It also allows the runner to "feel" the ground, as these shoes are marketed as a minimalist shoe. So, basically, the "flight pad" enables the runner to feel the connection with the pavement.
I wasn't a big fan of the "flight pad" when I first tried the shoes. By my 3rd run it was a total non issue for me but did make me all that more appreciative of that technology that has gone in to the design of the CloudRunner.
Now, back to those circular rubber "lugs" that make up the sole of the shoe. These lugs are what separates the CloudRacer from any other running shoe I've tried. As previously mentioned, they're designed to not only absorb impact (you really do feel as if you're running on air), but they literally fold back on impact, helping you glide in to your stride and enabling you to push off on a solid surface.
For me, I feel as if this shoe provides this neutral gait runner with an even more efficient running stride.
So, What Would I Change?
Overall, I really enjoy running in the CloudRacer. Being that it has the same 5mm drop differential as the PUMA Faas 250Trail shoe I ran in most of the summer, I'm not sure I've gotten closer to barefoot running, but I have a lot less knee pain than I've had in the past.
With that said, if I had to find something to nit-pick it would be
(1) The laces are a little long. Ok, they're alot long. Shorter laces would be more than welcome and a simple upgrade.
(2) The mesh material took a little getting used to for me. I've been known to run sock-less in the hot weather, especially if I'm just running intervals. I found socks to be a must when wearing the CloudRacer.
Overall, I really give the CloudRacer two thumbs up.
If any CFB readers are running in ON Running Shoes, I'd LOVE to hear from you! Also, for those of you considering ON, you can learn more about ON's complete line of running shoes HERE .