I independently buy and hand-test everything recommended on That Fit Friend. When you buy through my links, I may earn a commission. Read more here.
On Running versus Adidas is a showdown composed of two titans in the workout shoe space. I’ve worn countless On and Adidas training shoes for my reviews and constantly go back and forth on them.
Cross-training shoes from On tend to bias versatile training and Adidas training shoes tend to have a greater bias towards lifting. For this reason, I love rotating my On and Adidas shoes based on my workout.
In this On Running versus Adidas showdown, I’ll cover how the On Cloud X 3 compares to the Adidas Dropset Trainer 2 in the gym. These models are drastically different in the context of where they’ll perform best.
On Cloud X 3 vs Adidas Dropset Trainer 2 Overview
The On Cloud X 3 is a continuation of the popular On Cloud X training shoe line. This line of shoes from On Running adds depth to their shoe lineup and tackles the cross-training vertical.
The Adidas Dropset Trainer 2 is the second iteration of Adidas’ popular Dropset training shoe line. This line of shoes is intended to be used for lifting and cross-training, I often refer to them as the “athlete’s shoe.”
Comparatively speaking, the On Cloud X 3 and Dropset Trainer 2 deliver very different performances due to their outsole, midsole, and upper constructions. For example, the Cloud X 3 is a little more generalist than the Dropset Trainer 2.
I’ve built out individual reviews on both of these shoes and I’d highly suggest checking them out if you want more depth and nuance on each shoe outside of this On versus Adidas comparison.
The reason I’m comparing these two shoes together is because they’re the most popular and most sought-after shoes from each company for cross-training.
I do have reviews on other spin-off models that can work for training from both companies. For example, I also have reviews on the On Cloud 5 and Adidas Everyset which I’ll link below.
On Cloud X 3 vs Adidas Dropset Trainer 2 Performance
To accurately test the performance of these shoes, I put them through three verticals of workouts. I assessed each of these shoes’ performances for lifting, cross-training, short runs, and daily wear.
Testing the On Cloud X 3 Vs Adidas Dropset Trainer 2 for Lifting
If you’re considering the On Cloud X 3 versus the Dropset Trainer 2 for lifting, I’ll make it easy for you. The Dropset Trainer 2 will undoubtedly be the absolute stronger performer between these two models.
To be honest, I think the Adidas Dropset Trainer 2 is one of the best training shoes for lifting in the last few years. This shoe features a dual-density midsole that gives you a nice blend of stability and versatility in different lifting settings.
It’s stable enough to support 500+ lb deadlifts and it’s pliable enough to feel comfortable during heavy clean & jerks and power-focused exercises like snatches and clean pulls.
The outsole grip is another one of the main perks of the Dropset Trainer 2 for lifting. This shoe’s outsole grips wooden platforms well when you’re squatting and deadlifting and it’s exceptional when training on machines like the hack squat and leg press.
The Dropset Trainer 2 also has a wider anatomical toe box which is great for promoting toe splay when hitting leg workouts and doing single-leg work where I want more balance.
The On Cloud X 3 can work for lifting, but I think it’s important to understand that this shoe will have its limitations in this vertical. The CloudTec midsole compresses around 275 lb squats and deadlifts which hinder their overall stability.
Since the CloudTec has individual parts and it’s not a solid layer of material I also find that you can lose your balance easier with this shoe as you get heavier. This is why I often suggest folks pass on this shoe if their main goal is heavy-strength work.
If you’re a beginner or keeping your lifts lighter then you’ll be fine in the On Cloud X 3. I don’t want you to be completely deterred from buying this shoe, it’s just important to recognize that it will have some limitations.
Adidas Dropset Trainer 2 Is Better for Lifting
Winner: Adidas Dropset Trainer 2. It’s hands down one of the strongest cross-training shoes on the market for strength training and promoting overall stability.
Adidas Dropset Trainer 2
- CrossFit Workouts
- Heavier Strength Training
- Athletic Focused Sessions
- Wider Feet
- For Running
Testing the On Cloud X 3 Vs Adidas Dropset Trainer 2 for Cross-Training
When it comes to cross-training, the On Cloud X 3 and Adidas Dropset Trainer 2 will be a little more competitive with one another. Both shoes will be exceptional in this training setting but for slightly different reasons.
The Dropset Trainer 2’s dual-density midsole is great because it gives the forefoot a little more flexibility and pliability. For box jumps, jump rope, and multi-directional exercises I find that you get a solid ground feel with this model.
The stack height is a little lower in the forefoot which also contributes to this. I think if you like denser training shoes that you feel the ground more with then you’ll appreciate how the Dropset Trainer 2 feels.
