On Running VS Clove: Which Is Better?

When it comes to athletic and casual footwear, both On Running and Clove Shoes have made a name for themselves. Founded in 2010 in Switzerland, On Running burst onto the scene with their unique CloudTec cushioning system that provides a soft, responsive ride.

Clove Shoes got its start just a few years later in 2014, designing supportive sneakers specifically for healthcare workers spending long hours on their feet.

Both brands offer quality craftsmanship and attention to detail. But with differences in technology, price point, and intended use, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of each.

This comprehensive comparison will outline the key similarities and differences between On and Clove so you can confidently choose which brand best fits your needs.

Comparison Table

CategoryOn RunningClove Shoes
Founded In20102018
Comfort and FitSignature CloudTec cushioning provides exceptional comfort and responsiveness. Wide toe box accommodates natural foot shape.Designed for all-day comfort and support for long hours on your feet. Arch support and cushioning provide comfort.
Color OptionsMore limited colors focused on neutral and basic tones. New styles are released less frequently.Contemporary, stylish designs geared towards fashion and versatility. The range includes athletic and casual styles.
DurabilityOutsoles made of durable rubber provide good longevity. Mesh uppers are prone to some wear over time.Materials designed to withstand heavy use and frequent washing. Built to last through long shifts.
PerformanceCloudTec system provides excellent energy return for running and athletic activities. Versatile for both exercise and casual use.Provides excellent comfort and support for extended standing and walking. Not ideal for intensive athletic activities or high performance.
Design and StyleProvides excellent comfort and support for extended standing and walking. It is not ideal for intensive athletic activities or high performance.Clean, basic designs focused more on function than fashion. Mostly casual sneakers.
PopularityWell-known globally especially among runners and athletic communities. Considered a trendy, must-have brand by some.Less known globally but very popular among healthcare professionals. Gaining more mainstream popularity.
Best Selling ModelCloud5Clove Classic

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.

Clove Shoes Overview

Clove is a relatively new brand, founded in 2018 by podiatrist Joe Ammon.

Joe Ammon

Clove designs comfortable and supportive shoes tailored specifically for healthcare professionals who spend long hours on their feet caring for patients. The shoes are designed to meet the unique needs of nurses, doctors, dentists, and other medical staff.

Key features of Clove shoes include machine washable uppers, slip-resistant rubber outsoles, moisture-wicking linings, removable cushioned insoles, wide toe boxes, and arch support.

The shoes aim to provide all-day comfort and support while also offering protection from spills and fluids. The slip-resistant soles provide excellent traction on hospital floors.

Clove’s best-selling model is the Clove Classic shoe, which features a breathable mesh upper, cushioned EVA midsole, and durable rubber outsole.

It also has an anatomic last, Ortholite insole, flex grooves, and slip-resistant sole.

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

Major Differences Between the Brands

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s compare some of the biggest differences between On and Clove shoes.

Comfort and Fit

Both brands aim to provide exceptional comfort. However, they achieve this goal through different means. On Running relies on its responsive CloudTec cushioning system while Clove utilizes arch support, midsole foam, and compression socks.

Shoes tend to fit on the wider side with a roomy toe box. Their mesh materials also ensure good ventilation. Clove shoes cater to slender or average-width feet. And their leather or knit uppers provide structure and support.

Those needing a super soft, cloud-like cushioning will appreciate On Running. But people wanting arch support and snug comfort are better off with Clove.

Durability and Performance

When it comes to durability, Clove Shoes are designed to withstand the demands of working long shifts. Their shoes are built to last through frequent use and washing. Materials are carefully selected based on longevity.

On Running also utilizes quality materials in their shoes. However, some styles are more lifestyle/fashion-focused than performance-driven. Their mesh uppers tend to show wear sooner than the leather or knits found on some Clove shoes.

For athletic performance, On Running excels thanks to its responsive CloudTec soles. Clove is not designed for speed or rigorous activity.

