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On CloudPulse Performance Review | That Fit Friend

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The On CloudPulse has been an interesting shoe to test and review. In On’s language, they say this is their first shoe built solely for the gym, but many others and I have been using the On Cloud X3 for training—so that’s a little confusing, not gonna lie.

I think what On means by that sentiment is this is their first shoe fully built around the gym, whereas I see the Cloud X3 as a pseudo-daily wear and training type of shoe. For example, I’ll use my Cloud X3 for travel since it’s good at both things and looks good.

With this shoe, I set out on a mission; I wanted to know where CloudPulse excels in the gym and where it falls short. Can you use them for lifting, or are they just HIIT, cross-training, and class-focused shoes?

I run That Fit Friend by myself and I buy the shoes I review. If you decide to grab the CloudPulse or if this review helped you in any way, it helps a ton if you go through my links in this article. Thank you!

Show Me the Pros & Cons

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Pros

  • CloudTec midsole is bouncy and responsive.
  • Good lateral support for multi-directional exercises.
  • Better outsole tread than shoes like the Cloud X3.

Cons

  • Stability is limited so lifting will be capped.
  • Midsole can feel chunky at times.
  • Not the best option for flat feet.

What I Like

  1. Better for More Foot Anatomies: With a slightly higher volume upper and wider toe box compared to other On shoes, the Oncloud Pulse accommodates a wider range of foot anatomies which is somewhere where the Cloud X3 and Cloud 5 fall short.
  2. Upper Security Is Solid: The upper security of this shoe does a good job with multi-directional exercises, and it reminds me of the Puma PWR Nitro Squared in many ways. This model’s platform is also pretty wide, which contributes to this.
  3. Good for Classes and Short Runs: This shoe can be used for lifting if you keep your loads lighter, and it works exceptionally well for class-style sessions, short runs (400-meter to 3-miles), and cross-training workouts.

What I Don’t Like

  1. Stability Will Be Limited: While the Oncloud Pulse excels in short runs and light to moderate strength work, it lacks stability for heavy strength work. I noticed midsole compression once I passed 225 lbs on barbell lifts and when doing heavier single-leg exercises.
  2. Arch May Feel Off for Flat Feet: If you have flatter feet, you may find the arch in the Oncloud Pulse to be uncomfortable. I have a normal arch and an E/EE-width foot, and I didn’t mind it,  but I’d be remiss not to mention that I think flat feet will notice it.
  3. Stiff Out of the Box: The CloudPulse can feel pretty clunky and thick on your first week of breaking them in. If you like the Cloud X3/Cloud 5 because they feel more “minimalist” and flexible then I don’t think you’ll love this shoe’s chunkier build. This won’t be the modsel for minimalsit lovers.

On CloudPulse Review On that Fit Friend

Specs to Know

  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 8mm
  • Weight: 11.75 oz (size 10 men’s)
  • Stack Height: Forefoot 24mm, Heel 32mm (FYI: based on my measurements)
  • Removable Insole: No (light adhesive keeps it in)
  • Width: Medium
  • Sizing: True to size for most
    • Additional Thoughts: Flatter feet may not love the arch in this shoe; it can be more noticeable if you flatter arches, IMO.

On CloudPulse

$149.99

On CloudPulse
4.3
Stability
4.0
Versatility
4.5
Durability
4.3
Quality
4.4

Best For

  • Classes (ex: F45, Barry’s, etc.)
  • HIIT Workouts
  • Light Strength Training
  • Short Runs (400-meters to 3-miles)
  • Cross-Training Sessions

Falls Short

  • For Heavy Strength Sessions
  • For CrossFit-Style Workouts
  • For Flatter Feet

How I Tested and Trained In the CloudPulse

  • Max Weight Lifted In These: 275 lb deadlifts, 185 lb reverse lunge
  • Some Versatile Exercises Used to Assess: Pogos, sled drags, skater strides, and jump rope
  • Max Distance Ran One Time: 5k (3-mi)

These Won’t Be Your Best Shoes for Lifting

If you decide to buy these, keep in mind that their performance will be limited for lifting. This is stereotypical for shoes built specifically for class-style workouts, so I tread lightly with this section and don’t want to completely bash this shoe for its lack of stability.

In the context of lifting thresholds, I didn’t love how this midsole felt when working past 225 lbs on deadlifts and squats. I noticed this midsole starts to compress above this weight, and these shift you forward with their higher stack height and heel-to-toe drop.

Me using and testing the On CloudPulse for lifting

I also noticed these lack stability at times when doing heavier single-leg work. For example, I did a few sets of reverse lunges with 185 lbs, and I noticed my front leg wavering a bit due to the material compressing a bit, but again, I took this with an objective point of view.

If you’re buying these with the intention to use them for more casual strength sessions where you’re working lighter with free weights and on machines, then you’ll be plenty fine with this model’s stability, honestly.

I put this shoe into a more beginner-focused category regarding their stability and lifting performance in the gym, so for the casual strength session paired with classes and HIIT workouts every week, these should work just fine.

