When it comes to traveling and all-day comfort, few models compare to the On Cloud 5 and Allbirds Wool Runners. The question of Allbirds versus On Cloud is a fun one because both of these models have areas where they excel and fall short.
Personally, I like both the Allbirds Wool Runners and On Cloud 5, but for slightly different reasons. I’ll also wear each model based on the setting I’m in and the season. By doing this, I can select the best model for the job at hand so I can get more out of the shoes.
If you’ve been on the fence between investing in Allbirds versus On Cloud, then hopefully, this article can help you make the best choice per your footwear needs.
In this Allbirds versus On Cloud comparison, I’m going to discuss how the Wool Runners and Cloud 5 fair for daily wear, traveling, and long-term durability. In addition, I’ll discuss key construction differences to know.
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Allbirds Wool Runners Vs On Cloud 5 Performance
To break down the performance between the Allbirds Wool Runners and On Cloud 5, I’m going to discuss how each shoe performs in different contexts.
More specifically, I want to talk about how each shoe does for daily wear and travel, how they perform for walking and standing and discuss their performance in different seasons.
Testing the Allbirds Vs On Cloud for Daily Wear and Travel
For daily wear and travel, the On Cloud 5 and Allbirds Wool Runners are both good shoes to explore, but for slightly different reasons. When it comes to all-day comfort, I really enjoy the On Cloud 5’s CloudTec midsole construction.
The CloudTec in this shoe provides you with a nice maneuverable base and it compresses a little more than the SweetFoam midsole used in the Allbirds Wool Runners. For example, when you shift your weight in the On Cloud 5 the midsole will compress and move more than the Wool Runners.
That being said, if you like a softer midsole for day-to-day wear and for traveling, then On Cloud 5 is a really good option to explore. Conversely, if you like a bit more stability and arch support, then the Wool Runners will provide you with a little more than Cloud 5.
The Allbirds Wool Runners come with a heel-to-toe drop that sits around 15mm, which is fairly high for daily wear shoes. This higher drop gives this shoe more heel and is what contributes to the level of arch support that you get in the Wool Runners.
Personally, I find the higher drop on the Allbirds model to be very hit or miss. If I’m walking a lot and it’s a full day of travel, then I actually find it fairly off-putting, but for shorter travel days/flights and days where I’m running errands, then it’s comfortable and fine.
The On Cloud 5’s 8mm heel-to-toe drop give them a much more “traditional” shoe feel when wearing them on a daily basis. I think if you like wearing things like training shoes on a daily wear basis, then the Cloud 5 will resonate better with you for travel and daily wear.
Winner: On Cloud 5. The Allbirds Wool Runners are okay, but I prefer them for daily wear and travel when I’m not going to be on my feet all day.
On Cloud 5
- Walking and Light Running
- Standing All Day
- Light Workouts and Cross-Training
- Bodyweight Training
- For Recreational Lifting
- For Serious Cross-Training
Testing the Allbirds Vs On Cloud for Walking and Standing
For walking and standing, I don’t think you can really go wrong with the Allbirds Wool Runners or On Cloud 5. However, I do think their performance will vary for you based on your shoe preferences.
For example, for longer walks and periods of time standing, I think the On Cloud 5 will be the better shoe for three key reasons. First, the CloudTec midsole is a bit more comfortable for long-term wear compared to the SweetFoam midsole in the Allbirds.
Second, the upper in the On Cloud 5 breathes better and if you’re walking a lot, then this can be huge for breathability and ventilation. Third and lastly, the 8mm heel-to-toe drop feeds well into walking mechanics and it keeps the foot flatter when standing, relatively speaking compared to the Wool Runners.
I think for short walks that are included in running errands and contexts that are similar in nature, then the Allbirds Wool Runners will work just fine for most individuals, especially if you’re wanting a shoe for cooler months.
For example, if you plan to use your shoes primarily for walking and wearing them outside in cooler months, then the Wool Runners can be a really good option to explore. The ZQ Merino Wool upper provides more warmth than the breathable mesh upper used in the On Cloud 5.
My only gripe with the Wool Runners for standing and walking is that over time their wool upper can stretch and crease. This then limits their ability to lock down the foot and you can be more prone to sliding forward in this shoe.
Winner: Both are okay, but they’ll have areas where they both excel and fall short. The On Cloud 5 is better for longer walks and periods of standing but can run fairly cool in the colder months.
The Allbirds Wool Runners are better for cold month wear and for shorter walks and periods of standing. The higher heel-to-toe drop and lack of upper support can really knock this Wool Runners’ long-term performance here.
