BTW: this post may contain affiliate links. But don't worry,
I only recommend products/services that bring value to my life.
Welcome to the story of how ON Running improved my feelings on running. Before we dive too deep, it's worth noting that ON is the latest popular athletic shoe brand that is paving the way for a minimalist shoe future.
I admit, the phrase "minimalist shoe" is a bit of an oxymoron in my life. If there's one thing I allow myself excess of, it's probably shoes (and carbs, but let's stay focused). I love having the perfect shoe for each situation: the fancy shoe, the work shoe, the summer shoe, the gym shoe, and the "I'm walking a lot today" shoe. All necessary for the modern woman, right?
I agree with this line of thinking except for when it comes time to pack for a trip. As I stuff my suitcase full, I find myself struggling to identify which shoes can serve more than one purpose (and when that fails, I move to what I'm tossing out of my suitcase so I can fit all my shoe needs). If only there was a single shoe that allowed me enough support to workout and looked cool enough for me to wear out during the day. Enter ON.
For those of you who may not have heard of the brand ON, know that they call themselves the creator of the minimal shoe, and they just may be right about that. The Swiss-engineered performance company has created a series of shoes that solve all your athletic/street shoe problems. I was actually introduced to ON through my travel research, where they funded a giveaway to stay in a remote cabin that required a 2 hour trek to access. The giveaway included a stay at the cabin and a pair of their hiking boots to accompany you on the hike. I didn't win the giveaway, but bookmarked their hiking boots (and the cabin!).
Fast forward a few months and I happened upon an advertisement for ON running shoes in a runner store in the mall. While I love working out, I certainly don't consider myself masochistic enough to enjoy running for real, but took the opportunity to finally try a pair of ON shoes! The fit was incredibly comfortable, made me feel a little "bouncy," and I dang near walked out with a pair of running shoes for a gal who again, doesn't run.
I was happy to have stopped myself from the compulsive purchase, but I couldn't stop thinking about ON so I continued my research online (from the safety of my couch - anyone else feel extra pressure to buy when you're in a store?). What I found:
It's not explicitly stated anywhere, but I believe ON calls themselves a minimal shoe company because the shoes are sleek enough for dual-purpose use (workout & lifestyle).
A quick look at their reviews also show that they're constructed to last and keep your feet super happy whether your running a 10k or walking the streets of Rome.
I was undeniably obsessed with their cool, "minimal" look
I made a quick decision to order a pair of lifestyle sneaks and oh boy I wasn't ready for this! I ordered the Cloud X version, which is a shoe that's "runnable" but is made more for other workout activities. (See below for a quick comparison of their most popular models). They're so comfortable, supportive, and have been my biggest workout partner. They're also incredibly sleek looking and I've loved tossing these on for a day at the mall, to run errands, or just when I know I'll be walking a lot. They look great with leggings and quickly became a part of my winter uniform.
I've had them for less than a week so I have yet to toss any of my sneakers, but I'm definitely not reaching for anything besides my ON shoes. I figure best case scenario, I use the ON shoes to replace at least 2 other sneakers in my closet. Worst case scenario, I run more now that I have amazing new shoes. Sounds like a win to me, but the best part? I can't wait to bring these to Nashville with me this year. They're truly the perfect minimal shoe that will make packing SO much easier since they can be used for running, gym workouts, and looking sporty-cute.
In terms of sizing, I'd recommend your regular size for sneakers/running shoes. For example, I wear a 6.5 in most shoes, except running shoes, in which I wear a 7. I ordered a 7 in these shoes and they fit perfectly. I'm coming into these shoes from Nike Free Run Flyknits, which are basically a bare-running shoe that fits like a sock. Because of this, I'm a little unused to the tightness around the upper foot/ankle region, but I'll get used to it in time. The Cloud X version definitely fits more like a running shoe than a weightlifting shoe, but I'm considering that a good thing. (PS these are not considered weightlifting shoes and do not have a flat bottom, but it does feel like there's a little less arch support than in the running versions I tried on in the store).
Overall, ON running gets a 9/10 from this non-runner. The design is super sleek (especially so in the white versions I opted for) and I'm excited to wear them with different outfits. I love the little details, like the Swiss flag on the back of the right shoe. But best of all: they've held up through my lifting sessions, some sprints, long walks and proved to be extremely comfortable without a break in period. I do deduct a point because the website isn't the clearest on describing the different models, which are broken down here for you:
The Cloud Models Explained:
Cloud - Performance shoe for every day: most color way options and most "regular" looking sneaker. Probably a great option those who walk a lot but also want them to double for light workouts.
Cloud X - Running and mixed-sports workouts: durable and supportive enough for running, but still look super sleek as a gym & street shoe. Also worth noting this version must be tied with shoelaces, where some others have slip on potential. I bought this version and believe it's the most versatile.
Cloudswift - Ultimate cushioning for urban environments: Best shoe for those who spend a lot of time in their athletic training shoe. These appear to be more walking oriented and feature the Helion superfoam (aka, probably not ideal for those looking for something flat for weightlifting).
Cloudflow - Lightweight, cushioned training and racing shoe: For more serious runners than myself. Only thing I'd note is the Cloud X's are pretty impressively light as well.
Don't forget to check out the rest of their extensive line, including shoes with a little more grip for trail running, hiking boots, and waterproof options! Visit their website here!