Choosing the right pair of running shoes is a critical decision for runners of all levels. With a myriad of brands and models available in the market, two names that stand out are Saucony and On. Both have gained popularity for their innovative technologies, comfort, and performance. In this comprehensive comparison, we will delve into the key features, technologies, and performance of Saucony and On running shoes, helping you make an informed decision based on your specific running needs.

Saucony: A Legacy of Excellence

Brand History and Philosophy

Saucony, founded in 1898 in Kutztown, Pennsylvania, has a rich history in athletic footwear. The brand has consistently focused on providing high-quality running shoes that cater to the unique needs of runners. Saucony’s philosophy revolves around the belief that every stride matters, and their commitment to innovation reflects in their diverse range of products.

Key Technologies

  1. EVERUN™ Cushioning: Saucony’s EVERUN™ cushioning technology is designed to provide a continuous cushioning experience, distributing pressure more evenly and offering enhanced energy return. This technology is often featured in the midsole, providing a plush and responsive feel during runs.
  2. ISOFIT™ System: Saucony’s ISOFIT™ technology is aimed at creating a dynamic fit system that adapts to the shape and motion of the runner’s foot. This helps in achieving a more customized and comfortable fit, reducing the risk of discomfort or injury.
  3. PWRRUN™ Foam: Another notable technology is the PWRRUN™ foam, which offers a lightweight and responsive cushioning system. It is designed to provide a balance between comfort and energy return, making it suitable for various running distances.
  4. TRI-FLEX Outsole: The TRI-FLEX outsole is engineered to provide flexibility and optimal ground contact, ensuring a smooth and stable ride. The design enhances traction and durability, making Saucony shoes reliable for different terrains.

Popular Models

  1. Saucony Ride ISO: Known for its versatility, the Saucony Ride ISO is a popular choice among neutral runners. It combines the EVERUN™ cushioning with the ISOFIT™ technology to deliver a comfortable and adaptive running experience.
  2. Saucony Kinvara: Emphasizing lightweight design and responsiveness, the Saucony Kinvara is a favorite among runners who prefer a more minimalistic shoe. The PWRRUN™ foam provides a responsive feel without compromising on cushioning.
  3. Saucony Guide ISO: Catering to runners in need of stability, the Saucony Guide ISO incorporates the brand’s technologies to offer both support and comfort. The Guide ISO is often recommended for those with mild to moderate overpronation.

On: Swiss Engineering for the CloudRunners

Brand History and Philosophy

On, a relatively newer player in the running shoe market, was founded in Switzerland in 2010. The brand gained rapid recognition for its innovative CloudTec® technology, which features distinctive cloud-like pods on the outsole. On’s philosophy revolves around creating shoes that provide cushioning only when needed, offering a unique running experience that adapts to the individual’s gait.

Key Technologies

  1. CloudTec® Technology: The hallmark of On running shoes is the CloudTec® technology. The outsole of On shoes features cloud-like pods that compress upon impact, providing cushioning where it’s needed the most. This technology aims to offer a soft landing and a firm takeoff, catering to various running styles.
  2. Speedboard™: The Speedboard™ is a rigid layer placed between the midsole and outsole. It is designed to translate the energy generated from each stride into forward propulsion, promoting a more efficient and responsive running experience.
  3. Helion™ Foam: On utilizes Helion™ foam in the midsole of some of its models. This foam is engineered to be lightweight, durable, and responsive, providing a comfortable and energetic ride.
  4. Engineered Mesh Upper: Many On shoes feature an engineered mesh upper that provides a snug and breathable fit. The upper is designed to offer support while maintaining flexibility, contributing to an overall comfortable running experience.

