Once you begin to run regularly, you discover that you can go through 2–4 pairs of shoes in a year. My last pair of shoes were great — Saucony Clarions that I put on almost 1,000 km. This time around, I decided to get two pairs: one pair for trail running and one for the usual road training.

The trail shoes were another pair of Brooks (the Cascadia 13). I’ve gotten Brooks before and loved them as well. However, I decided to try something different for my road shoes and purchased my first ever pair from On Running.

These shoes are not like any I’ve purchased before. The experience starts with shopping — their website is top-notch and a joy to use. You can choose your shoes based on your focus (road vs. trails), how much support you need, or for training vs. racing. They arrived two days after ordering, and the packaging was far superior to what you’d be used to purchasing at your big box sporting goods store.

And while they cost a good bit, they’re not that much more expensive than other shoes. And On pays the shipping cost to almost anywhere in the world.

What about the experience of running in these? As you can tell from the picture, the design of these shoes is different. The sole is not comprised of all one piece. Maybe other shoes have a similar design inside of what appears to be a solid sole — I’ve never taken any shoes apart to get a look. But these feel a little different.

The build quality feels very solid. During my first session with them, the cushioning felt firm and solid, but not stiff. I felt slightly elevated compared to my other shoes … mini-stilts was the closest description I could think of. But it’s too early to tell how good (or not) these are.

I’ll be curious to see how they feel after a half-marathon or greater distance.