On Running vs ASICS: Which Is Better?

Choosing the right athletic shoe can make all the difference in comfort, performance, and prevention of injury. Two popular brands to consider are On Running and ASICS. This article compares the key features of On Cloud and ASICS shoes to help you determine which may be the better choice for your needs.

Comparison Table

FeaturesOn Running ASICS
Year Founded20101949
Comfort & FitExcellent cushioning from CloudTec sole. Roomy toe box. Better for neutral runners.Legendary for cushioning and support. Designed to accommodate all foot types.
Color OptionsWide range of styles and colors.Wide variety of colorways for most models.
DurabilityDurable cushioning. Average overall durability.Excellent durability and build quality.
PerformanceSoft landings. Natural running feel. Responsive cushioning.Supportive with directed energy return for a propulsive feel.
Design & StyleAthletic lifestyle aesthetic with bold colors and prints. Unique sole design.Classic athletic styling with performance-focused design.
PopularityGrowing in popularity but still behind older brands.Extremely popular among runners and athletes.
Best SellersCloud 5ASICS Gel-Kayano

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.

ASICS Overview

Asics was founded way back in 1949 by Kihachiro Onitsuka in Kobe, Japan.

Kihachiro Onitsuka

The name “Asics” actually comes from the Latin phrase “anima sana in corpore sano,” which translates to “healthy soul in a healthy body.” Asics shoes really align with that mission, aiming to provide runners with equipment that enables peak performance.

Throughout its long history, Asics has continuously innovated and evolved its shoe technologies.

Key components that provide the renowned Asics fit and feel include the IGS (Impact Guidance System) for a natural gait cycle, Trusstic System tech for light stability, SpevaFoam cushioning for soft landings, and Dynamic DuoMax support for optimal alignment.

The outer soles utilize Asics’ specialized rubber compounds called AHAR (Asics High Abrasion Rubber) that hold up to heavy mileage on roads.

From fast, feather-light racing flats to well-cushioned trainers, Asics offers a diverse range of running shoe models to suit different needs.

But across the board, Asics shoes are known for their structured, classic look and feel.

If you want a running shoe with proven performance and durability from a brand that’s withstood the test of time, Asics is a solid choice.

Major Differences Between These brands:

Comfort and Fit

On shoes are known for their generous cushioning from the responsive CloudTec® foam. They have a roomy toe box allowing natural toe splay. This makes them comfortable for most neutral runners. However, some find the unstable look and feel of the sole uncomfortable until they adjust to it.

ASICS are renowned for their plush, supportive cushioning systems. Their seamless interiors and structured heel counters provide a very comfortable contoured fit. ASICS accommodates more foot types with stability, pronation control, and arch support options.

Durability and Performance

The CloudTec® foam in On shoes retains its lively cushioning for many miles of use. However, some report the mesh upper materials are prone to tearing. The unique sole also collects small rocks. The overall durability and lifespan is decent but not on par with ASICS.

ASICS shoes are very well-made with excellent longevity. The Gel, SpevaFoam, and DuoMax midsole materials retain cushioning and bounce far longer than standard EVA foam. Upper materials are durable and resist wear and abrasion mile after mile.

Price

On shoes range from $130-170 for core models. Limited editions and collabs can run over $200. This positions them at the high end of typical performance running shoe pricing.

ASICS shoes range widely in price from $60 up to $180 for top stability models. Overall ASICS provides great value with many models between $100-150 that deliver excellent performance and durability.

Design and Style

On shoes have an athletic lifestyle aesthetic with their unique sole design grabbing attention. The irregular lugs, prominent branding, and bright colorways give them a bold, modern look.

ASICS shoes have a classic sporty design language focused on showcasing technology and performance features rather than fashion appeal. They use more subtle tones and branding elements.

Popularity

On Running has quickly grown in popularity but still lags behind industry leaders like ASICS. Their success validates the appeal of theirCloudTec® cushioning. But the unusual appearance also limits their versatility.

ASICS enjoys tremendous popularity globally. As a leader in stability and cushioning technologies, they appeal broadly to runners and athletes of all types. Their brand has near universal recognition and respect.

Target Market

On Running targets young neutral runners and athletic lifestyle enthusiasts who want comfort with energetic styling. Their shoes also appeal to casual wearers who prioritize comfort over performance needs.

ASICS traditional target market is dedicated runners looking for support, cushioning, and technical enhancements to improve performance and prevent injury. But their broad range also hits on casual fashion and activity-based use.

Performance Comparisons

For Nurses

For nurses who are on their feet all day, both On and ASICS have excellent options that provide comfort. The Cloud offerings from On provide responsive cushioning to take pressure off the joints during long shifts.

