If you want a dependable running shoe, buy the Meraki by 361 Degrees. This simple yet high-quality shoe responds when I say RUN! No wonder 361°’s motto reads “One Degree Beyond”.
|Color||Black/White; Sleet/Black; True Blue/Black||White/Black; Sleet/Ebony; Diva Pink/Tart|
|Weight||10.2 ounces||8.5 ounces|
|Heel to toe drop||9mm||9mm|
Upper & Toe Box
The upper portion of 361° Meraki looks and feels similar to Brooks Ghost 7. However, I find hot pink to be much more colorful. The material is durable and flexible with tiny capillaries for air and moisture control.
After splashing through puddles during the Northern Ohio Marathon, thank goodness the water quickly wicked away because I had a long way to go. Most impressive was how the toe-box dried super fast and I ended with no blisters whatsoever.
The Meraki’s upper acclimates quickly to individual foot form. During the marathon, the toe boxes felt narrow and hurt a bit, but surprisingly they worked themselves out.
A week later I didn’t even mind slipping back into these comfortable running shoes. Usually, marathoners are pretty sick of their shoes at this point. Thankfully, This made getting out the door again a whole lot easier.
Tongue & Laces
The 361° makes one of my favorite shoe tongues around. It is super wide, comfortable and tightly stitched inside with no discomfort. In fact, I forget it’s even there which is exactly how it should be.
The material is a combination of soft suede and mesh. It’s unique design and thickness lays effortlessly across the upper foot.
Once the tongues are in place, runners grab hold of long, slightly rounded, colorful shoe strings. A longer length demands a double knot to assure runners never encounter an untied shoestring.
As in most running shoes, the insole is pretty standard. Many runners swap factory made insoles for specialized orthotics or running store recommended insoles like Powerstep.
Even Walmart has Dr. Scholl’s foot machine for people to step on. Resources are out there to find your foot type.
Meraki’s midsole is where 361° stands apart from other brands. For distance runners, like me, who need extra arch support this shoe delivers.
During long runs, I didn’t worry about foot pronation or sliding around because I ran secure. I gain the right amount of stability without feeling heavy on my feet.
Examining the midsole you’ll notice several layers. One is rather squeezable, called “Quikfoam” which reminds me of a wrestling mat. This soft cushioning gives in for smooth running as it absorbs bodily shock.
Here are 361° Meraki’s midsole layers compared to Brooks Ghost 7. You can visually see a difference in the build-up. More impressive is the responsiveness and guaranteed comfort mile after mile.
Turn a Meraki shoe over and you’ll see why 361° claims a “full ground contact” outsole. You can visually see 361° designed bottom grooves to protect against road elements.
Runners go up against stones, mud, rain, wet leaves and even ice and snow so a durable rubber outsole is mandatory.
To runners, outsole patterns have no rhyme or reason but 361° knew their plan. Initially, I had no intention of running my marathon in these Merakis, but I’m so happy I did!
Imagine running 26.2 miles on wet pavement and now you understand why great traction is needed. At the rainy start, I was unsure how Meraki’s outsole would perform.
Confidence kicked in after running one mile when I realized I was running in extremely slip resistant shoes. I smiled inside because I made the perfect shoe choice.
Now the Ohio Churchill’s and Fort Myers City of Palms Half Marathons are on my radar. However, after 200+ miles the outsole tread is already wearing off particularly at the ball of the foot and back heels. From the looks of these, I’ll be shoe shopping in the very near future.
Be prepared to walk around the store before purchasing the Meraki. Take particular notice of how strong, firm and stable the heel counter is.
When running, I felt no heel slippage or pronation of any sort. Both heels comfortably lock in place with extra padding for comfort. I guarantee runners will quickly rely on the extra heel stability and support especially during those long runs.
Unfortunately, 361 Degrees is not readily available in stores across the USA yet. For this reason, you have to be patient until they debut or take a chance ordering online. One good thing is they have free shipping for over $100.00, which may explain why they are!
