Cloudnova vs Cloudswift: Which Shoe Suit Your Style?

Written By Sunny

The On Running brand has been performing well over the decades, and two of its sought-after lineups are Cloudnova and Cloudswift.

But how do they compare to live up to their hype?

To learn which one will be the bang for your buck, I will give a comparative analysis of the critical features between On Cloudswift vs Cloudnova.cloudnova-vs-cloudswift

Let’s jump in to unpack.

Overview of ON Running Cloudswift and ON Running Cloudnova

Before approaching the shoe comparison, I will give a quick history overview of Cloudswift and Cloudnova shoes.

The first Cloudswift was released in 2019.

The ON used weather-resistant new Helion foam in the midsole, an impressive technology than earlier ON midsole foams. After a gap, the Cloudswift 2.0 hit the market in 2021. But it was not enough, and they had to prepare for the third generation.

As a result, On released the Cloudswift 3 in 2023 with several changes like tongue, pull tab, weight, etc. The enhanced stability and breathability are noticeable.

Meanwhile, On Running debuted its athletic lifestyle shoe with the Cloudnova.

Cloudnova was released in 2020 with a combination of performance and comfort. The features make this shoe a go-to daily sneaker.

Besides, the exclusive and attractive visual design makes these shoes appealing to footwear enthusiasts.

And for the crowd-pleaser, we now have Cloudnova, Cloudnova Flux, Cloudnova Void, and Cloudnova Form. They also have a limited edition, Cloudnova Form Pamela Rosenkranz.

Feature Comparison of ON Cloudswift 3 and ON Cloudnova

To find the ideal foot companion, you have to consider several factors. A guided table tour highlighting the attribute comparisons makes the task easier.

As there are several variations, I’m discussing the Cloudswift 3 and Cloudnova for convenience.

Let’s compare the features in a table of ON Cloudswift 3 and ON Cloudnova:

FeaturesON Cloudswift 3ON Cloudnova
Release YearMarch 2023May 2020
Stack Height (Approx.)Heel:33.1mm, Toe: 28.1 mmHeel: 33.5mm, Toe: 19.5mm
Heel-to-Toe Drop~5mm~14mm
Weight (Approx.)8.85oz9.5oz
Upper MaterialZonal knitEngineered mesh
MidsoleUpdated CloudTec®, Dual-density Helion™ SuperfoamNext-gen connected CloudTec®, bespoke Speedboard™
OutsoleDurable rubber over the podsDurable rubber reinforcements
Cushioning TypeFirm and responsiveComfortable
Tongue DesignThin and sock-likeThin and non-gusseted
BreathabilityBetterAbove average
Lacing SystemStandardStandard
FitsTrue to SizeTrue to Size
Reflective ElementsYesYes
Pull tabFinger loopNone
Best UseNurses, all-day wear, walking, daily trainingDaily wear, Travel

Now let’s move into the detailed comparisons

9 Key Differences between Cloudnova and Cloudswift 3

A perfect pair of shoes with unique strengths and features can make your riding experience smooth. So, let’s discuss their design DNA to comfort levels and cushioning style.

Learning the hidden details that make the shoes special will help you find your ideal running companion to hit the pavement.

Here are the nine significant comparisons between Cloudnova and Cloudswift 3:

1. Upper Construction

First, let’s dive into the upper material showdown between the On Cloudnova and Cloudswift 3.

The Cloudnova and On Cloud 5 have similar upper, made of an engineered mesh.

The upper takes comfort to new heights with its innovative bootie construction. As a result, putting on and off the shoes is a piece of cake.

Besides, it has an ample toe box for an average-sized foot.

The standard lacing system ensures an excellent midfoot lockdown.upper-construction-of-on-cloudswift-3-and-on-cloudnova

The mid-upper appearance makes the shoe exclusive and gives a touch of fashion-forward flair to your running attire. No more blend-in in the crowd!

Conversely, the latest Cloudswift features a zonal knit upper for an inclusive fit.

On brings significant changes here and moved from the two-layer mesh used in the predecessor.

The knit material and the standard lacing system overlays combo wrap the foot nicely and provide a secure fit.

2. Design and Aesthetics

The ON Running Cloudnova appears with a unique design.

The sleek and cute aesthetics can attract anyone. Furthermore, I really appreciate their various color selection and sustainable approach.

