On trail running gear, crafted with care in Switzerland, delivers performance, comfort, and style.
When you’re a trail runner, you need versatile gear that works as hard as you do. Swedish sports brand, On, delivers with trail runners that can support every stride; and thoughtfully-designed athletic apparel that wicks moisture and moves with you. In this post, we will be reviewing three trail running essentials from On: the Cloud Ultra Trail Running Shoes, Merino-T, and Explorer Shorts. We’ll share what features we like best, and why, to help you gear up for your next trail running adventure!
Partnership Disclosure: On generously provided samples for review purposes, but all words and opinions are my own (as usual).
On is a Swiss sports brand founded in 2010 by athletes Olivier Bernhard, Caspar Coppetti, and David Allemann. With its unique shoe design, it quickly established itself as a leading innovator in performance running footwear. The brand’s philosophy revolves around creating products that deliver a unique running sensation while prioritizing comfort, performance, and style.
What sets On apart from other running brands is its patented CloudTec® technology. Cloud-like elements in the soles of their shoes (see photo above) are engineered to provide “cushioned landings, powerful takeoffs.” By balancing cushiness and support, On shoes help to reduce fatigue, and improve comfort and performance.
Fun Fact: Olivier Bernhard’s first “clouds” were pieces of garden hose strapped to shoes!
In addition to their renowned footwear, On creates high-quality running apparel and accessories. Their apparel is designed with a focus on performance, utilizing advanced materials and thoughtful construction to optimize breathability, moisture management, and overall comfort. Whether it’s running shorts, tops, jackets, or accessories, On ensures that every piece of gear meets the needs of avid runners.
Sustainability is also important to On. They strive to minimize their ecological impact by using eco-friendly materials and manufacturing processes whenever possible. The On Cloudprime shoe, coming soon, will be made with EVA foam made from carbon emissions (CleanCloud™ technology)!
Whether you’re a beginner or elite athlete, On’s products are designed to support your every step and help you achieve your running goals. Explore the range of On products available at on-running.com and experience the difference for yourself.
On Cloud Ultra Trail Running Shoes
With the On Cloud Ultra Trail Running Shoes, you’ll conquer any trail in comfort. The Cloud Ultras are engineered to deliver exceptional performance on even the most challenging terrains. They provide excellent support and traction in a lightweight (245 grams), attractive package thanks to their innovative features:
- Support and Comfort: A double layer of Helion™ superfoam and two layers of CloudTec® (“clouds”) provide an unbeatable combination of cushioning and responsiveness. This technology adapts to your individual running style, providing protection and a natural feel.
- Traction: The Missiongrip™ outsole, featuring multiple grip patterns, offers reliable traction on both wet and dry surfaces, ensuring you stay in control no matter the conditions. Zig-zag channels provide grip on slab.
- Ventilation: Breathable mesh uppers (reinforced with TPU) provide ventilation so your feet don’t overheat.
- Lacing: The FlipRelease™ lacing system allows you to tighten and loosen your laces without untying them! Just flip the switch! I also appreciated the material of the laces; they aren’t slippery so they stay tied all day.
The On Cloud Ultra Trail Running Shoes are available in Men’s and Women’s sizes in 7 different colours. Order half a size bigger than your usual shoe size to get the perfect fit.
Testing and what I liked best: I tested the Cloud Ultra Trail Running Shoes on dirt trails, gravel, slab, and scree and found they performed very similar to hiking boots despite their shallower lugs, but were lighter and springier. While I expected rocks to get stuck in the clouds when I scrambled Midnight Peak (there’s lots of scree near the top), none got in! FlipRelease™, a new feature I’d never tried before, worked like a charm when my feet started to swell on a hot day; turning it loosened the laces just enough that I didn’t have to stop and retie my shoes.
Most importantly, I found the Cloud Ultras very comfortable and supportive. After an 11 km scramble with a rocky approach, my legs were a bit sore, but my feet were fine! The clouds absorb impact and add a bit of energy to every step. It also helps that the shoes have lots of ventilation so my feet didn’t swell as much as they do in boots. (Good ventilation regulates temperature and moisture, and reduces the risk of blisters too.)
