On Cloudmonster 2 Review: Evolving a Beloved Shoe

In the dynamic realm of running footwear, On Running has consistently led innovation, initially carving its niche with minimalist designs like the Cloudflow. In recent years, however, On has embraced the trend toward maximalist cushioning, introducing models like the Cloudstratus and the highly acclaimed Cloudmonster. The Cloudmonster 2 represents the next step in this evolution, aiming to enhance stability and support while maintaining the core features that have made its predecessor a hit among runners.

On Running Cloudmonster 2

The Evolution of Comfort and Performance

The original Cloudmonster set a benchmark with its use of On’s largest CloudTec pods, offering unmatched energy return and a buoyant feel underfoot. Despite its substantial sole, it remained light, spacious, and breathable - ideal for ticking off the miles.

The Cloudmonster 2 builds on this legacy, targeting runners who demand both performance and comfort. While it shares the original’s DNA, this iteration introduces nuanced changes that distinguish it from its predecessor.

Specs at a Glance:

  • Type: Road
  • Price: £160
  • Weight: 130g (women’s model)
  • Drop: 6mm

What's New in the Cloudmonster 2?

The On Cloudmonster 2 marks a quite a significant evolution from its predecessor, seeking to balance the demands of modern runners with the need for comfort, support, and versatility. Since the original Cloudmonster's release, On has expanded its line-up with the introduction of the On Cloudeclipse, a shoe that took the crown for the brand's most cushioned offering. This introduction set a new context for the Cloudmonster 2, positioning it not as the foremost option for maximal cushioning but as a close second, thereby necessitating a series of updates to ensure its appeal in a crowded market.

One of the most notable changes in the Cloudmonster 2 is its dual-density cushion setup, visible through colour differentiation in the midsole and tangible in its texture. This innovative approach pairs a firmer, more responsive foam at the forefoot with a softer, more pliable one at the heel, surrounding the signature CloudTec elements. Despite these differences in foam density, the shoe achieves a lovely balanced feel underfoot, providing a cushioning that is neither too squishy nor too firm. This equilibrium positions the Cloudmonster 2 as a versatile choice for runners who prefer a middle ground in cushioning, steering clear of the extremes in current footwear trends.

Vendor: ON Running Cloudmonster - Moon/Fawn
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Vendor: ON Running Cloudmonster - Black/Magnet
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Trade-Offs in the Update

However, these changes come with trade-offs. The Cloudmonster 2's shift towards stability and support, and away from the lively, bouncy ride of its predecessor, has been a point of contention among fans of the original. The shoe's midsole, while visually similar, feels firmer and slightly heavier, altering the dynamic feel that distinguished the Cloudmonster. This pivot towards a more stable platform may appeal to runners prioritizing these aspects, but it also signifies a departure from the unique, fun characteristics that garnered the original model a dedicated following. That may also explain why On is maintaining both shoes in the market alongside each other.

On Running Cloudmonster 2

Upper Enhancements

In the upper On has introduced key improvements to enhance comfort and fit. Noteworthy is the revamped heel collar, now more padded and plusher, directly addressing the original model's feedback regarding comfort, particularly during extended wear. This upgrade not only boosts comfort but also enhances heel lockdown for a more secure fit.

Complementing the heel collar, the Cloudmonster 2 debuts a redesigned lacing system. This new setup is longer, straighter, and features more eyelets, offering a more adaptable and effective fit. It corrects the original's angled lacing pattern issues, ensuring a smoother experience for runners and a wider compatibility with foot shapes and sizes.

Midsole and Outsole Innovations

On has tried hard to retain the core essence of the original in the Cloudmonster 2 update, and nowhere is the balance trickier to strike than in the midsole, which had a wonderful ‘springiness’ and was immensely popular. The introduction of a new dual-density foam construction in the midsole marks a significant update, purported by On to elevate the cushioning experience to a new level. The forefoot now features less ground feel, with improved shock absorption courtesy of a denser and more compact foam layer beneath the metatarsals.

The midsole continues to offer a good balance between absorption and responsiveness, with a redesigned Nylon blend Speedboard. This new Speedboard shape aims to optimize the forward motion, particularly between the midfoot and the forefoot, subtly improving efficiency without overtly altering the shoe's overall feel.

On the outsole, the Cloudmonster 2 aims to offer improved performance in wet conditions. While long-term durability remains to be fully assessed, the grip and traction are reliable, even in a very damp London in February.

Ideal Runners for the Cloudmonster 2

The Cloudmonsters were built for pounding out miles on the road; they’re both springy and responsive. If you’re training for anything over a 10k distance, then the On Cloudmonster is the shoe you should be running in. You’ll tick off the miles with ease and the strain on your legs would be a lot less than wearing something like the Cloudflow, which are a lot more minimalist.

On actually recommends the Monster as a training shoe, not a racing shoe, perfect for anything from 5ks to marathons. However, there’s no reason you couldn't turn up at a race in these.

The On Running Cloudmonster is an impressive shoe. It makes running a joy and really helps keep the legs fresh on long runs with its brilliant high cushioning. I own a lot of On Running shoes and this has become my go-to on the roads.

Fit & Size Guide

On says this shoe fits true to size, however I still like to go up ½ a size, but maybe I just like a roomy toe box. It’s a medium-width shoe, and the toe box feels nice and airy. As a long run shoe, it’s always better to have more room in the toe box, as our feet swell when we run, not to mention if you’re attacking hills, having more space will make for a much more comfortable ride on the downhill.

With a 6mm drop and neutral support, there isn’t a whole load of additional arch support, which shouldn’t be a problem for most people.

On Running Cloudmonster 2

The Verdict

In summary, the Cloudmonster 2 embodies a thoughtful evolution, integrating feedback to enhance comfort and support while attempting to maintain the spirit of its already brilliant lineage. It offers a balanced, smooth ride suited for a variety of running and casual wear scenarios, making it a strong contender for those in the market for a stable, versatile running shoe.

On Running Cloudmonster 2

Nevertheless, for enthusiasts of the original's vibrant energy, the latest iteration may necessitate adjustment, highlighting the delicate balance brands must navigate between innovation and preserving the essence of what made a model beloved in the first place. For fans of both models, The Sports Edit continues to stock both, offering the unique opportunity to choose based on personal preference and running needs.