However, On used an unconventional mid-cut bootie.mid-cut-bootie-of-on-cloudnova

The feature is a mixed bag. I find it helpful and a deal-breaker for quick slip-on/off.

But for some, it slows them down to put on the shoes. Besides, it can be uncomfortable for the ankle.

Meanwhile, the 3rd version of the Cloudswift also has a stunning, eye-catching look that appeals visually.

But, I was disappointed with its paper-like thin tongue.

It’s a severe downgrade from the Cloudswift 2.0.

The Company wanted to reduce the shoe weight, but sacrificing the tongue pad was a bad idea. I felt some lace bite in the test run.

Putting that aside, I’m pleased that both Cloudnova and Cloudswift’s newer models have a nice touch of glowing effect. The reflective logo is a nice have for low light safety.reflective-elements-of-on-cloudswift-3-and-on-cloudnova

3. Breathability Showdown

The Cloudnova performs above average when it comes to breathability.

It offers moderate airflow as the ventilation is not superior. The other model, Cloudnova Form, also offers moderate breathability due to the densely woven material in the upper.

I would put aside those in the summer days, to be honest.

Instead, you can pick Cloudstratus or Cloudmonster for better breathability.

On the other hand, the new upgraded upper in the Cloudswift 3 performs top-notch in breathability compared to Cloudswift 2.

Though the second Cloudswift model has perforation holes in the upper, it was pretty hot due to the dense upper.

However, it’s not the issue in the 3rd-gen.

The perforated knit fabric is the magic behind the optimal ventilation.

To better understand the shoe’s breathability, I’m rating the breathability on a 0 to 10 scale, where 10 means superior.

Shoe NameBreathability Rating
On Cloudnova6
On Cloudnova Form6
On Cloudswift 38
On Cloudswift 26
On Cloudmonster9.5
On Cloudstratus 38

Now, move into the sole technology.

4. Outsole Design and Traction

The Cloudnova has a sturdy rubber outsole.

The durable rubber reinforcement is abrasion-resistant and provides excellent traction on various surfaces.

Like most other On Cloud shoes, Cloudnova also tends to pick up small rocks or pebbles in the middle gap.

But if you stick with the city streets or hard-packed trails, it’s not a significant issue.outsole-design-of-on-cloudswift-3-and-on-cloudnova

Meanwhile, Cloudswift v3 has a pretty stiff rubber outsole.

In my test run, the grip was satisfactory. I didn’t feel any slip issues on city roads or wet surfaces.

5. Midsole Construction and Cushioning

The Cloudnova features Next-gen connected CloudTec® and bespoke Speedboard™ technology.midsole-construction-of-cloudnova

This midsole combination ensures absorbing shock to deliver a smooth landing and bouncy returns.

Shoe NameHeel StackForefeet StackDrop
Cloudswift 3~33.1mm~28.1mm~5mm

Cloudnova has a heel cushioning of 33.5mm and toe cushioning of 19.5mm for ultimate comfort.

Though the 14mm drop is slightly higher than traditional, it helps to propel a smooth ride.

On the flip side, Cloudswift’s 3rd model also features On’s proprietary CloudTec technology.

The updated CloudTec® and Dual-density Helion™ Superfoam ensure a stable and flexible ride for forward rolling.midsole-construction-of-cloudswift-3

The built-in Speedboard within the midsole helps you run faster with less energy.

Cloudswift 3 has a 33.1mm heel stack dropping to 5mm with a 28.1mm cushioning layer in the toe. The drop is almost similar to Cloudstratus 3.

6. Size and Fit

I ordered my regular men’s size 9 for the On Running Cloudnova, and it fits true to size.

However, it was run small for one of my friends. So, I recommend sizing up at least half a size if you have wider feet.

But, as the sneaker is slightly wider in the toe and heel, narrow-feet runners can find it as a con.

Though the footgear lacks a pull tab in the heel, it offers a lace loop in the tongue. on-cloudnova-lace-loop

What can I say about this? A one-legged Clove shoes? That sounds better.

Meanwhile, the newest Cloudswift also fits true-to-size.

Though the one-piece construction ensures a snug fit, the narrow toe box can be uncomfortable for wider feet.

But thanks to the stretchy upper material that allows for a comfortable fit for medium-width feet.

