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Hellen Obiri cruised to victory at the 128th Boston Marathon on April 15 wearing a pair of crazy-looking, laceless On prototype super shoes. It was a major win for Obiri, a runner in a class of her own, but also for On, which is clearly developing some next-level performance running shoes

The Kenyan, who became the first woman to win back-to-back Boston crowns since 2005, crossed the line in 2 hours, 22 minutes and 37 seconds, donning On’s newest-developed sneakers that running insiders believe to be a second prototype of the soon-to-be-released Cloudboom Strike.

Note that in 2020, World Athletics put a blanket ban on all running shoes not openly available to everyone in professional running.

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Then, less than eight months later, it tweaked the rules again to allow for brand development shoes to be worn by athletes, but for no more than a twelve month development period.

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Since then it’s become pretty commonplace to see sponsored athletes running major marathons wearing never-before-seen footwear — not least On, for whom it’s becoming a fairly regular occurrence.

In Obiri’s case, though, On’s Prototype Cloudboom Strike doesn’t look like other super shoes, let alone its own high-end runners.

For starters, On's new speed sneaker is completely laceless, which is something of an anomaly in the world of top-performance running footwear.

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And perhaps most glaringly, the On prototype is a high-top silhouette, with a compression-like sleeve creeping up to the ankle, something virtually unseen in the low-cut and super-sleek running footwear sector.

Unseen? Sure, but there's clearly method to the madness considering the relative ease with which Obiri reigned victorious on April 15's Boston Marathon, taking the gold from runners wearing conventional running shoes from the world's biggest sportswear brands.

Par for the course for On, which often advances its footwear designs to meet the tastes of its world-class athletes.

But whether or not these crisp white sneakers are the finished On product meant for public consumption remains to be seen. There have been wilder On shoes released, though, to be sure, though they were limited-run lifestyle silhouettes.

All we can be assured of now, though, is that On and Hellen Obiri’s Boston Marathon 2024 development test was a big, resounding success.

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