REVIEW: On Cloudboom Echo 3

The On Cloudboom Echo 3 embodies elite athlete insights and footwear innovation from the The Lab.

This is On's fastest race day shoe and all about maximizing running efficiency.

Engineered with On's signature CloudTec® and Helion X1 superfoam, the Cloudboom Echo 3 combines impact protection with supreme energy return. A rocker-shaped full-carbon Speedboard® enhances superior propulsion on every stride.

Tested and proven by athletes, even at world stage races. The collaboration with the athletes was the essential ingredient to developing the 3rd generation of the Cloudboom Echo. And literally everything on the shoe is designed for running FAST: From it‘s construction, materials and race-specific details such as the sockliner and laces to keep the foot in place.


We asked Carmichael Caldwell to review the On Cloudboom Echo 3;

The tech

Stack height:37mm (Heel) / 28mm (Forefoot)
Most suitable for:Made for your fastest marathons and road races.
Key features:Engineered with On's signature CloudTec®, HelionX1 superfoam, and a rocker-shaped full-carbon Speedboard®, the shoe combines impact protection with supreme energy return.
RATINGS:(out of 5)

First impressions

On first impression, I noticed immediately that On is genuinely invested in understanding the runner´s needs and improving on their shoes each year. The design is very sleek, gives you a very lean look from the side view and the stack height is perfect giving you the cushioning / support you need without the extra weight.


The upper

The upper is very stable, lightweight, but durable material which is what you want out of a racing shoe. Oftentimes race day shoes feel like a sock, but lack stability. With the Cloudboom Echo3 the upper gives you a stable, breathable fit that allows you to feel snug within the shoe and gives you a personalised approach via the lacing system so you do not feel constrained or forced into an uncomfortable position like some other super shoes force you into. A race-specific fit provides comfort where you need it (heel, instep) and smart silicon applications on sockliner and laces for perfect fit inside the shoe (no slipping, no friction) even over the full distance of a marathon.

I think this empowers you to adjust to the shoe much quicker and naturally find comfort easily on a day-to-day basis.

Weight plays a role on race day; the Cloudboom Echo 3 weights only 215g. Its thin and breathable one-piece upper makes the shoes look and feel light and fast.

Upper features

High-tech one-piece woven upper with engineered zones for high breathability.

Minimal in terms of overlays.

Everything is directly engineered into the one piece upper for optimal support for racing.

Padded tongue for high comfort with small cut-outs for more breathability.

Precise heel construction for perfect heel lock.

Laces with small silicon dots to prevent unlacing during a race.


The midsole

The cushioning of the shoe is very comfortable, but firm. The carbon plate gives you extreme stability and is consumed by a very stiff but flexible foam that allows you to propel forward once you get into flow for longer runs and still recover quickly. 

Two years or so ago, in On's initial range they had this very stiff and firm midsole, but lacked the cushioning and responsiveness it has today. They have definitely made a humongous improvement here in developing something that makes you feel supported, faster as you get deeper into the runs and most importantly recover quickly.

I believe this shoe is also the perfect balance from heel-to-toe.

Midsole features

CloudTec® bottom unit made from Helion X1 superfoam in a race-legal stack height provides cushioning and supreme energy return.

A spoon-like shaped full Carbon speedboard, sandwiched between the midsole layers propels you forward.

The midsole construction leverages the most out of the plate: the clouds collapse and allow for more forefoot pressure on the plate for more explosive take-offs.

Molded and perforated sockliner with silicon print to prevent slipping and reduce friction.


The outsole

The outsole is a very durable rubber compound and the traction really makes you feel like you are gripping the road with every stride. The best way to explain this is a "new tyre" feel when you are pulling off the lot. You can easily manoeuvre through turns and you feel very quick and elusive. 

I continuously speak on the durability of the shoe, but that is something that continues to stand out on the outsole and given the versatility of the stack height, carbon plate and lean design is perfect for a range of distance from 5k to marathon.

If you are not used to a very stiff outsole, then I think that will be the biggest adjust, but I think an adjustment worth making given the durability and performance of the shoe.

Outsole features

Thin rubber pads are placed in the key impact areas in the heel.

A larger forefoot pad provides more surface area for best traction during the toe-off.


Sizing: Fit and Feel

The length and width of the shoe is true to size. 

You may feel it is a bit loose when you first slide your foot inside, because so many other brands now have this inner ¨sock¨ type of feel, but when you lace them up it gives you a truly customised feel that is lightweight and most importantly flexible and functional. All runners have a different style and feel throughout their runs and the shoe gives you the flexibility to truly run in your own style. 


For me the performance of the shoe was incredible and very surprising. I seemed to be able to keep previous paces with less effort in my speed sessions and most importantly not feel the damage to my legs after the session.

These are definitely a great choice for your speed sessions, tempo runs and half marathon.

I would recommend this shoe to athletes that are performance based and trending in the direction of a sub 1:45 half marathon to get the full advantage of the carbon plate and stiff outsole.



The Cloudboom Echo 3 in summary

Extremely light-weight and perfect for speed sessions and tempo runs.

Have a very stiff, cushioned and responsive outsole & midsole that allow you to get the most out of sessions and still recover quickly.

Ideal for athletes that are performance based.

Showcase an extremely customizable and flexible fit given the lacing system. 

Extremely good traction that allows you to feel the road and easily turn corners without losing speed or control.

Overall, these are some of my favourite super shoes so far and a shoe I am definitely adding to my rotation for this next marathon build.

Want to find out more? We've been busy collecting all the latest tips & expert advice for marathon training and race days. Our Marathon category lets you experience real in-the-moment stories as we dive deeper into Q&A with athletes, kit reviews, nutritional advice and so much more!


We've been busy collecting all the latest tips & expert advice for marathon training and race days. Our exclusive guide lets you experience real in-the-moment stories as we dive deeper into Q&A with top brands, exclusive SportsShoes reviews, nutrition advice and so much more!

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