On is a Swiss company known for its comfortable and performance-focused shoes. Two of On’s most popular shoes for both daily wear and training include the On Cloud 5 and On Cloud X. Both of these shoes are designed and marketed to be “all-in-one” style shoes for day-to-day wear and cross-training.
As a fan of the On Cloud X and On Cloud 5 shoes, I wanted to put them head-to-head and test their construction and performance. Each shoe features On’s signature CloudTec and lightweight constructions, however, there are subtle details that make each shoe slightly better than the other for certain activities.
The goal of this On Cloud 5 versus On Cloud X comparison is to help you understand the subtle differences between each shoe so you can make a better investment per your training shoe wants and needs.
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On Cloud 5 Vs On Cloud X Performance
To break down the On Cloud 5 and On Cloud X’s performance, I’m going to discuss how each shoe performs in a variety of contexts. Each shoe is built for slightly different activities, so hopefully, this section will help you better synthesize which model to go with.
On Cloud X Vs On Cloud 5 for Cross-Training and Light Lifting
For cross-training and light liting, there’s a clear winner between the On Cloud X and On Cloud 5. The On Cloud X is On’s cross-training-focused shoe and compared to the On Cloud 5 it’s the superior model for a couple of reasons.
For starters, the On Cloud X features a CloudTec midsole that is built to be a bit wider compared to other On shoes and it has raised sidewalls. This helps add to this shoe’s ability to promote stability in various training settings and helps give you a wider surface area to stand on when training.
Another reason why the On Cloud X takes the win for cross-training is its outsole construction. The On Cloud X features a thicker rubber tread on the forefoot and heel which helps to prolong this shoe’s midsole health and it provides this model with more traction on a variety of surfaces.
In the On Cloud X, you can also train a bit heavier than in the On Cloud 5. The midsole in the Cloud X feels a bit denser and if you want to use them for lighter barbell training and machine work, then you should be fine doing so. Note, the Cloud X will be capped with its loading ability to about 225-275 lbs so I’d suggest keeping your lifting lighter in these.
The On Cloud 5 can technically be used for light workouts and some cross-training, but if your plan is to bias a majority of your shoe use for training, then you’ll want to go for the On Cloud X as the On Cloud 5’s construction will fall short for demanding training.
Winner: On Cloud X
On Cloud X
- Short/Mid-Range Runs
- HIIT Training
- Agility Workouts
- For Cost-Efficiency
- For Heavy Lifting
- For Long-Term Durability
On Cloud X Vs On Cloud 5 for HIIT, Classes, and Versatile Training
If there’s one performance area where both of these shoes have overlap in regard to their performance it’s with versatile training. The On Cloud X is going to be the better pick here once again, but the On Cloud 5 can work pretty well for casual versatile training here and there.
Both of these models feature On’s signature CloudTec which gives them a comfortable and fairly responsive fit and feel when jumping and tackling things like classes and HIIT workouts. The rubber tread on the forefoot and heel in both shoes also helps to provide them with a decent level of traction.
A caveat to both of these shoes, especially for the context of versatile training, is that neither model does a great job at supporting multi-directional exercises, and more specifically, lateral training. The CloudTec midsole lacks the stability to really push through the medial side of the foot that I think most will want when doing side-to-side work.
I think if you’re wanting a shoe primarily for training and you do a lot of versatile training, then the On Cloud X is the better option here. It should prove to be more durable and its midsole does have a slight edge for stability due to its SpeedBoard construction and raised sidewalls.
The On Cloud 5 can technically work well for versatile training, but I think as you get more niche and serious with your training you’ll start to notice why this shoe is best served as a daily wear option and not a dedicated training shoe. Essentially, just because you can train in the On Cloud 5, it doesn’t mean you should.
Winner: On Cloud X. However, the On Cloud 5 can work fairly well when you’re in a pinch and only have them available.
On Cloud X Vs On Cloud 5 for Running, Walking, and Daily Wear
In the context of running, you can use both of these shoes for shorter runs if you want and they should perform pretty well. I would limit their running as a whole though due to their midsoles running into durability issues, especially throughout the areas where there is exposed foam.
I think if you’re tackling runs that are around 1-3 miles in length, then you’ll enjoy how both of these shoes perform. I’d suggest using the On Cloud 5 for indoor runs if possible. The On Cloud X can work for short outdoor and indoor runs. If you’re wanting an On shoe for longer runs, then you may want to look into the On Cloudswift.
For daily wear, walking, traveling, and standing the On Cloud X and On Cloud 5 are both good options to look into. I think the On Cloud 5 performs exceptionally well in these contexts and does take the edge. This model is super lightweight, breathable, and easy to wear especially due to the quick-lacing system that comes with this model.
The On Cloud X can work in these contexts, but if you’re someone wanting a shoe primarily for walking, traveling, standing, and daily wear and don’t plan to train in them, then the On Cloud 5 takes the edge for providing the maximal amount of comfort.
Winner: On Cloud 5 for walking, standing, and daily wear. The On Cloud X works and is the better option if you plan to do any running in either of these shoes.
On Cloud 5
- Walking and Light Running
- Standing All Day
- Light Workouts and Cross-Training
- Bodyweight Training
- For Recreational Lifting
- For Serious Cross-Training
On Cloud 5 Vs On Cloud X Construction
To assess and compare the construction of the On Cloud 5 versus the On Cloud X, I’m going to break the following section into a few different parts. This will hopefully help simplify the construction differences between these shoes.
