Whether you’re a beginner or a serious athlete, the On Cloud running shoes can deliver a comfortable ride like no other. However, they have different models to cater to different crowds.
Two of their most popular running shoes are the Cloudswift and the Cloudrunner, promising a plush indoor and outdoor training experience.
But which one is more suitable for your running needs?
Let’s thoroughly compare the Cloudswift and Cloudrunner shoes to determine the right fit for you.
A Quick Overview of the On Cloudrunner and On Cloudswift Running Shoes
The Cloudswift and Cloudrunner are both running shoes from the On Running brand.
ON(the brand’s actual name) released its first Cloudswift shoe in 2019, a neutral training designed for urban running. Compared to all the existing On Cloud runners, it aimed for a more responsive ride rather than doubling down on the pillowy feel.
Later on, the company released the Cloudswift 3 in 2023 with a few upgrades compared to the previous iterations.
One year earlier, ON introduced another new player in 2022, the Cloudrunner. This time, the focus was on daily training activities.
Nonetheless, both models boast all the signature traits and DNA of the On-Cloud brand, with slight variances.
Feature Comparison between the On Cloudrunner and Cloudswift 3
Since the On-Running has a different focus for their two Cloud running shoes, the Cloudrunner has some distinctly dissimilar feature set compared to the Cloudswift 3.
Let’s do a side-by-side technical comparison between the Cloudrunner and Cloudswift 3 to get a better understanding.
|On Cloudswift 3
|10.6oz for US men’s size 10
|11.3oz for US men’s size 10
|True to size
|True to size with some exceptions
|Engineered mesh with synthetic overlays
|Sock-like knit upper with 3D heel padding
|CloudTec® cushioning made from ultralight Zero-Gravity foam
|CloudTec® cushioning made from dual-density Helion™ superfoam
|Durable rubber over the CloudTec pods
|Durable rubber over the CloudTec pods
|Break in period
|1 or 2 short runs
|2 or 3 short runs
|Daily training, recovery runs, moderate distances
|Everyday runs, tempo runs, interval training
Fundamental Differences between Cloudswift 3 and Cloudrunner
I have been using the Cloudrunner as my daily driver for the past 11 months until I got a review unit of the Cloudswift 3 from On-Running.
After running over 300 miles with these Cloud shoes, I have noticed a few major and minor differences between these runners, which I have shortlisted in this shoe-down.
Here are the key differences between the Cloudswift 3 and Cloudrunner:
1. Design and Aesthetics
Despite both shoes featuring the brand’s iconic hollow pods design in their sole construction, the overall design language is vastly dissimilar, especially in the upper.
The Cloudswift 3 boasts a streamlined silhouette with one-piece construction.
Its clean lines and minimal overlays reflect the shoe’s city running focus, while the overall modern look allows the wearer to style it with any outfit.
While the ON has maintained a neutral palette for this runner, the Cloudswift features few vibrant colorways, adding a touch of personality without compromising the minimal aesthetic.
Furthermore, it also has a central TPU piece, which acts as a lacing cage. Such a trait is not present in the Cloudrunner.
Speaking of, the Cloudrunner’s design language is all about tackling the trails.
The brand has implemented prominent overlays and reinforced elements in this shoe to exude a sense of speed and durability. Unlike Cloudswift 3, the Cloudrunner proudly showcases all the technical features and subsequent branding.
It also has bolder color variants, but the amount of colorways is less compared to the Cloudswift.
Continuing its performance-focused design choices, the Cloudrunner features reflective elements on its logo that light up when any light hits the shoe in a dark environment.
The CloudTec pods also look quite different between these shoes. The Cloudswift 3 showcases a distinctive wave-like pattern on its pods, while the Cloudrunner features a unique punched-hole design.
2. Upper Construction
From the upper material technology to the tongue construction, each On Cloud shoe takes a completely different approach and delivers a noticeably different user experience.
Let me explain!