- Reliable distance trainer shoe
- Provides arch stability
- Locks heels/no slippage
- Absorbs and wicks away moisture
- Heavier weight for racing
- Narrow toe box
- Unavailable in many stores
- Midsole breaks down
- Over one hundred dollars ($129.95)
During a long, grueling 26.2 mile race, runners wearing 361° Meraki will cross the finish line in flying colors. The diva pink helped me perform my personal best during the 10/7/18, Northern Ohio Marathon.
I maintained a strong mental focus and thankfully it was not on my shoes. It appears fellow runners have yet to zone in on this dependable 361° brand. Perhaps the company will endorse an elite runner soon.
One thing is for certain when 361° does finally gain awareness, there’s going to be a whole lot of 3’s at the next start line! Until then, happy running!
361 Degrees is a company that is relatively unheard of but starting to gain some traction from what I can tell.
This is a neutral shoe with soft rubber tread and a completely different tongue design than any other shoe I have tried.
This was my first time with a pair of 361 Degrees shoes and as the Meraki was reportedly for high mileage, I decided to make them an integral part of training for a marathon.
In fact, these eventually became my marathon shoes but not without some major hesitations. They breathe decently enough – meaning I did not feel air flow but my feet never really got hot either.
Here is a full break down of the shoes. Let’s start from bottom to top.
The tread on these while providing a decent grip on the surface really started to wear away quickly.
I noticed it by mile 50 and they clearly have some balding spots. My feet never slipped on the road but I also did not take them to areas that I know to be slippery when wet such as old brick pathways.
The QU!CKFlex forefoot is there to provide what 361 considers a natural and balanced toe off for good contact and acceleration – meaning this should feel smooth but be ready to move!
For the most part, I agree with them. This was a very smooth transition shoe in my opinion but perhaps not as fast feeling as some of the other neutral daily trainers that I’ve used (still love my Brooks Launch 4!). They got some SOLE!
361 Degrees uses what they call QU!KFOAM cushioning the help with shock absorption.
This works quite well and for the most part, my legs never really felt the pain of long runs until around mile 17. I never seemed to get past that as my sore spot but that could easily be chalked up to not having trained past 17 miles before my marathon.
On the day of the race, the Meraki carried me through and it wasn’t until the end of the race that I realized my feet never once hurt as they had with past long runs in other brands (looking at you Under Armour).
After over 130 miles in these shoes, they are still ready to support on long runs.
The heel to toe is only a 9mm drop which I found to be very comfortable. This also added for smooth transitions from heel to toe as well as helped to encourage midfoot striking.
Issues with the toe box
Now we’re getting to the cons and the toe box is one of them. The box area wasn’t exactly wide like some versions of Brooks but neither was it too narrow where there was an immediate scrunching of the foot.
However, for my skinny and narrow foot, it was a bit large in the way of room on top. They also ran slightly large on me. Because of this, I couldn’t wear some of the thinner socks that I have. Not much of a problem except my thicker socks keep my feet a bit warmer which annoys me when the heat kicks up (thankfully we had a long winter!).
They also caused some blister and calluses to develop on the sides of my feet no matter which sock I wore. My Brooks Launch 4 also did this but only for the initial break-in miles. The Merakis provided blisters well past 70 miles which is when I started using glide for shorter runs and liquid band-aid for longer runs.
The mesh is seamless so there is no chaffing and consistent breathing throughout.
However, I did notice that after 70 miles the black netting on the sides was beginning to fray – not really a good sign considering I would expect these shoes to last a minimum of 250-300 miles (for reference, I would expect a pair of Brooks Ghost to last around 400-500).
Part of the reason the toe box gave me blisters was because my foot shifted in the mesh if I didn’t tie the laces a little extra tight. So why not just do that? Well…
Laces & tongues and… pain? Oh my!
The tongue is a very thin one that is designed to be out of the way and not cause any pressure.
But the problem is that (1) it likes to move a good bit, (2) after 26.2 miles I had small cuts either from the laces or the tongue which I’m pretty sure is not normal, and (3) as the foot swells a plusher tongue might give way but still allow for comfort whereas the Merakis just began to feel too tight.
