It is true what they say: Once you have embraced running as a sport, you would not be able to resist the temptation to try out many different brands until you find one or two that fit you perfectly. It’s a lot like love when you think about it. Sometimes you go through some bad apples before you get your pick of the prime kind. I have tried a handful of running shoes out there and though I may have already found the answer to my running essentials in a particular brand, my curiosity got piqued when I heard through the grapevine that there is a new kid on the running block about to make an explosive debut in September this year — ON Running.
Avansa Over-all award at the ISPO Brand New 2010 Awards for Innovation in Sports, ON Running is a product of Swiss technology, although manufactured in China – just like nearly everything out there.
Although ON Running is only going to be made available in the local market in September, I was fortunate to have been among the first few runners to test the pair. And because I was so excited to see what the rave was all about (hey, it has the best and the brightest of athletes endorsing the brand), I took my pair on a spin right after my 16k race at the recently-concluded Takbo.ph RUNFEST, and two more short runs after that.
Ladies and gents, meet CLAUDIA the Cloudsurfer.
LOOK and FEEL: Aesthetically speaking, ON Running Cloudsurfer is far from offensively garish. It’s two-color combination (mine’s black and lime green) gives it a classy and easily recognizable look. It is very lightweight at approximately 10oz so you don’t feel like you’re lugging around a block of wood when running. The tongue and ankle padding is very comfortable and I also find the wide forefoot a lot to my liking because it gives my weirdly shaped feet some room for breathing.
You see, my feet are a bit of a freak. My left foot has the bone connecting my toe to the foot itself jutting out like, well, a freak. And because i still insist on wearing pointy heels that push the bone out some more, I need a wide forefoot for my running shoes in order for me to be able to run for a period of time without feeling pain in that area of my foot. I mean, I would love to show you my freakazoid of a foot but I won’t be responsible for the nightmares that would haunt you in your sleep!
But forget about my freak foot obsession and how the Cloudsurfer sorts all that out for me because really, ON Running’s greatest advantage is the innovative ‘Cloud-Tec’ feature which are basically those 13 cutesy rubber lugs on the soles whose main function is to improve shock absorption on landing.
ROAD TEST: I have only tried ON Running on the road for about 20kms including yesterday morning’s 5k run (thank God the sun finally decided to grace us with its elusive presence!), give or take, but I can vouch for the greatly reduced impact on landing. There is definitely the feel of real cushioning but without the weight and loss of propulsion, hence, I was able to do a relatively long run without the usual stress on my body and the expected long recovery period. Since I have been running long distance races often, my lower legs, shins, and calves have suffered quite a lot which makes me quite picky when it comes to the trainers I wear.
The second time I ran outdoors with ON Running, it rained quite a bit so the road was damp and I noticed that the sole grip was not as incredible as it was on dry road.
On dry road, the Cloudsurfer is quite something. I felt it even more yesterday morning when I did another 5k around Ortigas. I don’t know about other users and their experience but my gait certainly feels different. There’s also an unmistakable spring in my run. It’s almost as though those rubber thingies at the sole are pushing me forward so that I am covering more distance with each step.
I did, however, notice that my pristine white socks got stained by what I suspect could be the black mesh fabric of the shoes. But then again, that is nearly inconsequential when pitted against ON Running’s stellar qualities. Stain versus improved speed and lesser injuries? That’s not even an argument right there.
PRICE: ON Running will be available at all CHRIS Sports stores beginning September 2011 and is priced almost similarly as Newton and Zoot, so it may be a bit pricey for those who impose a ceiling on how much money they shell out for a pair of running shoes. But if you are just as particular with benefits and performance, you will find this pair to be worth every peso. I am not yet sure about the shelf life as I have only had it for a few days, neither am I sure about its performance on trails as I have yet to test them there, but I am hoping for the best in these areas too.