On Running's Revolutionary Tech: The Science Behind the Clouds

Founded in 2010, On Running embarked on a mission to change the world of running, and since then, it has become a trailblazer in the sportswear industry. With a presence in over 50 countries and a customer base of more than seven million runners, On is a brand that shows no signs of slowing down. In 2021, the company made its debut on the stock market, solidifying its position in the global sportswear market. Read our full brand review of On here.

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Notably, the three founders, Olivier Bernhard, Caspar Coppetti, and David Allemann, are still deeply involved in the company, ensuring that their vision continues to drive innovation in the world of running. Currently, On is among the top 10 global sport brands, and its ambition is to climb to the top 5 and eventually become the number one brand adorning runners' bodies.

Early On Running: Pursuit of the Perfect Running Sensation

On Running's story began with Olivier Bernhard, a three-time world duathlon champion and multiple Ironman winner who retired from professional competition but never lost his passion for running.

After his retirement, Bernhard set out on a quest to find the perfect running sensation. He and his team developed dozens of prototypes, all with a singular goal: to create a running shoe that delivered soft landings and explosive takeoffs. The pursuit of this unique running experience eventually drew Caspar Coppetti and David Allemann into the fold.

Together, the trio founded On in Zurich in January 2010, and the journey to redefine running was officially underway.

The Innovation of CloudTec®

At the core of On Running's revolutionary shoe technology is CloudTec®, a groundbreaking platform for innovation. The CloudTec® technology consists of several key components, each playing a crucial role in creating the unparalleled running experience On shoes are known for:

1. Cloud Elements: The engineered midsole of On shoes is designed to provide individualised cushioning. These "clouds" compress independently to adapt to each runner's foot strike, offering both vertical and horizontal cushioning. This combination results in soft landings and explosive takeoffs. The clouds compress upon impact, forming a stiff platform for propulsion, delivering an unparalleled running sensation.

2. Speedboard®: The Speedboard® is a flex plate crafted to support explosive takeoffs. It comes in various materials, shapes, and thicknesses, tailored to serve each shoe's unique purpose. The Speedboard® offers pressure distribution and support while optimizing force transmission through lever arms for explosive push-offs.

3. CloudTec® Phase: A new construction without a Speedboard, CloudTec® Phase is a cutting-edge technology that relies on computer-optimized geometries. It tailors soft cushioning and ensures a smooth heel-to-toe transition, delivering the perfect running experience for a broad range of runners.

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Finite Element Analysis (FEA) for Precision

CloudTec® Phase was created using Finite Element Analysis (FEA), a powerful technique used to precisely analyse stress on structures through software. For footwear engineering, FEA simulates the behaviour of the lower leg with the shoe's bottom unit during running. Today, CloudTec is seen throughout On's most popular models such as the Cloudsurfer and Cloudmonster.

By fine-tuning the shape and size of individual clouds using FEA, On Running can predict with a high degree of accuracy the cushioning and ride perception, optimising the heel-to-forefoot transition. This same technique is used in other areas of fast-paced sports and impact protection, such as Formula 1 helmets and the bike industry.

Beyond Technology CloudTec®

CloudTec® represents an engineered outsole that provides both horizontal and vertical cushioning, resulting in soft landings and explosive takeoffs. The original running-on-clouds sensation remains a cornerstone of On's philosophy, and the company continues to explore the potential of CloudTec® for specific purposes.

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Foam Technology: Zero Gravity, HELION™, and More

On Running's dedication to innovation extends to its foam technology. The company offers several distinct foam compounds, each tailored to specific running needs:

- Zero Gravity: Stable and durable foam with abrasion resistance, designed for support-oriented performance running shoe models.

- HELION™: A high-performance versatile foam with high rebound. It's light and temperature-resistant, making it suitable for year-round performance. HELION™ is a foam family, and the exact compound and foam density of each shoe are tailored to its target properties.

- HELION™ HF: Specifically designed to maximize running efficiency, this foam is extremely lightweight and offers exceptional energy return, making it the choice for ambitious forefoot runners.

Foam Technology Differentiation: HELION™ HF and More

Comparing the different foam compounds available from On Running:

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Exploring the Future

On Running's commitment to innovation extends far beyond the present. The brand continues to push the boundaries of technology, always seeking new ways to enhance the running experience. The journey is far from over, and On's commitment to innovation ensures that the next generation of runners will continue to enjoy the sensation of running on clouds.


On Running's revolutionary shoe technology, anchored by CloudTec®, represents a bold and visionary approach to the sport of running. With a rich history and an unwavering commitment to innovation, On shoes are not just footwear; they are a symbol of a new era in running. The company's devotion to providing the perfect running sensation is a testament to its founders' vision, and it will undoubtedly continue to inspire runners around the world for years to come.