On Cloudboom Echo 3: The Super Shoe That Landed Me a PB

Over the last few months, as I’ve been training for the London Landmarks Half Marathon and a few other races this summer, I’ve been testing a handful of racing shoes to see how much they would enhance my speed and performance. Among this rotation, the On Cloudboom Echo 3 have truly stood out. 

Most new racing shoes on the market have similar features, including speedboards and responsive cushioning. But there are few elements that set apart the Cloudboom Echo 3, such as On’s streamline fit and extreme rocker. 

So, when it came to picking my race day shoes, it was an easy decision. Engineered for racing and incredibly lightweight, the On Cloudboom Echo 3 sped me toward the finish line of the London Landmarks Half Marathon — and helped me cross with a three minute PB. 

The writer running in the On Cloudboom Echo 3 Shoe to review it.
Matt Lennon

These racing shoes do come with a shiny price tag of $290, but I’d argue they’re worth it for certain runners. If you’re wondering whether the On Cloudboom Echo 3 is the right half marathon shoe for you, read on.

The Specs

Fit of the On Cloudboom Echo 3, according to our tester who ran 150km in them.

The On Cloudboom Echo family is designed as a combination of a carbon speedboard and an extreme rocker shape, which puts propulsion to every step. They, of course, also have the Swedish brand’s famous CloudTec and springy ultra-soft Helion HF (those little clouds on the bottom of the shoe). 

Combined, the design of the Cloudboom Echo makes running feel almost effortless; I felt incredibly light and free when running in them. 

Coming in at less than 215 g or 7.6 oz (the women’s Cloudboom sits around the 190 g mark, or 6.6 oz), these shoes are also incredibly lightweight. 

The breathable, microfiber upper, sleek tongue, and laces also create a sock-like fit, furthering just how darn comfortable they are.  

  • Fit: Close to foot but with a roomy toe box
  • Comfort: Incredibly comfortable; I’ve never had a blister when wearing them — even fresh out of the box! 
  • Upper Fit Security: My feet felt securely and comfortably locked in place, largely thanks to the silicone inserts on the laces and insole
  • Upper Comfort: Microfibre, breathable upper made from 100% recycled polyester
  • Toe box comfort: Spacious
  • Heel Lock: Due to such a thin design, I needed to play with the lace tightness to ensure I had the right lockdown
  • Cushioning: Soft and smooth thanks to ultra-soft Helion HF made from Pebax, which is known for being a lightweight and responsive foam. Combined with CloudTec — On’s famous outsole that provides both horizontal and vertical cushioning — these shoes offer soft landings and explosive takeoffs.
  • Midsole Stability: As they’re designed to propel you forward and make you roll, these shoes are stable but respond best when running fast. Heavy-footed runners who like a lot of stability in a shoe won’t be happy with these.
  • Ride Responsiveness: Very responsive
  • Transition Quality: Extreme rocker shape propels you forward very effectively
  • Traction: A little slippy in the wet but great on dry road and track
  • Durability: They’re durable to a point, but if you’re someone whose toes break through the top of your running shoes, the thinner, mesh upper (which keeps the overall weight down) might not last you 
  • Breathability: Very breathable and lightweight
  • Weight: At 188g/214g, I barely felt like I was wearing shoes they were so light
  • Aesthetics: Available in three colours, they’re a very aesthetically appealing shoe Innovation: These shoes are full of technology: extreme rocker to help propel you forward;a carbon plate to help conserve energy; CloudTec in Helion superfoam, as cliché as it sounds, makes it feel like you’re ‘running on clouds’; 100%-recycled, engineered mesh upper with targeted reinforcements for more durability; performance rubber compound with enhanced traction geometry
  • Versatility: Best for speed sessions and races

Design and Aesthetics 

On Cloudboom Echo 3 top view

I tried Ons very first iteration of the Cloudboom back in 2020. They were a similar shape, featuring a carbon plate but with very small clouds (this is On’s famous CloudTec technology, an innovative cushioning system consisting of hollow pods on the outsole, seen on all On shoes). 

So when I unboxed the third iteration, which launched in the summer of 2023, I couldn’t believe how sleek and beautiful the newest model was. Everyone loves a pair of white shoes. The trouble is they just don’t stay white for long. Saving these for track work and racing, I’ve managed to keep them pretty clean. I have the classic white and green colorway but they also come in an orange and white as well as dustrose and eclipse (dusty pink). 

As far as the shoe’s design, the first thing I noticed is the extreme rocker, which I soon found out really does help to propel you forward. Coupled with the carbon plate, I felt like the design allowed me to conserve energy when running. Like all On shoes, the Cloudboom use CloudTec in Helion superfoam, which, as cliché as it sounds, really does make it feel like you’re running on clouds. The last noteworthy part of the design, in my opinion, is the shoe’s upper, which is made from engineered mesh (100% recycled at that) and crafted with targeted reinforcements. I found the reinforcements did help the lightweight, bare-bones shoe to be a little more durable. 

So far I’ve run about 150km in these shoes and see no signs of wear. But I imagine, for most people, hot spots might appear in the toe box or on the sides of the widest part of your foot.

It’s also worth noting, when it comes to the design of most all Ons, I tend to wear half a size up. This may be different for you, but I have found the sizing is pretty consistent across all of the brand’s shoes and was no different for the newest Cloudboom Echo. 