Those wanting a durable shoe for long wear should consider Clove. But runners and athletes in need of high performance will appreciate On shoes.


There’s no getting around the fact that both On and Clove shoes come with a higher price tag. On Running’s retail prices range from $130-$180 USD while Clove shoes cost $100-$150.

Part of the extra cost comes from the brands’ focus on innovative features and premium materials over affordability. And the addition of special details like On’s CloudTec system and Clove’s compression socks also drive the price up.

However, fans of both brands report their shoes deliver enough extra comfort and longevity to justify the cost. The right customer who prioritizes quality over price won’t mind paying more for these shoes built to last. Those on a tight budget may want to look for sales or alternative brands.

Design and Style

When it comes to aesthetics, these two brands take different approaches. On Running shoes are crafted with the stylish, fashion-forward customer in mind. Their shoes come in vibrant colors and trends that complement casual outfits and athletic gear.

Clove opts for a simpler, more classic look geared toward function over fashion. Their subdued color palette focuses on versatility to complement nursing uniforms or casual workwear. Unique style elements are minimal.

Consumers who want an eye-catching athleisure shoe will likely be drawn to On for its modern flair. However, those seeking a practical sneaker to blend into work outfits may prefer Clove’s subtle designs.


Although both brands have a loyal following, On Running has achieved widespread global popularity and name recognition especially among runners and workout enthusiasts. Their unique technology and constant new releases keep them on the cutting edge.

As a newer company, Clove Shoes are still gaining mainstream awareness. But within the healthcare community they’ve become hugely popular for their niche audience focus and supportive, slip-resistant shoes. Nurses and doctors already love and recommend the brand.

On Running undoubtedly has the cool factor among sneaker aficionados. But Clove resonates strongly with its core demographic of medical personnel needing foot relief.

Target Market

On Running aims to appeal to a wide target audience including professional athletes, weekend warriors, and fashion-focused casual wearers. Their shoes span fitness, lifestyle, travel, and outdoor activities.

Clove exclusively targets healthcare professionals who are on their feet all day. Nurses make up the bulk of their customers. Their shoes accommodate the unique needs of those workplace environments.

Those simply needing a versatile, comfortable sneaker have plenty of On models to choose from. But healthcare workers wanting purpose-built support and performance for the job should opt for Clove.

Performance Comparison

Beyond branding and design, performing well matters most. Let’s see how these shoes stack up across different needs and uses cases.

For Nurses

For nurses constantly walking across hospital floors and standing for 12hour shifts, Clove Shoes really excel. Their arch support, shock absorption, and slip-resistant soles check all the boxes for all-day comfort. Features like washable materials and optional compression socks accommodate the demands of a busy nursing schedule.

While some On Running shoes provide decent cushioning, they lack the stability and support needed for long hours in a healthcare setting. The mesh materials also may not hold up to frequent washing. Nurses unanimously prefer the purpose-built support of Clove.

For Walking

Both On and Clove perform well for walking, but they achieve comfort through different means. On Running’s CloudTec system provides responsive cushioning that makes walking feel soft and springy. Clove offers stability and arch support to combat fatigue.

For leisurely walking and running errands, On excels at reducing impact while adding bounce to your step. Their lightweight shoes also help avoid that heavy, draggy feeling.

However, if you’ll be power walking long distances or have foot issues needing support, Clove provides the stability required for all-day comfort. Those with high arches will appreciate Clove’s arch support as well.

For Running

When it comes to running performance, On Running stands out over Clove. On’s CloudTec system provides excellent energy return for pushing off during your stride or up hills. The compressed rubber pods rebound to propel you forward with less effort.

Clove’s offerings simply aren’t designed for serious running. Between their minimal traction and lack of responsiveness, Clove shoes make running feel more like a chore.

Without question, On Running is the clear winner for any distance running whether that’s sprinting, jogging, or marathons. Leave the Clove sneakers home for your next jog.

