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On Cloud X3 Vs On Cloud 5 (2024) | Which Shoe Is Best for You?

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Two of On’s most popular shoes for both daily wear and training include the On Cloud 5 and On Cloud X3. I get asked a ton of questions about these shoes and which to go with based on things like training and travel needs.

As a fan of the On Cloud X3 and On Cloud 5 shoes, I wanted to compare them and test their construction and performance. Each shoe features On’s signature CloudTec and lightweight construction. However, subtle details make each shoe slightly better than the other for certain activities.

The goal of this On Cloud 5 versus On Cloud X3 comparison is to help you understand the subtle differences between each shoe so you can make a better investment in the one that best suits your training needs.

On Cloud X3 vs On Cloud 5 Review and Comparison

On Cloud X 3 Product Shot

On Cloud X 3

Pros: Breathable, Versatile
Cons: Limited Performance
Weight: 9 oz (size 10)
Size/Fit: True to Size/Neutral Width
Offset: 8mm
Lifting Threshold: <315 lbs
Mileage Threshold: 1-5 miles
Price: $149.99
TF2 Rating: 4.3
On Cloud 5

On Cloud 5

Pros: Comfortable, Slip-On
Cons: Midsole Durability
Size/Fit: True to Size/Narrow Toe Box
Offset: 8mm
Price: $139.99
TF2 Rating: 4.2

Quick Specs to Know

At first glance, these shoes have many similar core specs, which makes them easy to rotate between if you end up buying both and using them for their respective contexts.

 Cloud 5
Cloud X3
Drop8mm8mm
Weight8.34 oz 9.05 oz
InsoleYesYes
WidthNarrow/MediumMedium

What to Pay Attention to With Sizing

If there’s anything to take away from this section, it’s the Cloud 5, which is going to size more narrowly through the toe box. If you have EE-width or wider feet, you’ll want to pass on the 5 and grab the X3.

Both of these also have a little arch to them, so if you have flat feet, you’ll want to consider this. Based on the countless YouTube comments giving feedback on theses shoes, I find that athletes with flatter feet and arches typically find both of these shoes a little offputting.

The Cloud X3’s arch has a more aggressive feeling, and if you have narrow, flat feet, then you may be able to get away rocking the Cloud 5, but I’d highly suggest trying them on in-store first if you fall into this fit category

Performance Overview

The On Cloud 5 and On Cloud X3 are designed for different activities. The On Cloud X3 excels in cross-training environments due to its wider CloudTec midsole and thicker rubber tread, providing enhanced stability and traction.

It’s ideal for activities requiring stability and moderate lifting. Conversely, the On Cloud 5, while suitable for light workouts, shines in daily wear and lighter activities due to its comfort and ease of use.

My Experience Lifting In These Shoes

  • On Cloud X3: Outperforms in stability and durability, suited for more intense training sessions.
  • On Cloud 5: Best reserved for less demanding physical activities.

Using On Cloud X 3 for weight training

If you’re planning to do any lifting at all, do yourself a favor and grab the Cloud X3 over the Cloud 5. It’s going to give you a lot more stability and it has a wider platform for lifting. There’s a wider toe box in this model, too, which is great for toe splay.

In this model, I’ve pushed my weights up to 315 lbs in squats and deadlifts and it’s done an okay job accommodating these thresholds. It won’t be your best bet for maxing out your barbell lifts, but for recreational lifting contexts, they work fine.

The Cloud 5’s midsole is more compressive, and it’s narrower, so I found that I felt less balanced when lifting in them. Can they work for some bodyweight work or travel workouts? Sure, but keep in mind that they’re not a great option for lifting if that’s a major ask of yours.

On Cloud X 3

$149.99

On Cloud X 3 Product Shot
4.3
Stability
3.9
Versatility
4.5
Durability
4.2

Best For

  • Light Strength Training
  • Versatile Training
  • Classes/HIIT
  • Short Runs (1-5 miles)
  • Daily Wear

Falls Short

  • For Outdoor Workouts
  • For Heavy Training
  • For Wide Feet

HIIT, Classes, and Versatile Training

  • On Cloud X3: Good for classes, HIIT, and full-body workouts.
  • On Cloud 5: Can work for some cross-training but lacks a stable base for training.

Both shoes perform well, but the On Cloud X offers better durability and a slight edge in stability, making it the preferred choice for varied training routines. However, both models struggle with multi-directional exercises due to a lack of lateral stability.

Testing the On Cloud X 3 for Versatile Training

The On Cloud X 3 excels in versatile training, making it particularly suitable for activities like HIIT, agility work, and class-style exercises. I appreciate this model for several reasons: its breathable three-layer mesh upper keeps feet cool, especially in warm environments.

The CloudTec midsole in the X3 effectively supports dynamic movements such as box jumps and forward/backward motions, enhanced by the rubber tread on the forefoot and heel. Additionally, the Speedboard technology provides an athletic fit and responsive performance, ideal for those who prefer a lighter feel during workouts.

Running, Walking, and Daily Wear

  • On Cloud X3: Suitable for short runs and more active daily use.
  • On Cloud 5: Ideal for extended daily wear, walking, and travel, thanks to its superior comfort and lightweight design.

If you’re planning on running, pass on the Cloud 5. They’ll lack the support you want for runs, plus they’ll break down faster, which is counterproductive for their price point.

