The “on” going saga of Cloud Trainers

A few months back I posted about the early demise of my first pair of On trainers (link here) after 250-300 miles.

The original pair, not good for 250-300 miles but borderline acceptable had the other faults not shown up as well.

Customer service were great and sent a replacement.  I was dubious about trying them again so they sat in a box for several months.  Then I thought I’d give them another go and over 5 runs clocked up 40 miles and they seemed OK.

Until I checked the clouds.  They were already deforming and I was disappointed to see such wear after only a short mileage.  They’re already at the point I’m not sure I should wear again as the support is so obviously permanently deformed.

I freely admit I heel strike at times, especially when tired.  That’s why I picked cushioned shoes.  At 80kg I’m not a featherlight runner either but Brooks, Saucony, Adidas etc all manage to support me.

Photos below, click pics for comments.

On 3rd July I emailed the customer services:


As per twitter mention, I’m contacting you regarding the shoes. I’ve worn these maybe 40 miles and the clouds on the edge are already collapsing and permanently deformed backwards. The rest of the shoe is fine but these just don’t seem up to the task of supporting a runner.

I’m 80kg so not a feather light Kenyan, but if I was I probably wouldn’t need cushioned shoes.

These are my second pair (replaced under warranty). I left them in the box for a long time as had doubts about using them then finally decided to try them out. Sadly they’re no longer lasting than the first pair.”

To be honest I’m not sure what I was expecting back.  After spending over £100 on the first pair I can just about live with a combined mileage of 300 miles for the two pairs at that cost (despite it being more than I’d spend on Adidas that last 2 or 3 times as long) but think it’s terrible the second pair can be so wrecked in such a short time.

However what I got back on 4th July was concerning.

“Dear Mark,

Thank you for your request and the pictures.

We had a look at them but unfortunately this isn’t a warranty case.

Due to the fact that in Ons you run directly on the cushion, therefore you see it when the maximal durability is reached. In this case the Cloud has a very soft outsole and is sensitive to sharp and hard objects.

What we can offer you is a 20% discount on your next pair of On shoes.

We hope you are satisfied with this solution.

Run on Clouds!

On Team”

Excusing the slightly broken English (their English is far better than my French so I’m not complaining) that might have lost something in translation what I get from this is:

  • Maximal durability is reached – they’re permanently deformed and broken.
  • The are sensitive to sharp and hard objects – like pavements for example.
  • There is nothing unusual about them failing so early.
  • If I’d like to buy another pair of 40 mile shoes for £100 I can get 20% off and only pay £80.  Or roughly £2 per mile of use.
  • It would be cheaper per mile to get a taxi than use On Cloud shoes.

So in summary, On trainers are a really well cushioned shoe that work fine if you don’t run on hard surfaces, weigh the same as wet tissue and have perfect running form.  If you fall into this catergory then guess what – YOU DON’T NEED CUSHIONED SHOES ANYWAY!

If however you are the sort of unusual runner that runs on pavements and roads (like most of us) and don’t have perfect running form (like most of us) and weigh enough not to be blown away in a strong wind (like most of us) so are looking for a cushioned shoe, you can buy On trainers but don’t be surprised if like me you get through a pair a week, it’s not a failing of the shoe and not a warranty claim apparently.

Should On like to come back on these points or clarify any misunderstanding in their email I’ll be happy to update the above.

In the meantime as much as I’d rather support a smaller brand than a global giant I’m going back to Adidas.  I’m not rich enough to buy new trainers weekly.

UPDATE – Now been offered 50% off next pair so a bargain £1.20 per mile.  Yeah still not keen.

“We can’t exchange you the shoe for 100% discount, because it’s not a production errors. In this case we offer you a 50% discount, we hope you are happy with them.”

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