On Cloud running shoes are my go-to for knee pain


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I like to run, but my knees don’t. After retiring from college swimming, I took up running, and like so many former athletes, the concept of normal exercise just for mental or physical health was hard for me to grasp. When the need to constantly compete kicked in, I found myself jogging five, then 10, then 15 miles a day. Needless to say, it was excruciating for a novice, and a year into my running journey, I had two swollen knees and a pair of sore ankles. Since then, I’ve learned to practice balance in my training routine, but no matter what trainers I try, I can’t outrun the discomfort that inevitably comes with higher mileage. That is, until I tried the On Running Cloudmonster sneakers.

If you’re not already familiar with On, the Swedish brand is best known for its sustainably-made performance trainers. In addition to the company’s mission to “decouple carbon emissions from business growth,” the shoemaker has launched a game-changing shoe over the past few years: the very high-performance Cloudventure trail runners. vogue and the super cushioned Cloudultra road trainers. New to the Cloud family, the Cloudmonster sneakers (Buy ’em, $170, garmentory.com) are the “tallest, thickest and fluffiest clouds yet,” according to On. The brand’s Helion Superfoam, which lines the soles, is designed to be lightweight, durable and incredibly responsive. Plus, the sneaker’s funky rounded shape transfers weight seamlessly, giving wearers a little boost with every step.

After receiving a pair from the brand, I was a bit intimidated. Despite having a super thick sole, these sneakers were lighter than the heavier, cushioned sneakers I usually choose. On the first day, I decided to bring them in on a walk through my neighborhood, but honestly, I didn’t need them. They were super comfortable and not at all pinchy. In fact, they hug my feet perfectly and give me the same cushioned support as my usual, already broken-in sneakers. (BTW: This list contains some of the best sneakers for long-distance running.)

Feeling ambitious, I decided to go for a run in the park, which I hadn’t done since the fall. The first mile went by like a breeze. Along with the sun, I enjoyed the plush feel and bouncy feedback the shoes gave me. As a former overpronator, I’m still aware of how my foot lands, but throughout the run my heel was locked in nicely, keeping my arches and ankles stable. In fact, when I reached the seven-mile marker, a distance I rarely reach since my injury, my knees were still painless.

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