Cloud X vs Cloud X Shift: Expert Comparison Review 2024

Written By Sunny

The On Running Cloud is relatively new compared to other top shoe brands, yet it has gained popularity with various shoes for different categories.

Cloud X and Cloud X Shift are On’s versatile trainer shoes.

Two clouds, one sky, but which one is perfect for you?

As I have used the latest models of the Cloud X Shift and Cloud X, I will compare those to help you pick the perfect

So, let the battle for your feet begin.

Overview of On Cloud X and On Cloud X Shift

The Swiss company On was founded in 2010 and offered various shoes with impressive designs and technologies.

The latest On Cloud X 3 Shift was released in 2022 with a combination of style and functionality.

It is a perfect companion for athletes with their lightweight construction. The agility and speed make it ideal for fast-paced workouts and training.

The responsive cushioning and support with On’s CloudTec technology ensure good energy return and versatility.

So it’s a practical choice for gym and everyday activities.

In contrast, On Cloud X 3 was released in 2023.

This reliable and versatile trainer focuses on comfort and snug fit. Thanks to the updated lacing system for the secure fit.

Cloud X 3 provides support for dynamic movements and lateral agility.

As a result, maintaining balance and control is so easy. The durable materials ensure maintaining performance over time.

Attribute Comparison of On Cloud X 3 Shift and Cloud X 3

As both shoes are from the same series and brand, many features are similar. However, some changes make them apart.

Here is a comparison table of On Cloud X 3 Shift and Cloud X 3:

AttributesOn Cloud X 3 ShiftOn Cloud X 3
Release Year20222023
UpperRe-engineered 3-layer meshRe-engineered 3-layer mesh
Midsole TechnologyCloudTec®, Speedboard®CloudTec®, Speedboard®
OutsoleThin rubberThin rubber
BreathabilityAbove averageBetter
TongueGusseted and thinGusseted and thin
Stack Height (Approx.)Heel: 26mm, Forefeet: 18mmHeel: 27mm, Forefeet: 19mm
Heel-to-Toe Drop~8mm~8mm
Weight (Approx.)8.6 oz8.75oz
Pull TabFinger loopNone
Reflective ElementsYesYes
Best forEveryday trainingShort distance run, Gym, Cross-training

Now, move to the next section to get a detailed comparison analysis.

Primary Differences between Cloud X 3 and Cloud X 3 Shift

Cloud X 3 and X 3 Shift are similar in many ways. Some changes like tongue, usage, and weight differ between them.

Here are the detailed comparisons of Cloud X 3 and Cloud X 3 Shift:

Upper Style and Design

The On Cloud X 3 features a re-engineered mesh upper, which is 3-layered.

This trainer has an overlay. From the heel, it extends to the midfoot. It is slightly thicker compared to the vamp upper.

Does it benefit?

When you tighten the laces, the additional layer smoothly wraps around your midfoot, ensuring a snug fit.

The tongue is full-gusseted. Though the tongue padding is thinner than average, there were no lace bites or pressure points in my test run.

The slightly padded heel collar has no pull tab on the Cloud X3.upper-style-and-design-cloud-x-3

However, I needed minimal effort to get on.

There is also a nice touch for low-light solutions. The reflective branding on the sides and heels catches the eye, even in the dark.

In contrast, Cloud X 3 Shift also has a 3-layer mesh upper for street-ready style.

Similar to the X3, it has an overlay for secured midfoot.

I found the tongue is more perforated and thinner in these trainers, and I could see my sock’s color accent through the tongue.

Unlike X3, Cloud X 3 Shift comes with a finger loop pull tab on the heel. A popular feature for many.

This footgear also has reflective elements for nighttime visibility.

Breathability and Comfort

If you go to the gym or some places that are hotter than usual, you will love the X3 for its great breathability.

The three-layered mesh didn’t hamper the ventilation. Thanks to the large perforation holes in the upper construction.

I tried the pair without socks, and it was still comfortable.

The performance mesh fabric keeps the shoe lightweight, stylish, and functional.

X3’s cushioned collar and super-soft insole ensure no discomfort on the ankle and a supportive surface to walk or run on.breathability-and-comfort-of-cloud-x-3

So, if you go for a short run after a gym session, you won’t need to change the shoe. So, versatility-wise, this shoe also stands out.

On the other hand, Cloud X 3 Shift is not significantly different from the X 3.

The mesh layer feels better on the feet.

On top of that, besides the street-worthy style, the lightweight upper also provides optimal breathability.

However, the overlay area and TPU detailing at the toe box head are barely breathable for the synthetic material.

But the toe box, vamp, and tongue do the job well for ventilation that the shoe was uncomfortable in the winter.

Midsole Technology and Cushioning

Now, let’s talk about the midsole offerings.

On-Running used their signature CloudTec® cushioning in the X3’s midsole. This innovative technology ensures zero irritations for the whole day wearing.

But only this one? No!

The individual pods engineered with Helion™ superfoam react to your every move.

By compressing and rebounding dynamically, the superfoam absorbs shocks and impact upon landing, making your runs smoother and more efficient.

The magic doesn’t stop there! These sneakers also feature Speedboard®, which works with the CloudTec pods. As you run, this flexible platform bends to reduce your effort and maximize momentum.

On the contrary, the Shift version also updated with the Helion™ superfoam and Speedboard®.

The non-carbon rigid Speedboard plate reduces strain and fatigue, while the Helion ensures a bouncy ride.

The 16 semi-circular EVA pods in the midsole angled outwards slightly ensure a comfortable and safe ride.

Outsole Design and Traction

The On Cloud X3 has a rubber outsole, which is great for traction.