It reminds me a lot of athletic-style shoes that are built to be denser and flexible which is great for propulsion-focused exercises like broad jumps and skater strides. Long story short, if you like athletic-feeling shoes opt for the Dropset Trainer 2.
The On Cloud X 3 will give you a much more plush ride for cross-training. This shoe has a little more bounce to it and it’s going to feel more cushioned compared to the Dropset Trainer 2.
For example, when doing plyometrics or jump rope in this model, you will get a little more cushion and responsiveness out of the CloudTec midsole which can be great for those who don’t love super denser feeling trainers.
The upper on the Cloud X 3 is also a little lighter which gives it an edge for class-style workouts. If you like taking HIIT classes and your gym typically runs a little warm then this is a subtle perk that you appreciate over time.
My only complaint with the On Cloud X 3 for cross-training is that with its more compressive CloudTec midsole, you can spill over a little more in this model when doing lateral work. Also, this shoe isn’t the best for outdoor cross-training sessions.
On Cloud X 3 Is Plusher, While the Dropset Trainer 2 Feels More Athletic
Winner: Both shoes can be great depending on your preferences. If you like a softer shoe with more cushion then opt for the On Cloud X 3. If you want an increased ground feel, go Dropset Trainer 2.
On Cloud X 3
- Light Strength Training
- Versatile Training
- Short Runs (1-5 miles)
- Daily Wear
- For Outdoor Workouts
- For Heavy Training
- For Wide Feet
Testing the On Cloud X 3 Vs Adidas Dropset Trainer 2 for Short Runs/Walking
For running, you’ll find the Dropset Trainer 2 and On Cloud X 3 perform drastically differently. If you want a shoe for only sprints and intervals that are under 400-800 meters then the Dropset Trainer 2 will be fine.
I don’t love the Dropset Trainer 2’s feeling for runs longer than a half-mile because its midsole can feel a little too dense and its heel can be uncomfortable when you’re running slower pace.
The On Cloud X 3 will be your better pick if your goal is to have a shoe with more hybrid potential. In fact, the On Cloud X 3 is featured pretty high up in my best hybrid workout shoes round-up.
I find the Cloud X 3 to be comfortable enough for runs that range of 1-3 miles which is great for those who love tacking on extra warm-up and cooldown miles before and after their workout. This shoe is also better for classes that use a lot of running.
For walking and daily wear, the Adidas Dropset Trainer 2 can technically work and I’ve used them before as my daily drivers, but they’re not necessarily my favorite training shoe for that ask.
For example, I’d much rather wear my STR/KE MVMNT Haze Trainers for daily wear and walking and save my Dropset Trainer 2’s strictly for lifting and gym work.
The On Cloud X 3 is a much more walking and daily wear-friendly shoe. This model is one of my favorite training shoes for travel because of its lightweight upper and plusher CloudTec midsole.
If you’re on your feet all day and want a shoe that you can also do some lifting and cross-training in then it’s tough to fault the On Cloud X 3. It’s a good daily driver and works well for long walks.
The On Cloud X 3 Is a Better Hybrid Workout Shoe
Winner: The Dropset Trainer 2 can work for sprints and runs under 800 meters. If your asks are more running and walking-centric, go with the On Cloud X 3.
On Cloud X 3
Adidas Dropset Trainer 2
On Cloud X 3 vs Adidas Dropset Trainer 2 Construction
The construction of the On Cloud X 3 and Adidas Dropset Trainer 2 varies greatly and how these shoes are built will drastically influence their durability and performance.
The On Cloud X 3 features a rubber tread that covers its forefoot and heel with exposed foam through the midfoot. This is nice for giving you a good grip on different surfaces indoors, however, I’m not a fan of the exposed foam for outdoor workouts.
This isn’t to say this shoe’s outsole will break down instantly when you train a lot outside, but anytime you have exposed foam you have to consider how concrete friction will influence durability.
The Adidas Dropset Trainer 2 features a more traditional full rubber outsole. There’s a cut in the middle for the ventilated midsole cutout, but as a whole, the grip of the Dropset Trainer 2 is far better than the On Cloud X 3’s outsole.
In the On Cloud X 3, you get On’s proprietary CloudTec midsole. This material is what I would describe as being medium-density and you can compress it fairly easily with your fingers and when shifting your weight in this shoe.
Of all the features on the On Cloud X 3, I find the midsole to be the most polarizing. For example, some love it for its comfort while others don’t like it at all or find it to be sub-par, I tend to fall into the sub-par category.
The Dropset Trainer 2 features a dual-density EVA foam midsole. The material in the forefoot is a little softer than the midfoot and the heel’s dense and stabler midsole.
