Are “ON” Running Shoes Good For Hiking? (Solved!)

On running shoes, through its masterpiece, the “Cloudtech” is credited for the introduction of high-performance running shoes whose sole idea lies on soft landings and explosive take-offs.

But running shoes are mainly designed for running on even grounds and not on rugged terrains. Can On running shoes defy the odds?

Here’s If On Running Shoes Are Good For Hiking

Yes, On running shoes are good for hiking. Although not the best option because they are designed for sprinting on the running track, they are much better than ordinary street shoes.

Given that hiking trails are mostly rugged, running shoes are going to perform poorly than expected because they are not within their territory and rocks tend to get stuck in the pods.

The terrain in the trails may get loose, get rougher or grow steeper which negatively affects the intonations of the cushioned soles.


A Brief History On shoes

The story of on shoes began in Zurich, Switzerland where Olivier Bernhard who is a Swiss ironman former champion had an idea of revolutionizing the athletic world by perfecting the running experience.

After retiring from active competitions in January of 2010, Olivier Bernhard and two of his friends founded the On Company famously known as the “On Running”, and began designing and marketing sportswear and running shoes worldwide.

But their designs of running shoes were a special breed because they incorporated the idea of cloudtec technology which mainly focuses on cushioned landing and massive take-off.

In the first year, different prototypes were made and amazingly, the company won the coveted ISPO Brand New Innovation sports award.

The cloud technology borrows its idea from the garden hose where a series of multi-directional hose-like shapes run underneath the sole of the running shoe to provide cushioning only when landing.

They are fashioned to embody and react to the movements of the runner and compress in all directions to deliver a soft landing exactly when needed.

When the compression is released from the pods, the compression force creates a platform where the runner is pushed forward in an explosive take-off.

In running, landing and takeoffs are the two important aspects that affect the speed of the race and the secret lies in the sole of the running shoes.

And the running shoes should meet the following;

  • Improve the overall running performance.
  • Cushion the sole of a runner’s foot by reducing foot-to-ground impact.
  • Provide support, minimize stress and reduce pain in the joints among others.

In incorporating cloudtech technology into the sole of its line of running shoes, the On running company solves the above and much more.

They reduce joint and muscle fatigue by far which in turn lowers a runner’s heart rate enabling them to run faster and for much longer.

With their effectiveness proven, On shoes have performed incredibly well and have been able to sell widely in more than 55 countries worldwide.

Standard hiking boots vs On running shoes

Standard hiking boots are designed for walking in the countryside while running shoes are specially designed to conquer the running track.

And they perform exemplary well in their domains but sometimes, one can be substituted for the other.

It is, therefore, possible for one to run in hiking boots albeit for short distances while a hiker can wear running shoes when going for short easy hikes.

Overall, the two types of shoes differ in their designs, the make of their soles, prices, ankle support, weight, and much more;

  • When walking on uneven paths, the ankle is at risk of twisting, in this capacity, the standard hiking boots are designed to cover the foot plus the ankle to give it support and reduce the risk of injuries while On shoes just cover the foot because onward running on flat grounds does not pose the same risk.
  • The soles of hiking boots are wide and stout to provide a firm and stable base when landing while the soles of On running are thick and cushioned to compress while landing.
  • The solid and stable nature of the hiking boot is to hold body weight plus the pack bag while the lean nature of the running shoes is designed for athletic frames.
  • On the hiking trail, the hiking boots enable a hiker to travel much faster and cover more ground while the On running shoes are designed to propel a runner to run faster to cover more distance.
  • Standard hiking boots are easily available from different companies making them affordable while the On running shoes are high-end running shoes adopted and approved by award-winning athletes which makes them pricey.
  • The sole of the standard hiking boots has thick lugs to aid in traction while On shoes have shallow thin threads to minimize heavy contact between the shoe and the running surface.
  • Last but not least, the standard hiking boots have a warm interior in anticipation of cold weather conditions on the trail while On running are made to breathe in order to minimize warmth and moisture.

The standard hiking boots and the running shoes have the following in common;

  • Their exteriors are waterproof to minimize the chances of water seeping through into the interior which will affect their overall performance.
  • The soles of both shoes are thick which offers respective support and cushioning while landing.

Otherwise, each shoe is made to perform exemplary well when in its territory.

On shoes best hiking options

Over the past 12 years, the On models of running shoes have come up with different improved designs of their baby products to meet the ever-changing dimensions and needs of a runner.

Each of their shoes has a different look and boosts a different feel, but in common, they all have little noticeable pods on the sides of their sole.

To compare them, one has to experiment with every model of shoe because each has a different goal which is almost similar to running in the clouds.

When it comes to hiking, however, not all of their brands are capable of conquering the rugged terrain of the countryside, but these two can.

  • Cloud monster
  • Cloudace

See related: Best Footwear For Water Creek And River Crossings

Cloud monster

This is the latest version of the on shoes and the most comfortably cushioned of them all and is referred to as monster-level cushioning.

Costing $169.99, this shoe is rated as the best of all On shoes, and therefore, it does well on the track as well as on track.

Many of the on shoes have a heel drop of 9mm which is uncomfortable for many athletes but the heel drop of the cloud monster stands at 6mm which is pretty low and comfortable.

It is obviously different from the rest on the outward and is designed to give a runner/hiker the ultimate cloudtec experience by propelling each stride adding energy and gusto into it making a runner who would have covered 5miles, cover 20 plus miles.

It weighs 8.11oz and is meant for running but it can be substituted for hiking as well.


This is one of the most stable shoes.

They have both models of men’s and women’s with each costing $199.99 or thereabout and they are best for long runs because they have maximum responsive support.

Among heavier runners, these types of shoes are their best shoe models which can be used to run other track events such as the 10km race, the half marathon, recovery runs, and road runs.

Most shoes are lean and do not support the hip-to-hip movement but this pair of cloudace have more stability and are sturdier than other shoe models all thanks to the remodification of the pods which changes the feel, comfortability, and performance of the shoe.

Unlike the cloud monster, the cloudace has a steeper heel of 9mm and is heavier weighing an average of 9.42oz.

Read more: Does running help you train for hiking?

Final Thoughts

Running shoes are the best of their kind and they perform exemplary well on the running track and that is why a number of renowned athletes work for the company in marketing this product.

However, every one of the shoes has different specs save for the outward similarity of the trademark pods that are present on the soles of every shoe.

When it comes to off-track, some models of shoes may be taken for hiking as they have, but they will not perform the same because of the change and the unreliability of the terrain.