The Cloud Ultras were comfortable right out of the box and required no break-in period. As someone with very sensitive skin, I love that the shoe material is non-chafing and that there is extra cushioning around the ankles. Overall, I’m super happy with the On Cloud Ultra Trail Running Shoes, and love the look, so I often wear them around town too.
The On Merino-T is the perfect companion for your trail running adventures. Made from 83% high-quality merino wool (and 17% Polyamide for durability), this t-shirt provides excellent breathability and moisture management, keeping you cool and dry even during intense runs. Merino wool is known for its natural temperature-regulating properties, meaning it keeps you warm when it’s cold and cool when it’s hot. Additionally, merino is naturally odor-resistant, ensuring you stay fresh throughout your entire run.
As for fit, the Merino-T is an athletic fit, and on the longer side so you can tuck it in to shorts, or wear it with leggings.
Cool features of this top:
- Made with mulesing-free wool (translation: sheep are humanely sheared)
- Polyamide is spun around the merino for increased durability and abrasion-resistance
- Machine washable
The On Merino-T is available in Men’s and Women’s sizes, in 2 different colours. There’s also a long-sleeved version!
Testing and what I liked best: I wore the Merino-T on hot and cool days (10-30 C) and really appreciated how soft and breathable it is. In addition, I wore it a few days in a row on a camping trip, and can attest that it did not get smelly (why merino is awesome for camping and road trips as well as trail running!). If you like outdoor activities and road trips, a merino tee is a must-have!
On Explorer Shorts
Complete your trail running ensemble with the On Explorer Shorts. These shorts are designed to enhance your performance while providing optimal comfort. Made from lightweight and stretchy material, they allow for unrestricted movement, enabling you to navigate any trail effortlessly. The quick-drying fabric wicks away moisture, keeping you comfortable even when you’re pushing your limits. With multiple pockets, including a secure zip pocket for valuables, the On Explorer Shorts offer practical storage solutions for your essentials. Whether you’re tackling a steep ascent or enjoying a leisurely jog, these shorts are a game-changer for trail runners.
- Breathable, light (220 g), stretchy
- PFC-free durable water repellent (DWR) treatment
- 5 Pockets: 2 Large pockets can accommodate even big smart phones like the Google Pixel 6, and snap shut, 1 zippered pocket for smaller items (credit cards/ID), 2 hip pockets
- Longer length for sun/wind protection
- Loose fit so they fit over muscular thighs with room to spare and no chafing
- Belt loops and stretchy waistband
The On Explorer Shorts are available in Women’s and Men’s sizes, in 2 colours. Sizing note: Check the size chart to ensure you get the right size. I take size S in On tops, so I got size S shorts, but found them too big (had I followed the size chart, I would’ve seen XS was my size).
Testing and what I liked best: With tons of thoughtful features and lots of pockets, the Explorer Shorts are awesome for adventures! The breathable, stretchy, water repellent fabric is super comfortable, so whether you’re running, hiking, or scrambling, you can move easily (I’ve worn them over cycling shorts too). I like that they have a fitted waist and looser fit in the legs as I have muscular thighs and often struggle to find shorts. My favorite thing about these shorts, however is that they have large cargo pockets that actually fit my phone! Makes it so much easier to check online maps and take photos when my phone is handy.
When it comes to trail running gear, On stands out from the crowd. Their dedication to innovation and performance shines through in every product they offer. The On Cloud Ultra Trail Running Shoes, On Merino-T, and On Explorer Shorts are trail running essentials that will elevate your trail running experience to new heights. Thoughtful details like the Cloud Ultra’s FlipRelease, and pockets large enough to fit your phone make it easier to hit the trails and keep running!
For More Information
For more information, or to buy these awesome trail running essentials now, visit On online! They have free shipping and a free 30-day return period.