On Cloud 5 for walking and standing and traveling

The On Cloud X 3 is effective for short runs up to about five miles, making it a good choice for pre/post-workout or recovery runs. For increased durability, I recommend using them primarily on treadmills or smooth outdoor terrains to avoid picking up rocks.

Beyond running, the Cloud X 3 also excels in daily wear and walking due to its comfort and breathability, making it a reliable option for day-to-day activities and longer walks, like my regular 2+ mile dog walks.

On Cloud 5

$139.99

On Cloud 5
4.2
Stability
4.1
Versatility
4.3
Durability
4.2

Best For

  • Walking and Light Running
  • Standing All Day
  • Light Workouts and Cross-Training
  • Bodyweight Training

Falls Short

  • For Recreational Lifting
  • For Serious Cross-Training

On Cloud 5 Vs On Cloud X3 Construction

Outsole

From afar, the CloudTec outsole construction of the On Cloud X3 and On Cloud 5 look fairly similar. They both feature rubber tread patterns on the forefoot and heel and these tread patterns help to protect the CloudTec midsole.

On Cloud X3 vs On Cloud 5 Outsole Construction

The main difference between these shoe’s outsoles is that the On Cloud X3’s tread is slightly thicker. This is a nice and subtle difference because it helps this shoe perform stronger and grip better on a variety of surfaces. This also helps add to the On Cloud X’s overall durability.

Midsole

The midsole of each model is also built fairly consistently and delivers On’s signature “cloud-like” feel. The On Cloud X3 is built on Helion™ superfoam which gives them a lightweight, responsive, and somewhat stable feel.

On Cloud X3 vs On Cloud 5 Midsole Construction

The On Cloud 5’s midsole is built with a similar Zero-Gravity foam. The Cloud 5’s midsole compresses slightly easier and you get a nice level of foot articulation and comfort with this cushioned midsole.

Upper

The upper construction in the On Cloud X3 is built with a breathable mesh that has strategic layered areas through the midfoot and ventilated areas in the toe box.

As a whole, I enjoy the upper in the On Cloud X3. The one drawback to this shoe’s upper construction is that you can get a little material bunching towards the bottom of the midfoot, as you can see in the image below.

On Cloud X3 vs On Cloud 5 Upper Construction

The On Cloud 5 features a lightweight and breathable mesh upper throughout. The forefoot has a high degree of ventilation for breathability and the boot on this model is a little longer to support the slip-on and off nature of this shoe.

I like the On Cloud 5’s upper construction and materials as well, however, this shoe’s upper is definitely best for warmer environments which On specifies on their product page. I found this shoe to be fairly cool for winter months when walking the dogs due to its high level of breathability.

Laces and Tongue

The On Cloud X3 features a separate tongue construction and comes equipped with a traditional lacing system. This model features six core eyelets with a seventh for lace-lock. I like the lacing and tongue construction in this shoe sans the upper fold that may impact some at the bottom of the toe box.

On Cloud X3 vs On Cloud 5 Laces and Tongue Construction

The On Cloud 5 comes equipped with On’s quick-lacing system, an elastic shoestring that wraps through the top four eyelets. This lacing system is designed to promote the ease of slipping these shoes on and off, and I personally find it does a good job with security, so you shouldn’t find them to be too loose due to this lacing system.

The On Cloud 5 also has a separate tongue and additional two lower eyelets if you choose to use a traditional lace with them. They come with a separate pair of laces if you prefer to use them.

Insole

The On Cloud 5 and On Cloud X3 both have thin removable insoles. In regard to using custom orthotics or insoles, you may find that the overall volume of these is slightly limited.

On Cloud X3 vs On Cloud 5 Insole Construction

If you plan to grab one of these shoes and use your own orthotics, then you may want to opt for the On Cloud 5 as I think they’ll give you a little bit more room in the toe box and midfoot.

Final Thoughts: Would I Buy Them Again?

I would, but — I’d look for sales before doing so.

I genuinely like both of these shoes for what they are. Will the Cloud 5 be the most durable daily wear shoe in the game? Not necessarily, but if price isn’t really a factor for you and you love the look of this model, then you’ll enjoy them, and I’d yolo it.

I’d also buy the Cloud X3 again when I want a shoe for some casual workouts and traveling. It’s a good do-it-all-style training shoe that you can also run and walk long distances in. Plus, they look pretty good if you go with a neutral colorway.

IF YOU ONLY have money for one of these shoes, I’d grab the Cloud X3. You’ll get more range with their performance and functionality.

If you have addtional questions on which of these shoes to buy, drop a comment below or hit me on Instagram.

Jake Boly, CSCS, MS Sports Science

Jake Boly, CSCS, MS Sports Science

Jake Boly is the Founder and Editor-In-Chief of That Fit Friend. He's often regarded to as a go-to resource in various performance shoe communities. He’s been formally reviewing shoes and training gear for over 7 years and has hand-tested over 400 pairs of shoes. Jake is known on the internet and YouTube for blending his review process with his educational, strength sports, and personal training background.

Jake has a Masters in Sports Science, a Bachelors in Exercise Science, a CSCS, and he's been personal training for over 10 years helping hundreds of clients get stronger, lose weight, and accomplish their goals. He uses his exercise science brain and personal training background to make curated and thoughtful review content on the fitness gear he's testing.

2 thoughts on “On Cloud X3 Vs On Cloud 5 (2024) | Which Shoe Is Best for You?”

  1. this is a fantastic comparison as a lot of people really can’t tell the difference between these two models. great job, brother.

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