Having spent some time in the original Cloudboom Echo and saying I was not really a fan, I was skeptical of the new model. But On Running has made some major shifts lately. I’m finding I like all the recent shoes, which previously was not so much the case! Today we’re going to look more at the On Cloudboom Echo 3.
After seeing Helen Obiri win the Boston Marathon in her On Running carbon fiber shoes, I was ready to once again give them a try. Was it the shoe? Was she just magic? Was it a combination?? (Mostly her because I know these shoes won’t have me winning any marathons.)
Over the last 11+ years, I have run in a bunch of On Cloud shoes and always come away with the feeling that what they labeled as “cushioned” was not. That’s changed with the Cloudmonster and again with the new shape of the Cloudsurfer. The Echo also feels different from what I tested 3 years ago.
The Cloudboom Echo has a very different feel from the super squishy Vaporfly that’s all the rage. And yet, that might be exactly why it’s a winner for some of you.
As you know I’m always honest in my running shoe reviews with what I like, dislike and what might work for you that wasn’t a fit for me! Which is why, in the past, when someone asked about On Running shoes I always said I think they’re good, but their everyday run shoes didn’t feel great to my foot.
Right now, I’ve got 4 On Running shoes that I’d definitely recommend.
I’ve been putting miles on the Cloudboom Echo 3 for speed workouts and I’m ready to share some thoughts! I appreciated getting this shoe before it launched, so I could be prepared for your questions.
On Cloudboom Echo 3 Details
In November of 2020, I did my first review of the On Cloudboom, their first carbon fiber shoe. It wasn’t a glowing review and I didn’t even have many carbon fiber shoes to compare it too! At that time carbon fiber was a more minimal shoe and the fit was so tight, I knew I couldn’t wear them for more than a track workout.
Slipping on the On Cloudboom Echo 3, I could tell right away a lot of things had changed. Changed for the better!
- Increased cushion for distance running
- No pods along the bottom to collect rocks
- Better overall fit and foot room
My first speed workout in them, I really enjoyed the lightness of the shoe and that it didn’t feel drastically different from my everyday trainer. It felt light, not overly cushioned and not too stiff.
The carbon fiber-infused Speedboard is intended to provide a responsive and propulsive feel during toe-off, potentially improving energy transfer and helping runners maintain their speed. I definitely felt that extra little boost, which I expect now from carbon running shoes.
Here you can see a comparison of my original Cloudboom and the Echo 3. As noted the pods don’t go all the way to the outsoule, but instead have a thin layer over them. The narrow grove down the middle continues to drop the weight, and is not deep enough to collect rocks!! (photos before I went out to dirty them up with testing!)
As noted they increased the cushioning in this model. They use Helion™ HF hyperfoam which is actually made from castor beans. In fact, the shoe contains 46% bio-based materials and it’s fully recyclable.
Each brand has their own superfoam. For On, this one is designed to give you more energy return, keep you shoe light and be more durable. The Pebax superfoam takes up less space, which means they have room for that carbon fiber speedboard we’re all chasing, without increasing the stack height a ton.
On Cloudboom Echo 3 Specs
One of the things I have always loved about On Running shoes is the style. This is another winner. It doesn’t look so otherworldly as most of the carbon fiber marathon shoes we’re seeing. Then again when it comes to performance, if they work I’m not sure I care what they look like any more!
While the On Cloudmonster is a great long run training shoe, the Cloudboom Echo 3 is clearly designed to be your race day shoe. I am thrilled to this change in their line up.
- 10 mm heel drop
- 7.6 oz men’s and women’s
- Carbon fiber neutral shoe
- Available in 1 color
- Not available in wide
- Available at On Running for $289
This is a lower stack height and slightly higher heel drop than many of the other super shoes on the market. Compared to the Nike Vaporfly 2 or 3, it’s a 100% different fit and feeling. Where Nike feels like bouncing, this shoe mostly feels super light. And where you might hate the super high stack on the Nike, this shoe is going to feel more natural.
Cloudboom Echo 3 Fit
In general, On Running shoes are a little more narrow than some brands. The toe box is rounded, but I still wouldn’t describe it as a good fit for wider feet. Rather I would say it’s good for the average foot size and even for those with more narrow feet the lacing provides plenty of options to get a good fit.
I would say the width is similar to a number of ASICS or Mizuno running shoes.
As noted, these seemed to run more true to size. The one question mark for me is that they seem to be unisex. That’s not overall bad, but can mean that ladies are missing out on some of the heel cupping which helps us fit better in shoes.
While many of the other super shoes I tested had an almost forced arch support feeling, I didn’t notice that with these shoes. Others would say there’s a benefit to having that, but it simply made these quite a bit more comfortable from the first step.
Upper and Tongue
The upper has changed to a thin microfiber that is super breathable and actually reduces water absorption. This means it’s going to help your feet remain cool over the long miles and should help prevent blisters.
The tongue is super thin, which has been dicey in a lot of shoes. but they made a really smart choice to cut the tongue way down, so there’s no chance it’s going to cut in to your ankle.
The extra long laces and a number of options for lacing holes also impressed me. Because we know that changing how you lace your running shoes can help with a variety of issues, this means it’s easy to make them fit you better.
What You Need to Know About On Running Shoes
Technically the brand is simply, On. But maybe you, like me, noticed that trying to just search ON or On running never quite got you where you wanted to go, so that’s why you may see them referred to as On, On Running, or On Cloud.
On started in 2010 in Switzerland, when yet again another runner thought “I could do this better.”
This time it was three retired professional athletes, who decided there needed to be a shoe that had more firmness to create that bounce off the ground, along with cushion.
On uses CloudTec technology which is what makes their shoe look and feel different.
The pods (or clouds) compress both horizontally and vertically and then rapidly expand, helping to propel you faster off the ground.
And in fact, those clouds are different sizes based on the shoe and the goal for that shoe.
Is it like running on clouds?
No. Not cloudlike in that plush fluffy kind of way.
So for me, no…not at all like a cloud. And that’s not all bad.
In my On Running Shoes Review, I go in to all the reasons that there are benefits to the pod design and why other runners have loved them from the start. So checkout that if you’re curious to learn more.
OK, so that brings us to how they are taking that design and moving forward. Now they are calling it CloudTec Phase that harnesses a “wave technology”. This midsole still uses their Helion™ super foam, but there is a noticeable difference in the way that it will collapse, creating a softness and forward motion.
Drawbacks to On Running Shoes
As noted, every runner has a preference, so there are just a couple of things from my experience.
- They are not ideal for those with high arches or a high mid-foot
- Most On Cloud shoes run narrow, and the toebox is not wide (they have started created specific wide models!)
- Not much traction to these shoes, wouldn’t love them in rain
- Carbon fiber shoes have a shorter lifespan and cost more
All right I hope this On Cloudboom Echo 3 review gave you some info to help you make a shoe decision! If there’s more you want to see in a review let me know!
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