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88
/100 by Marijke van den Hamer, posted on .

361 Degrees is a fairly new brand on the European market. But they are already a well-known brand in China.

I had heard of them before, but I hadn’t tried any of their shoes yet. So, when I had the chance to try their new Spire 3, I obviously said yes.

 

 

The 361 Degrees Spire 3 is a neutral running shoe with a 9mm drop, a 12mm forefoot stack, and a 21mm heel stack. It weighs 241 grams. Surprisingly, those are the same statistics as that of the 361 Degrees Sensation 3, although that one weighs 238 grams.

The difference between the two models seems to be in the amount of Qu!kfoam used and the Sensation 3 is a stability shoe rather than a neutral running shoe like the Spire 3.

Qu!kfoam is an EVA foam and rubber blend that 361 describes as cushioned and responsive. While the Sensation 3 comes in an array of bright colours, the colours of the Spire 3 are a bit more subtle. But I do actually like the look of them.  

 

Upper

The Spire 3 has a seamless knit upper and I haven’t experienced any hotspots while running in them. The Fitz-Rite Midfoot technology wraps around the midfoot to provide stability and keeps the foot locked in place while running.

It eliminated unnecessary movements of the foot while running. There is ample room in the toe box, but it isn’t super roomy.  

The tongue is slightly padded and has a bit of a velvet kind of feel to is, just as the laces of the shoe. However, I do find the tongue too short. If you lace your shoes all the way up to the top or even use the extra shoelace hole, the laces end up higher than the tongue.

 

 

I found that the upper was actually a bit warm, which I actually didn’t mind during those colder runs. At least my toes didn’t get cold. I did find that the top layer of the upper does take up a bit of water while running in wet conditions, but the smoother second knit layer seems to prevent the water from actually getting into the shoe.

Obviously, the knit fabric won’t keep your feet dry in a rainstorm (the shoe also doesn’t have a drainage system so your feet will definitely get wet), but it also doesn’t seem to soak up all the water as some other shoes do.

I found the heel counter to be nice and comfortable, with a nice amount of padding on the collar of the shoe. I did not experience any hot spots in the heel area of the Spire 3.

 

Midsole

The midsole contains a carbon fiber plate which 361 Degrees calls the Qu!k Spine. This made me think of the carbon fiber plate in the Nike Zoom Vaporfly 4%, which is there to capture the energy and then return it back to you.

Only 361 Degrees seems to use this feature more for stability purposes rather than energy return. The shoe also doesn’t feel super responsive or that it would be capable of making you run 4% faster (I wish).

Outsole

The outsole of the forefoot is made out of blown rubber, while the heel is made of carbon rubber. It does provide a nice amount of traction on the road and the shoe does perform alright on easy trails.

 

 

The front of the shoe has a slight rocker shape that helps you toe off, but the sole itself isn’t very flexible. This could probably be fixed if they would put flexibility grooves over the entire width of the sole.

 

Performance

The Spire 3 actually reminded me a bit of the older type of running shoes, before brands came up with interesting sounding new materials and flashy new designs.

The design is pretty sleek and simple, and although the midsole does absorb the shock it does have quite a firm feel to it and isn’t that flexible. It doesn’t feel like a very plush ride, you don’t sink into the material, probably due to the amount of rubber in the sole.

 

 

The insole is surprisingly thick. It also seems to be made out of Qu!kfoam. Probably in order to provide extra stability and cushioning, while trying to keep the bulk of the shoe to a minimum, but it does leave you less space inside the shoe, especially in the front.

I like the overall stability of this shoe, the structure of the shoe gives you enough lateral stability, while the insole provides good medial stability.

Fit

The Spire 3 isn’t a very wide shoe, but it does have an upper that does adapt easily due to the knit fabric, so the width of the shoe didn’t form an issue and I didn’t experience any hotspots in this shoe. I wore my regular size.

