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On Cloud vs ASICS – Which Brand Is Right for You?

 

On Cloud is a relatively new brand in the athletic shoe world, but they’ve been making waves for their innovative designs and super-effective shoes. On the other hand, ASICS has been around for ages and is a much-used and much-loved brand.

Figuring out which of these two brands is the right choice for you requires research and probably some real-world testing. But we’ve put together this comprehensive On Cloud vs. ASICS review for you, so you can get a head start on understanding which shoes may suit you better.

To be clear, they’re both great options. But depending on your foot, running style, and sense of fashion, you may prefer one over the other. Let’s have a look at the two brands in detail.

Brand Histories

On Cloud

Like all the finest things in life, On Running originated in Switzerland. The company was officially formed in 2010 by former pro athlete Olivier Bernhard and two of his close friends, David Allemann and Caspar Coppetti.

Bernhard was after a running shoe with the perfect running feel. After searching high and low and being unable to find one, he decided to design and make his own. With the help of an engineer, he pioneered the first unique prototype of an On Cloud shoe.

Once Allemann and Coppetti saw the design, it was easy for them to come aboard. Just one month after forming the company, the On Cloud prototypes won the ISPO BrandNew Award for innovation in sport.

A year later, studies confirmed that athletes wearing On shoes have lower pulse rates and blood lactate levels than others. After that, there was no stopping them!

Big names in the athletic world also began taking notice. The first well-known athlete to switch to using On shoes was Swiss Nicola Spirig. She was shortly followed by Frederik Van Lierde, who won the 2014 Ironman World Championships in Kona wearing On Cloudracers.

Other well-known On wearers include champion tennis player Roger Federer, Oscar-winning cinematographer Emmanuel Chivo Lubezki, inspirational Ironman athlete Tim Don, and 5,000-meter world champion Helen Obiri.

ASICS

ASICS has been around for much longer than On Running, beginning as Onitsuka Co. Ltd in 1949. Their first shoe to be released as a basketball shoe. They brought out their first marathon shoe in 1953, which was based on Japanese traditional shoes.

The same year, they released the MARUP, designed specifically for marathon relay races. 1958 saw the release of a genuine leather MARUP.

In 1968, Amby Burfoot won the Boston Marathon wearing a pair of Onitsuka Tiger TG-4 shoes, and the world sat up and took notice of this previously unknown shoe brand.

Then in 1977, the brand merged with JELENK and GTO, and ASICS was born. At this point, they had multiple running shoes and just as many other sports shoes. The new name is an acronym of “Anima Sana In Corpore Sano”, which means “a sound mind in a sound body.”

Since then, the brand has focused more on running shoes while not neglecting other sports. In 1986, the first iteration of their gel-based shoe was released, and they’re still the most popular of ASICS’ shoes today.

ASICS is also the owner of Runkeeper, a popular running app.

Main Similarities and Differences

On Cloud vs. ASICS, shoes share some similarities but have some specific differences that could help you choose between one or the other.

ASICS has a wider range of options than On, although that’s no indication of quality. If you’re looking for some choice in cushioning and colors, ASICS might catch your eye more than On.

An area in which On stands out is the inclusion of their Speedboard, which features in every shoe and boosts energy return. Some ASICS shoes have a carbon plate, but you’ll need to search for them, and they’re significantly more expensive than the others.

The cushioning is probably the biggest difference between the two—and something easy to see. ASICS uses gel cushioning in many of its shoes, which provides excellent shock absorption and can be seen from the outside.

On Cloud uses CloudTec technology, unique in the athletic shoe world and quite distinctive. Their pod-like design is easy to see just by looking at the shoe, and it does a superb job of cushioning the foot and absorbing shock as you walk or run.

Both ASICS and On Cloud shoes tend to run a little narrow. They also both feature sustainable shoes in their collections. ASICS also now makes gender-neutral shoes.

Upper

On Cloud

On Cloud shoes have an engineered mesh upper, which is comfortable, lightweight, and has a comfortable, soft sock liner.

Some shoes feature overlays for extra support. Their uppers are nicely padded and remain flexible enough to be comfortable while running at any pace.

The traditional lacing system and flat laces provide a great lockdown on the feet. Some shoes differ slightly in their design, like the Cloudflow and Cloudflash, which feature a super-thin tongue for tighter lacing.

Then there’s the Cloudswift, a slip-on shoe with a midfoot band for better lockdown. If you’re looking for a waterproof shoe, the Cloudflyer Waterproof is the only waterproof running shoe on offer.

Most of their shoes also have a sturdy heel counter that locks your foot into place, so there’s no chance of lateral movement.

The On Clouds are available in more neutral, dark, and muted colors than the ASICS shoes, although there are some bright options.

ASICS

ASICS uppers consist of engineered mesh, many of which also have synthetic overlays in the classic ASICS shape. They’re known to be soft against the foot and comfortable to wear for long periods of time.

Most of their shoes feature FluidFit technology. This means certain upper sections are more elastic than others to allow the foot to flex easily as you run.

The mesh uppers are known to be well-ventilated. Although the shoes tend to run narrow, they have a deep toe box that allows extra space for the toes to spread out.

ASICS uppers are available in a wider range of colors than On. Most ASICS shoes are available in multiple choices, both plain and funky.

Midsole

On Cloud

Although they look like the outsole, the CloudTec pods on the shoe make up part of the midsole. This is what On has won awards for, so you can expect great things from the On midsole.

