Brooks vs On Cloud: Which Is Better?

As an avid runner constantly logging miles on my neighborhood streets and local trails, finding the right shoe is paramount to prevent injury and enhance performance.

Brooks and On Running both offer cushioned yet responsive rides, utilizing unique midsole technologies to deliver comfort over long distances. Evaluating key metrics helps determine which neutral shoe brand truly stands above the competition.

Comparison Table Between Brooks And On Cloud

CategoryBrooksOn Running
Founded In19142010
Comfort and FitRoomy toe box, structured heel counterSock-like upper, responsive CloudTec® pods
Color OptionsClassic and vibrant colorwaysBold colors and patterns
Durability500+ miles300-500 miles
PerformanceSmooth transitions, consistent cushioningEnergetic ride, ideal for uptempo runs
Design and StyleTraditional lace-up structureModern Swiss design
PopularityHighly popular among runnersGrowing presence and buzz
Best Selling ModelAdrenaline GTSCloud 5

Brooks Overview:

Brooks running shoes originated in 1914 in Seattle, Washington when the Brooks Shoe Company was founded. Though it started as a specialty shoe brand, Brooks eventually pivoted to focus on athletic and performance footwear in the 1970s.

Some of the long-running iconic features of Brooks shoes include:

  • BioMoGo DNA: An adaptive midsole foam that provides soft landings followed by firm toe-offs for propulsion.
  • GuideRails: An engineered support system around the midsole to limit excess pronation or inward foot rolling.
  • Flextra: Outsole rubber strategically placed for flexibility where the foot needs to move.
  • Ideal Pressure Zones: Designated cushioned zones on the outsole positioned under important areas.
  • Adjustable saddle: A structured component that customizes midfoot support and fit.
  • HydroFlow: Shock-absorbing cushioning units in the midsole for plush softness.

In addition to catering to regular neutral runners, Brooks offers stability, trail, walking, and casual shoes. Some of their most popular models through the years include the Ghost, Adrenaline GTS, Glycerin, and Ravenna.

With over 100 years of experience, Brooks uses proven technologies and innovations to create high-performance shoes suited for runners of all types.

On Running Overview:

Swiss running shoe brand On Running took the market by storm when they debuted their revolutionary CloudTec cushioning system in 2010.

Co-founded by Olivier Bernhard, David Allemann, and Caspar Coppetti, On Running sought to shake up the look and feel of running shoes.

On Running Founders

Unlike the thick foam midsoles of brands like Hoka and Brooks, On shoes feature individual rubber pods strategically placed on the outsole.

This signature CloudTec cushioning provides a firm yet responsive feel. The pods compress and rebound independently to deliver what On calls a “soft landing followed by an explosive take-off.”

Most On Running shoe models also incorporate the company’s Speedboard technology, a curved plastic plate that improves transitions from heel to toe.

Together, the CloudTec sole and Speedboard reduce muscle vibration and create what On describes as a “smooth running sensation.” The outsoles are strategically mapped to match key pressure points during the phases of a runner’s stride. On Running shoes tend to have close-fitting mesh uppers to hold the foot securely.

While On Running’s CloudTec cushioning doesn’t isolate impact as much as maximally cushioned shoes, the pods respond individually to deliver energetic rebound. This makes On shoes ideal for efficient runners who want some feedback from the ground. The technology caters to midfoot and forefoot strikers with an emphasis on propelling runners forward.

Over the past decade, On Running has unveiled innovations like the CloudTec Lite system using hollowed-out pods to shed weight, and the Cloudboom midsole foam for additional underfoot softness. Their unique sole technology combined with clean, minimalist uppers gives On Running shoes an identifiable look.

Major Differences Between Hoka And On Cloud:

Comfort and Fit

A key distinction comes down to comfort and fit preference based on foot shape and running gait patterns. Brooks utilizes a generous toe box and structures overlays to securely lock the heel in place.

