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Google searches for this shoe brand just hit an all-time high — why podiatrists love it

Experts share the best On sneakers for walks, runs and more.
On

Unlike many of the most popular sneaker companies — which have been around for decades — On was only founded in 2010. But the brand wasted no time and has been making big strides in the years since it launched.

In fact, in the last few months, the brand has hit peak popularity. Search interest in "On Cloud" reached an all-time high in March 2024, according to Google Trends. And in its recent Spring Try Guide, Google revealed that the On Cloud X 3 is one of the most sought-after styles of the moment.

Here, we're sharing everything you need to know about the brand — including what podiatrists really think of its sneakers.

What is On? | Do podiatrists recommend On Cloud shoes? | The best On sneakers | How we chose | Meet our experts

What is On?

On is a shoe and apparel brand founded in Switzerland by former professional athlete Olivier Bernhard and friends Caspar Coppetti and David Allemann. They set out to create the "most high-performance shoe ever." The result was a new kind of sneaker that featured the brand's proprietary CloudTec cushioning system, which is said to provide a "running on clouds" feel (hence the name) — and also give the shoes their unique Swiss cheese-like sole.

Do podiatrists recommend On Cloud shoes?

Sometimes viral products simply do not live up to the hype. But thankfully, that’s not the case with On’s sneakers, as evidenced by the podiatrists we spoke to. 

“On is a shoe brand that I recommend on a regular basis,” shares board-certified podiatrist Dr. Anne Sharkey. “Initially developed as a running shoe the brand has brought their unique CloudTech cushioning system into walking, lifestyle and trail shoes.”

Part of what makes the sneakers so great is that they feature both a lightweight design and responsive cushioning. "The unique CloudTec technology used in On shoes provides a cushioned landing and a firm push-off, which can help reduce impact on the feet and provide a comfortable walking or running experience," shares podiatrist Dr. Suzanne C. Fuchs.

She adds that the brand's sneakers also offer good arch support and stability, "promoting proper foot alignment and reducing the risk of overpronation or supination."

Wondering if they're the right shoes for you? Sharkey says that she recommends On's sneakers "to those looking for a walking shoe, a great shoe for occupations requiring lengthy time on the feet, running shoe, comfortable everyday athletic shoe." She adds that they even have great options for kids.

While she says that she loves On's shoes for those with medium and high arches, people with flat feet may not get enough support from the brand's sneakers.

Keep reading to see some of the top shoes from the brand, according to experts.

The best On sneakers, according to experts

On Cloudgo Running Shoes

What we like
  • Wide sizes available
  • "Next-level comfort"
Something to note
  • For running and training

Sharkey recommends On's Cloudgo sneakers for those with medium or high arches ("This is the foot type that On shoes were made for," she says). "A higher arched or neutral foot type needs assistance with shock absorption and On is constructed to optimize shock absorption!"

Along with shock-absorbing cushioning, these shoes feature a TPU Speedboard, which the brand says provides a rolling motion as you step, so you can go further with less pain and fewer injuries.

On Cloudmonster Running Shoe

What we like
  • Forefoot rocker
  • Maximum cushioning
Something to note
  • Some say heel is irritating

Sharkey lists these as another good option for people with medium to high arches. The Cloudmonster lives up to its name with its ultra-cushioned, CloudTec sole. It's designed to be a versatile shoe that can be worn for anything from casual 5Ks to 20-mile training runs, the brand says.

On Cloudsurfer Running Shoes

What we like
  • No-tie speed laces
  • Plush cushioning
Something to note
  • Some say they squeak

For runners with medium to lower arches, Sharkey says that the brand's Cloudsurfer shoes are a good choice. "For the lower arch profile foot, I choose a shoe with a moderate heel-to-toe drop (more than 6mm) which is helpful to compensate for the Achilles tendon tightness that is associated with flat foot architecture."

These shoes feature a specialized CloudTec Phase technology, which bumps up the cushioning and provides "a softer, smoother transfer from heel to toe," the brand says.

On Cloudflyer 4 Road-Running Shoes

What we like
  • "Plushest ever" tongue
  • Grippy sole
Something to note
  • Fit snug

The Cloudflyer 4 sneakers are another good pick for those with lower arches. "One significant benefit with the On brand is the forward motion assist," she says. The technology is particularly helpful for those with flat feet, as it requires less energy usage for them to run the same distance as someone with high or normal arches. "Any technology that can assist forward motion without increasing energy expenditure is beneficial!"

These shoes also feature a molded sock-liner and external heel, which are designed to keep your feet firmly in place with every step.

On Cloudswift 3 Running Shoes

What we like
  • Good for low arches
  • Adaptive fit
Something to note
  • Tight on some

Sharkey pointed to these sneakers as another option for lower arch profiles. The superfoam at the bottom is designed to soften landings, to make running on concrete feel more comfortable. While they don't come in wide styles, the brand says that they have an adaptive fit to accommodate a range of foot shapes.

On Cloud 5

What we like
  • Available in waterproof
  • Breathable antimicrobial mesh
Something to note
  • Break down easily

The latest version of the brand's fan-favorite On Cloud shoe, the Cloud 5 sneakers are said to be made with 44% recycled content, an improved fit and "even more comfort than ever before."

Fuchs recommends On's Cloud model, as she says they offer "a well-cushioned and lightweight design, providing a comfortable and responsive ride." She adds that the shoes are a good choice for anyone looking for a versatile sneaker that will work for everyday walks as well as light runs.

On Cloud 5 Coast

What we like
  • Lightweight
  • "Packable"
Something to note
  • Some sizes unavailable

The lighter version of the shoe the Cloud 5 Coast is great for both walking and travel, Sharkey says — in fact, she calls it "the ultimate shoe for summer travel." Features she likes include the adjustable no-tie speed lacing for easy on/off, "superior cushioning for comfort with all day walking on a variety of surfaces," and a sweat-wicking, anti-microbial liner.

On Cloud X 3 Shoes

What we like
  • Wide platform for stability
  • "Ultralight"
Something to note
  • Low cushioning

"The On Cloud X is a versatile training shoe that offers a combination of cushioning and responsiveness," shares Fuchs. "It provides good support and stability for activities such as gym workouts, cross-training, and light running."

The Cloud X 3 Shoes are one of the brand's most sought-after styles right now — searches for the sneakers reached an all-time high in April 2024, according to Google.

On Cloudflow 4 Women’s Running Shoes

What we like
  • Good for walking
  • Breathable
Something to note
  • Low cushioning

For avid walkers, Fuchs recommends the On Cloud models, like the above, or something from the Cloudflow line. "Both shoes provide excellent cushioning and support for walking activities," she says. "The CloudTec technology in these models helps to absorb impact and provide a comfortable walking experience, while the lightweight design reduces fatigue during longer walks."

Though she adds that it's also a good choice for runners. "It offers good energy return and responsiveness, making it suitable for individuals who prefer a more performance-oriented shoe for running or walking."

How we chose the best On sneakers

We interviewed two podiatrists to get their thoughts on the On brand as a whole — and yes, they really do recommend its shoes. So we asked them to share some of their favorite pairs and the features they love about each one.

Meet our experts

  • Dr. Anne Sharkey, DPM, is a podiatrist at the North Austin Foot & Ankle Institute. She enjoys all aspects of treating foot and ankle conditions, and specializes in ankle sprains and stabilization, Achilles tendon disorders, bunion correction and heel pain.
  • Dr. Suzanne C. Fuchs, DPM, is the founder of Luxe Podiatry in Jupiter, Florida. She is a podiatric foot and ankle surgeon with a focus on reconstructive foot surgery and sports medicine.