I like this because it gives you good stability when training heavily, but enough flexibility when doing power-focused exercises and exercises that are heavily reliant on the forefoot. There’s a cutout in this shoe’s midsole to promote ventilation at the midfoot.
The On Cloud X 3 features a 3-layer mesh upper that feels lightweight on the feet with good breathability. This material is pretty consistent throughout the shoe and there are additional textile overlays around the midfoot and heel.
For casual training and wear, this upper is awesome, however, it’s not my favorite upper for high-abrasion exercises. For example, the On Cloud X 3 would not be a good shoe for CrossFit.
In the Adidas Dropset Trainer 2, you have a mesh upper with textile overlays. This shoe’s forefoot features ventilated properties which help keep your feet cool in this model and the boot has a little more structure to it.
There are additional TPU overlays on the medial and lateral sides of this shoe. These give this model a more structured feeling compared to the On Cloud X 3 and give it a better feeling for lateral training.
Laces and Tongue
The laces and tongue are both features that I could take or leave in the On Cloud X 3. Compared to the On Cloud X, I find that the reworked X-lacing system and tongue are somewhat a step in the wrong direction.
That said, I don’t think you’ll have issues with lace security in the Cloud X 3, but the bottom of the laces can cause some overlap of material if you lace them too tightly. The tongue isn’t the best because it can dig into the top of the foot when breaking this shoe.
The Dropset Trainer 2 features 6 core eyelets with 4 adjustable eyelets which is great for giving you more lacing options. I generally just use the traditional laces and find that the security is fine in this shoe.
The tongue is a padded mesh and it’s gusseted. Comparatively speaking, the laces and tongue are much better built in the Dropset Trainer 2 in the context of being secure and comfortable for hard training.
Weight, Drop, and Insole
- On Cloud X 3: 9.05 oz (for my size 10), 8mm heel-to-toe drop, removable insole
- Adidas Dropset Trainer 2: 9.85 oz (for my size 10), 6mm heel-to-toe drop, removable ventilate insole
If you have additional construction-related questions about the On Cloud X 3 and Adidas Dropset Trainer 2, drop a comment below.
On Running vs Adidas Sizing
- On Cloud X 3 Sizing: True to size for most. Medium width.
- Adidas Dropset Trainer 2: True to size for most, wider toe box, tapered midfoot.
The On Cloud X 3 and Adidas Dropset Trainer 2 should fit most athletes and lifters true to size, however, their fits are very different on foot and you should consider this before buying them.
For a personal anecdote, I have an E-width foot with a moderate arch and find both of these shoes to be pretty comfortable and they fit fairly well out of the box.
The On Cloud X 3 has a neutral and medium width with a little arch. If you have flatter or wider feet, I think you’ll want to pass on the On Cloud X 3 because the midfoot and limited toe box width can feel uncomfortable and limiting.
The Adidas Dropset Trainer 2 has a wider toe box and a fairly tapered midfoot construction. This gives this shoe a blend of an athletic fit while feeling decent for wider feet.
My main concern with the Dropset Trainer 2 for some foot anatomies is for flat feet. The medial TPU wall can feel offputting if you have flatter feet and don’t want any arch whatsoever in your shoes.
To be honest, neither of these shoes will be a great option for flat feet and I’d instead look into a shoe like the Born Primitive Savage 1. That model will align much better with your foot anatomy.
Cloud X 3 Vs Dropset Trainer 2 Sizing Takeaways
- If you have wider feet, opt for the Adidas Dropset Trainer 2.
- If you like a little more arch support and cushion, go for the On Cloud X 3.
- If you have medium-width feet, either shoe will work.
- If you have flat feet and dislike any form of arch, then pass on both of these.
If you need additional sizing and fit help with these two shoes, drop a comment below and let me know what size you are and the shoe you’re currently wearing. I can help suggest options from there.
On Cloud X 3
Adidas Dropset Trainer 2
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q:Are On Running shoes good for lifting?
Q:What is the Adidas Dropset for?
Q:Can you run in the On Cloud X?
The On Cloud X 3 versus Adidas Dropset Trainer 2 is a fun shoe comparison because both models bring such different assets to the training table. In the Cloud X 3, you can run more, and in the Dropset Trainer 2 you can do heavy lifting and CrossFit better.
I think if you’re on the fence between these two shoes then you should assess your weekly training and rate your needs. Do you need a more runnable shoe or a stabler shoe for heavy strength work?
If you need help deciding which of these shoes is best for your needs, hit me in the comments below or reach out via Instagram (@jake_boly or @that_fit_friend).