When thinking of running shoes, the tendency for the vast majority of runners is to picture one of a few high-profile brands. People tend to associate the concept of a high-quality running shoe to popular manufacturers such as Nike, Adidas, or Asics. However, there are so many more companies that design footwear that can perform just as well as offerings from these other brands. One such company that doesn’t receive as much praise is 361º, also known as 361 Degrees. These shoe designers have made some incredible articles of athletic apparel like the KGM2, a lightweight trainer that provides comfort, support, and responsiveness hand in hand. Before making the decision to buy yet another Nike shoe, take a look at some of these features first!
The design of the outsole isn’t particularly groundbreaking but it incorporates a common design principle that has worked fantastically for many other shoes of a similar kind. Harder abrasion-resistant rubber was used near the heel of the KGM2’s outsole, ensuring that it can withstand significant force from repeated impacts. In the forefoot area, where the shoe is less likely to sustain considerable stress
, softer rubber was used in order to provide runners’ toes with a more intimate connection to the ground they run on. This clever combination of hard and soft means that the KGM2 can provide durability and responsiveness where they’re needed without weighing down the shoe.
361 Degrees designed the midsole of their KGM2 running shoe with a focus on QDP. Short for Quick Dynamic Performance, this was accomplished through the use of triple-layered cushioning. When put to the test, runners remarked that this shoe feels very bouncy and responsive to the energy
put into each stride. Despite having three layers of material, the midsole to the KGM2 doesn’t offer the same soft cushion as some other similarly made running shoes. However, this lack of squishy padding has been praised by satisfied customers who stated that the amount of comfort was perfectly adequate without going overboard.
The first thing that stands out about the KGM2’s upper is the webbed pattern along the lateral and medial sides. In addition to providing enough ventilation to allow runners’ feet to breathe
, this layout of mesh fabric helps secure the shoe to the foot in a manner that is snug yet comfortable. If the fit still isn’t quite right, the adjustable lacing can help finicky runners to fine-tune their fit to the ideal level. The insole found inside the shoe can be removed easily, allowing runners to switch it out for something more comfortable like an orthotic support. Finally, padding placed along the tongue and heel collar ensure that the ankle and upper foot avoid chafing from contact with the shoe. It’s safe to say that these factors have all combined in a way that is comfortable and convenient for most, if not all, runners.
With an average weight of around 9 ounces, these are some seriously lightweight
running shoes. This will help to make the KGM2 much more appealing to runners that like to focus on speed but it may turn off others who would prefer something with more stability and protection. What’s worth noting about this shoe’s weight is that 361 Degrees managed to keep it so insanely low while still providing three layers of cushioning in the midsole and a reinforced outsole. This engineering brilliance is one of the best selling points for these shoes as some may feel like it’s too good to be true.
In regards to breathability, the lighter weight of this running shoe significantly downplays the urgency of such a feature. For most runners who will wear the KGM2, sweat from exertion won’t be as pressing of an issue since the shoe weighs too little to cause excessive strain
. However, runners who participate in longer physical activity sessions or who run in warm temperatures will want a shoe that allows for some airflow. While the multiple layers of protective material on the bottom half of this running shoe won’t do them any favors, the upper features a construction that is predominantly made from a highly ventilated mesh fabric. This portion alone should suffice for most runners in terms of airflow.
In order to make the most of the materials used for the KGM2, cushioning was distributed selectively. For this reason, some runners will find these shoes to feel more or less comfortable depending on their running habits. Take heel strikers as an example: since the most common method that runners strike the ground is with their heel, 361 Degrees placed extra cushion
in this area to decrease the shock from impact. On the other hand, runners’ forefoot area isn’t often used for striking and is more suited for gripping onto the ground and toeing off. Because of this, the KGM2 has less cushion in front which should allow the toes to grip better to the ground.
The style of the KGM2 is likely to turn off a few runners who aren’t interested in neon color palettes. The only objective downside of this shoe’s style is the lack of color options since most stores only carry two. However, runners who appreciate highlighter neon colors
on their running apparel should have no problem coordinating these with the rest of their wardrobe. Aside from the color, these shoes feature an interesting webbed pattern on the sides of its upper, where most designers choose to place their logo. 361 Degrees instead placed their logo near the heel, turning it into a repeated design pattern. For runners with an eye for the unconventional, the KGM2 is a fantastic stylistic choice.
Based on the feedback from customers, the durability of these running shoes can vary. One customer remarked that they were able to use these shoes regularly for longer running sessions, finding that they work excellently for half-marathons and 5Ks. However, another stated that they noticed damage and frayed stitching after only a week of use. From these observations, it seems that the KGM2 doesn’t offer the level of durability required for beginner runners or heavy sprinters. On the other hand, runners who are already acclimated to the sport will most likely find these to be a very dependable and long-lasting addition to their wardrobe.