Popular Models

  1. On Cloud: The On Cloud is a versatile and popular model known for its lightweight design and CloudTec® cushioning. It caters to runners seeking a responsive and agile shoe for both training and racing.
  2. On Cloudflow: Designed for speed, the On Cloudflow incorporates the Speedboard™ technology for enhanced propulsion. It is a favorite among runners looking for a lightweight and responsive shoe for tempo runs and races.
  3. On Cloudflyer: Catering to runners in need of stability, the On Cloudflyer features additional support elements while maintaining the signature CloudTec® cushioning. It is recommended for those with overpronation seeking a stable and cushioned ride.

Comparative Analysis

1. Cushioning and Responsiveness:

  • Saucony: Saucony’s cushioning technologies, such as EVERUN™ and PWRRUN™ foam, focus on providing a balanced mix of comfort and responsiveness. The choice between models allows runners to select the level of cushioning that aligns with their preferences.
  • On: On’s CloudTec® technology emphasizes targeted cushioning, activated only during the impact phase. This design offers a unique sensation of soft landings with a firmer toe-off, catering to runners who prefer a more responsive ride.

Verdict: The choice between Saucony and On in terms of cushioning depends on personal preference. If you prefer a consistently cushioned feel throughout the run, Saucony may be more suitable. On, on the other hand, is ideal for those who appreciate a unique, segmented cushioning experience.

2. Fit and Comfort:

  • Saucony: The ISOFIT™ system in Saucony shoes contributes to a snug and adaptive fit, molding to the runner’s foot shape. The engineered mesh uppers in many models enhance breathability and comfort.
  • On: On’s engineered mesh uppers and overall design aim to provide a comfortable and supportive fit. The CloudTec® pods adapt to the foot’s movement, contributing to a personalized and comfortable running experience.

Verdict: Both Saucony and On excel in providing comfortable fits. Choosing between them may come down to personal preferences regarding the feel of the shoe on the foot.

3. Stability and Support:

  • Saucony: Models like the Saucony Guide ISO are explicitly designed for runners in need of stability. The combination of support features and cushioning technologies caters to those with mild to moderate overpronation.
  • On: The On Cloudflyer is On’s stability-focused model, incorporating additional support elements while maintaining the CloudTec® cushioning. It is suitable for runners with overpronation seeking a stable ride.

Verdict: If stability is a primary concern, both Saucony and On offer models tailored to address this need. Runners should try both brands and models to determine which provides the desired level of stability.

4. Weight:

  • Saucony: The weight of Saucony shoes varies across models. Generally, Saucony offers a range of options, from lightweight models like the Kinvara to more cushioned and slightly heavier options.
  • On: On is known for its lightweight designs, and even models with ample cushioning, like the On Cloud, maintain a relatively low weight.

Verdict: If weight is a crucial factor, On tends to have a slight edge, as many of its models prioritize a lightweight construction without compromising on cushioning.

5. Versatility:

  • Saucony: Saucony has a diverse range of models catering to different running styles, preferences, and distances. Whether you’re a neutral runner, prefer minimalistic shoes, or need stability, Saucony offers options for various needs.
  • On: On’s lineup is also versatile, with models like the On Cloud suitable for both training and racing. The brand’s focus on innovation and unique design makes its shoes adaptable to different running scenarios.

Verdict: Both Saucony and On offer versatile options. The choice depends on individual preferences and the specific requirements of the runner.


Choosing between Saucony and On ultimately depends on individual preferences, running style, and specific needs. Saucony, with its longstanding history and commitment to innovation, provides a range of models suitable for various runners. On, a newer entrant, distinguishes itself with the unique CloudTec® technology and a focus on creating a responsive and personalized running experience.

Before making a decision, it’s essential for runners to consider factors such as cushioning preferences, stability requirements, and the overall feel of the shoe on their feet. Trying on different models from both Saucony and On, and even considering a gait analysis, can further aid in making an informed choice.

In the end, whether you opt for the established excellence of Saucony or the innovative approach of On, both brands are dedicated to enhancing your running experience. The perfect pair of shoes is the one that aligns with your unique running style and helps you achieve your performance goals.

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