Comparatively, the On Cloud fits more like a stretchy sock, contouring around the foot with each step. However, some find the initial snugness of On challenging for wider feet.

Ultimately those wanting a roomier toe-up experience might prefer Brooks while On suits runners wanting a barely-there sensation.

Also Check Out: Hoka VS On Cloud: Which Is Better?

Durability and Performance

Evaluating mileage lifespan and intended use gives insight into durability and performance expectations. Well-constructed neutral Brooks last 500-600 miles whether used for daily training or race day.

Comparatively, the uniqueCloudTec® midsole of On starts showing significant wear around 300-400 miles. The hollow pod construction prone to debris pick-up means On excels uniquely for faster efforts compared to high mileage training.

Go with tried-and-true Brooks for consistent cushioning you can depend on year over year. But give On a go if you want elevated energy return perfect for shaving seconds off your PR.


Pricing often influences shoe purchases, especially for runners logging heavy weekly mileage. Brooks popular neutral cushions like the Ghost and Glycerin retail just under $150.

Comparatively, On Running’s unique Swiss construction and technology comes at a steeper cost. Most On models start around $170 ranging up above $200 for collaborative special editions.

Considering the shorter lifespan of On cushioning, Brooks ends up being more economical in the long run. However, rotational runners adding On into a quiver of options won’t be disappointed by the responsive sensation felt underfoot.

Ultimately though, if you want exciting performance but need to watch your budget, Brooks provides better value at their reasonable price point compared to premium-priced On.

Also Check Out: Brooks VS Nike: Which Is Better?

Design and Style

While both brands offer performance first and foremost, aesthetics still matter when it comes to road running shoes meant to clock serious mileage. Brooks utilizes classic running shoe materials like woven mesh with synthetic leather accents across iconic models like the Adrenaline GTS and Ghost.

Comparatively, On Running enters trailblazing territory with modern designs featuring unique materials and eye-catching color schemes. The Cloud incorporates a sleek knit upper, micro-engineered foam, and distinctive lacing system.

Other On models utilize recycled materials from coffee grounds, car tires, and even musical instruments! Ultimately those wanting heritage styling adds comfort on top of function will feel at home in Brooks.

But for runners who want passersby doing doubletakes on their next group run, On perfectly balances performance with fashion-forward Swiss styling.


When researching shoe options, considering the masses provides helpful insight. As an established brand over one hundred years old, Brooks enjoys tremendous popularity and trust within the worldwide running community.

The lightweight Ghost continues being a top seller year after year for new runners and mileage mavens alike. Comparatively, On is still a newcomer growing market share rapidly since their 2010 debut.

Initially their unique cushioning system packed in the Cloud turned heads of running specialty store athletes seeking an responsive sensation different from the norm.

Positive word of mouth spread over the past decade establishing On as a dominant player across roads and trails.

While Brooks maintains majority favor across the global running population today, On continues rising towards the top at record pace thanks to their instant energy return feeling beloved by neutral runners everywhere.

Also Check Out: Brooks VS Mizuno: Which Is Better?

Target Market

Defining target markets explains why certain shoes appeal to select subgroups first and foremost. As masters of neutral cushioned trainers, Brooks attracts new runners, those recovering from injury, and veteran athletes logging heavy weekly mileage towards loft marathon goals.

Comparatively, On Running initially gained buzz in elite running circles seeking improved performance to shatter PRs thanks to instant energy return. This innovative sensation also quickly won over adventure seekers traversing mixed terrain looking for shoes to smoothly transition from street to trail.

However, the slim silhouette and snugger fit cater less towards wide-footed runners and those requiring sturdy stability. So while On holds strong appeal for younger athletes prioritizing speed, Brooks diverse catalogue and accommodating constructions make them accessible to the masses.

Ultimately though, choosing the brand that aligns best with your personal performance, comfort and aesthetic priorities ensures happiness in your next pair.