Honestly I never once got these laces to a point where an entire run went by without me thinking about loosening or tightening them at some point during the race.
The laces and “Fitz-Rite” midfoot support is supposed to hold “securely yet comfortably” but long enough miles in one run and they either are starting off feeling not so secure or wind up feeling not so comfortable on the upper area of the foot.
This was actually kind of minor overall but it was the BIGGEST drawback of the shoe.
I think the Meraki has plenty of life in terms of support for longer runs.
However, it also has some big room for improvement with ideas such as a slightly tougher tread design that doesn’t wear as fast, a tongue that doesn’t move as much, and a way to help secure the foot to prevent the pressure on the upper area of the foot as well as prevent blisters or chaffing.
All that said, I’m happy to keep the Meraki as back-up but it won’t make it back into my regular rotation and I do not think it will last as long either.
neutral running shoe weighing in at 10.2 ounces and has a heel to toe drop of 9mm.
It is described as a high mileage shoe that can also be used for everyday training by 361 and I agree with that. The shoe is able to tackle longer distance runs and faster-paced workouts on the track.
Seamless engineered mesh vamp – An upper similar to Nike’s flyknit which secures your foot and is comfortable.
Fitz-Rite Midfoot – A both internal and external part of the upper that secures your mid-foot to keep your foot secure while running.
Pressure Free Tongue – From 361’s website, it says that the tongue has an “Anatomical pattern and super soft materials that effectively remove the pressure to the ankle during dorsiflexion. Thin padding is also positioned to avoid stress to top of the foot.”
QU!K Flex 4foot – Groves on the outsole of the shoe located near the front of the shoe to address the natural movement of the metatarsals in the foot. It is supposed to provide a more natural and balanced toe-off. Its design is also for better traction and acceleration.
QU!KFOAM – 361’s midsole that is made of an EVA rubber blend that 361 claims “provides an amazing combination of cushioning and responsiveness” and “energy return and long-lasting comfort throughout the life of the shoe”
QDP System – 361’s QU!KFOAM layering system which stands for quick, dynamic, performance.
The Meraki comes in three colorways: Black/White, Blue/Black, and Sleet/Black. My favorite colorway would be the Blue/Black as it is the one with the brightest colors without being too flashy.
The other colorways are kind of dull since they have a lot more gray color on them. Besides that these colorways look pretty good but these aren’t shoes that you would want to wear besides for running or doing workouts.
The shoe has various markings on the tongue, the side and on the outsole of the shoe displaying the 361 Degrees logo.
A unique design of this show is the ridges on the heel of the shoe. I don’t think these ridges do anything for stability but they do make the shoes have a unique quality to them.
These shoes basically look like running shoes and my gripe with the looks of the shoe is that it doesn’t have any reflective materials for night running.
I normally wear size 10s for my running shoes and these shoes fit almost true to size because there’s a little extra wiggle room in the toe box for me. This extra room caused the front of my toes to rub the front of the shoes and cause little blister like things that were painful.
This rubbing, however, could’ve been due to me not tying the shoes tight enough because when I tied the shoes a little tighter I found the issue to go away.
I found the mesh vamp to be breathable as my feet didn’t feel suffocated when I was running in them. These shoes remained breathable even after running long distances or doing repeats on the track that would generate a lot of heat.
And not to state the obvious but water will seep in, as I learned from running in the rain and on wet grass. I haven’t tried these shoes in hotter temperatures yet because of all the snow and cold weather when testing this shoe.
While running on the road or on the track the shoe felt secure and the pressure-free tongue helped prevent my foot from being choked too much when I tied my shoes too tight. While running on the road or doing track repeats, I didn’t feel my feet slip at all and it generally felt secure except when running on grass and trails or any surface that isn’t solid like the road or track.
Particularly when running on the grass, my feet would roll around causing my feet in the shoe to slip. The flexibility of the shoe was pretty good, my feet were able to flex when needed and it didn’t feel stiff like running in track spikes. However before I broke in the shoes, the Meraki felt very stiff. This might’ve been because I wasn’t used to wearing this type of shoe before.