The pull tab in the back also allows you to put on the shoe more easily.pull-tab-of-cloudswift-3

7. Weight and Comfort


When it comes to weight, Cloudnova lost the crown to Cloudswift.

The Cloudnova weighs around 9.5 ounces, whereas the Cloudswift 3 is only ~8.85 ounces.


Regarding comfort, the Cloudnova has a thin tongue, which could affect lace bites. But I didn’t have any, so it should not be a problem.on-cloudnova-tongue

The padded heel collar and flexible heel counter ensure a secure foot lockdown.

On the contrary, Cloudswift 3 has a thinner tongue than Cloudnova.on-cloudswift-3-tongueThough it was ok for the nova, the swift failed to prevent lace bite. Moreover, the knit design felt abrasive on my heels as I wore low socks.

But when I used a longer sock, it was not that problematic. So, to avoid blisters, use longer socks for this shoe.

However, I liked the heel counter. It is very flexible and secure. So, no heel slip issue.

8. Stability and Durability


Cloudnova acts as a neutral running shoe with good stability. The wider forefoot and heel base are the primary contributors.

The firm platform and broader surface area ensure a safe landing.


The Cloudnova is excellent for walking. That said, the durability is quite good. After 20 km of walking, the shoe displayed barely wear and tear signs.

But what about the Cloudswift 3’s durability?

The toe box durability is top-notch for the Cloudswift 3. But I saw some premature wear and tear on the heel, which can be concerning.

9. Price Tags

Price is the most exciting part when you buy something. And when you are comparing two things, you want to grab the best bang for the buck.

Speaking of price, there is no price difference between Cloudswift vs Cloudnova.

Both shoes cost you around $160.

Their innovative technology and performance features are worth the value. They are a good investment for dedicated runners seeking top-notch support and comfort.

Pros & Cons of On Cloudnova and On Cloudswift 3

Learning the strengths and potential drawbacks is crucial as both shine in style and comfort.

To pick the best pair for you, I’m assisting with the advantages and disadvantages below:

On Cloudnova

  • »Sleek and modern design.
  • »Perfect travel shoe for all-day wear.
  • »High cushioning.
  • »No break-in period.
  • »Eco-friendly materials (10%).
  • »Wide forefoot and heel midsole for better stability.
  • »Heavier than Cloudswift 3.
  • »Pebbles tend to trap in the sole.
  • »Mid-cut booties can take more effort to put on the shoe for some.
  • »Not ideal for very narrow or wide feet.

On Cloudswift 3

  • »Lighter than Cloudnova.
  • »Sock-like tongue and pull tab for quick slip-on/slip-off.
  • »Versatile use (nurse, walking, gym, running).
  • »Hyper-flexible heel counter.
  • »Dynamic bounce with forward propulsion.
  • »Aesthetically appealing.
  • »It is firmer than Cloudnova.
  • »Long runs can be uncomfortable.

Cloudnova vs Cloudswift 3: Which Shoe is Right for You?

The Cloudnova is a champion for style and comfort. You won’t have to worry about sacrificing comfort for style. This excellent travel shoe is ready for everyday wear on the city streets. This gorgeous-looking shoe feels like wearing a badge of exclusivity.

Your comfort, style, stability, and breathability are packed into one shoe.

However, it is not ideal if you don’t like the bootie design. The high price tag and slight heavyweight are other reasons some users can turn away from it.

On the contrary, if you are looking for versatile footwear that you can use in the gym, healthcare, or walking, Cloudswift 3 is your best bet.

The firm cushioning and sustainability credentials are also good selling points for this Cloudswift shoe.


Are On Running Cloudswift and Cloudnova good for running?

The On Cloudswift and Cloudnova are versatile and have ample cushioning for quick or long-distance runs. You can also use those shoes for a lightweight workout in the gym.

Do Cloudnova and Cloudswift 3 run true to size?

Yes. Usually, both Cloudnova and Cloudswift 3 run true to size for regular feet. However, for wider feet, you should go for a half-size up. Due to Cloud shoe’s narrow toe box, wider feet users can find it struggles to fit perfectly.

Which is lighter, Cloudnova or Cloudswift 3?

The latest Cloudswift is lighter than the Cloudnova. The Cloudnova is around 9.5 ounces, whereas Cloudswift 3 is around 8.85 ounces.

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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