I’ll be the first to admit that I get pretty excited by new running trainers. So my excitement levels were off the scale when I was given the chance to test and review the new 361° Strata 3 moderate-stability shoes.
To be honest, I hadn’t heard much about 361° before now, but this meant I had no preconceptions. The company promises to go ‘one degree beyond’ and its shoes are built on its own technologies that have been designed for both comfort and performance. But more on the technology later.
361° originates from China, but is widely established in both the USA and Brazil, so much so that it was an official supporter of the 2016 Summer Olympics and Paralympics in Brazil. Now it is looking to gain pace in the European market, pitting its shoes up against the big names in the business.
First impressions on opening the box were good. The shoes feel light but look sturdy, which is reassuring for a shoe aimed at high-mileage runners. The black/orange colourway suits me given my preference for muddy paths and an aversion to pink shoes, though if you prefer the women’s shoes also come in a lighter colour option. Men also have a white option, plus a black/blue colour similar to the women’s black/orange.
If you like numbers, these shoes weigh in at 256g (350g for the men’s version), marginally less than my current road shoes, with an 8mm drop. For comparison purposes, my current road shoes are Saucony Guide ISO 2. I found the fit similar between the two. I usually size up by half a size and this was just about right with the Strata 3 trainers.
Pulling them on they feel snug, but not uncomfortably so. My toes felt like they had plenty of wiggle room in the standard width shoe, but the website does list a wider version. My ankle felt well supported and the lacing system was comfortable but secure. The tongue felt a little flimsy at first, but actually it’s designed to be unnoticeable when on. I do have a problem with pressure on the top of my foot, and yet it wasn’t an issue in these shoes thanks to well-placed padding in just the right spot.
I love that ‘new shoe’ bouncy feel and I could certainly feel enough cushioning under my foot from the outset. Back to those technologies I mentioned earlier then! 361° shoes feature its proprietary QU!KFOAM throughout. This consists of QU!K FLEX 4FOOT at the front of the shoe, designed to encourage the natural movement of the foot and to enhance ground contact. In the mid-foot is QU!KSPINE, which runs across the sole and gives that stability and support. QU!KFOAM in the heel is designed to offer enough cushioning to limit the impact on the foot as well as guide the foot through the gait cycle. I definitely felt like the shoe wrapped around my foot and offered me a gentle stability, which suits my gait.
One thing I did notice about this shoe is that they are flexible from the off. Some shoes can feel a little rigid and need to be ‘run in’, but I went straight out for a 10K run and didn’t experience any rubbing or discomfort.
I’ve since worn them for a number of runs and I’ve continued to feel pleased with their performance. They feel light and have gently moulded to the contours of my feet, making for a comfortable ride. I’ve mixed and matched with my usual running shoe without any problems, and I find them suitable for my own gait – I overpronate, but not hugely, and it’s just the right amount of stability.
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**Run Deep was provided with a pair of trainers for the purpose of this review. However, all opinions in this article are entirely honest and our own**