On Running CloudSwift 3.0 Review

There are very few shoe brands out there that have reached star status in such a short amount of time as On Running has. The most iconic part of any On shoe is CloudTec, the patented cushioning construction with distinctive tubes making up the entire outsole of the shoe. But On has introduced two other unique and patented technologies into its shoes in recent years, one of which gets an upgrade in the new On CloudSwift.

  • Speedboards: specialised layers of strong material beneath the CloudTec structures to support and channel the motion of the foot for the most efficient technique
  • Helion™ “superfoam”: a material in the CloudTec structure which is temperature resistant, light on weight and big on energy return and durability

The new On CloudSwift 3 has a brand new two-component Dual Density Helion™ foam construct that promises a softer, more cushioned ride and a smooth, forward-rolling sensation.

I tried on a pair of the latest 2023 edition CloudSwifts to try out and give my thoughts. Let’s get unpacking.

On Running Cloudswift 3

On Running Cloudswift 3

On CloudSwift 2023 – Keep Calm and Helion™

The latest CloudSwift has no outrageous marketing claims like the Cloud X or CloudBoom, instead taking a more iterative approach.

The new CloudSwift is the first shoe I’ve tried with the upgraded Helion™, On Running’s “zero compromise superfoam”, and the 2023 update features a number of upgrades to the 2021 version I previously reviewed, but is still made for the toughest and most critical market: The Urban Runner.

The Urban Runner is ruthless at wanting the lightest, most durable, agile and yet comfortable road shoes out there, and On Running thinks the CloudSwifts are the answer to their prayers…let’s see about that!

What are the CloudSwift Specifications?

  • Weight: Fairly Lightweight | 290g (UK 8) for men and 245g (UK W7) for women.
  • Heel-To-Toe-Drop: Medium | 5mm
  • Heel Height: High | 29.6 mm
  • Heel Cushioning: Outstanding
  • Forefoot Height: Very high | 24.6 mm
  • Forefoot Cushioning: Firm yet forgiving
  • Flexibility: Perfection
  • Stability Features: Excellent
  • Energy Return: Solid
  • Price: £140

On Cloudswift 2023 first impressions

If you are new to the On Running world, then be prepared. The experience of unboxing a pair of On Running shoes is a bit special.

Open the box and you are greeted with an inner graphic of a monotone cloudscape, providing the perfect silhouette for your new shoes.

I chose the Black/ White colourway – to bring some style to my shoe cupboard and damn they are a good looking shoe, arguably the best looking in the On range!

The first thing you will notice is a beautifully engineered knitted upper whose multi tonal patterns only serve to emphasize the already bold and modern design of the shoe.

The second thing is the rocker (the curvature of the midsole) which might seem extreme but this only serves to bring superior comfort and agility.

Overall, CloudSwifts seem incredibly well constructed with laser-cut and glued seams.

Don’t be surprised to find an “owners card” with an ID-number specific to the shoes, so they can be registered online – if that’s your thing.

On Running Cloudswift 3

Vendor: ON Running Cloudswift 3 - All Black
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How does the Cloudswift Upper Feel?

The Cloudswift upper has always featured a bootie-construction – there is no tongue – composed of a padded engineered mesh with a sock-like interior. On this latest version, the 360° engineered knit sock construction is designed with zonal engineering to provide an adaptive fit that conforms to your unique foot shape. The CloudSwift upper comprises of a variety of materials, varying in tensile strength, stretch and support.

The laces run through these large and very noticeable soft fabric “cages,” which provide support and structure to the soft knitted upper. This fabric “cage”, introduced in the 2021 Cloudswift, continues in version 3, and is less rigid and more lightweight than its TPU predecessor.

The aim is to support the midfoot when cornering at pace, as well as serving to dissipate any pressure on the forefoot and heel more effectively when undergoing such maneuvers.

On Running Cloudswift 3

The “cages” also provide a hidden yet useful feature: a pocket – in between the “cage” and the knitted upper – to store the excess of your tied laces.This helps reduce flapping (which can be a problem given long laces, with the added bonus of giving your shoes an even cleaner look.

Padding around the heel area is exceptionally soft and comfortable. The side walls are very similar to the Cloud X as they don’t rise too high either, which provide more flexibility in the ankle/Achilles heel areas without unwanted rubbing.

Is the CloudSwift comfortable?

The CloudSwift slips on very easily and feels like your favorite slipper. There’s a neutral arch, which I personally love as it feels like this shoe was built specifically for my foot.

The CloudSwifts feature On Running’s standard comfortable insole with its surrounding rubber makes for extra grip especially when wearing thin socks or none whatsoever.

All seams inside the shoe appear to be really well hidden, contributing to the really comfortable fit.

On Running Cloudswift 3

Is the Cloudswift Midsole responsive?

