On Running vs Saucony: Which Is Better?

As an avid runner and sneaker enthusiast, I’ve tested my fair share of running shoes over the years. Two brands that consistently rise to the top are On Running and Saucony. Both offer high-quality, comfortable shoes packed with innovative features and technologies.

But with so many models to choose from, it can be tricky deciding which brand is right for your needs. That’s why I decided to compare On and Saucony’s key differences—from fit and feel to performance and popularity. Read on to see how these two fan-favorite brands stack up.

Comparison Table

CategoryOn RunningSaucony
Founded In20101898
Comfort and FitCloud-like cushioning, wide toe boxPlush cushioning, snugger fit
Color OptionsVibrant colors and patternsMore subdued colors
DurabilityDurable rubber outsolesKnown for durability
PerformanceExcellent energy return and bounceProvides stable, cushioned ride
Design and StyleUnique, eye-catching designsClassic running shoe look
PopularityGrowing popularity among runnersEstablished brand with loyal following
Best Selling ModelCloud 5Kinvara

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.

Saucony Overview

Saucony has been crafting high-quality athletic shoes since 1898 when the brand was founded in Kutztown, Pennsylvania.

Known for their cushioned and supportive fit, Saucony running shoes are designed to provide versatility for runners of all levels.

They incorporate features like PWRRUN+ midsole foam, FORMFIT uppers, and Everun in the outsole to deliver a smooth, flexible ride.

Saucony offers a wide range of pronation control options like their neutral, stability, and motion control shoes.

Their shoes also accommodate different arch types with models featuring low to high arch support.

While the average price point is around $100, Saucony has options spanning from $55 for basic models to $275 for their top designs.

They have a classic, sleek aesthetic that works for athletic training as well as casual everyday use. Saucony is a brand with broad appeal across the running community.

One of their popular model Kinvara is a light, flexible shoe perfect for tempo runs and racing. For runners seeking a reliable, well-cushioned workhorse of a shoe, Saucony delivers quality and performance.

Major Differences between the Brands

Comfort and Fit

On shoes are known for their cloud-like cushioning that adapts to your foot for plush softness underfoot. Their wide toe boxes allow toes to splay naturally for comfort. Saucony offers plush cushioning with a more precise, snugger fit through the midfoot and heel. Their shoes better accommodate narrower feet.

Durability and Performance

Both brands use high-quality materials and construction for good durability. On excels at energy return for a springy, responsive ride. Saucony focuses more on delivering continuous cushioning mile after mile. The extra stability in Saucony shoes makes them better suited for overpronators.


Shoes tend to come with a higher price tag, typically ranging from $130 to $180. Saucony’s prices span a wider gamut from $60 up to $160 for high-end models, so they may be the better choice for shoppers on a budget. However, On’s unique cushioning system and premium materials justify their higher cost.

Design and Style

On shoes feature distinctive designs and colorways that make their shoes stand out. They have an athletic, upbeat vibe. Saucony takes a more understated approach to letting their technology and performance speak for themselves. Their shoes employ tonal color combos and classic running shoe silhouettes.


Saucony has a long-established reputation and loyal following amongst runners. On is a relative newcomer but their popularity has grown exponentially over the past decade due to positive reviews and word-of-mouth buzz. Both brands remain top choices for runners and athletes.

Target Market

On targets a younger demographic drawn to their bold, unique styling and innovative technology. Saucony appeals to a wider age range of runners seeking conventional cushioning and support. Both brands cater primarily to road runners rather than trail runners.

Performance Comparison

For Nurses

The continuous cushioning and shock absorption of Saucony shoes make them an excellent choice for nurses who are on their feet all day. Models like the Triumph ISO 5 provide plush cushioning and support while remaining lightweight. On could also work well thanks to the energizing rebound of their CloudTec sole, but some may find them less stable.

For Walking

For walking and casual wear, On shines thanks to their adaptive cushioning system that stays comfortable for hours. Shoes like the Cloudace provide the right balance of softness and support. Saucony also offers cushy, supportive walking shoes like the Cohesion TR14 for all-day wear.

For Running

When it comes to running, you can’t go wrong with either brand. On excels at providing a smooth, energetic ride for mid to forefoot strikers. Saucony is ideal for heel strikers who prefer plenty of rearfoot cushioning mile after mile. Both offer great shock absorption.

For Flat Feet

The right Saucony stability shoe with pronation control is a great pick for flat feet, such as the Guide ISO 2. On is better suited for flatter feet that are also on the wider side, since their toe boxes allow room to spread out. Neither brand is ideal for severely flat feet.

For Back Pain

On shoes can help reduce back pain by cushioning every step while also engaging your muscles more than a traditional sole. The bounce-back effect also encourages better posture. For those who need extra stability, Saucony’s structured cushioning also helps minimize pain and fatigue.

For Standing All Day

Cushioning is key for all-day standing comfort, making either Saucony or On a good option. Look for a thickly cushioned On style like the Cloudmonster with extra support features. From Saucony, the Echelon LE3 offers plush comfort and stability.

For High Arches

Both On and Saucony cater well to high arches thanks to their well-cushioned midsoles. Look for On styles with enhanced arch support like the Cloudace. For Saucony, the Hurricane 24 provides cushioning and stabilization for high arches. Focus on finding a plush, supportive fit.

For Hiking

When heading onto trails, On and Saucony both offer hiking-specific models. The On Cloudrock Waterproof excels at providing cushioning and grip over changing terrain. Saucony’s Peregrine 12 ST has an aggressive outsole for downhill traction paired with EVERUN topsole for continuous comfort.

For Plantar Fasciitis

Those with plantar fasciitis need ample cushioning and arch support, making On and Saucony solid choices. For On, the Cloudventure Peak provides cushioning where you need it most. From Saucony, the Omni Walker features rearfoot and arch support. Focus on cushioning and stability.

Final Verdict

In the battle of these two innovative athletic brands, On and Saucony both make excellent performance shoes. Saucony leads when it comes to delivering structured support and plush comfort for a secure, smooth ride.

On comes out on top if you prioritize lightweight responsiveness and bold style with their unparalleled cushioning system.

Whichever you choose, you can count on top-quality shoes crafted to go the distance. Focus on your individual fit and support needs to decide which brand suits your running style. With ON and Saucony in your rotation, you’re sure to find shoes that feel like they’re made just for you.

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