361 may not be a name you are as familiar with compared to other more notable brands, but that doesn’t mean 361 doesn’t deserve your attention. Perhaps you’ve seen their ads in Runners World: the sheep head and the leopard body. Fast and soft & A strange and beautiful combination are some of the slogans you’ll find along side this half and half animal. The ad has always caught my eye, so when I got a pair of the 361 Spinjects to try out, I was excited to slip my feet into something new.
Right out of the box, I immediately fell in love with the style. The knit mesh upper, different pattern on the heel and forefoot as well the turquoise color laces against the black and white body. But looks can be deceiving… Did the Spinject live up to its fast, stylish look? Keep reading to find out the good and the not-so-good of the 361 Spinject!
361 calls the unique design of the outsole the QU!K Flex 4foot (yes, the exclamation point is supposed to be there) which is said to have better ground contact in order to accelerate and balanced toe off. Taking a look at the outsole you’ll see the wavy rows and deep flex grooves which certainly adds a bit of flexibility to this shoe. As with most running shoes, the outsole itself is made of rubber with a lightweight blown rubber in the forefoot.
The midsole is made of 361 Qu!ckfoam (again, yes, the exclamation point is correct). This particular midsole foam is supposed to maintain its shape and cushion longer than other EVA foams. It is coated with CPU to give a little extra durability so it stands up for the long haul. The Qu!ckfoam midsole is part of 361’s QDP (Quick Dynamic Performance) system which features three layers: the Qu!ckfoam insole, the Qu!ckfoam midsole and a bottom layer of EVA. But what’s the goal of this “system”? 361 wanted to provide runners with cushioning that was response and could convert energy.
Although responsive, the midsole definitely wasn't very flexible and pretty stiff underfoot. And compared to many running shoes with super cushy, pillowy
midsole on the market today, this is not one of them. But for the big questions - was it comfortable? Keep reading to find out.
Just take a look at that knit upper. The design is eye catching but the knit itself is quite functional, keeping feet cool. It is seamless, reducing the chance of potential irritations. There is also something called the Fitz-Rite midfoot, which is an internal webbing in order to hold the foot down.
Now, about that tongue. It’s definitely unusual. They call it the “Pressure Free Tongue”. It is thin, flat with an edging that was, well, again unusual. It doesn’t provide much in the way cushioning on the top of the foot, acting mostly as a barrier between the laces
and your foot. But in my case, it also didn’t seem to know where to go. Sometimes it even wanted to pop out from under the first set of laces, where you actually tie the shoe. I had to make sure the tongue was well adjusted before lacing it down. While most of the upper was really nice, the tongue was the only part that was rather disappointing.
The weight for the Spinject is 8.2oz for women
and 9.8oz for men. Though not the lightest shoe out there, it is pretty light weight and since it is a pretty responsive shoe, it feels lighter than it actually is.
As I mentioned before, the upper is made of a knit material, which has become extremely popular in running shoes and for good reason. The breathability is solid. My feet were comfortable, not once overheating, even on some unseasonably warm fall
The first time I slipped on the shoe I was shocked by how stiff it was. The midsole is a very firm cushioning. It took some time to actually get used to it, as I am one who gravitates toward more plush shoes rather than firmer shoes. But after a break in period, I found it a bit more comfortable, but still not as comfortable as I would’ve hoped for. This shoe worked quite well for short 5 mile or less runs, but anything over that, it wasn’t quite the comfort I would seek in a shoe.
Another rather uncomfortable aspect of the shoe was that tongue. Had it been more of a traditional tongue with a slightly thicker padding and more traditional design, the upper would've been pretty perfect. The seamless knit upper, however, did allow a lot of air flow, keep my feet cool and comfortable.
The only other thing I will mention is that the sizing seems a tad small. I received a size that I wear in most running shoes, but after slipping them on for the first time, I knew right away I could’ve benefited from a size up. I also would've appreciated a slightly wider toe box too. I highly suggest, for the Spinject and all running shoes in genearl, that you try it on first, preferably at the end of the day, to get the best fit possible. In this case, you may need to go up a size.
This is probably my favorite feature of the shoe. It is a little funky in terms of patterns (and I mean it in a good way) and it works well with the classy black and white combo with the pop of turquoise of the laces. So as far as style goes, it’s got style for miles. The “3” design on the sides of the shoe break up the different patterns and there are a few different patterns, but not overwhelmingly so. The coral color it also comes in is also very nice, especially if you are into brightly colored shoes. However, my favorite was the color combo I received. This shoe worked well for both running and many times, with my casual outfits as well.