The cushioning of the shoe was alright, it didn’t feel like a very plush pillowy type deal but it got the job done for longer runs which I’m fine with since this is what I prefer in my cushioning. However, on my longer runs my feet did feel a little achy but I usually get this feeling no matter what shoe I wear.
I’ve only run in these shoes for about 60 miles but so far the shoe hasn’t shown any signs of wear at all. Most of my running is on the road and occasionally on the track for speed work if that says anything.
The only sign of use really is the shoe being dirty, the tiny wrinkles on the outsole of the shoe and the missing 361 logo on the insole. I would say these shoes will last a really long time considering the shape they are in now.
361 Degrees claims their cushioning called QU!KFOAM provides a high level of energy return while running which I interpret as the bounce in the shoe. I would say the bounciness of this shoe only appears when doing faster paced runs like tempo runs or track repeats.
Doing something like a longer run, I didn’t notice or feel the bounce when running. If I wanted to feel the bounce from the shoe, I would have to work to pick up to a faster pace. It wasn’t like the Nike Pegasus 34 which has the bounce from the zoom air units that made me want to go faster.
This would also apply to the responsiveness side of the shoe too. The shoe weighs 10.2 ounces which I would say is a decent weight for a shoe, it isn’t crazy light but also isn’t too heavy. The shoes didn’t feel too heavy when running but it didn’t feel like I was running with nothing on.
The cushioning of the system was pretty good. It helped me with long runs and tempo runs on the road and track repeats. What I liked about the cushioning system is that it wasn’t too plush, it provided the right about support without being too soft.
The traction of the shoe is also pretty good. While running on wet or sandy surfaces on the road or track, I didn’t feel like I was going to slip like a cartoon character on a banana peel but I would avoid these types of surfaces since it didn’t feel too stable at the same time.
An example of this is while running on the grass. There was traction but my feet were slipping inside the shoe which was an unpleasant experience. The shoe was meant for the road though so I’ll let that slide.
- Nice looking colorways
- Fits true to size
- Weighs 10.2 ounces
- Cushioning isn’t too plush (just right for me)
- Enough lace for runners knot
- Not stable when running on surfaces that are not road or track
- 2/3 of colorways are a little bland
- Dirt and pebbles can get stuck in the groves of the outsole
- Not a lot of responsiveness when running slow
- Doesn’t really make you want to run faster
- No reflective material for night running
- Kind of sketchy running on sandy, wet, muddy road conditions
The 361 Degrees Meraki is a great pair of trainers if you want to use it for high mileage runs or shorter faster tempo runs on the road or track. It provides good traction and stability if you use it on the road or track that are nice and dry but are unstable when running on grass.
It fits true to size and keeps your feet secure. With the addition of the extra lace, you are able to use a runner’s knot to keep your feet even more secure. The cushioning is at the perfect amount without making your feet feel like its sinking in.
The 361Degrees Meraki is the perfect shoe for you if you want a shoe that will support you on the road or track running.
I plan on trying to address some of the most important factors when looking at running shoes: looks, fit, ride, and overall opinion of the shoe.
361 Degrees makes nice looking running shoes. No complaints about the colorway.
The blue, black, and yellow goes quite nicely and is not too flashy but not bland like some other brands which give these shoes some character. One thing that I would say is that having more colorways would be nice since you are limited to only one option.
The fit on these shoes is snug from collar and tongue to the toe box. When you put these on, your feet will feel secure due to the wire technology that has been implemented into the upper. The upper is also decently breathable since it is made of nice mesh material.
The tongue of the shoe is nice since the pressure-free tongue allows you to avoid irritation while providing comfort. In regards to width, the shoe hugged my feet really well while still being comfy.
The tongue does lock down your feet which is great for faster runs when slipping and sliding will most certainly cause a ton of blisters. The overall fit is nice and snug from the toes to the collar of the shoe so one’s feet will be locked down while allowing some space in the toe box for toe movement.
