On-Running’s first venture into trail shoe design comes in the form of the Cloudventure, with both men’s and women’s versions. Not on sale in the UK until 16th June, I was fortunate enough to be able to road test (or rather trail test!) a pair as part of a trial in association with the Lincolnshire Runner. On has designed this shoe to be a lightweight shoe for having fun and adventures off-road; would it fit the bill?Picking up the shoe for the first time, aside from the hideous colour (which I’ll go into more later!), the first thing I noticed was just how light it felt compared to many other trail shoes. The open air-cushions on the sole caught my attention too, and I immediately wondered how they would fare on muddier ground; would the pockets fill with stones or soil? As the shoes are on the small size, I had to go a size up before I was ready to hit the trail. Although on the thin side, the laces were easy to adjust and tie, and I was able to get a good fit before setting off.
Running half a mile or so on road to get to the common, the Cloudventures felt OK, but only OK; there was the feeling of a lump under the ball of my right foot, although this later disappeared and I suspect was simply because the shoes were brand new; by the time I ran back down the road, it had gone.It was on the grass and paths, though, that the Cloudventures came into their own. After about 4 miles on grassy paths, dry, muddy and sometimes rocky tracks, uphill, downhill and flat, I had almost forgotten the shoes were on my feet. The lightweight upper provided great ventilation on a hot summer’s evening, and would, I envisage, drain water very quickly from the shoe if conditions were wet. The heel cup, an area I often experience problems with, was blissfully comfortable; thanks to the good lacing system, my heels were well encased in the soft padding and felt no signs of movement at all. The air-pockets on the soles provided great cushioning underfoot on grass, mud and stonier sections, including both up- and downhill. Grip was good too, although everything was bone dry; I’d be interested to see how the shoes fared in wet mud or on slippery rocks in poorer condition.
So would I buy the Cloudventure? In a nutshell, yes! In the words of a well-known DIY manufacturer, it does exactly what is says on the tin. It’s lightweight, and in dry summer conditions it is a really fun shoe to wear on the trails, it’s bounce and grip providing a really comfortable run underfoot. There are only two downsides that I can see to the shoe, one being the colour!A very pale mint green is an odd choice for a trail shoe in my opinion, although even in dry conditions I don’t think it would stay that colour for long. As a female who just doesn’t do pastel colours, I’d have to have the black option that I understand will be available too. The other potential problem I can foresee, and this comes from living in an area where the soil is mostly clay, is the clogging up of the air-cushions. I suspect they might well fill with wet clay, which when compressed and then dried, would negate the effect of having the pockets in the first place, and make the shoes a challenge to clean. I’ll reserve judgment on that, though, until I’ve tried it.
Overall, the Cloudventure is a great shoe and one that I would definitely recommend for anyone who likes having fun on summer trails. Thank you On-Running and Lincolnshire Runner for the chance to try it!