These pods are made of EVA foam. Depending on the shoe, they may use On’s Helion Superfoam, which offers more responsiveness, or Zero-Gravity foam, which is ultra-lightweight.

The unique pod design is excellent for shock absorption. As you land, the hollow pods compress to dampen the shock. As you push off, that stored energy returns to add a boost to your toe-off.

You’ll also find the Speedboard in the midsole, a thermoplastic polymer plate that adds a light flex to every step, adding even more energy return.

There’s no standard drop that On uses. Most of their shoes have either a 6 mm drop or a 9 mm drop, which are less conventional and may take time to get used to if you’re transitioning from another running shoe brand.

However, the Cloudflash features a 5 mm drop, while the Cloudsurfer and Cloudgo both use the more standard 11 mms.

ASICS

ASICS uses a combination of foams and gel technology to cushion their runners’ feet. Their foams consist of FlyteFoam, specially formulated to be lightweight, FlyteFoam Blast, which is extra responsive, and FlyteFoam Propel, also made for energy return and even lighter than the original.

Many of ASICS shoes contain their Gel technology, and the brand is known for this innovation. Some shoes contain gel just in the heel, while others use gel pockets in the heel and the forefoot for the best possible coverage and shock absorption.

ASICS’ midsoles also use something called the Impact Guidance System. This is a combination of several midsole features that help guide your foot through its gait safely.

These elements include the Guidance Trusstic system, which limits lateral movement; the Dynamic Duomax plate, which supports the foot and evens the foot plane; and an external heel counter to keep the foot firmly in place.

Outsole

On Cloud

Upon first glance, you may think the CloudTec pods on these shoes are part of the midsole. But the outsole is minimal— just the strategically-placed rubber sections underneath the pods.

Only the Cloudsurfer features a full-length Rebound Rubber layer. The rest of them feature rubber placed on the most high-wear areas of the soles. Most of them feature exposed foam in the midsoles, so they may not be suitable for midfoot strikers.

ASICS

ASICS outsoles use either AHAR or AHARPLUS rubber, sometimes both. This high-abrasion rubber is durable and features flex grooves to keep foot movement easy and free.

Their shoes also feature a deep groove running from heel to toe, which guides your foot through your gait smoothly and with stability. Some of their shoes feature a Dual-Stencil Process, a lugged outsole that provides improved grip.

Durability

On Cloud

Although the On Cloud shoes feature a minimalist outsole, they last surprisingly long. Thanks to the smart placement of the rubber on the outsole, they don’t wear down quickly, even if you do a lot of running.

The upper is also durable, thanks to high-quality mesh and strong overlays. You should be able to wear these shoes for a good long time.

ASICS

ASICS shoes are also very durable. Between their highly-durable rubber outsoles and overlaid mesh uppers, you can also expect a pair of ASICS to last you for many miles.

Cushioning

On Cloud

On Cloud shoes are renowned for their cushioning. Zero Gravity and Helion foam are lightweight, responsive, and comfortable underfoot. But while the foams are excellent for padding the foot, the real draw of these shoes is the CloudTec pods.

This award-winning design is amazing at absorbing shock and returning energy, which is why the shoes are aptly named—like running on clouds!

ASICS

ASICS various FlyteFoam versions are an excellent mix between comfortable, light, and responsive. The cushioning is soft, pillory, and comfortable.

Those shoes with gel cushioning have extra comfort and increased shock absorption. You’ll notice the difference, adding a touch more energy return to every step.

Overall Fit and Comfort

On Cloud

On Cloud shoes have a reputation of running narrow, especially in the heel area, which locks your foot in effectively. Although the forefoot seems more spacious, runners with wide feet may need to order a size up from their usual.

A few On Cloud shoes come in wide sizes, but not many. If your chosen shoe doesn’t come in wide, the only option is to go for a full-size up.

Between the plush upper and the shock-absorbing cushioning, the comfort of the On Cloud shoes is exceptional.

ASICS

ASICS shoes are also narrow, but they have a spacious toe box that allows room for your forefoot to flex comfortably. They also often feature plush, comfortable uppers with a soft step-in feeling.

The uppers, cushioning foam, and gel pockets work together to provide an extremely comfortable experience.

Pricing

The On Cloud shoes range from $140 for a standard shoe to $270 for a racing model. There are various models in between as well.

ASICS shoes range from $55 for their entry-level shoes to $320 for the highly technical Metarun. Most of their running shoes cost around $250 between $140 and $170.

Summary

It’s hard to draw a conclusion in the On Cloud vs. ASICS debate! Both brands make superb shoes designed to take the stress off the feet and improve your performance. You can take your pick from either if you’ve got a medium to narrow foot and want a great running shoe.

On Cloud shoes are an excellent choice for almost any runner. If you’re looking for a highly responsive shoe, extremely shock-absorbing and feels great underfoot, you won’t go wrong with On Clouds.

ASICS shoes are amazing for those who want a plush, padded upper and a choice of plain or exciting colors. They’re great for heel strikers, thanks to the gel padding in the heel. They’re also super for those who need a bit more stability, thanks to their many stabilizing features in the midsole.

Both brands are top-notch and will see you through your runs very well. It’s worth doing your research before you choose your next pair!

Ben Drew

Ben Drew

Ben is an avid road and trail runner, and has completed multiple marathons and ultras. A former running store owner, he now shares his knowledge and experience writing these articles.

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