How the Shoe Performed During Testing

The On Cloudboom Echo 3 performed great for track workouts and for a full half marathon race.
Matt Lennon

With the London Landmarks Half Marathon and a few UTMB races on my calendar, my focus the last couple of months has been on speed work and hill training (a tough mix at times). I have a strong shoe rotation, which includes the On Cloudsurfer for easy road runs; the Altra Timp 5, Merrell Agility Peak, Adidas Terrex Speed Flow, or On Cloudsurfer Trail for trails; and, now, the On Cloudboom Echo for speed work and racing. 

I did wear a few other carbon-plated shoes during my training (including the Adidas Adizero Adios Pro 3), but on race day, it was the Cloudbooms that I reached for. Here’s why:

Putting the shoe on for the first speed work session, I immediately loved the way it felt. It’s a little strange wearing an extreme rocker, carbon-plated shoe for the first time. They roll very aggressively, meaning running or walking slow feels a little off balance. But I found I quickly got used to the movement once I picked up the pace. 

The first time I wore the shoe was for a 5 km track session with a 2.5 km run to and from the track. I had no issues with rubbing or the laces and had a thoroughly great run. I really felt the propulsion when I increased my speed (my speed session was 400m, 600m, 400m, 600m x 2 at a 4:10km pace, with 1 minute rest between each, followed by 1km at 4.10).

Alongside speed sessions, I’ve also worn the On Cloudbooms for longer tempo runs. They continue to perform time after time, whether it’s my fifth or fifteenth run. 

The real test, though, came on race day when I wore them for the London Landmarks Half Marathon. I felt like I was gliding along for the 13.1 miles, barely having to lift my legs as the shoe was doing it for me. The following day, I was generally tired, of course, but I didn’t have any pronounced muscle fatigue, which I’ve certainly felt from some other racing shoes.

How the On Cloudboom Echo 3 Stacks Up

I tested these shoes alongside Adidas Adizero Adios Pro 3. The two are similar in technology with a carbon plate, soft, reactive foam and an enhanced rocker. But I did get blisters where the tongue sat on the Adidas shoes, where I found a few ‘hot spots’. A little adjusting probably would have sorted this but I can’t say I went back to play about… 

The other leading competitors on the market for the Cloudboom Echo are the New Balance Fresh Foam, which are great for first time marathon runners who want a bit more support, and Nike Alphafly 3, which many pro elites have worn, including the great Eliud Kipchoge. 

Ultimately, the Cloudbooms and Nike Alphas are very similar, with a carbon plate, foam sole, and rocker. The main difference is that the Nike’s are a few grams lighter, and have a 8mm drop, whereas the Cloudbooms have a 10mm drop (The difference in height between the heel and forefoot).

Pros and Cons of the On Cloudboom Echo 3

I’ve tested many running shoes over the years and I really don’t have anything bad to say about the Cloudboom Echo — apart from maybe the price at $290.

The pros speak for themselves:

  • Ultra-lightweight 
  • Breathable 
  • Soft and spongy
  • Reactive
  • Carbon-plate technology
  • Worn by elites
  • Sustainable, made from 100% recycled polyester 


  • Price
  • Durability — this isn’t an everyday shoe

What Other Runners Think of the Price and Value

I have recommended the On Cloudboom Echos to quite a few fellow runners and I’ve never had any negative feedback — but plenty of positive. These are go-to shoes for elite marathon runners and while you don’t need to be one to wear them, there’s no reason you shouldn’t. 

The only real downside I’ve ever heard regarding this shoe is about price and durability. This is understandable: As a racing shoe, it’s built to be light and fast which doesn’t always correlate with durability — and most often does correlate with a higher price tag. That being said, I’ve had mine for just under a year and, by wearing them for only specific sessions and races, I still have quite a lot of miles left in them and durability isn’t a problem.

Is the On Cloudboom Echo 3 Worth Buying?

The writer testing the On Cloudboom Echo 3 on a track workout.
Matt Lennon

It’s safe to say I am a big fan of the On Cloudboom Echo 3. It makes running feel fun and enjoyable, which is one of the key things I look for in a shoe. The technology is some of the best around. 

Moreover, the brand’s commitment to sustainability is proven in every shoe they make — the Cloudboom Echo 3 features 100% recycled polyester, and On’s latest creation, the Cyclon, is made with over 90% recyclable with over 50% bio-based materials.

I admit this shoe is at the top end — or well over — most budgets. But at the end of the day, whether it’s worth the money depends what you want or need as a runner. If your racing time isn’t your priority or you break the seams on most of your shoes, the Cloudboom probably isn’t worth it. Also, if you want a shoe that can be used for a variety of runs (training, tempo, gym work, and racing) the Cloudboom Echo won’t be the one for you. You can, however, find many alternative, lower-priced shoes to fit your needs, including from On (I’m a big fan of the Cloudsurfer and Cloudmonster).

But if you want a race-day shoe that’s going to carry you around the course and make 13.1 miles feel as effortless as possible, I definitely recommend the Cloudboom Echo 3, even for $290.

Everything featured on Half Marathon Guide is independently selected. We may receive a small commission on purchases made from some of our links. 

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