Performance Comparison

For Nurses

Considering nurses spend long shifts on their feet, prioritizing comfort is key alongside durable construction to withstand the demands. Brooks higher stack heights like those found in the Glycerin 19 supply plush cushioning underfoot without breaking down quickly.

Comparatively, the low-profile On Cloud may lack necessary underfoot support for all-day wear. However, the grippy CloudTec® outsole works well on slippery hospital floors.

For style, Brooks subtle hues better match most scrubs colors compared to attention-grabbing On. Ultimately for nurses and others needing reliable shoes to get them through grueling shifts, Brooks enduring comfort technologies earn top marks for performance.

For Walking

Everyday walking shoes must deliver lightweight comfort, flexibility to match natural foot movement and grip for varied terrain. Models like the Brooks Addiction Walker provide structured cushioning and GuideRails technology to support flat feet especially.

Comparatively On Cloudmodels promote foot strength while exploring thanks to the sensors CloudTec® pods provide each step. However, debris often gets trapped requiring cleaning after muddy hikes.

For pavement miles though, the Cloud lets you perk up your walking pace thanks to inherent energy return. Those battling plantar fasciitis or knee pain find the forgiving foam comforting too.

Ultimately while both supply ample cushioning for active comfort seekers, On Running edge out Brooks regarding adventures beyond sidewalks while Brooks smarter sole engineering helps chronic condition sufferers go the distance pain-free.

For Running

As expected, choosing between Brooks and On Running for dedicated running shoes comes down to individual gait analysis and preferred ride experience. Heel strikers and mild overpronators favor trusted stability models like the Brooks Adrenaline GTS with its structured midsole and GuideRails support.

The Ghost packs responsive cushioning better suiting efficient neutral runners targeting PRs at their next 10K and beyond. Comparatively, On excels at delivering a fast, sock-like fit with instant energy return better for midfoot strikers and uptempo days rather than recovery jogs.

Some find the Cloud lacks guidance for overpronation though. Ultimately for traditional cushioning you can depend on across training cycles, opt for Brooks Ghost or Glycerin.

But if you prioritize lightweight responsiveness for explosive speed focused workouts, the instant energy return of On merits serious consideration to add excitement to your next run.

Also Check Out: Brooks VS Altra: Which Is Better?

For Flat Feet

Those with flat feet need arch support, pronation control and enhanced shock absorption from each footfall. Brooks cater to flat footed runners with options like the Beast ‘22, utilizing GuideRails technology to limit excess ankle and knee rotation.

Comparatively, the ultra-responsive sensation of On may prove too unstructured and flexible for severely overpronating runners. However the grippy outsole provides sure-footing for balance challenges.

Some flat footed runners also appreciate the foot-strengthening sensation On provides through varied terrain. But for long term joint protection, structured Brooks better prevent pain and injury associated with flat feet.

If choosing On, consider adding your own custom orthotics to enhance support. Generally though, Brooks stability technologies like those found in the Addiction Walker supply necessary motion control for low arches out the box.

For Back Pain

Since around 80% of the population deals with back pain at some point, a supportive shoe helps minimize discomfort whether standing, walking or running.

Brooks utilize a structured midsole in options like the Adrenaline GTS 22 to promote proper spinal alignment and take pressure off the low back. Comparatively, On shoes force you to run more upright which could irritate back issues if core strength proves lacking.

However podiatrists sometimes recommend On for plantar fasciitis sufferers which indirectly minimizes associated back pain too. Ultimately those specifically battling chronic back concerns due to poor posture gravitate toward stability shoes from Brooks to provide healthy motion guidance.

But if you solely experience occasional tightness or soreness after long runs, switching to On could eliminate the heel striking exacerbating your discomfort. Perfect form isn’t needed to reap benefits from the Cloud’s natural positioning too.

For Standing All Day

Occupations like nursing, teaching and retail require being on your feet up to 12+ hours a day. Thus choosing shoes with ample cushioning and support prevents pain and discomfort over long shifts.

