ON to New Adventures
Alyssa reflects on her time at the ON running retreat, Oniversity, in Chicago!
“Life is all about the new and the unknown. It’s about waking up each day and trying something you haven’t before so that you can experience all that is out there.”
Or, at least that is what a cool, adventurous person would say, right?
I would not classify myself as that adventurous person. I live by “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it” and “safe is better than sorry." I apply those adages to all walks of my life...especially my running tendencies and gear.
However, I recently had the opportunity to encounter an up-and-coming running shoe brand -- ON. I had a pretty exceptional experience and would like to share and maybe even inspire some of my fellow ‘play it safe’ runners to try something different.
A few weeks ago, I was invited to run the streets of Chicago (a completely new city to this Florida girl) with the ON brand. I spent most of the weekend desperately trying to keep up with runners that were MUCH faster and MUCH more competitive than myself. My nerves about this new experience I had entered into honestly made me feel even more closed off to trying out this a new brand, and their shoes, that quite frankly, I knew nothing about.
Specifically, I was given a pair of On CloudSwifts to try out. Initially, I was not convinced. The CloudSwifts are an all one piece upper, meaning they slip on more like a sock than a shoe, which left me feeling loosey goosey. The technology in the platform of the shoe, known as helion, made the underfoot feel stiff and extremely firm. They were heavier than my favorite Brooks Ravennas, and just felt too different. Overall, I felt like Goldilocks, they were too ‘this’, or too ‘that’, nothing about the shoe was ‘JUST right’. However, I wanted to give them a fair shot so out for my run, I went.
As soon as I started putting one foot in front of the other, my whole attitude changed. When really moving, the shoes were instantly more springy than any shoe I had tried before. The CloudSwift is one of the only ON shoes that doesn’t have what they call a channel, or a space, separating the little pods of rubber on the platform of the shoe near the toe box. To translate, this meant I felt really solid as I sprung off my toes and landed comfortably. The OnSwifts also have this tech called the Speedboard, which is a plastic piece in the shoe that helps propel you forward and it did the one thing I needed to feel a bit more confident - it made me feel FAST.
The other surprising takeaway from this shoe was that it was the first and only shoe that had less than the traditional 12mm drop I’m so used to, yet, I felt NO issues during or after my run. Usually within minutes of my run, my calves will start screaming at less than 12mm, but even in the CloudSwifts (7mm), I was zooming through crowds of people down Michigan Ave and holding my own with my group of cheetah-like new running buddies.
Throughout the rest of my trip, I got to try out the other styles of ON, and found that I was pleasantly surprised with all of them! The entire experience of trying out a new and very non-traditional shoe was eye opening. I couldn’t wait until I could get back out and use them again. I wanted to go further and longer in the shoes to really see how they compared to my other tried and true Brooks favorites.
Ultimately, I couldn’t wait to talk to more customers about going out of their comfort zones and not only trying ON, but trying on any new shoes. Sticking with a favorite, familiar shoe is definitely a safe bet, but sometimes you may find something that you never thought would work for you, could end up being the novelty you needed to get excited to run again!
Alyssa Ball was born in raised in FL, graduated from Florida State University. Moved to Michigan and started working at Playmakers almost 4 years ago. Ran my first marathon this past April in Big Sur CA. Love to help people find their health and happiness through changing their lifestyles.