Photos by Scott Windsor
It seems to me that whenever I mention “running” to anyone of my pedal-hound friends, I receive questionable looks and grimaces, which are often followed by “eww”. In high school, I competed in cross-country running events and I loved it at the time. However, like many childhood things, running was a hobby that fell to the wayside in order to make room for, well, life. As lockdown gripped Wales with a firm and unshakeable hold, and with some gentle persuasion, I donned a pair of running shoes once more and headed to the mountains. To safely see me back on my merry way of what-the-heck-cardio and lactic lullabies, the Swiss experts ON sent me over a care package, including a pair of ON Women’s Cloudventure running shoes.
“ON was born in the Swiss alps with one goal: to revolutionize the sensation of running. It’s all based on one radical idea. Soft landings followed by explosive take-offs. Or, as we call it, running on clouds.”
After retiring from competitive racing with multiple world titles and Ironman accolades under his belt, Olivier Bernhard and two friends, David Allemann and Caspar Coppetti set out to revolutionise running shoes. A decade later, and ON shoes are supporting some of the biggest athletes competing at the highest level. Perhaps it’s the carefully selected fabrics and materials that go into the construction of their shoes, or maybe it’s the innovative sole designs that find grip in every foot placement, and then again, it could be the unwavering attention to detail that ON pride their name on, a pride that ensures every purchase made is suitable for the intended use. Personally, I think it’s all of the above.
ON Women’s Cloudventure Running Shoes
These are a pretty fancy pair of running shoes. Even out of the box they exude a level of elitism that my formative high school self would have drooled over. Available in four low-key neutral colours, the Cloudventure’s are incredibly lightweight with a low profile that reassuringly encases your foot for a supreme fit and all-around comfort.
Constructed using Missiongrip™ technology, these trail running shoes feature a careful combination of tread patterns to help you find grip on the most challenging terrains. By using supple materials, ON women’s Cloudventure running shoes deform and flex to the movement of your feet, offering comfort and support with every step. With a slightly tacky texture, this innovative outsole incorporates ‘Zero-Gravity foam’ which offers gentle cushioning for when the trail gets really tough. For the upper section of the Cloudventures, two-layer technical mesh fabrics ensure excellent ventilation to help keep you cool by allowing heat to escape.
Suffice to say, running shoes have come on a long way since my high-school days. Most noticeably, the spongey-springy construction of the outsoles do wonders for minimising the harshness of the trail. It really does feel like you have a slight spring in your step, gently nudging you up and off the ground. These running shoes are incredibly lightweight, but they can withstand anything the trail throws their way. However, when the trail is pebble-dashed with small stones, they can get lodged in the voids of the sole. You’re then faced with the predicament of either enduring that uncomfortable bump in your step, or sacrificing precious running stats to dig it out.
Having racked up a fair number of kilometres in varying weather and different terrains, I’ve become quite fond of the ON Women’s Cloudeventure shoes. Due to the breathable materials and lightweight design, these shoes dry out quite well if they get wet and they’re extremely comfortable. Available in sizes UK 3 – UK 9, the ON Women’s Cloudventure running shoes will set you back around £135 when purchased directly from ON’s webshop.
ON Women’s Weather Jacket
As Welsh valleys weather is far from predictable, the ON Women’s Weather Jacket came in mighty useful on my runs. With a fitted cut, this jacket may look like a no-frills garment, but in fact, it’s packed with ingenious properties to help make your run much more comfortable.
Using lightweight Japanese fabrics, the ON women’s Weather jacket features tear-proof capabilities. Offering all-around ventilation, the carefully selected fabrics are stretchy and coated with DWR to help repel rain. Zipped pockets of this jacket are fully waterproof, perfect for storing valuables in like keys and cash. What makes this jacket even more appealing is that it can be folded away and stored neatly within its own breast pocket.
The ON Women’s Weather Jacket is available in three colourways and in sizes x.small to x.large, here for £190. Certainly sitting at the higher end of the price range, this jacket is much like the Cloudventure shoes. They both look unassuming, simple, yet elegant, but it’s not until closer inspection that you realise the features that are packed within.
ON Women’s Running Shorts
Keeping in the ON theme of making things as light as possible, allowing you to perform your best, the ON Women’s Running Shorts haven’t fallen far from the tree.
Like having two shorts sewn together, the outer layer is a super stretchy polyamide and elastane blend that’s designed to be quick-drying. The under short is wonderfully soft and gently grips the skin with a pattern of silicone dots. Throughout the run, up and over obstacles, these shorts didn’t ride up or budge an inch. That level of security is supported with a tie-up waistband for dialling in a precise fit. At the rear of the waistband, there’s a moisture-proof zipped pocket for stashing your keys in, not suitable for mobile phones though.
You can grab yourself a pair of the ON Women’s Running Shorts here for £65.
For getting back into running, I’ve been fortunate to have the support of such quality products from ON. Ok, they’re not the most affordable brand on the market, but that’s the only sticking point that I can find. However, investing in quality (and taking care of garments as per instructions,) will not only see you through many miles of running but they’ll be comfortable and confidence-inspiring miles as you benefit from the experience and developments from the mind of Olivier Bernhard and co.
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