I didn’t experience any slipping or sliding while walking or running.

Whether a shorter run or CrossFit exercises, the sole does the job perfectly. However, I recommend avoiding paths with tiny rocks or stones.outsole-design-of-cloud-x-3-shift-and-cloud-x-3


The pod gap has a tendency to pick the pebbles, which you have to clean up after the ride.

Meanwhile, the X3 Shift features the same tread style as the X3. Each individual CloudTec bubble boasts grippy rubber for reliable traction.

When I peeked through the outsole of my Lead and Turmeric themed pairs, I saw the orange-colored Speedboard® technology.

But it is usually a grayish color for other colored shoes

Fit, Sizing, and Durability

On-Running Cloud X 3 fits true-to-size on me.

The toe box width at the widest part and big toe area was average. So the sneaker doesn’t get too narrow in the forefeet but is roomy enough for some wiggle room.

Compared to Cloud X 2.0, the newer model has a more secure heel counter.

On top of that, while the ankle has a great lockdown feel, the new 5-star lacing design and embedded tongue ensure a sock-like fit.

However, the long laces can be problematic for some.

In contrast, the Cloud X3 Shift trainer is a mixed bag when it comes to fit.sizing-and-durability-of-cloud-x-3-shift

Though it fits true-to-size on me, one of my friends told me the shoe felt tight for him, and he had to go for a half-size up.

On another note, one of my gym partners told me his pair was also tight but loosened within a few days.

The star-lacing pattern offers a better fit and security.

Regarding durability, On-Running Cloud shoes can last usually 300-400 miles.

Cloud X 3 and Cloud X 3 Shift have better breathability but cost the toe box durability.

I have seen wear and tear on both trainers’ upper and heel areas after around 200+ miles, which can be a concern.

Price and Value

As both shoes’ MSRPs are $150, there’s nothing to argue about.

But do those prices justify the value?

They offer similar technologies. Moreover, they are kind of jack of all trades, king of none.

So, you can’t use them to run dedicatedly. They are also not suitable for heavy lifting.

Compared to other flagship brands like Puma and Reebok, who offer more durable and tech-packed CrossFit shoes at cheaper prices, the value is not worth it for the Cloud X models.

I got them at a sale price, so it was worthwhile. It would be more reasonable if the MSRP is around $130-$135.

Pros & Cons of Cloud X 3 and Cloud X 3 Shift

Learning the strengths and potential drawbacks of Cloud X 3 and Cloud X 3 Shift can help in making a suitable decision.

Following are the advantages and disadvantages of Cloud X 3 and Cloud X 3 Shift:

On Cloud X 3

  • »Comfortable and snug fit for various foot shapes.
  • »Improved star lacing system for better foot support.
  • »Durable and sustainable material.
  • »Can be used for casual wear or strength training, making it a versatile choice.
  • »Breathable upper with a lightweight feel.
  • »Minor color discrepancy issues.
  • »A little more pricey than other trainer shoes in the market.
  • »Long laces can be uncomfortable for some.
  • »Upper durability is unsatisfactory.

On Cloud X 3 Shift

  • »Aesthetically pleasing looks.
  • »Lightweight than other trainers in the market.
  • »Good breathability.
  • »Fits true to size and slightly wider feet.
  • »Durable and long-lasting.
  • »Average breathability.
  • »Slightly thinner laces than the Cloud X 3.
  • »Firmer ride for long runs.
  • »Not ideal for heavy lifting.

Which to Choose: Cloud X 3 or Cloud X 3 Shift?

Cloud X 3 and Cloud X 3 Shift shine together if you want a versatile shoe.

Both sneakers are amazing when you go for a short run and do some gym workouts. They both fit and feel better.

You can use On Cloud X 3 for general gym usage and indoor workouts. Again, you can go with them to nearby parks for all-day adventures. It makes the Cloud X3 a great multifunctional shoe.

The Cloud X 3 Shift model is also excellent for HIIT and cross-training. The soft landings and energizing take-offs can support you for short runs. But they can be uncomfortable if you go for a long run with them. In fact, Cloud 5 would be better for running compared to this.

I’m a bit more of a Cloud X 3 user for its perfect fit, lightweight, and breathability.

However, I often use the Cloud Shift version to hang out with friends. So, you can’t go wrong with any.


Do Cloud X and Cloud X Shift sneakers provide good cushioning and support?

The Helion superfoam, Superboard, and CloudTec sole offer notable cushioning and energy return in the Cloud X 3 and X 3 Shift. But they are not enough for long runs or heavy weight lifting.

Are On Cloud X 3 good for standing all day?

On Cloud X 3 is great for gym and cross-training. They are also great for short runs, walking, and even standing all day. The lightweight design and fantastic breathability make this shoe comfortable enough to wear without irritation.

Is On Cloud X Shift women’s shoes the same as the men’s?

There are two variations for males and females of the On Cloud X 3 Shift. They differ in size and weight. So, it can’t be used as unisex.

Which On Cloud has the most cushioning?

The On CloudStratus 3 comes with double the Cloud elements for double the cushion, making this shoe the most cushioned sneaker of the brand. It offers a soft landing and bouncy feel, which is excellent for long runs.

About The Author
Sunny is all about action and activities. He finds it difficult to contain himself. Be it motorcycling, playing football, or exploring the great outdoors, he loves to keep his legs busy.Sunny quickly realized the importance of footwear to keep himself going healthily. This was when he decided to share all his knowledge and expertise regarding different footwear and their significance.Now, he’s on a mission with this humble platform by his side. With time he plans on doing bigger and better things.Apart from his writing and other hobbies, he loves spending time with his cat Sophie. He loves to cook for his friends and family too.

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