For Flat Feet

Those with flat feet or who overpronate often require stability shoes. In this case, Clove is better equipped to provide support. Their structured midsoles and reinforced heels enhance motion control. Some styles also incorporate medial posts to discourage inward rolling.

While select On shoes offer stability features, most prioritize cushioning over pronation control. As such, Clove takes the lead for providing comfortable arch support for flat feet.

For Back Pain

Back discomfort is often exacerbated by shoes lacking support. Clove’s sturdy construction and arch support helps align the body properly to reduce strain on the back. Their compression socks can further improve circulation and reduce swelling.

On shoes may feel initially comfortable thanks to the soft CloudTec padding. But over time, their minimal arch support could contribute to back pain instead of relieving it.

Those specifically needing footwear to alleviate back issues should opt for the stability and structure of Clove shoes.

For Standing All Day

If you have a job that requires standing for prolonged periods, Clove once again rises over On Running as the smarter choice. Along with arch support, Clove’s shock-absorbing midsoles soften the blow to joints after hours on your feet. The roomy toe box also prevents pinching and discomfort.

While On Running’s cushioning does reduce impact, their minimal arch support doesn’t provide the same relief for all-day standing. The snugger toe box could also bother some wearers over time. Go with Clove for the best support on the job.

For High Arches

High arches create specific footwear needs, including a contoured footbed and ample cushioning. In this scenario, On Running’s CloudTec foam provides responsive, customizable comfort embracing the arch.

Clove offers sufficient arch support for some. But their flatter footbed might leave those with really high arches wanting more contour and cushion. On takes the lead in providing plush padding for high arches.

For Hiking

Moving into the great outdoors, On Running redeems itself as a strong hiking shoe contender. The grippy CloudTec soles provide excellent traction even on slick surfaces. The cushioning softens impacts on uneven terrain and the lightweight mesh uppers keep feet breathing on long treks.

Clove’s offerings simply don’t have the traction or performance features needed for most hiking situations beyond smooth, groomed trails. Their bulky silhouette also lacks the versatility and flexibility desired on the trails.

For hikers needing performance and adaptability, On Running is the clear choice over Clove.

For Plantar Fasciitis

The stabbing heel pain of plantar fasciitis requires shoes that cushion each step. On Running’s soft, responsive padding helps minimize heel impacts to reduce symptoms. Some styles also incorporate a stiff heel counter for stability.

While Clove offers arch support, their overall construction lacks the plush heel cushioning needed to combat plantar fasciitis flare-ups. Their relatively firm footbed could worsen pain over time.

In this matchup, customers battling plantar fasciitis symptoms will find greater relief and comfort in On Running shoes.

Final Verdict

So which brand comes out on top: On Running or Clove? Ultimately there is no universal winner. Each brand has strengths that make them better suited to certain activities and wearers.

Here are some final takeaways to help decide which is better for you:

  • On Running excels at cushioning and energy return for athletic performance. Their shoes also have a stylish, modern aesthetic for all-day wear.
  • Clove Shoes provide tailored support and comfort for healthcare workers and others on their feet all day. Their understated styles blend seamlessly into uniforms.
  • On Running accommodates a wider range of foot types and activities. Clove specifically targets the unique needs of nurses and medical staff.
  • On caters to runners and trendy sneaker lovers willing to pay more for premium performance and Swiss technology.
  • Clove appeals to pragmatists who prioritize function over flash but still appreciate quality craftsmanship.

The choice ultimately comes down to your priorities, needs, and personal preferences. Consider how you plan to use the shoes along with your individual foot shape, arch type, and comfort requirements. And think about whether factors like cost, aesthetics, and brand values matter in your decision.

Once you determine whether cushioning, support, style, or pricing matters most, you’ll know whether your perfect pair is On Running or Clove Shoes. With this comprehensive brand comparison as your guide, you can confidently choose footwear that performs beautifully for your unique needs and preferences. Happy shopping!

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