Brooks Levitate 5 and Glycerin 19 feature plush midsoles thick enough to maintain shock absorption even when tired. Comparatively, the low profile On Cloud lacks necessary cushion after mile five for all day wear.

However the unique outsole design and responsive foam does provide welcome energy each step. But standing stationary for long periods of time in On challenges balance compared to broader Brooks.

For those constantly on the move like servers or warehouse workers though, the Cloud’s impressive responsiveness perks up the mundane. Yet for pure standing around comfort, structured Brooks platforms earn top marks for keeping discomfort at bay even through double shifts.

For High Arches

Runners with high arches require ample cushioning to prevent pain, plus a curved last mimicking natural foot shape. Plush Brooks like the Glycerin 19 provide welcome softness underfoot to cushion otherwise boney impact zones.

Light and fast Ghosts work too for efficient runners needing arch forgiveness over long distances. Comparatively excessively flexible On may compress uncomfortably with each landing for rigid high arches.

However some high arched runners welcome the foot strengthening workout the Cloud provides. Ultimately using personal orthotics helps optimize On’s benefits while correcting discomfort or instability.

When evaluating off the shelf though, structured Brooks better suits high arched runners through citizen mile and misery prevention. Consider the Cloud instead if you fall within normal arch range but want to improve intrinsic foot strength progressively over time when uninjured.

For Hiking

When tackling neighborhood streets or groomed park trails, cushioning and transition smoothness prove priorities in choosing road running footwear. However hiking adventures demand amplified traction, protection and stability to confidently cover uneven rocky ground.

On Running originally innovated their CloudTec® concept for the Swiss Alps thus trail-ready outsoles come built in. Deep lugs, protective upper wrapping and responsive cushioning seamlessly transition from street to summit trails.

However phenomenal trail shoes like the Brooks Caldera 6 offer similar versatile adventuring focused benefits. Yet thanks to weatherproof water resistant materials and enhanced stability through challenging terrain, the Caldera 6 earns top status for lightweight hiking demands.

Sure On can tag along off road for short distances. But depend on trail-focused offerings from Brooks and other specialty brands once the going gets steep or slick.

For Plantar Fasciitis

The plantar fascia connects your heel to base toes stabilizing the arch. Repeated tightening and strain leads to microscopic tears causing pain and inflammation. Thus shoes supporting the arch and alleviating tension proves mandatory for managing this common injury.

Both Brooks and On Running supply ample cushioning to soften impact. However the contoured arch support and stability components in structured Brooks provide necessary motion control specifically for plantar fasciitis suffers.

Doctors frequently recommend the Adrenaline GTS and Ghost for injury recovery. However some find the stimulating foot engagement On Running provides also helps strengthens intrinsic muscles alleviating discomfort over time.

Ultimately Brooks support technologies specifically target biomechanical causes of plantar fasciitis from the ground up. But On deserves consideration to progressively build sore tissue tolerance when healed and cleared by doctors to return to running.

Final Verdict

Whether you log daily miles or are just starting your running journey, choosing a shoe matching individual needs and preferences ensures happiness on every run. Brooks and On Running both supply quality for neutral runners seeking lightweight responsiveness to feel empowered each step.

Key considerations when comparing these popular brands include intended use, ideal ride experience, price point and aesthetic preferences. Veterans wanting proven cushioning technology to depend on across high mileage training cycles often lean towards Brooks classics like the Ghost or Glycerin.

But performance-minded runners wanting snappy agility for new PRs appreciate the instant energy return CloudTec® brings by On Running. Those needing amplified arch or pronation support favor structured Brooks offerings too.

However, both brands cater towards efficient neutral runners looking for comfortable mileage with a touch of freeing speed when called for.

Try these brands side by side to experience how innovative technologies influence your gait, comfort, and motivation to keep striving towards your next personal best. Happy running!

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