The KGM2 from 361 Degrees offers a multifaceted approach to protection. At the surface level, these shoes provide insulated cushioning to protect their feet from exposure to road hazards while running. Extra care has even been made to provide padding around the heel collar and tongue of the shoe so that runners are protected from any debris entering the inside and causing skin irritation. Aside from that, 361 Degrees has also implemented protection from gait abnormalities and stress-related running injuries through its midsole design. Also, to increase responsiveness, the QDP designed triple-layer midsole accomplishes this function admirably.
The part of this shoe that provides the most benefits in regards to responsiveness is the midsole. The entire point of utilizing three layers of padding for the QDP midsole system was to ensure a faster response while running. This helps to ensure that runners receive the most return on their energy with each stride. In addition, the surprisingly lightweight construction of the KGM2 helps to further improve its responsiveness through simple thermodynamics.
A great deal of support was focused on the heel of the KGM2. The extra layers of padding in this region help to support the rearfoot region and protect it from stress-related injuries. Aside from this, however, it seems that the overall support of these shoes is lacking. Customers have stated that they didn’t feel enough support to facilitate longer runs while in these shoes. On the other hand, at least one verified purchaser stated the exact opposite opinion when stating that they use these 361 Degrees shoes for 5K training. Ultimately, it seems that this is another aspect of these shoes that boils down to personal preference.
Despite many of the stylistic features that set this shoe apart from others of its kind, the KGM2 still functions remarkably similar in regards to acceptable terrain. Runners can expect these shoes to function best on surfaces designed to run on, such as a track or a sidewalk, and some milder surfaces that aren’t, such as a field, dirt road, or asphalt road. It’s technically feasible to run on trails while wearing these shoes but it isn’t recommended for runners to take them on any surfaces with excessive hazards or steep inclines.
Upon first launching, the KGM2 was listed at a suggested retail price that matched many other mid-range running shoes. This is reasonable since these shoes offer an experience that is more or less on par with those similarly priced products. However, individuals coming late to the party have the benefit of a significant discount. At the new price, these shoes can be found for on retail sites such as RoadRunner and Amazon; customers can expect a fantastic return on their investment. The only issue with adopting late like this is that finding specific sizes can be difficult.
Thanks to high-abrasion rubber placed on the strike zones of the KGM2’s outsole, these shoes from 361 Degrees will stick advantageously to the majority of common running environments and retain their traction for hundreds of miles to come. As is custom with shoes of its kind, runners should expect the highest amount of traction on standard running fare like a field, a dirt path, a sidewalk, and a road. Some trails will be accessible, but anything excessively rough or steep will be an issue.
Despite having a highly cushioned and stable construction, these running shoes from 361 Degrees have a few features that help to improve its stability. The outsole was designed with harder rubber only on key strike points, with more pliable soft rubber being used for the majority of the underfoot. In addition, multiple horizontal ridges were placed on the outsole in order to allow for easier bending during a run. Despite these amenities, the KGM2 is much more stable than it is flexible; however, one never manages to overpower the other.
In order to ensure that runners are able to use these shoes for a long time, 361 Degrees designed their KGM2 running shoe to provide terrific stability. Of particular note is the use of a heavily padded triple-layer midsole. In addition to providing comfort and high responsiveness for runners, the QDP midsole has the fringe benefit of improving the shoe’s stability with its firm construction. This padded firmness can also be seen on its upper since the KGM2 has extra cushioning around its heel collar and tongue.
The difference in elevation between the heel and toe of this shoe, also commonly referred to as its heel drop, is around 9 ½ mm. This is close to the average for running shoes of its kind, meaning that individuals who are already accustomed to this style will feel right at home. However, while owners of Nike Air shoes or Adidas runners will transition smoothly into the KGM2, those who are more accustomed to road running shoes or trail runners will need to take some time before feeling comfortable with their stride.
- Specially placed high-abrasion rubber on the outsole to improve traction
- Triple-layer QDP midsole responds quickly and provides high support
- Comfortable upper with padded heel collar and tongue
- Extremely lightweight construction
When looking at these shoes as a whole, they more or less resemble the majority of other running shoes on the market. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing since it means customers who already know what they like in a running shoe are sure to appreciate this offering from 361 Degrees. With that said, a few features of these shoes that do stand out are it's highly cushioned and responsive midsole design and the almost psychedelic fashion sense. For these reasons, enough innovation is here to justify these shoes from a lesser known manufacturer as worth a look.