361 Degrees Strata 3 review
The Strata 3 is the new mid-to-high mileage stability shoe by 361 Degrees. The shoe has an 8mm drop with a forefoot height of 13mm and a heel height of 21mm that weighs 265 grams.
When I took them out of the box, the first thing I noticed was the new lacing system. It’s not a type of lacing system I’ve seen before.
But I also noticed that this lacing system seems to put more pressure on the tongue of the shoe in some places and therefore the padding inside the tongue seems to be bundled together in the spots where there aren’t any laces.
Generally, that’s between the laces at the top of the shoe and the rest of the laces further down the tongue. This can create a bit of pressure on top of the foot.
Another thing I noticed when I put them on for the first time was that they are comfortable to walk in. That isn’t always a given when it comes to running shoes, let alone stability shoes.
They are often good to run in, but just walking around in them isn’t always that comfortable, because of the heel to toe transition. I do find that the shoes that 361 Degrees produces are comfortable straight out of the box. They don’t really need much breaking in.
The upper of the Strata 3 is made out of a double jacquard mesh. This makes the shoe a bit warmer, but I actually don’t mind that at all during the colder months, but when it does get warmer, your feet do tend to get hot in these shoes.
I have tested one other 361 Degrees shoe before, the Spire 3. The upper of the Spire 3 is more elastic than the upper of the Strata 3.
The tongue of the Strata 3 is very padded, almost twice as much as in the Spire 3. The collar of the shoe is also thickly padded.
The most innovative part of this shoe is the new lacing system called Morphit, and which is currently only available on the Strata 3. 361 Degrees describes it as a multi-dimensional lacing design.
So how does it work? Instead of lacing your laces through the eyelets of the shoe’s upper, there are elastic bands which run through the eyelets and your laces go through the elastic bands.
This should comfortably lock your foot down, even while in motion. These bands are also laced through the tongue to keep it in place, which means the laces are not looped through the tongue directly to secure it.
Soft, responsive ride in the Strata 3
The midsole is made out of QU!KFOAM which is a blend of EVA and rubber to create a soft, yet responsive ride.
The insole of the shoe is also made out of QU!KFOAM and is a bit thicker than your standard running shoe insole. Probably to provide more cushion, while saving a bit on stack height.
The heel has dual density QU!KFOAM to prevent part of the overpronating while you’re landing on your foot.
Just as with the Spire 3, I’m missing a bit of responsiveness with the QU!KFOAM. It is comfortable, but it isn’t springy nor speedy.
Just like the Spire 3, the Strata 3 has a QU!K Spine, but it’s completely different than the one in the Spire 3 or the Strata 2. The Spire 3 uses a carbon fiber plate to provide stability, while the Strata 3 is a moderate stability shoe and uses a medial post with an external TPU QU!K Spine.
On the Strata 2, 361 Degrees used a medial post and a crash pad to guide the foot. The QU!KFOAM of the midsole feels stiffer than that in the Spire 3. I’m not sure if the midsole is overall stiffer or that it feels that way due to the dual density foam in the heel.
The Strata 3 is a blown rubber outsole with some flex grooves. I did occasionally pick up very small rocks in these flex grooves.
The front of the shoe has the QU!K Flex 4foot, which basically means the Strata 3 has deeper flexibility grooves along the forefoot than the rest of the outsole and than can be found in the Spire 3.
The Strata 3 has less of a rocker shape than the Spire 3. Personally, I prefer a bit of a rocker shape, because it makes it easier to toe off. It is clearly a bit more difficult to make the heel to toe transition, while running in this shoe, compared to the Spire 3.
Performance of the Strata 3
The slogan of the Strata 3 - let them do the job. Meaning it should feel effortless or at least till some extent, you are still running after all.
While running in these shoes, effortless isn’t really what comes to mind. Cushioned does come to mind, but I don’t feel like the shoe takes all the effort away, it just isn’t responsive enough, and the heel to toe transition isn’t smooth enough.
There are way more responsive running shoes out there, such as shoes with the Nike React foam or Saucony’s Everun midsole material. The Strata 3 is also a little bit on the heavier side as far as running shoes go.
The Strata 3 is better at cushioning and stability. The stability block underneath the midfoot is clearly noticeable, but not too invasive. It doesn’t bother me as it does in some other stability shoes.
I wore the same size as I did for the Spire 3 and it seems that the Strata 3 runs just a little bit smaller.
Where in the Spire 3 I had just about enough room while wearing my regular size, the Strata 3 was just a bit too small, and it would have been better if I would have gone half a size up.
The difference might also have been more noticeable due to the change in the upper. The elastic upper for the Spire 3 is a little bit more flexible and therefore a little bit more forgiving than the upper of the Strata 3.
If you like the Asics Gel Nimbus or the Asics Kayano, you might want to consider the Strata 3 (or the Spire 3 if you’re looking for a neutral shoe).