361 has been an interesting one from us from day one. We have looked at many of their shoes over the last few years, but nothing felt as compelling a leap forward as the new Spire 4. They went back to the drawing board in many ways and attempted to bring a lot of what is good across the running ecosystem into a single shoe, a cushioned everyday runner that ticks all the boxes. So how does it stack up?
Quick Details, Specs, and Availability
- Full redesign from the ground up and it shows
- Weighs in at 10oz or 283g for a US Men’s 9 and has a 9mm heel/toe drop
- Targeted at neutral runners looking for an everyday/tempo style shoe
- Retails at $155.00 USD and comes in 2 colors for Men and Women
I had run in several models of 361 shoes prior including multiple iterations of the Spire. My impression prior was that it felt similar to older shoes from other brands, probably most like a Nike. With the Spire 4, from the time I pulled it out of the box, I knew things were going to be different. First, the shoe is a lot lighter feeling from prior iterations which is always a good sign. Second, the material choices are pretty top-notch and it feels extremely durable. Lastly, the midsole implementation felt well thought out.
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In the run, these things feel really good and compete well with other flagship casual shoes. They could use a touch more cushion and a bit wider toe box, but they do perform exactly as expected. The mixed midsole does a good job encouraging transition and responsiveness and heel strikers will find the back half of the shoe more than accommodating. The only other area that gets us a little is the tongue. While designed for lower pressure, we actually find it is very apparent during your run which is counter-intuitive. It is not enough to take away from a solid ride though and for most people, this could be an easy choice on any day.
The upper on the Spire 4 has received a full overhaul from the Spire 3. It now sports a breathable knit that transitions to a mid-foot stability system they call MORPHIT. This then extends into the heel cup which is thick and cushioned and holds you nicely in place. They even redesigned the tongue and gave it some slight padding, but not enough to pressure the top of the foot. They even added Ortholite liners!
The Spire 4 mid is where a lot of the performance starts. It is a big mishmash of their key technologies. First, their QU!KFOAM, which is a rubberized EVA designed for durability and cushion. Then you have their QU!K Spring+ which is a rebound based EVA placed closer to the fore of the foot to provide maximum take off. Lastly, they inserted a carbon shank (not a plate) to add with stability at the midfoot.
The outsole on the Spire 4 features rubber on the front and rear of the foot to increase traction and durability at the key contact points. You can visibly see their carbon shank through the outsole at the midline.
Style & Aesthetics
The styling on 361 shoes is getting better with every iteration and we had quite a few good comments from folks on the Spire 4. It feels very approachable, isn’t too aggressive and comes in a light and dark configuration.
The Spire 4 marks a solid improvement by 361 to innovate on the prior version. From the ground up it was overhauled… new upper, reconfigured and updated midsole, and lighter overall. They are not a well-known brand in the US, but most casual runners will find these an easy choice from their first 5k to half marathon and even more.