On shoes are beautiful and concerned about sustainability


Like most obsessions, my Carrie Bradshawesque fixation with shoes came out of nowhere. Although I’ve always been style conscious, the shoes felt like a hole in the rich tapestry of my outfit – lousy weather, money pit – and my feet, which are size 11 and wide, made the investment hard. While Carrie might mysteriously buy Manolo or Jimmy Choos on a writer’s salary, I focused more on finding high-quality, sustainability-focused sneakers that were comfortable to wear for long periods of time. And now I can’t stop buying them.

My first purchase was a new pair of running shoes — the Cloudmonster — from the Swiss brand On. I didn’t know much about On before buying these shoes – just that their logo confused me, as the “O” in “On” looks more like an upside down “Q”. Otherwise, I loved the look. While reading about the brand, I also liked that We prioritize sustainability. (On each shoe’s web page, the product details section lists the total amount of recycled content used in the manufacture of each sneaker.) In addition, We publish environmental impact reports and use sustainable packaging. You can learn more about their sustainability initiatives here.

I liked the look of the shoe so much, in fact, I decided to work against my neutral aesthetic (solid colors, usually different shades of black and white) and bought the Cloudmonster shoes in Acai and Aloe color , a dark purple recycled polyester upper, with light green embellishments. The shoes have a ridiculous design in their soles that makes it look like you’re walking on honeycombs – funny as it sounds, the pop of color was just what my dull wardrobe needed.

Ever since I bought them a few months ago, the Cloudmonsters have been my favorite running shoes. I wear them every day for five miles and their cushioning provides support, stability and comfort – all important features of a pair of running shoes. As my dedication to running grew over the summer, the Cloudmonster shoes kept me grounded (pun intended).

Even if I’m not running along Brooklyn Bridge Park, I still need sneakers to walk to a restaurant or cafe, options that trade cushioning for style. To that end, On’s walking shoes also came into play: the Cloudnova Form (a new version of 2021’s Cloudnova sneakers) and the Cloudeasy, two of On’s latest offerings, manage to be sleek and funky, while providing enough comfort for a day spent walking around the city. According to On, the Cloudnova Form is better for cooler conditions, while the Cloudeasy is better for warmer conditions. Because they’re super lightweight, both shoes are perfect for all-day wear (rather than intense exercise, like the Cloudmonster running sneakers). That said, Cloudnova forms can also be used for short runs, depending on the brand.

Another new option from On is the 90s-inspired Roger Clubhouse Mid, which will be my next purchase. Their synthetic leather upper resembles Nike’s famous Air Force 1s, although they include a hidden lace pocket to tie your laces or tuck them in. The only downside to On shoes is that they are not cheap. Most pairs range from over $100 to near $200. That said, for a shoe that has durability in mind and shows no signs of slowing down, it’s worth the investment.

Other popular sneakers

Below, we’ve rounded up other highly rated or expert-recommended sneakers.

Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22

I’ve had positive experiences with running shoes from Brooks and their Adrenaline GTS 22 model (as well as the Glycerin 20 model) made our list of best women’s walking shoes. Experts told us that Brooks shoes offer durability and passive stability, which means you’re less likely to injure yourself while wearing them, compared to other shoes. Experts also noted that the Adrenaline GTS 22 has a good heel counter – a supportive material on the back of the shoe that helps keep you stable while you walk.

Lululemon Charging Sensation

The Chargefeel sneaker is the second in Lululemon’s line of shoes (offered in low-top and mid-top versions, one that hits you in the ankle and the other that hits you in the shin), following the debuting Blissfeel earlier this year. That said, the Chargefeel was specifically designed for women’s feet and more rigorous exercise: Lululemon says the Chargefeel is a cross between a running shoe and a trainer (for weightlifting or mat workouts) and has a dual density midsole.

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