There are two crucial features to understand when talking about CloudSwift’s midsole. Firstly On’s proprietary Speedboard™ (see image below), a rigid plate (non-carbon) that delivers enhanced responsiveness and support during movement, promoting lateral stability and reduces stride momentum loss - essentially reducing the strain and fatigue felt by the muscles of the underfoot.

Secondly On’s Helion™ superfoam – formed of a special structure fusing stable, hard elements and softer, elastic segments. This enables greater durability without adding weight and more rebound without sacrificing cushioning, and has been upgraded in the latest Swift, with a new Dual Density Helion™, delivering a soft underfoot feel and new levels of cushioning for improved comfort.

The two features work in unison to create the CloudSwift’s supportive Cloud Element midsole. I say supportive because the CloudSwift provides firm support for a clean and responsive landing and toe-off.

On Running Cloudswift 3

Additionally, the ‘rocker’ construction of the midsole (totally redesigned in the CloudSwift 3) – the curve of the shoe in the front and the back – compliments the Speedboard™ and Helion™ foam to deliver a more natural and ergonomic transfer of energy, with a smooth forward rolling running sensation.

Given the level of cushioning, the CloudSwifts feel slightly heavier over faster paced runs, keeping them in the category of longer and slower run shoes.

On Running Cloudswift 3

Does the Cloud Swift outsole have good grip?

In previous versions the channel running along the length of the CloudSwift as well as the original ‘Cloud pods’ provided an excellent spot for small stones to collect, which they occasionally did over longer runs. The 2023 update has a completely revised sole, with a redesign of the pods and centre channel that should elmininate this issue.

The new sole also has reworked rubber pads for enhanced traction and durability.

Are On CloudSwift 2023 true to size?

Given the bootie construction and sock-like upper, I would say the Cloudswift comes up a little small, so recommend buying half a size up in this model.

How sustainable are On CloudSwift shoes?

The Cloudswift 3 has a number of sustainability improvements. One of the main differences is the increased use of recycled polyester, with 80-85% recycled polyester compared to 50-55% in the Cloudswift 2. The total recycled content has also increased to 28%, up from 20%. Another improvement is the new injected TPU speedboard, which is not only lighter, but also more sustainable thanks to a low-waste, efficient manufacturing process. This updated design helps to save 8% carbon emissions and 35% in waste. Additionally, the Cloudswift 3 features water savings through dope dye, with 95% water saved on the white and black colorway compared to the conventional dyeing process. These sustainability features make the Cloudswift 3 an excellent choice for runners who are looking to reduce their environmental impact while still enjoying top-notch performance and comfort.

Is the On Cloudswift suitable for plantar fasciitis?

I would give this a definitive yes. The On CloudSwift shoes have a neutral fit. Adeptly, they feel moderately soft, very light and extremely dexterous once you lace them up. The bootie design with the lateral “cages” ensure an adaptable fit to suit most foot types.

The heel counter is very well padded in its construction yet sturdy enough to minimise the abnormal stretching of the plantar fascia which diminishes pain and inflammation in the heel and arch of the foot.

Is the On Cloudswift 2023 any good?

The new CloudSwift is another step in the right direction for On Running, offering an incredible package; plush cushioning, airy breathability, sharp style, lightweight, solid stability, and rapid responsiveness to keep you in them regardless of what you are doing.

The updated design of the Helion™ cloud elements coupled with the bootie + “cage” design make the shoe disappear around your feet even when taking hard corners on tough tarmac without the thought that you may twist an ankle.

Like the Cloud X’s, the Cloudswifts feel lively, low-to-the-ground and especially nimble, offering great proprioceptive feel for the road — especially throughout longer training runs.

Notably, the Helion™ doesn’t give off a bouncy or marshmallowy sensation as likened with Nike’s ZoomX foam, but instead a feeling of consistent smoothness.

This coupled with the extreme ‘rocker’ promotes stride consistency and efficient turnover during a longer run resulting in an experience in which the runner can focus on everything but the shoes.

On Running Cloudswift 3

How big an upgrade is the On CloudSwift 3.0 vs. the CloudSwift 2.0?

Overall, the Cloudswift 3.0 offers improved sustainability, updates to fit and comfort, and a new cushioning system compared to the Cloudswift 2.0. I think it is also a better looking shoe. Overall it is certainly worth the upgrade if you’re thinking about it.

  • Sustainability: higher percentage of recycled polyester, more total recycled content, and a more sustainable TPU speedboard
  • Fit and Comfort: updated 360° engineered knit sock construction for a more adaptive fit and a new 3D foam package in the heel for optimal heel lock and comfort
  • Cushioning and Performance: new Dual Density Helion™ foam gives more cushioned underfoot feel, whilst the reworked bottom unit ensures a smooth, forward-rolling running sensation

So there you have it, folks. The Cloudswift 3 is the real deal. The Helion update, plushier Cloud elements, and re-engineered knitted upper make for a great all round trainer, suited for long-distance runs, but stylish enough for pretty much any activity.