Allbirds Wool Runners
- Daily Wear
- 3-Season Wear: Spring, Fall, and Winter
- Casual Walking
- Those Who Want Responsibly-Sourced Materials
- For Wide Feet
- For Long-Term Durability
- For Traction On Wet Surfaces
- For Any Form of Strenuous Activity
Testing the Allbirds Vs On Cloud for Different Seasons
When it comes to wearing the Allbirds Wool Runners and On Cloud 5’s in different seasons, there are a couple of things to note and keep in mind. Both of these models are built very different in regard to their upper which will influence their warmth and breathability.
The ZQ Merino Wool used in the Wool Runners provide a fair amount of warmth while also giving you a little bit of thermoregulation. This upper makes the Wool Runners a really strong 3-season shoe, as in they work best for spring, fall, and winter.
Note, you can wear the Wool Runners in summer, however, they may get pretty hot. When I wear them in warmer months I’ll either wear super thin no-show socks or I’ll go barefoot in them if I only plan to wear them for a short duration.
The On Cloud 5 is also what I would describe as a 3-season shoe. This model’s lightweight and breathable upper makes it a good option for spring, summer, and fall. They’re an easy model to rock on warmer days and are okay for some cooler temperature days as well.
One thing I’ve noticed with my On Cloud 5’s is that when wearing them barefoot on warmer days is that they can get pretty smelly. While I know this is more of a “me problem” I think it would be cool to treat these shoes, along with the Wool Runners with some form of antimicrobial treatment.
This could help prevent the sweat stains you can get in the Wool Runners and the smell you can run into with the On Cloud 5.
Winner: Both are good 3-season shoes. It could be worth selecting the model that feeds into your seasons and their temperatures best. Warmer climates, go On Cloud 5. Cooler climates, go Wool Runners.
Allbirds Wool Runner
On Cloud 5
Allbirds Wool Runners Vs On Cloud 5 Construction
To discuss the construction differences between the Allbirds Wool Runners versus the On Cloud 5, I’m going to break this section into multiple parts.
This way, I can hopefully make this section more interesting and digestible for you if you’re debating between each of these models based on their construction features.
The outsole construction between these models vary pretty greatly. In the On Cloud 5, you get the standard CloudTec midsole that also serves with its materials as the outsole through the midfoot.
The forefoot and heel of this model feature additional rubber for pushoff and heel strike durability. Honestly, I think the outsole materials in the On Cloud 5 could be reworked to be a little more durable especially when protecting CloudTec foam.
The Allbirds Wool Runners are similar in the sense that the SweetFoam midsole also serves as the core outsole on this model. There are subtle ridges throughout this model’s outsole and they do fade fairly fast if you’re wearing this model a lot outdoors on concrete.
The On Cloud 5 feature’s On’s signature CloudTec construction throuought its midsole. The forefoot’s midsole connect the right and left side whereas the midfoot CloudTec materials are split and this is what helps to give On Cloud 5 its nice level of articulation.
The Allbirds Wool Runners features a SweetFoam midsole that is made out of a sugarcane-based green EVA. This midsole is a bit more stable in nature than the CloudTec midsole used in the On Cloud 5.
The uppers in each of these shoes vary and that’s what helps each model perform so well in different seasons. The On Cloud 5 features a breathable mesh upper with synthetic overlays covering the toe box and thicker padding throughout the heel.
The upper in the On Cloud 5 breaks in pretty well over time and it breathes really well in warmer months. I get asked often about this upper breaking in and it does stretch a little bit after about a month of avid wear. Not enough for wide feet, but it does help give this shoe’s toe box a bit more comfort.
The Wool Runners are built with a ZQ Merino Wool and this is the main component throughout the entirety of the Wool Runners, hence their name. This material is lightweight and moves really well, but it can be prone to losing its structure over time in addition to the boot’s internal heel counter.
Laces and Tongue
The nice thing with both of these models’ laces and tongues is that they both utilize systems that allow you to easily slip them on. In the On Cloud 5, they come with On’s speed lacing system which is a thin stretchy shoe lace that covers the top four eyelets.
This model also comes with an additional shoelace so you can lace them traditionally if you choose with the bottom two eyelets not utilizes in the speed lacing system. Personally, I love this slip-on feature with the On Cloud 5 and they do a good job at preventing heel slip with the speed lacing system.
In the Allbirds Wool Runners, you have four core eyelets with a lightweight ZQ Merino Wool tongue that has a loop for additional security. This model is easy to slip on which is nice, but a gripe I have with the Wool Runners is that the tongue is gusseted so it can slide around which can be frustrating.
Insole, Weight, and Heel-to-Toe Drop
Both models feature removable insoles so you can use your own custom insoles and orthotics in both shoes. In the On Cloud 5, the insole is thin and it has anatomical build and shape to it.
