With running and trails at the forefront of the On shoes range currently they are now exploring the hiking aspects with the new Cloudrock waterproof. Will On’s first hiking boot be like the trail/running shoes and you are hiking on clouds?
What On say:
THE LIGHTWEIGHT SPEED-HIKING BOOT WITH MISSIONGRIP
Available in black, red and sand
Best for: Hiking, trail walking, wet weather
Heel-toe drop: 7mm
TECHNOLOGY: ELEMENT AND EXCUSE PROOF
Missiongrip™ rubber adds traction while lugs bite into soft trails. The Swiss-engineered FlexLock system means laces can be tied traditionally or with a single pull. A 360° mudguard protects and the Speedboard™ provides propulsion and stability. Tongue straps secure laces and Zero-Gravity CloudTec® ensures cushioned landings.
MATERIALS: LIGHTWEIGHT, HEAVY PROTECTION
The durable membrane is wind- and waterproof. Two types of mesh in the mid- and forefoot enhance stability and breathability. The high collar is made for movement and, like the tongue, is reinforced with padding. The rubberized mudguard is tough but light and flexible - the ideal blend of speed and shield.
DESIGN: STAY OUT
Terrain proof. Element proof. Excuse proof. The first On speed-hiking boot is built for traction, pace and protection in all conditions. And it's up to 35% lighter than competitors. Born in the Swiss Alps, it's engineered for performance stride after mountain-top stride. Hiking is about to be rocked.
On Running are best known for their springy, lightweight running shoes but in mid 2019 have entered a new area of footwear. This being the hiking boot - Cloudrock boots, which are available in black, white or tan for men and women in a variety of sizes.
On Cloudrock on test:
Much like the running shoes On manufacture, the boots are lightweight and whilst walking I have found an extra spring in my step! Literally, you can feel how light they are and the sole of the boots acts has the spring or as On would namely put. Running on clouds.
It's remarkable what a lightweight pair of boots can do to your walking style. They look the part and feel it too, having found good use for them not only hiking but also general, everyday use. The Cloudrock boots don't scream hiking boot which could be taken either way in casual or seriously for cross purpose. Which they should certainly be taken for.
With plenty of use on a mixture of terrains over Summer, I have found them to be exceptionally comfortable in the heat or cooler summer days/nights. From grass, gravel, tarmac, slate, scree, sand and bog. The On Cloud rocks have continued to perform in comfort and wear as well as keeping my feet dry. In the summer heat I have used the On boots with trainer socks as well as longer length socks, the obvious being the longer length are more comfort to wear over longer periods of use but I experienced no discomfort or rubbing from having a lower trainer sock.
I much prefer a high boot like this which wrap and covers my ankles. As someone who has somewhat weaker ankles, I need every protection to prevent them rolling or discomfort which these Cloudrock boots do just that and provide the protection and extra comfort which I miss when using trail shoes and lower cut boots.
As I previously mentioned the On Cloudrock boots have provided excellent cover from the wet. Wading through bogs in Wales, enjoying the English coastline and venturing out as far as I can before water seeps over the top of the boots.
In terms of grip the shoes have provided near perfect grip for walking and standing on solid ground. Notice I didn't say perfect, this is the user's error and I have pushed them past the recommended purposes. Scrambling and light climbing is not these boots strongest area and not something I recommend to anyone.
The Cloud springs that form the sole of the boot are great for mixed terrains but when you apply pressure and need a solid base to climb the holes bend and slide. This is what I have found anyway when I took the boots for some light scrambling in North Wales and slipped whilst climbing up and causing injury. I must add these boots were pushed beyond the recommended use and whole heartedly I would still spend my money and buy these boots regardless of this factor.
I previously wrote the section before further extensive use in Montenegro and in climbing the region's highest peak, Bobotuv Kuk which takes you across a huge variety of terrains as well as extensive stretches of scrambling, scree and boulder fields. Despite the boots being filled with mud i never lost grip on the rock face, gravel or fields. Where the terrain is partially wet, more care was required but I felt safe. I felt secure and ultimately never felt like I was going to slip or slide which is confusing and a contradiction to my previous comments.
My previous experience before this trip could be put down to illness, the user. I.e. me being weak and not paying attention or the slate was simply to wet beyond its suitable climbing. All I can advise is, be careful, know your limits and if you feel stuck, back up.
As lightweight and multi terrain boots go, these are a solid option for three season hiking. Come winter of course the crampon compatible boots will come out once again which will be a shock to my feet and legs as they weigh nearly double that of these On Cloud rock boots. With extensive use now for the last month with use across the UK and climbing several European mountains I am happy to say On have nailed their first hiking boot and I look forward to seeing what On continues to produce moving forward!
Water resistance 18/20
Comfort in all day use up a mountain, hiking on mixed terrain or boggy conditions in the wet. The boots were faultless in comfort and support and as for weight, being lightweight are perfect for summer and hot weather trips.
Water resistant was certainly fine and had no experience of wet feet during my time using the boots but when the outside was wet the boot felt a little cooler which was an odd experience. Hence the 18/20 mark.
Durability, the boots have been tough! Nothing has caused concerns out on the trails or 2000m on a Montenegrin mountain but the loops the laces when fastening has chipped off somewhere during a walk. Nothing to be overly concerned about and I could still lace up the boots but expected a full 100% solid build across the boot. These feel a little cheap and is a real shame.
Grip, when dry they are perfect. Couldn't fault them, add a little wet, few wet rocks and roots under foot and some extra caution is needed. At times I could feel my feet slipping in the wet and it's not a nice feeling. The grooves in the On Cloudrock boots are susceptible to mud and rocks sticking which adds to the issue of slipping.
That said, my time in Montenegro involved plenty of terrains and plenty of wet trails and scree to contend with, I never fell over or suffered injury but at some points did slide. The On Cloud rocks look and feel great on the feet but just fall short of a solid all-round hiking boot due to lack of grip on certain terrains so caution is advised in wet conditions.
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