After a good amount of miles in this shoe (around 70 miles or so) I have yet to see any wear. Not on the outsole, not on the upper, nowhere. This is a solid shoe, which for the price point I’m honestly a little surprised. The outsole is a durable rubber with the blown rubber in the forefoot. The knit upper, though breathable, is very strong. Even the laces are pretty thick. The cushioning itself has broken in, but hasn't worn down to the point where its lost its responsiveness. Overall, I'm very happy with how well the shoe is holding up.
The thick rubber outsole will protect anything from puncturing your underfoot, though I would keep it off the trails, even light trails. The shoe does pick up rocks in the grooves of the outsole which can cause some discomfort. However, the overall durability of the shoe is a testament to its protection as well. The cushioning, while not a marshmallow cushioning like some shoes, does absorb shock which is the main focus as far as protection when running on roads.
This is definitely where this shoe shines. It is a very responsive shoe. The Qu!ck 4flex grooves on the outsole provide some flexibility while the blown rubber outsole gets some great traction to dig in and speed up fast. And while the midsole provides a good amount of energy return and bounce, it is a bit stiff, which maybe took away from its potential responsiveness. The flexibility did get a tiny bit better with after a few runs. The Spinject is a snappy, energetic shoe and the material of the midsole did give me that bounce to keep going.
The support comes from the stiff underfoot and the Fritz-Rite midfoot internal webbing system. Other than that, don't expect arch support or stability features in this shoe. The platform is stiff, but stable. The traction is good, even on wet surfaces. The flexible but supportive mesh upper keeps your foot in place. If you are a neutral runner who isn't looking for any special support features, then the Spinject will provide you the support you need.
Roads, roads and more roads. I tried a light trail or two and it just didn’t do it. The main reason that it didn’t work well on light trails was that the deep flex grooves had a tendency to pick up tiny rocks and such that would get wedged in and needed to be plucked out.
That being said, it definitely worked well on the roads and pavement, and though I didn't take it on a track, I assume it would do pretty well on a track too. As far as wet conditions go, I was able to take them out after a rain and saw no difference in traction. If you keep these shoes on roads, you won’t be disappointed. While many road shoes do okay on trails, this isn’t one of them. (That is unless you like picking rocks out from your outsole.)
Coming in at around $100, this is a very affordable running shoe. While many companies are coming out with shoes that are $150, and more, it’s refreshing to see a running shoe that is a well-made, extremely durable and won’t cost you your first born.
As mentioned before, the rubber outsole with flex grooves does great on the roads and sidewalks. The bit of trail I did in these shoes, it just wasn’t quite as fun. (No one wants to pick rocks out of their shoes. Trust me. If you want to see it shine, especially in its responsiveness, keep it to the road.
The midsole is pretty stiff, only getting a bit more flexible after a few runs, but the flex grooves help combat the stiffness. The grooves are pretty deep and help make the shoe a little more flexible. The upper however is quite flexible, but supportive. The knit isn't restrictive and worked with my foot. However, I would not consider this a flexible shoe. Luckily, the responsiveness of the midsole makes up for the shoes inflexibility.
The Spinject is not a stability
shoe. It’s a neutral trainer. But there were features that gave me a certain level of stability. The outsole had great traction on the road, the midsole was stiff underfoot making for a stable platform, and the upper with the Fitz-Rite midfoot webbing locked the foot down. I was stable. But those looking for some additional stability, will want to look elsewhere as it won’t provide support for pronation issues.
These shoes have an 8mm drop, which is a touch under a standard drop of most running shoes (which is 10mm). I felt comfortable with this drop as my heel had a little extra protection under it, and this drop does make for a good toe off. Many runners will find this 8mm drop comfortable.
- 361’s QDP system – a three layer midsole containing the Qu!ckfoam insole, the Qu!ckfoam midsole and a bottom layer of EVA
- QU!K Flex 4foot and blown rubber outsole
- Fitz-Rite midfoot – an internal that holds the foot down
- 8mm drop
- Breathable knit upper
I think 361 is on the right track with the Spinject. While there are some flaws, like the tongue and the stiff midsole, it is quite a snappy little shoe that will put spring into any runner’s step. Their style design is great, but the comfort leaves something to be desired. The materials of the shoe, as a whole, hold up really well, and will certainly last much longer than even some of my favorite plush running shoes
. With a few tweaks here and there, 361 could have themselves a real winner.