For even more support, ASICS Gel-Nimbus or Gel-Kayano models offer superior shock absorption and arch support to reduce foot fatigue. Their roomy toe boxes also accommodate swelling. Overall for long hours of standing, the stability of ASICS makes them the better nursing shoe choice.

For Walking

The highly responsive cushioning of On shoes makes their trainers an excellent choice for walkers seeking to put a spring in their step. The Cloud pods compress and rebound with each stride for energy return, helping maintain brisk walking paces.

However, for older walkers who need more stability, ASICS walking shoes like the GEL-Tech Walker provide excellent shock attenuation along with Rollbar technology to reduce pronation and smooth the gait cycle. For versatility, ASICS is the superior walking shoe.

For Running

For neutral runners who don’t overpronate, On delivers a natural running feel that mimics barefoot strides. The flexibility of the sole allows natural motion and foot strengthening. Cushioning remains soft and energetic over hundreds of miles.

However, ASICS offers better support and stability for overpronators while still providing plusher cushioning than On. They also offer greater versatility from track spikes to trail runners. Overall for running, ASICS is the better choice for most foot types.

For Flat Feet

The exceptional stability and arch support provided by ASICS shoes make them an excellent choice for runners and walkers with flat feet and overpronation issues. Technologies like DuoMax and Dual Density midsoles prevent the foot from rolling inwards and keep it neutralized.

This helps reduce pain and risk of injury. In contrast, the highly flexible On Cloud lacks the medial support needed by flat-footed athletes. ASICS is clearly better for flat feet.

For Back Pain

The right shoes can significantly reduce forces and strain on the back while walking and standing. For those suffering from back pain, the exceptional cushioning and arch support of ASICS makes their shoes an excellent choice.

Technologies like Gel and FlyteFoam cushioning absorb shock while features like the Guidance Line midsole reduce torque on the lower back. This minimizes pain and discomfort. While On shoes do provide cushioning, their lack of structure means they won’t adequately stabilize and support the back. For back pain, ASICS is the clear winner.

For Standing All Day

If you have a job or daily routine that involves a lot of time on your feet, choosing shoes with proper cushioning and support is crucial. The CloudTec cushioning in On shoes does provide plush comfort to take pressure off joints and muscles during all-day standing.

However, their lack of structure means they allow too much undesirable foot motion. For extended standing, the stability and structured fit of ASICS helps maintain better alignment and even weight distribution. Their Gel and FlyteFoam cushioning also retains comfort even when worn for hours on end. For all-day use, ASICS is the better choice.

For High Arches

Runners and athletes with high arches require adequate cushioning and support to avoid pain in the arches and knees. On Running shoes provide plush, responsive cushioning from the CloudTec sole which helps absorb shock for those with rigid, highly arched feet.

However, the overall flexibility and lack of arch support means they don’t optimally stabilize high arches. In contrast, ASICS shoes like the Gel-Kayano provide firm midsoles and direct arch support. This helps secure the foot in place and prevent arch collapse and knee pain. For high arched feet, ASICS is preferred.

For Hiking

When heading out on the trail, hikers need footwear that can handle unpredictable terrain and provide traction on varied surfaces. The deep, multi-directional lugs on On Cloudventure trail runners dig into dirt and mud to maintain grip.

However, the flexible CloudTec sole lacks the rigid stability needed for carrying heavy packs or scrambling over rocks. For more hardcore hikes, ASICS hiking-specific models like the Fuji Lite 2 feature stiffer midsoles and aggressive outsoles to handle tough conditions. Overall, ASICS is better suited for more demanding hikes.

For Plantar Fasciitis

The inflammation caused by plantar fasciitis requires shoes that provide ample cushioning and arch support. The CloudTec foam in On shoes does absorb some shock, but lacks the structure to adequately support the arch and heel.

In contrast, ASICS running shoes are renowned for their plush Gel cushioning systems that soften every foot strike. Certain models also use a DuoMax midsole which improves stability and prevents overpronation, taking tension off the plantar fascia. For relieving plantar fasciitis pain, ASICS is the superior choice.

Final Verdict

In the battle of On Cloud versus ASICS, ASICS emerges as the overall winner for performance, stability, and versatility. The innovative cushioning of On Cloud shoes has its benefits and provides a comfortable, natural ride for neutral runners.


However, ASICS shoes accommodate more foot types and running styles thanks to their blend of energetic cushioning and supportive stability features. They also offer greater durability and their classic sporty styling has broader lifestyle appeal.

While On delivers a unique running experience, ASICS is hard to beat in terms of proven performance, longevity, and value. For most runners and athletes, ASICS is the better all-around athletic footwear choice.

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