The Cloudswift 3 truly deserves praise for its exceptionally breathable upper material.
It features a sock-like thin knit fabric with one-piece construction and reinforced zones for an adaptive fit. As a result, it’s an incredibly soft material that conforms around your foot for personalized wear.
Not to mention, it has perforations in its toe box, which enhances the overall breathability even more.
The Cloudswift’s upper is so ventilated that it can feel a bit cold in the winter season. But it’s definitely a welcoming feature in a dry or hot environment.
Meanwhile, the Cloudrunner utilizes engineered mesh with decent breathability and comfort.
It might not be as breathable as the Cloudswift, but it is definitely more durable and abrasion-resistant without sacrificing the overall softness and comfort.
The tongue construction between the Cloud shoes is vastly different.
The Cloudrunner opted for a traditional, gusseted tongue design with a medium profile and generous padding.
In the meantime, the Cloudswift has a thin knit upper due to its on-piece construction.
3. Midsole and Comfort
The drastic difference between these shoes continues in their midsoles as well, which is a crucial aspect if you’re looking for a running shoe that fits well with your running style.
Both shoes might feature the On-Cloud’s iconic CloudTec pods, but the company uses different materials to construct these hollow pods and the midsole.
The Cloudswift 3 incorporates the company’s in-house Helion superfoam technology for its cushioning.
It’s a slightly firmer material that provides a responsive feel in day-to-day activities.
However, it doesn’t sacrifice the overall comfort and lightweight feel the brand has become renowned for.
Meanwhile, the Cloudrunner focuses on delivering a plush and comfortable ride with its Zero Gravity midsole foam. It is also a proprietary tech from On-Cloud.
It’s a much softer and pillowy cushioning compared to the Cloudswift 3, making it suitable for easy or recovery runs, as well as high-mileage sessions.
The Cloudrunner also has a wider platform to enhance the stability and support for mild overpronation, technical stride, and gym training activities.
Nonetheless, both shoes feature Speedboard technology in their midsole, which is a plastic shank that increases the overall springy feel of these running shoes.
4. Outsole and Durability
Both Cloud shoes utilize strategically placed rubber in their midsole. It’s a durable, abrasion-resistant material that lasts over 300 miles of pavement running.
These shoes also have a completely exposed midsole, which can be a concern for their longevity on rough terrain.
However, the rubber segments in the Cloudrunner cover more area than the Cloudswift’s outsole. As a result, it offers enhanced durability than the latter in the long run.
The Cloudrunner also has larger cloud pods that increase the contact surface and provide more traction on wet surfaces.
Overall, the denser rubber and higher outsole coverage of the Cloudrunner make it more suitable for high mileage and can withstand harsher environments than the Cloudswift 3.
5. Fit and Sizing
The Cloudswift 3 and Cloudrunner both run true to size and offer half sizes to cover all foot shapes.
However, the Cloudswift 3 can run slightly small for wider foot sizes as it has less inner volume than the Cloudrunner.
I’d recommend going for a half-size-up if you’re interested in the Cloudswift.
Additionally, it provides a snug and secure fit, which is helpful for fast-paced running.
On the other hand, the Cloudrunner offers a slightly more relaxed fit compared to the Cloudswift 3. Its upper provides better accommodation for wider feet, and the overall design prioritizes comfort for longer distances.
Unlike the Cloudswift 3, the Cloudrunner has a wider version for larger foot shapes.
And that’s not all!
The Cloudswift 3 has a slightly narrower toe box than the Cloudrunner. It also has a lower height than the latter.
However, due to an incredibly softer and flexible upper, the narrower toe cap of the Cloudswift doesn’t risk any bunions or blistering. But it can feel too constricting for wider forefeet and people who prefer a roomier feel.
For those, the Cloudrunner is a better choice due to its ample space for toe wiggling.
There’s not much difference in the lacing for either model. Both Clouds feature standard lacing with 6 eyelets.
