Why We Chose The On Cloudrock Waterproof Walking Boot: Lightweight, very comfortable and good for long distances
Founded in the Swiss Alps in 2010, the On team quickly set about revolutionising the art of running. Their idea? To design a running shoe which could combine soft landings with explosive take-offs. In the last decade, it’s no exaggeration to say they’ve mastered their “running on clouds” concept, serving up quality trainer after quality trainer for trail and road runners alike.
The Cloudrock Waterproof, which we’ve included in this year’s Outdoor 100, is On taking everything that’s made their running shoes so popular and implementing it into a lightweight, speed-hiking, walking boot for the first time. This is hiking footwear reimagined.
Who Is The On Cloudrock Waterproof Boot For?
Apologies in advance for using a car analogy, but the On Cloudrock Waterproof is a bit like an all-terrain Land Rover jeep with a weightless F1 engine under the hood. If you’re looking to up your daily mileage on the hikes, you’ll love that this walking boot is imbued with the fast-moving energy of a running shoe.
“The On Cloudrock Waterproof is a bit like an all-terrain Land Rover jeep with a weightless F1 engine under the hood”
We’d argue this is the ideal boot for anyone taking part in a timed, multi-day, hiking challenge, like the Welsh 3000s, or just a simple long-distance yomp. Its effective waterproofing also means the boot is great for outdoor enthusiasts who like to be about and about, come rain or shine.
The Cloudrock features On’s proprietary waterproof membrane which is guarded by a nylon upper with a light PU lamination in certain parts of the upper to add structure and protection. The rubber mudguard is more than tough enough to handle the hits, but it’s also light and flexible to elevate the boot’s overall speediness.
Needless to say, a walking boot that’s all about optimising movement and energy will have failed in its main aims if the grip isn’t up to scratch. All the speed in the world will count for nothing if the user doesn’t feel secure underfoot. The Missiongrip rubber here adds traction, and the clever lugs really bite down into soft trails – meaning you can properly put the pedal down and make powerful, confident, strides on them day-long marches in the hills. One downside we’ve found is that the lugs do tend to get a bit clogged up with mud and stones at times.
“Working in partnership with the Cloudtec outsole, the Speedboard engages every step of your journey”
Something On call a ‘Speedboard’ lines the sole to provide stability, propulsion and protection from sharp stuff underfoot. It’s basically a liquid-injected plate of thermoplastic polymer that sits between the CloudTec midsole and the upper.
With each step, the Cloudtec elements compress to soften the landing each time your foot strikes the ground and while this is happening, the Speedboard flexes – loading itself with energy from the impact. As On puts it on their website, it works “like an archer drawing a bow” – with the energy, when it’s released, helping to fire you forward more “explosively.”