On Running is a relatively new brand — it was founded in 2010 in Zürich, Switzerland. The company was started by Olivier Bernhard and his friends David Allemann and Caspar Coppett, with the idea in mind of creating a shoe that provided a new running feel with innovative technology. The brand has since expanded globally and grown in popularity in the years after its founding.
On’s shoes have a unique appearance, with a bulbous outsole / midsole that is designed to provide a cushioned ride while maintaining efficiency and energy return, while decreasing weight. On makes both road and trail shoes, all of which feature a similar midsole / outsole design but with unique features to serve most needs, from technical trail running to fast road racing.
A few of On’s features are worth quickly touching on. Their shoes’ midsoles / outsoles have what On calls “Cloud Elements,” which are essentially hollow semicircles. On says the Cloud Elements cushion both vertical and horizontal forces during each step, while also locking into place during the takeoff of the stride, in an effort to both absorb harsh impacts and provide an efficient platform.
On uses 4 different outsole designs to meet the needs of a variety of users: Helion Superfoam, Missiongrip, Zero-Gravity Foam, and Rebound Rubber. Helion Superfoam is on the stiffer end overall, but has softer sections to provide cushioning that is light, yet energy efficient. Missiongrip is used on their trail shoes, since it has more aggressive lugs and stickier rubber. Their Zero-Gravity design is the lightest outsole, and while much of it is foam (rather than rubber), it does feature some abrasion pads for a strong grip on the road or smoother off-road surfaces. Their Zero-Gravity outsole is geared towards “all-day performance,” and many of the lifestyle shoes On makes feature that outsole. On’s Rebound Rubber was the first outsole that the brand designed, designed to be durable and efficient for extended use.
On also uses a technology that they call a “Speedboard.” Their various Speedboards are essentially rigid frames situated above the midsole / outsole that support the natural foot motion and promote a quicker turnover between strides. Their Speedboards are designed specifically for the shoe they are used on, so each is designed to work well with the other features of the shoe.
Here, we’ll cover all of On’s running-specific models (road and trail); On also makes several more casual shoes, as well as apparel. For reference, stated weights are for a US men’s size 9 and a US women’s size 8. Shoes are organized from most-to-least cushioned, though On doesn’t list a stated stack height for many of their models.