  • Lifting Takeaways: They’re okay for beginners who need a shoe for lighter strength sessions, but these won’t be your best bet if you plan to push heavy, free-weight exercises and machine work.
  • More Stable Yet Versatile Option: Nike Free Metcon 5

For Cross-Training and Classes, These Are Solid

In the context of classes and cross-training, the CloudPulse has been really solid. This model’s CloudTec midsole is a lot more bouncy than its peers, like the Cloud X3, so if you want and prefer more bounce in your shoes, these are a good option to explore.

Me using and testing the On CloudPulse for sled drags

I fid that you get a lot of energy return out of these when doing things like jump rope, pogos, and other repetitive dynamic exercises. The Helion foam is lively, and I think once you break this shoe in after about a week of use, it feels even better.

Another area of performance where I enjoyed the CloudPulse was its upper construction and platform. This model’s platform is wider, and its upper is reinforced from a lateral context, which is great for locking down the foot when doing multi-directional exercises.

One of my main gripes with the Cloud X3 was its spillover issues, and if you’ve had similar issues in that model, then I think you’ll enjoy the CloudPulse better. For skater strides and lateral sled drags, these have done a good job with overall upper security.

Me using and testing the On CloudPulse for Box Jumps

My only gripe with this shoe for versatile training is that it can feel a little clunky at times, and if you like shoes that give you more ground feedback and have a more minimalist feel, then you’ll want to look into options with lower stack heights.

  • Versatile Training Takeaways: This is On’s best shoe to date for cross-training and versatile workouts. It’s bouncy, responsive, and has good upper security for dynamic exercises.
  • A More Minimalist-Feeling Option: UA TriBase Reign 6

These Can Work for Short Runs and Are Comfy for Walking

When it comes to hybrid-style workouts where you’re running a bit, these did a pretty good job. For my testing, I used these shoes for workouts that had 400 and 800-meter interval runs and did a few miles and a 5k in them.

For my interval runs, this shoe held its own and felt responsive enough to run fast in. My only complaint with this shoe for this running ask is that they can feel a little clunky and heavy at times, but I’m also in the camp of folks who prefer more minimalist shoes for fast runs.

I liked the feel of this shoe when running between 1 and 3 miles. You don’t notice its bulk as much when doing slow-paced work that is a little more monotonous in nature. I also like that there’s more rubber outsole tread protecting this shoe’s midsole compared to other models.

On CloudPulse Running Thoughts

When using this shoe to walk the pup and run errands, I liked their overall feeling. There’s no denying that these are comfortable for a longer duration of use, and the upper breathes well enough to keep them moderately cool in warmer settings.

Low-key — despite not having the same aesthetics as the Cloud X3 — I feel like these can be equally as good for casual use because I feel like they’ll last longer with their thicker and more aggressive outsole tread.

  • Running and Walking Takeaways: Not bad, not great. These will work for classes with interval runs and can be useful for tacking on some pre and post-workout slow miles.
  • Better and More Dialed “Hybrid” Option: Inov-8 F-Fly

Do You Use The CloudPulse? Let Me Know Your Rating

Leave a Review

Crowd Sourced Reviews
3
3
3

Reader's Rating

4.1 out of 5
Sizing/Fit: True to Size
Durability
4.4

Reader Reviews

July 22nd, 2024
I'm a fan of the On Cloud 5 and bought these for only gym use and they've been okay. They've been a pretty good shoe for casual cross training sessions and some light lifting. I also like how comfortable they are for my morning and evening walks.

Construction Overview

Midsole and Outsole

  • Utilizes Cloudtech midsole technology with Helon foam for superior responsiveness and cushioning.
  • Features an extended outsole layer for enhanced durability and traction on various surfaces.
  • Outsole Flex Grooves promote natural foot movement and flexibility.
  • Midsole arch designed to support while allowing for natural foot movement and flexibility.

On CloudPulse Midsole and Outsole, That Fit Friend Review

Upper

  • Constructed with reinforced mesh and synthetic overlays for durability and structural support.
  • Equipped with a synthetic overlay and internal toe guard for added protection and durability.
  • Includes overlays for lateral support during multidirectional movements.
  • Features a thin mesh tongue for breathability and comfort.
  • Incorporates flexible materials in key areas to enhance overall flexibility and comfort.

On CloudPulse Upper Materials

Lacing System, Boot, and Insole

  • The lacing system is designed with a secure lacing system and additional loops for added security.
  • Padded collar for ankle support and comfort during activities.
  • Does not include a removable insole but can accommodate custom orthotics if needed.

On CloudPulse Silhouette and Boot, That Fit Friend

Final Verdict, Would I Buy These Again?

Eh, probably not. I’m hit or miss on if I’d buy the On CloudPulse again, to be honest. They deliver for their performance intent, and I think they are a good buy for the class-focused individual and person who already loves On Shoes.

I think my main hang-up with this model is that there are cheaper options that perform very similarly in HIIT and class workouts, like the Nike Air Zoom TR 1 and PUMA PWR Nitro Squared.

If you love On Shoes, rip it. These will be enjoyable and comfortable and for your needs. I just don’t love their price and chunkier feeling, but I appreciate that On is adding more gym-focused shoes.

If you have additional questions about this shoe, drop a comment below or reach out to me via Instagram (@jake_boly or @that_fit_friend)!

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.

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