From afar, the CloudTec outsole construction of the On Cloud X 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.
The main difference between these shoe’s outsoles is that the On Cloud X’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.
The midsole of each model is also built fairly consistently and delivers On’s signature “cloud-like” feel. The On Cloud X is built on Helion™ superfoam which gives them a lightweight, responsive, and somewhat stable feel.
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.
The upper construction in the On Cloud X 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 really enjoy the upper in the On Cloud X. The one drawback to this shoe’s upper construction is that you can get a little material bunching towards the bottom of the midfoot which you can see in the image below.
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 X 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.
The On Cloud 5 comes equipped with On’s quick-lacing system which is 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.
The On Cloud 5 and On Cloud X 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.
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.
Weight and Heel-to-Toe Drop
For my size 10 models, the On Cloud X has a weight of 8.47 oz and the On Cloud 5 has a weight of 8.40 oz. Compared to other training shoes and daily wear shoes, these shoes are both super light in comparison.
- On Cloud X Heel-to-Toe Drop: 6mm
- On Cloud 5 Heel-to-Toe Drop: 8mm
Both models have similar heel-to-toe drops and in regard to walking and training, I think the On Cloud 5 has a bit more toe spring which helps them excel for daily wear comfort, but fall short for training purposes.
On Cloud 5 Vs On Cloud X Sizing
The sizing and fit of the On Cloud 5 and On Cloud X are fairly similar and most should be safe going true-to-size in both shoes. The On Cloud 5 has received a sizing update compared to the previous four On Cloud models and their length now fits more true.
Previously, it was recommended by On to size up in the On Cloud, but this is no longer the case. The On Cloud X also fits true in regard to length and both shoes have a similar width, which could be described as neutral or regular. The On Cloud X also has a bit more arch support and a slightly wider toe box, relatively speaking, compared to the On Cloud 5.
The only caveat to the On Cloud X and On Cloud 5’s sizing and fit is that they do run a tad on the narrow side for shoe widths and this is similar to most On shoes. This makes them great options for anyone with narrow or neutral foot widths, but a tad limiting for those looking for training shoes for wide feet.
Other than their width, I do find the On Cloud X and Cloud 5’s fit comfortable for all-day wear. I have a neutral or regular width foot and the upper on each model has broken in well and they fit really well, especially if I wear thinner no-show socks.
On Cloud 5 Vs On Cloud X Durability
The one consistent complaint that I have with most On shoes is their long-term durability. The On Cloud 5 and On Cloud X have similar levels of durability and where they excel and fall short for durability are both fairly consistent.
In regard to training, I think the On Cloud X will deliver better durability overall and that’s due to this model being designed for cross-training whereas the On Cloud 5 is more of a daily shoe that can work for some casual training. The On Cloud X’s outsole has slightly thicker rubber areas that help prolong the CloudTec midsole’s lifespan.
In addition, the On Cloud X has strategic layered upper materials that cover high friction areas to help prolong their ability to withstand various amount of friction. That being said, the On Cloud X does have a couple of problematic areas for durability and this includes the CloudTec midsole when training on concrete and asphalt and moving laterally, and the toe box could use slightly thicker materials.
The On Cloud 5’s durability is about what you’d expect for a super lightweight daily wear shoe that isn’t designed for training. If you use this model for training, then I’d suggest being super careful with the surfaces you’re training on because the exposed foam midsole on the midfoot can break down pretty quick on concrete and asphalt.
In addition, the CloudTec midsole under the toe box isn’t the best for doing multi-directional activities and even on a daily wear basis, I’ve started to notice the foam fraying a little bit. The On Cloud 5 is definitely best served as a shoe that should be reserved for daily wear and maybe a training session here and there if you’re in a bind and need to wear them.
For both the On Cloud 5 and On Cloud X shoes, you can expect to pay $139.99 USD. Personally, I find this price point to be fairly hit or miss for these shoes. I think if you’re investing in these models for their appearance and comfort and plan to use them for daily wear and casual training, then their price points are worth it.
Conversely, if you’re investing in and looking at these shoes for serious training, then I think you might be let down by their performance and long-term durability. For the higher price point, I would prefer both of these models to last a little longer, especially when focusing on the midsole breakdown I’ve experienced in both shoes.
There are definitely more budget-friendly training shoes that will support more serious training and even long-term daily wear durability better than both the On Cloud 5 and On Cloud X.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q:Does On still make the On Cloud shoe?
Q:Is On a good shoe brand?
Q:Do On Cloud shoes stretch out?
The On Cloud X and On Cloud 5 are both overall good shoes and if you go into them knowing what you’re getting, then I think you’ll enjoy these shoes. The On Cloud X is definitely the better pick here for cross-training and the On Cloud 5 takes the win for day-to-day wear.
For future models and updates, it would be nice to see On update these models’ constructions to prolong their CloudTec midsoles.
If you have additional questions on the On Cloud 5 versus the On Cloud X, drop a comment below or reach out to me personally via Instagram (@jake_boly).
I buy and test the products featured on That Fit Friend using a regimen of training tests that I’ve developed over years of testing training shoes and gear. I may earn commissions on sales made through the links on my site.