On Cloud vs Adidas: Which Is Better?

When it comes to athletic footwear, Adidas and On Cloud are two of the top contenders. Adidas is an iconic sportswear brand started in 1949 in Germany by Adolf Dassler. Known for its classic styles and innovative technology, Adidas has become one of the most recognizable brands for athletes around the world.

On Cloud, founded in 2010 by Olivier Bernhard and David Allemann, is a relative newcomer, making its name with its patented CloudTec cushioning system.

Both brands offer attractive features, but there are distinct differences between the two. This comparison will go in-depth on critical considerations like comfort, performance, durability, design, and price so you can determine if Adidas or On Cloud is the best choice for your athletic pursuits.

Comparison Table

BrandAdidasOn Cloud
Founded In1949 2010
Comfort/FitVaried based on shoe type, generally very comfortable with innovative cushioning technologiesSignature CloudTec cushioning provides exceptional comfort
Color OptionsWide range of color optionsMore limited color selection compared to Adidas
DurabilityGenerally durable with quality materials/constructionDurable materials/construction but high cushioning may shorten lifespan
PerformanceInnovative technologies enhance performance for all types of athletic activitiesCloudTec cushioning provides responsive running experience
Design/StyleIconic three-stripe design, sleek and stylishSleek, modern designs
PopularityExtremely popular as one of the top athletic brands worldwideGrowing popularity but not as well-known as Adidas
Best Selling Modeladidas UltraboostCloud5

Adidas Overview

Adolf “Adi” Dassler founded Adidas in 1924 in Herzogenaurach, Germany, establishing one of the most recognized and iconic athletic brands worldwide.

Adidas designs performance-driven athletic shoes for running, training, and sports.

Breakthrough innovations like responsive Boost foam midsoles and adaptive Primeknit uppers power popular models like the best-selling UltraBoost.

Adidas maintains a commitment to developing technologies like Formotion and Torsion System that maximize human potential through rigorous athlete testing.

From vintage streetwear classics like the iconic Superstar to new trends like the NMD_R1, Adidas’ sporty style transcends demographics with universal appeal.

With timeless 3-Stripe branding and silhouettes optimized for movement, Adidas continues pushing boundaries while staying true to its roots in athletic performance.

On Cloud 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 These Brands

Comfort and Fit

Both brands aim for comfortable shoes, but use different cushioning systems. Adidas has boost foam while On Cloud uses hollow CloudTec pods. Both provide soft, responsive cushioning.

However, some find On Cloud shoes to be too unsteady while the firmer cushioning of some Adidas models offer more support. Adidas offers more variety overall for different foot needs.

Durability and Performance

The high-quality materials of Adidas and On Cloud shoes make them quite durable in terms of average athletic shoe lifespan. However, Adidas may have a slight edge for high-performance shoes thanks to features like torsion plates for stability.

The CloudTec system provides excellent cushioning for On Cloud, but can break down more quickly than the midsoles of Adidas. Both deliver responsive, comfortable performance overall.


Adidas shoes range from $50-$200 based on the shoe type, while On Cloud shoes typically cost $150-$200. While Adidas has lower price points, the average cost of running or training shoes from both brands land around $100-$150. This puts them in the moderate price tier for athletic footwear. On Cloud’s smaller selection means fewer very low or very high priced models.

Design and Style

Both brands offer stylish, modern designs, but Adidas is known for its iconic three stripes and trefoil logo. Adidas has more diversity in colors and patterns compared to the more limited options from On Cloud. Those wanting a shoe that stands out may prefer the breadth of choices from Adidas. However, On Cloud shoes are praised for their simple, sleek aesthetics.


As one of the most recognizable sports brands worldwide, Adidas easily bests On Cloud in popularity and brand awareness. However, On Cloud has seen rapid growth since 2010 and continues gaining fans. Adidas still holds the edge in reputation and appeal thanks to its long legacy and connection to athletic performance.

Target Market

On Cloud targets runners and casual wearers seeking lightweight cushioning and comfort, while Adidas has a broader range of athletic shoes for multiple sports.

However, there is considerable overlap in their target demographic of fitness enthusiasts who want a stylish shoe for general training and activity. Both brands market to those who don’t just prioritize function over form.

Performance Comparison

Here’s a breakdown of how Adidas and On Cloud shoes compare for key activities and foot conditions:

For Nurses

The comfortable cushioning of On Cloud makes their shoes a great pick for nurses and others on their feet all day. Adidas also offers supportive casual and training shoes suitable for extended wear for healthcare professionals. Both provide the comfort and support nurses need.

For Walking

On Cloud and Adidas lifestyle shoes perform well for walking, thanks to flexible materials and responsive cushioning. Adidas has more options for walking shoes designed for varying foot needs. However, On Cloud shoes are also quite comfortable for walking short and long distances.

For Running

Experienced runners may prefer Adidas for performance running shoes that provide pronation control and bounce technology tailored to different foot strikes. However, On Cloud running shoes with CloudTec cushioning also deliver on comfort, flexibility, and energy return needed for the repetitive motions of running.

For Flat Feet

Those with flat feet require well-cushioned shoes with arch support. Specific Adidas running and training shoes do well for flat feet with customized arch inserts and medial posts for pronation control. While On Cloud competes less on support features, some shoes like the Cloud X still work for mild overpronation.

For Back Pain

The right shoes can help minimize pain and discomfort from back issues. For back pain sufferers, both brands offer lightweight, cushioned shoes to provide arch and heel support while taking pressure off the back. However, Adidas has more shoes made specifically to address back pain if needed.

For Standing All Day

Cushioning and arch support are key for shoes worn standing for prolonged periods. On Cloud and Adidas lifestyle and casual shoes have comfortable cushioning materials and insoles great for all-day wear. However, Adidas offers increased variety for accommodating foot conditions like plantar fasciitis.

For High Arches

High arched feet require proper cushioning and shock absorption. The CloudTec system in On Cloud shoes does well at providing a soft landing for high arches. But Adidas offers specialized shoes with customized, removable arch inserts to best support high arches.

For Hiking

Lightweight, grippy hiking shoes are important for the trail. While not a hiking specialty brand, some Adidas outdoor and terrain shoes provide the traction and secure fit needed for light to moderate hikes. But most hikers would be better served by brands like Merrell rather than On Cloud or Adidas.

For Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis requires shoes with excellent arch support and cushioning. While On Cloud shoes provide cushioning, Adidas offers more shoes specifically tailored to relieving plantar fasciitis pain. Features like specialized insoles, massaging plugs, and torsion stability better target issues like inflammation.

Final Verdict

In the battle between these two athletic footwear brands, Adidas wins out overall for its wider range of styles and accommodation of foot issues. But On Cloud shoes compete well when it comes to delivering soft, responsive cushioning.

Choosing between the brands comes down to individual factors like foot needs, intended activity, style preferences, and budget. For versatility across multiple sports and foot types, Adidas has the edge. However, On Cloud isn’t far behind with their comfortable, lightweight, and modern kicks. You’re sure to be happy lacing up a pair from either brand.

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