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We decided to test the Cloudultra, from Swiss running brand On, but to review it as a hiking shoe. Read on to find out why.

On Cloud Ultra
Best for...
Lightweight movers
Overall Score
Superb support for a lightweight package
Expensive, but worth it

Yes, it seems a little incongruous to review what is ostensibly a running shoe, as a hiking shoe, but it's not totally unfair, for two pretty good reasons.

Firstly, most hiking shoe manufacturers are increasingly refusing to cater to people who don't want GoreTex in every single item of footwear. Yes, it's breathable, but sometimes we hike in hot countries, and it's unbearable. Summer hikers are increasingly turning to running brands to plug that lightweight, airy gap.

But secondly, if you hit the 'hiking' section of On's website, the Cloudultra is the top result, despite having a very running-specific description. "Ultra cushioned, ultra comfortable, ultra versatile trail running shoe. No distance is off limits." So, does that ultra versatility extend as far as hiking?

Well, yes. The one small caveat is that you wouldn't want to hike particularly technical terrain in something that is kind of flimsy compared to an old-school boot. But that goes for any hiking 'trainers' really.

And relative to the weight of the shoes (295g), you'd have to admit the support is actually impressive. The construction ("Swiss Engineering" of course) comprises a kind of stiff inner sock which grips your foot quite reassuringly even before doing up the laces. I have a relatively narrow foot and the fit is perfect. My only complaint in that regard would be a lack of arch support, but that is easily tailored with custom footbeds like Superfeet.

Of course what sets On apart is the Cloudtec construction of the sole (along with Helion superfoam). A series of airpockets (or 'clouds') runs the whole length and width of the sole and provides exceptionally soft landings which helps with fatigue - which is just as pleasant when hiking as when running.

One thing that seems surprising after only a handful of uses, is the materials seem to have a durability not often seen in lightweight footwear. It remains to be seen if this impression will be borne out, but the signs are good!

All our reviews are independent and unbiased. We may earn a commission when you buy from links to Amazon and other affiliates on this page.