So you have to stick with traditional lace-up styles for both shoes, which offer a decently secured midfoot and heel lockdown fit.
That being said, the Cloudrunner has lace loops on the tongue for better support.
Such a feature is sorely missing on the Cloudswift 3.
Heel and Collar
The Cloudrunner has a reinforced heel counter and adequate collar padding for maximum heel and ankle support.
Meanwhile, the Cloudswift 3 has a very thin collar with no heel counter.
It has TPU overlays on the heel cup for a structured feel, but it lacks the exceptional support of the Cloudrunner shoe.
Since there are slight variances in the sizing of these shoes, you need to get familiar with the size charts of both models before making a purchase decision.
Cloudswift 3 Size Chart
Cloudrunner Size Chart
6. Weight Distribution
Despite having a thinner and lighter upper, the Cloudswift 3 is around 7 ounces heavier than the Cloudrunner due to using a slightly heavier Helion foam.
Utilizing their in-house Zero Gravity midsole material, On Cloud brought down the overall weight of the Cloudrunner quite a lot without sacrificing plush cushioning. It offers a lightweight feel, suitable for easy or recovery runs.
It also reduces foot fatigue for long-running sessions.
Furthermore, the Cloudswift’s weight is more focused on the midfoot and the rearfoot area. Such a weight balance promotes a natural running stride and smoother heel-to-toe transition.
The Cloudrunner’s weight is concentrated in the heel area, providing more stability and support. It’s also more suitable for runners who prefer heel strike running style.
7. Price to Value Proposition
The Cloudswift 3 is around $10 more expensive than the Cloudrunner.
This extra cost might be worth it if you want a more modern-looking running shoe and don’t really care about high-performance activities.
However, the Cloudrunner offers a better value proposition for the MSRP as it’s more suitable for running and daily training activities while lasting longer than the competition.
Benefits and Drawbacks of the On Cloudswift 3 and On Cloudrunner
Apart from the previously discussed differences, both runners bring something unique to the table. Each On Cloud model has its own advantages and disadvantages, which can greatly affect your purchase decision.
The following pros and cons of the Cloudswift 3 and Cloudrunner shoes should help you pick the right Cloud that caters to your needs.
On Cloudswift 3
- »More responsive for tempo or fast-paced runs.
- »Sleeker and more stylish than the competitor.
- »More breathable upper for warmer weather.
- »Wider colorways.
- »Less supportive.
- »Slightly more expensive.
- »Lightweight and plush cushioning for long-running and recovery sessions.
- »More durable than the competitor.
- »Less expensive.
- »Moderate stability for overpronation.
- »Suitable for various terrains, including trails and roads.
- »Less responsive.
- »Limited colorways.
Similarly, you should also look into the differences between the Cloudswift 3 and the Cloudflow 4 to know more about these Cloud shoes.
Cloudswift 3 Vs Cloudrunner: Which Cloud Runs Better?
If you want a more performance-oriented runner that also excels in daily training, the Cloudrunner is a better choice than the Cloudswift 3. This On-Cloud shoe can accommodate any running style while providing better stability for both indoor and outdoor sessions.
To be honest, the Cloudswift 3 is also a great running shoe due to its excellent breathability and responsiveness. If you can find this model at a cheaper price tag, go for it.
However, the affordability and comfort of the Cloudrunner make it easier to recommend for every running crowd.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between Cloudswift 3 and Cloud 5?
On-Cloud 5 is softer, lighter, and more cushioned for daily wear. Meanwhile, the Cloudswift 3 is firmer, more stable, and better for workouts.
Is the Cloudrunner a good walking shoe?
Yes. The On Cloudrunner is a good walking shoe with its plush cushioning and supportive design. However, there might be better options depending on your specific needs.
Which is the best On Cloud shoe?
It is hard to declare the “best” On Cloud shoe as it entirely depends on your needs and running preferences. However, the Cloudmonster, Cloudnova, Cloud 5, etc, are some of the most notable and famous On-running shoes.