On Thursday, up-and-coming Swiss performance running brand On re-released the Cloudflow—one of its most successful footwear styles—packed with a new material dubbed “Helion superfoam.”
On developed the new Cloudflow with the assistance of some of the world’s top athletes, including Margo Malone, a track runner who won her first marathon while wearing the new Cloudflow silhouette. With this athletic input, On focused entirely on how to design its running shoes to complement its wearer’s abilities.
The result was On’s new, proprietary Helion foam, which it claims takes the Cloudflow’s durability and rebound to a “previously impossible level.”
“After two years of wear-testing and refining the Cloudflow with feedback from our elite athletes, we’ve landed on the next go-to shoe for marathon training and racing,” On co-founder David Allemann said in a statement. “With the addition of our new Helion superfoam, increased stability in the heel cup, and a snappier Speedboard in the midsole, the Cloudflow is the perfect blend between comfort and performance.”
The “clouds” on the outsole are what give the shoe its name—hollow pods that stretch on impact with the ground, only to lock into place to provide a solid kickoff through each step, all in combination with the Helion foam. Athletes who have experienced this dynamic firsthand report greater muscle activation, faster running times and shorter recovery periods, On said.
In addition to the improved Helion-filled outsole, the new Cloudflow also comes with a lacing configuration designed to provide a softer forefoot landing when in stride and upgraded support at high speeds.
“The Cloudflow is lightweight, fast and responsive; perfect for 26.2 miles of racing,” Margo Malone added. “When I tested the Cloudflow, I immediately had confidence the shoe would carry me through a marathon. The On team developed a racing shoe with precision, style and durability. My favorite part of the shoe is the Helion foam outsole. The foam responds well to the hard ground and gives each step the feeling of floating.”
On said it can back up its claims, thanks to independent studies conducted by the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland. In those studies, the “CloudTec” system was found to “substantially reduce athletes’ heart rates and blood lactate levels” compared to the average running shoe, On said.
The first iteration of the Cloudflow was released in 2016 and has been worn on the podium by a winning athlete 60 times over the past three years. In fact, the On brand was conceived by one such athlete, Olivier Bernhard, who wanted to create a new kind of running sensation that would allow for a soft landing while simultaneously remaining firm for a solid push-off.
That initial design, which Bernhard put together with glue, a racing flat and pieces of a garden hose, eventually transformed into the technology-forward performance footwear On produces today.
The new Cloudflow is available for On’s e-commerce site and through retail distribution channels at a retail price of $140.