The Allbirds Wool Runners insole is slightly thicker in nature and it’s built with a castor bean oil-based foam. Both insoles do a fairly good job, but the Wool Runners can be a bit prone to absorbing water at times if you’re getting them wet in the rain, so I’d suggest avoiding wet environments in this model if you can.
- On Cloud 5 Heel-to-Toe Drop and Weight: 8mm and 8.40 oz (for my size 10 model)
- Allbirds Wool Runners Heel-to-Toe Drop and Weight: Around 15mm and 8.90 oz (for my size 10 model)
Allbirds Wool Runners Vs On Cloud 5 Sizing
I have a lot of sizing thoughts about the Allbirds Wool Runners and On Cloud 5. Both models can be fairly interesting in regard to how you should size them based on your foot’s anatomy.
For the Allbirds Wool Runners, if you have a narrow and neutral width foot, then I’d suggest going to true to size. If you have a wide foot or if you’re between sizes, then I’d suggest going up in size.
For the On Cloud 5, they’ll fit true to size for most individuals. The main drawback with the On Cloud 5’s sizing is that their toe box can run fairly narrow. If you have wider feet, then I’d suggest looking into different wide-feet-friendly models.
- Allbirds Wool Runners Sizing Thoughts: Go true to size for narrow and neutral-width feet. If you have wide feet or are in-between sizes, then size up.
- On Cloud 5 Sizing Thoughts: Go true to size. If you have wide feet, then you may want to go up in size or look for models that are better suited for wide feet.
If you have additional questions on the sizing of the Allbirds Wool Runners and On Cloud 5, drop a comment below and I can you out accordingly.
Allbirds Wool Runners Vs On Cloud 5 Durability
The durability of the Allbirds Wool Runner and On Cloud 5 are both what I would describe as okay. For daily wear shoes, they do an okay job and should last you a while if you’re taking good care of them.
That being said though, each model has its downfalls in regard to long-term durability. For example, my Allbirds Wool Runners have lasted me for than a year and they’ve done okay with durability, but there are a few aspects that have broken down since investing.
The upper in my Wool Runners has creased and collapsed and you can see folding in the toe box when I wear them. In addition, the cup in the heel has also lost its shape and has collapsed so I don’t have a ton of support from the boot in my Wool Runners anymore.
The outsole tread pattern has also faded over time in the Wool Runners and if you’re wearing this model a lot on concrete, then you’ll likely notice this area break down pretty quickly, too.
The On Cloud 5’s durability issues revolve around its CloudTec midsole, and more specifically, the midsole near the toe box. The outsole material in the forefoot on the On Cloud 5 could do a better at protecting the edges of the midsole in this model.
If you’re wearing this model a lot, then you’ll likely start to notice some fraying of the CloudTec midsole around the forefoot and in the midfoot due to the exposed foam.
Long-term midsole durability is also a concern I have with other On modes like the On Cloud X and On Cloudswift. Also, since the On Cloud 5 have the speed lacing system and can be slip-ons, make sure you’re pulling them on correctly and not crushing the boot by jamming your foot into these shoes.
When chatting on the price between the Allbirds Wool Runner and On Cloud 5 you can expect a pretty big difference between the two. For the Allbirds Wool Runners, you can expect to pay $110 USD.
Compared to their initial release, the Wool Runners have seen an overall price increase from their original price point of $95 USD. It’s interesting that their price has gone up because the construction has remained relatively unchanged.
For the On Cloud 5, you can expect to pay $140 USD which is a pretty large difference compared to the Wool Runner’s price. Personally, I find most On shoes to be priced a little too high for what they offer, especially in regard to their durability.
I think if your daily wear asks fall into the performance contexts above for each model and you take care of your shoes, then their price points could be justified. If you want to save a little money, the opt for the Wool Runners.
Allbirds Wool Runner
On Cloud 5
There’s a lot to like about the Allbirds Wool Runners and On Cloud 5. When put head-to-head, both models excels for daily wear and comfort, however, they both have areas where they tend to fall short.
For example, the Wool Runners’ upper and sole can run into durability issues over time while the On Cloud 5’s midsole can be prone to early breakdown.
I think if you’re wanting a model for summer wear, then opt for the On Cloud 5, and if you want a daily wear shoe for cooler months, then the Wool Runners are an exceptional pick.
If you have additional questions on either of these models, drop a comment below or reach out to me personally via Instagram (@jake_boly or @that_fit_friend)!
I personally test every product featured on That Fit Friend using a regimen of training tests that I’ve developed over years of testing training gear. I buy the gear I test and may earn commissions on sales made through links on my site.