Swiss company On are like the Apple of the running world. Innovative and design-led, On have built a reputation for producing distinctive and cutting edge performance running shoes since they launched back in 2010 and have now established themselves as the fastest growing running brand on the planet. Born in the Swiss Alps, the company took their first strides into the off-road running market in 2016 with the introduction of the lightweight Cloudventure trail shoe and this year sees the launch of the Cloudventure Peak - a stripped down and ultralight version of the original shoe designed to help you excel in a competitive environment.
Weighing in at just 210g in a UK 5, the 6mm drop Cloudventure Peak may be one of the lightest shoes on the market but it delivers a heavyweight punch when it comes to protection, stability and grip on the trail. After all, it doesn't matter how light your shoe is if you there are rocks coming up underneath your feet, your foot lurches all over the place in tight switchbacks and you keep sliding every time you encounter scree, wet rocks or slippery tree roots. Thankfully the Cloudventure Peak is designed to meet these challenges head on and it does it with style.
The Cloudventure Peak come with the highest of the four levels of On's micro-engineered grip traction system, the superlight ripstop upper comes with protective heel and toe caps, and the invisible taped reinforcement in the material ensures that your foot remains held snugly in place. Competition running demands precise foot placement so the Cloudventure Peak is an understandably neat fitting shoe - worth bearing in mind if you're wider of foot.
If you've ever marveled at elite mountain runners you'll likely have observed their explosive stride and ability to blast upwards on the ascent. While purchasing a pair of On Cloudventure Peaks is unlikely to automatically translate into a pro running career, the integrated On Speedboard has been designed to help you mimic this forward motion and propel you ever upwards towards the finish line. Having done a decent amount of hill intervals in these over the past few weeks we can confirm that you really can feel the difference - the only missing link being our current less than Kilian Jornet-esque levels of fitness!
The defining feature of all On running shoes is the brand's unique Cloudtec system that provides cushioning but only when it's needed. Much like a MTB with lock-out front suspension forks, the Cloud pods absorb forces for a soft landing before locking firm to provide a solid foundation for a powerful take-off. For such a lightweight shoe, the Cloudventure Peak's underfoot cushioning is immediately palpable and whilst we have yet to take the shoes on any 15k+ adventures, we are looking forward to seeing how they hold up on longer distances.
The Cloudventure Peak combines design with performance in a unique and legitimate off road package that looks as good wearing around town as it does on the hill. At £125, it's a premium high-end shoe with a surprising and comparatively low price point. Only time will reveal whether it has the beef and durability to deal with the demands of the trail long term but it has responded exceptionally well thus far.