These trail running shoes offer exceptional performance both up and downhill

Ask any trail runner and they’re likely to tell you: Lightweight and comfortable shoes that can maintain their footing on a variety of surfaces are pretty much the Holy Grail of the sport. The right footwear can make all the difference in terms of speed and performance on the trail, allowing any outdoor athlete to run with more confidence and security. That is the promise of the new Cloudventure Peak shoes from On, a Swiss company that specializes in making gear specifically for runners.

The Cloudventure Peak, which is available in both men’s and women’s versions, uses On’s patented Speedboard, a custom-made sole designed to provide efficient energy return throughout a run. The sole’s exceptional torsion and flex control help promote a more efficient running gait, which translates into better overall performance on the trail. But when the company set out to make its new running shoe, it knew it needed to pair the Speedboard with an advanced form of cushioning as well. To do that, On developed CloudTec, a material designed to make running uphill easier but improve descents too, while also shaving weight off the final product.

The CloudTec system is a minimalist suspension that does away with the heavy rubber soles that are found on most trail running shoes. It not only provides cushioning against the impact of the foot striking the ground but also enables a solid grip on both climbs and descents. This makes for better all around traction and a more efficient transfer of power. As a result, runners should be faster and more nimble going up and coming down.

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On’s designers paid as much attention to the shoe’s upper as it did its sole. The company used lightweight yet durable materials that are both breathable and quick-drying to make the Cloudventure Peak more comfortable to wear. On top of that, the interior of the shoe is also lined with a soft-sock construction that prevents hot spots and blisters from forming, even on longer runs.

For runners looking for the more technical aspects of the shoe, the Cloudventure Peak features a six-millimeter drop and tips the scales at 9.2 ounces. That makes it one of the lightest trail shoes on the market, although On says it achieved these svelte dimensions without sacrificing performance. The shoes are available now and sell for $149.