The shoe offers a firm ride that I believe definitely promotes fast turnover, but does offer cushioning in the heel to give some sort of shock absorption in the back.
I really like the feel for it, but make sure that you break it in before really using it as it can take some getting used to before it feels good. The feel underfoot is attributed to their QU!KFOAM cushioning system that is soft and responsive even on my longer runs.
The cushioning system provides long-lasting shock absorption allowing for these shoes to be used for a long time. Weighing in at just 10.2 ounces each, these are fairly average neutral trainers in regards to weight which is not a major issue in regards to the ride since they are not extremely clunky.
These shoes are nice and supportive with plenty of cushioning. The upper keeps the feet secured and while also providing breathability. The shoes need some time to break in, but feel nice underfoot afterward and provide solid performance.
I like the durability so far as I have probably put a good 75-100 miles on these shoes and they do not look like they have been used besides a smudge of dirt here and there.
The materials used seem to be very durable and I think that these will last for a long time to come. The look has just enough flash to bring some life to your shoes, but not too much so that they stick out.
The colorway is something that I would recommend fixing. Weighing in at just 10.2 ounces each, these are fairly average neutral trainers in regards to weight. At their current price tag of $130, they are on the high side since most neutral trainers seem to hover right around $100.
361 Degrees footwear is a fairly unknown brand but is a company that I have grown to like. The 361 Degrees Meraki is one shoe that I can truly back because these shoes aren’t attempting to do anything too crazy to make a name for themselves. They have made a solid product that caters to the needs of runners everywhere.
The Meraki offer plenty of cushioning and structure to sustain use for many miles while providing plenty of comfort at the same time. They seem to be quite durable and comfortable for any sort of use. One thing to fix would be the price tag.
At their current price tag of $130, I’d recommend these to more serious runners that are willing to drop that kind of money for a neutral trainer like many others. If you have the money, I’d tell you to try them out since they are not bad at all.
Welcome to the review of the 361 Meraki shoes. Another creation of the 361 Degrees International Limited. 361 Degrees International Limited (361°) is a major Chinese supplier of shoes and sports goods.
The 361° company was established in 2002 and was launched in January 2004. It means the 360 degrees in a circle plus one extra degree, representing professional functionality plus an added degree of innovation and creativity.
On 2014, 361° became the provider of the official uniforms for staff and volunteers at the 2016 Summer Olympics. The 361 Meraki is a shoe that represents very well the philosophy behind its brand. Its design combines the freedom of minimalist ideals with the comfort and protection of a traditional running shoe.
Let’s start with how do we classify the 361 Meraki?
The 361 Meraki is your long run trainers. This is the pair of shoes you want to have handy for your Sunday long run training, or any run above the 16 km mark. It is a great marathon or half marathon competition shoe and of course a long run trainer.
- Weighing 289 grams
- Drop of 9 mm
- A QUIKFOAM Mid-layer sole (QUIKFOAM consists of a firm type of EVA).
- A quick spine Plate (A Stable EVA)
EVA is an elastomeric polymer that produces materials which are "rubber-like" in softness and flexibility. The material has good clarity and gloss, low-temperature toughness, stress-crack resistance, hot-melt adhesive waterproof properties, and resistance to UV radiation type.
The combined outsole, midsole, and upper sole make the Meraki a true “workhorse” with a lot of rubber on the outsole.
The major highlights of the shoe
The look is a bit outdated. At first, you may even feel like you are running in a vintage pair and it might even fall into the traditional look of an old ASICS from 3 years ago, but hey even the first Ironman does not look as cool as the last he was still a superhero and got the job done.
So despite the look, the performance of the Meraki as a trainer is really, really good. Now let’s talk about the composition of the shoe.
The fiberglass plate on the sole gives it a rigid sole which can outlast many runs. It also adds up a little weight similar to your typical Asics Nimbus.
On the outsole, there is a strong reinforcement on the heel where the shoe receives the stronger impact caused by the weight shock and on the toes where the shoe needs to release the step
The outsole design offers every runner the advantage of a Firm landing with excellent flexibility on your step from heel to toes feels. The overall sensation of your stride will be very stable which is why one of the other main features of the Meraki is the stability it provides.