Conclusion

The Spire 3 is actually a very comfortable shoe and I actually could see myself run a marathon in them. And there actually aren’t that many running shoes on the market in which I would consider running a full marathon. The Spire 3 is a neutral running shoe, but if you need a little bit of extra support, the Spire 3 will give it to you. It provides enough medial and lateral support.

The Spire 3 has a nice seamless upper and good stability, but there are still things about this shoe that I would change if I had the chance. The shoe does have a nice amount of cushioning but is also quite firm.

Personally, I would prefer it if the shoe would feel a bit plusher and a bit more flexible. And although the responsiveness of this shoe is good, it isn’t great and therefore it also isn’t a super fast shoe. Not like the average Nike running shoe.

It is a comfortable training shoe, but not a fast racing shoe. All in all, I was pleasantly surprised by this shoe and I am looking forward to trying out other 361 Degrees products in the future.

Marijke van den Hamer | Level 5 expert Verified
I’m Marijke, on social media also known as Heart Runner Girl. I love trying new things and inspiring others to get moving. I’ve started running in 2014 and I run races all over the world. My favourite distance is the marathon, but I also run shorter distances. I’ve ran the Berlin Marathon in 2017 and the Paris and New York Marathon in 2018. My goal is to one day become a six-star finisher.

85
/100 by Mark Clements, posted on .

I am a 42-year-old runner, about 170 pounds and 6’1” tall, and my feet are sized 12 (Brannock). I race all distances, from 5ks to Marathons, and spend at least half of my year training for an upcoming marathon.

 

At first glance

The Spire 3 is billed as the most premium, neutral, everyday running shoe in the 361 Degrees line up. It looks to have a very solid, wide foundation, a firm but soft heel structure, and a soft tongue.

Additionally, the mid-foot foam claims to provide high levels of energy return and long-lasting comfort and responsiveness. Underneath, you can see what the manufacturers call a “QU!K SPINE.”

A“QU!K SPINE” is a thin, carbon-fiber plate to stabilize the shoe and help maintain the integrity of the midsole. There is an almost unnoticeable built-in reflectivity in the toe and the heel.

 

 

There is a lot going on in this shoe! The $149 price-tag sets the buyer up for high expectations with all the technology included.

Preliminary fit

Shoe length

My feet are size 12 (Brannock). Size 12 in the Spire 3 provided a small measure of extra space. Not a terrible thing since I am marathon training and a little extra toe-space is a good thing.

Laces

Nothing too fancy about the round shoelaces. I never had a problem with them coming untied, even though I never double-knotted them. I use a heel-lock tie, which takes up extra length of the laces, so there was no extra length for double-knotting.

Toe box

The toe-box is wide enough for my feet. Toes are able to flex and splay as needed.

Heel/arch support

Not a terrible amount of arch support, but adequate. The heel sucks down nicely into the shoes, providing exceptional support and comfort.

Upper

The upper part of the shoe is way too much structure. It is so rigid, almost painfully so. It fits close to the top of my foot, but it is too close. More on that later.

Midsole & outsole

This shoe is exceptionally stiff and clunky. The only part that flexes is the forefoot, and it barely does. The midsole on the forefoot seems to be pretty soft and cushioned, but the heel is hard.

 

After 118 miles

I gave the Spire 3 a full range of testing:

  • Short runs (3-6 miles) at recovery pace
  • Track speed work
  • Fartlek runs on the streets
  • 20-mile long run with 9 at marathon pace

 

 

Unfortunately, I am not a fan of these shoes. They were bulky and stiff from the start and did not soften much, if at all. The midfoot cushion was nice, but too often, the clunky heel got in the way of a nice mid-foot strike.

A major issue I had was with the construction of the upper. As I wrote earlier, it is just too much structure, too rigid, and the structure around the upper laces ended up causing pain.

I use a heel-locking tie, and I could not tighten the shoe to my liking because the laces forced the upper into the top of my foot.

 

 

My only resort was to loosen the laces, which then allowed my heel to play and caused my toes to crash into the end of the shoe. I really felt that on the 20-mile run.

I think it’s just bad design for so much cushioning around the upper edge on which the laces cinch down on the foot.

