trying the second-generation Cloudultra 2 for a few weeks — and let me just say, they’re a total game-changer. Here’s what it’s been like to train for a half marathon in these super-cushioned, all-terrain shoes.

Fast Facts

  • Price: $179.99
  • Best for: Training, running long distances, trail running
  • My rating: 4/5
  • What we like: Easy to get on, grippy soles, lots of cushioning
  • What we don't like: Pricey, requires a break-in period

The On Cloudultra 2 Running Shoe

The new Cloudultra 2 is a cushioned, all-terrain shoe meant for training, running long distances on the road, trail running, race days, and even ultra-marathons, if that’s your thing. The sneaks have a special super foam bottom for comfort and a grippy sole to keep you stable on uneven surfaces. And, as is the case with all of On’s sneakers, they feature the brand’s signature bubbly sole (dubbed CloudTec) to help absorb impact and make for a smoother, bouncier running experience.

The Cloudultra 2s also have a slightly thicker forefoot midsole compared to the originals, which means they have a little extra padding as you stride. The sole is thick, but not so thick that you can’t feel the road or trail. The new sole design also increases your ground contact by 50%, according to On Labs, so you’ll have lots of traction on gravel or pavement, even if it rains.

The upper is light and breathable and features a sock-like fit. It’s what made the first Cloudultras so popular, but now it’s made from a stretchier knitted material that’s even easier to slip on. Another cool feature? These shoes don’t have a tongue but instead a wrap-around upper along with a tab on the front of the laces that allows you to adjust your shoes. This tab, when flipped open or closed, either tightens or loosens the shoe to create more support at the start of your run and extra room later on as your feet swell.

My Experience

On Running

I started wearing the Cloudultra 2 sneaks during the third week of my 20-week half-marathon training routine. By then, I was already over the excruciating hump that comes with running on a regular basis, creating a routine, and lacing up your sneakers when you really just want to lie down for a nap. Having a fresh pair of shoes served as a nice refresh, giving me an actual pep in my step.

I had heard amazing things about the Cloudultras, but went with the Cloudultra 2s — the new generation that dropped July 6. They’re available in black and white with a blue sole as well as a cherry and hay colorway. I got the latter and loved the dark pink hue, celery-green details, and blue laces.

There was a mini break-in period, however. On my first run, I had to stop and adjust a few times so that the backs of the shoes weren’t rubbing my ankles, but once I got the sock/sneaker combo right they were super comfy. According to On, the Cloudultras can be worn right out of the box with or without socks, but they do recommend wearing them on a walk to see how they feel before going out for a longer run so that the shoes shape to your foot.

TBH, I hadn’t ever paid much attention to my running shoes. If they fit my feet and cushioned even a little bit, I was happy. It wasn’t until I started jogging on a regular basis and adding more miles that I realized it was time to upgrade. My once-comfy sneakers no longer felt supportive. And much to my horror, my feet and knees were starting to hurt, too. Experts recommend replacing your running shoes every 300 to 500 miles, so no — you shouldn’t hang onto the same pair for literal years. (Whoops.) It’s essential to have fresh cushioning and solid support to protect your feet, ankles, and knees — and I noticed a difference immediately upon wearing the On sneaks.

The Verdict

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I’ve worn the Cloudultra 2s for a few weeks now while running on flat sidewalks, cobblestone streets, and even after a light rain — and I felt stable each time. I haven’t taken them on a trail yet, but it’s definitely on my to-do list.

With my old sneaks I noticed some arch pain on longer runs, but that has faded now that I have extra cushiony, supportive shoes that almost feel suctioned to my feet, thanks to the sock-like design. Nothing will make you give up on your half marathon dreams quite like sore feet or achy knees, so this feels extra important.

The Cloudultra 2s are also super springy, which is a-mazing as I work on my stride. A lot of that has to do with the foam sole, as well as the general shape of the shoe. Being able to stop and flip the lace tab is another perk, and I’m sure will be even more crucial as I log longer miles.

I’m still far out from my half marathon, but I’m so happy to have these little pink shoes on my tootsies along the way. Now that I’ve tried them for a few weeks, I’d say they’re a solid option for anyone who’s training or running long distances.

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