The Meraki uses a dual density midsole and is based on 361’s QUIKFOAM and QDP technology, “Quick Dynamic Propulsion” system. This technology assembly and a combination of materials provide the runner with an outstanding cushion on every stride which is why it makes this shoe an excellent long-distance pair.
It has a firm layer and looks like your traditional style foam midsole but as mentioned is not just your regular old foam its QUIKFOAM.
The upper is made up of one-piece Vamp with an engineered mesh that feels like a soft sock on your foot. That mid cage upper holds your foot around the laces area comfortably.
The heel cup is comfortable but firm. The heel structure offers what you need - good protection and no loose foot sensation inside the shoe. The shoe fits really well and is true to your size.
The tongue in almost all 361 models is very thin. The seamless tongue tries to fit comfortably on the upper part of the foot. 361 placed some shine in the upper frotn trying to take it out the ordinary look.
The upper is built in two parts, one-piece engineered mesh vamp and a conventional mesh with welded overlays to the rear. This is quite common in the industry.
However, some brands are evolving and staying with simpler designs with less dense overlays and little stitching. The soft mesh provided the shoe with a nice roomy toe-box that was breathable with a sock-like feel.
The engineered fit case on the upper midfoot area secures the foot and allows you to feel comfortable on every stride while feeling secure. The mid-foot of the Meraki uses a cage style area that they have creatively named Fitz-Rite.
While the Meraki might not excite you to run to the store to buy one, it is even par with others in the industry, making the Meraki worth looking at for your next long-distance pair.
- Build to last
- Good fit
- Excellent breathability on the upper mesh
- Good shoe for a marathon or half marathon
- Soft and comfortable
- Looks old style
- High price
Good to know
- The 361 Degrees Meraki is a running shoe that’s designed for neutral runners who want to take to the roads. It features a flashy design that utilizes semi-shiny materials and color combinations. A breathable mesh makes up the majority of the upper unit while overlays support the midfoot and heel.
- The underfoot platform features three layers of cushioning. The first is a soft removable insole, the second is a durable topsole, and the third is an EVA base. These three levels of supportive foam work together to deliver reactive steps.
The 361 Degrees Meraki running shoe was designed to be true to size. It welcomes the inclinations of runners when it comes to length. The available width for the women’s iteration is B – Medium. The men’s version has the D – Medium option. This shoe has a foot-shaped silhouette that offers a smooth in-shoe feel.
The outsole unit of the 361 Degrees Meraki features a rubber compound that protects the midsole platform from abrasion. It is also responsible for doling out traction, which is essential in every run.
QU!K Flex is a forefoot design that involves a network of flex grooves and a ground-contact external base. This configuration allows the foot to achieve a steady and more energized toe-off.
The Quick Dynamic Performance cushioning system or QDP is a scheme that involves three layers of cushioning. It’s a proprietary construction that aims to deliver a springy and consistent ride. The first layer is a removable insole that has a smooth surface. It prevents blisters, contributes another sheet of underfoot support, and adds a bit of snugness to the fit.
The second part of the midsole is made up of QU!KFOAM. It’s a molded unit that aims to heighten durability and the shock absorbing capability of the full-length platform. It’s touted to add up to 50% more sturdiness. It also steadies the underside of the foot, preventing it from wobbling.
A Stable Rebound EVA foam serves as the bottom part. Its purpose is to attenuate impact shock and enable the foot towards a bouncy toe-off.
The vamp of the 361 Degrees Meraki has seamless engineered mesh. It’s a soft and flexible material that accommodates airflow into the foot-chamber, thus giving a cool and dry experience to the wearer.
The Fitz-Rite configuration involves breathable mesh from the middle to the heel of the upper, as well as printed overlays that cover the lateral and medial sections. These elements work together to warrant a snug and secure wrap.
A pressure-free tongue unit made of a smooth fabric covers the instep, but it doesn’t cause any hot spots.