Performance

For everyday use, this shoe seems adequate. Due to its stiffness and large size, I would not recommend this for speed work or races. For easy to moderately paced workouts, it seems to work fine.

Expected lifespan

With 118 mileage on them, the wear seems to be minimal. There is no noticeable change in the feeling of the midsole or insole cushioning, but the outsole shows signs that it is about 1/3 through its lifespan in some places. I would say this shoe will last more than 350 miles.

Pros

  • Solid, comfy heel structure
  • Great shoe laces

Cons

  • Too stiff and clunky
  • Painful upper design

Final thoughts

If you are looking for a highly structured daily trainer and tend to ignore the minimalist-styled shoes, then this shoe might be for you. If you can figure out the best way to lace the shoes so the upper doesn’t press your foot, then you might like this shoe.

Mark Clements | Level 4 expert Verified
My name is Mark Clements. I’m an avid runner in my 40’s and I run races from 5Ks to Marathons. I’m always training for a race and run at least 40 miles/week, rotating up to 5 pairs of shoes through my runs. My long term goal is to run into old age, remaining injury-free, which comes in part by being equipped with the best shoes out there!

90
/100 by Rajendrakumar Ghelda, posted on .

The 361 Degrees Spire 3 is a one of a kind shoes. They are fairly new to the American market, and I would say I'm glad that I decided to try them. They are well-balanced shoes with capabilities to make every run feel like your best run.

 

Design

The basic design of the 361 Degrees Spire 3 is not the most appealing. I mean, at first look the shoe might not catch the eyes at all. The color I had was far from appealing, but other colors in this shoe are pretty good looking. 

 

 

But, let me tell you this: Wearing these marvelous shoes will leave you with awe.

These running shoes are pretty new on the American market, not as well known out here though they have created quite the uproar in the Asian market.

Comfort

Let us go back to my first run. They were far more comfortable than what I expected. When I wore it for the first time, l felt that there was not enough room in the toe box.

During my first run, I could feel the top of my toenail (just in the left shoe only, not sure why) rubbing against the top of the shoe's upper fabric because there was not too much room in the toe box.

 

 

During my second run, I did not feel any rubbing. It seemed like after my first run, the shoe adapted to my foot and became comfortable.

I felt the toe box started to change its size to match the size of my foot. The shoe adapts to the comfort of the wearer, and that factor about it is amazing.

During the time of your run, it secures your midfoot and gives you the ample amount of cushion that your feet deserve during your long runs.

It does not just secure the midfoot, but it also locks it in place, so there are fewer chances of your foot moving, preventing injuries.

The upper part of the shoe is very breathable. Meanwhile, the lacing and tongue of this shoe are remarkably comfortable.

Durability

After wearing the 361 Degrees Spire 3 for approximately 50 runs, I can state that it would easily go to about 400-500 miles.

 

Performance

The 361 Degrees Spire 3 is perfect for running on roads, as well as wet and muddy grounds. It provides traction and doesn't allow the shoe to slip, whether that be the sole or even the inside where your feet are.

The Spire 3 provides a very smooth run, whether that be on steep edges, elevated roads, corners, and any random turns. It provides enough stability that it can be a well-rounded shoe to be used in many areas.

This shoe is not extremely soft like a pillow, though neither is it firm. It provides a combination of perfect performance and the most comfortable cushioning. It has a great balance between the two, neither overpowering the other.

 

Conclusion

Overall, the 361 Degrees Spire 3 is a wonderful, comfortable, foot-friendly shoe. This shoe has most definitely become my number one go-to shoes if I'm heading out for a long-distance run.

Good: Good for long and tempo runs, comfortable, adaptive toe box, securing midfoot, pressure-free tongue and lacing, and breathable upper portion.

Bad: Not recommended for interval runs.

In my opinion, there is nothing mainly bad as you can see from the list, but based on my experience, I would clearly say that it can't be used for interval runs.

