On Cloud vs Lululemon: Which Is Better?

As an avid runner and fitness enthusiast, I’m constantly on the hunt for athletic shoes that check all my boxes—comfort and support for pavement pounding, sleek and modern aesthetics that turn heads, technical performance features tailored to my training needs. Recently I’ve narrowed my sights to two brands garnering buzz in the running community: On Cloud and Lululemon.

Both offer tempting promises of cloud-like cushioning and effortless miles. But with similarities in pricing and positioning, I struggled to decide which would best energize my runs and suit my lifestyle.

So I did a deep dive into the specs, user reviews and company backgrounds to uncover which shoes excel in key areas like fit, feel, function and flare. Here’s what I learned in this tale of two formidable fitness shoe brands.

Comparison Overview

CategoryOn CloudLululemon
Founded In20101998
Comfort & FitExceptional cushioning via CloudTec pods. Lightweight with breathable mesh upper. Roomier toe box.Known for stylish comfort. Women-specific design focuses on soft cushioning and flexible support.
Design & StyleSleek and modern design works for both running and casual wear. Distinguished by proprietary CloudTec sole.Stylish with athletic-leisure versatility. Brand known for fun colors/prints and feminine fashion-forward look.
PopularityLess mainstream brand recognition than Lululemon but quickly gaining devotees worldwide.Massively popular brand, especially among women seeking fashionable activewear. Large and loyal customer base.
Best SellersCloud5Blissfeel Running Shoe

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.

Lululemon Overview

Lululemon was founded in 1998 by Chip Wilson and Christine Day. Based in Vancouver, Canada, Lululemon gained popularity for its stylish yoga wear before expanding into athletic shoes and other categories.

lululemon founder

Lululemon shoes cater primarily to women and are known for their combination of fashionable style and comfort for everyday wear. They utilize research insights on women’s feet with design features like pillow-soft cushioning and supportive insoles.

While performance is not the primary focus, some Lululemon shoes do incorporate responsive foams in the midsole and stability elements for light training.

Major Differences between these Brands

Comfort & Fit

Both brands aim to cradle feet in cloud-like comfort. However, On Cloud shoes carry far more cushioning with specialized CloudTec pods while Lululemon focuses more on stylish breathability in women-specific designs.

The extra pod cushioning gives On Cloud an edge in ultra-soft comfort for all-day wear and long distances. But Lululemon offers a tailored fit and feel for female feet.

Durability & Performance

On Cloud invests in long-lasting Continental rubber outsoles to provide 300+ miles of resilient pep in your step. However, some users report premature forefoot wear issues.

Lululemon shoes focus less on hardcore performance and use varied rubber/EVA outsoles more suited to casual use than heavy training. For running and athletic performance, On Cloud takes the trophy but casual athletes may get more years out of Lululemon’s fashion sneakers due to different usage.


While pricing runs similar around the $150 range on average, key technology differences account for the variance. On Cloud running shoes command a premium for the innovative CloudTec cushioning pods tailored to athletic performance while Lululemon lean more lifestyle so factor in branding and design to their pricing model versus hardcore performance features. Still, both represent significant investments and pricing aligns with positioning.

Design & Style

Lululemon shoes shine brightest here with their signature striking colors and prints as well as body-hugging uppers lending feminine aesthetic flair. Though On Cloud silhouettes certainly turn heads thanks to the distinctive CloudTec outsoles, their color palettes prove more muted than Lululemon’s dazzling brights and unique patterns. For everyday versatility and sporty fashion, Lululemon leads style points.


International sensation Lululemon enjoys far wider brand recognition and loyalty, especially among female consumers who fuel its rise. Though still gaining awareness, On Cloud made great strides in embedding its unique CloudTec cushioning into running shoe vernacular. But Lululemon maintains an unparalleled sensation status among its expansive community.

Both reap rewards directly correlating with pricing so the price-to-value perception shapes positive sentiment around owning these brands. And with popularity comes higher pricing power.

Target Market

On Cloud targets dedicated neutral runners logging daily miles seeking cushioning and support mile after mile. Though lifestyle models broaden accessibility for casual wearers, the brand focuses foremost on athletic performance.

Lululemon sets sights firmly on fashion-focused female athletes desiring studio-to-street wear balancing sporty support and chic styling for light training and everyday activities rather than hardcore competition.

Performance Comparison

Now let’s explore how these two brands’ offerings perform across training types. Remember On Cloud spots more cushioning for running and athletics while Lululemon centers style for casual wear with decent fitness support.

For Nurses

With long shifts on their feet, nurses need plush comfort. On Cloud’s exceptional cushioning absorbs shocks better, though Lululemon’s women-specific fits provide all-day relief too.

For Walking

Both work for walking but On Cloud better energizes strides with its springy CloudTec bounce while Lululemon flatters feet with its stylish cushioning.

For Running

For pounding pavement, On Cloud running shoes outpace Lululemon with specialized features like CloudTec cushioning pods, integrated stability and breathable mesh uppers that secure feet across logged miles.

For Flat Feet

On Cloud’s stability elements provide flatter feet firmer support while Lululemon’s softer cushioning wears down quicker laterally. Go with On Cloud for maximum motion control.

For Back Pain

Extra plush CloudTec pods ease impact to reduce tension up the body’s kinetic chain better suiting back pain. Lululemon can work for short bouts but lean too soft for recovery runs.

For Standing All Day

Though both provide ample cushioning for all-day wear, On Cloud offers greater shock absorption and energy return to power you through lengthy shifts.


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