Rajendrakumar Ghelda | Level 1 expert Verified
Hi, my name is Rajendrakumar, a 43-year old who has been running for the last three years. I know I have started running late, but running became my passion now. I am addicted to running, and it makes me happy. So far, I ran my first Half Marathon in May 2019. My favorite shoe brand is 361 Degrees and NB. I really want to help people by sharing my experience with shoes and their pros and cons.

  • The 361 Degrees Spire 3, a road running shoe, maintains its position in the 361 line up. It is crafted for those who have neutral foot mechanism. With the utilization of the revamped upper, increased comfort is provided without compromising its lightweight structure and breathability.
  • The midsole was redesigned to improve cushioning during the heel impact. With the use of this midsole material, improved responsiveness in the forefoot area is offered.

When it comes to size, the 361 Degrees Spire 3 uses the standard running shoe length. It is sure to provide a snugger fit because of the utilization of the engineered mesh upper. A more comfortable ride is then experienced by the user. The available widths are B – Medium for the women’s version and D – Medium for the men’s version.

The Blown Rubber is integrated into the forefoot area of this road runner. This component of the footwear is essential in allowing a better shock dispersion. The material also provides a good amount of traction when tackling different paved surfaces.

Lying in the heel area is the Carbon Rubber. The primary focus of this rubber is to give added durability to the platform. With the utilization of this material, the 361 Degrees Spire 3 can withstand the hazardous nature of the roads. It is also vital in protecting the bottom part of the shoe.

A forefoot design called the QU!K Flex is used in creating the shoe. It is composed of a ground-contact external base and a network of grooves. This technology is crafted to help in allowing the foot to achieve a more energized and steady heel-to-toe transition.

A full-length midsole top layer called the QU!KFOAM is integrated into the 361 Degrees Spire 3. It is strategically-built to provide a soft cushioning system that is closer to the foot. This dense rubber compound aims to deliver maximum responsiveness during the toe-off phase. With its thick-looking structure, it produces the right amount of bounce that is needed when tackling the roads.

Flexible underfoot cushioning is offered by the Rebound EVA. This material has the purpose of delivering a more responsive and comfortable ride. As a result, a more efficient running experience is provided to the user.

Efficiency is encouraged by the QU!K Spine. This carbon fiber plate that can be found in the midfoot section provides increased torsional rigidity.  This material acts as a shank that aims to delay the breakdown of the midsole section. It also works as a stabilizing element in the midstance phase of the gait cycle. As a result, a more efficient stride is experienced by the runner.

Utilized in the upper section of the 361 Degrees Spire 3 is the Engineered Mesh. This material provides comfort without compromising its breathability. It is described to be a flexible and soft mesh that offers better inflow and outflow of air. Because of this, a cooler and drier foot chamber is experienced by the runner. As a result, a healthier and fresher interior is provided. 

The 361 Degrees Spire 3 uses the Fitz-Rite. This technology is defined to be a soft midfoot webbing that aids in holding the foot in place. It is composed of internal and external webbing that securely wraps the foot in the Spinject. This Fitz-Rite Midfoot technology is essential in preventing the foot from moving side to side during the running session without sacrificing its natural movements.

A lightweight molded heel counter is utilized in the footwear. It keeps the heel in place in a comfortable manner, especially in every step that the runner does.

Limiting irritation is the work of the Pressure Free Tongue. As a result, additional comfort is experienced by the user.

Size and fit

True to size based on 47 user votes
Small (23%)
True to size (77%)
Large (0%)
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Same sizing as 361 Degrees Spire 4.

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How Spire 3 compares

This shoe: 83
All shoes average: 86
54 98
This shoe: $150
All shoes average: $119
$40 $350
This shoe: 10.4oz
All shoes average: 9.5oz
3.5oz 16.2oz
Author
Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen

Jens Jakob is a fan of short distances with a 5K PR at 15:58 minutes. Based on 35 million race results, he's among the fastest 0.2% runners. Jens Jakob previously owned a running store, when he was also a competitive runner. His work is regularly featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC and the likes as well as peer-reviewed journals. Finally, he has been a guest on +30 podcasts on running.

jens@runrepeat.com