There’s nothing like opening up a shoebox to find a new pair of shoes staring back at you. If you run as much as I do, that happens frequently, and I love getting to try new brands and styles. I feel a bit like Cinderella getting her glass slipper back, though I can relate to the stepsisters in that fairy tale who can’t make the shoe fit on their long or fat feet. If there’s one thing all runners know, it’s that one size does not fit all.
Writing shoe reviews is difficult because what works for me may not work for you. Keep that in mind while you read this. If you prefer a fairly close-fitting shoe, or one with more of a minimalist fit, and are looking for something lightweight with firm energy return, this might be just what you’re looking for!
361° makes many different styles of shoes for all occasions, and I got to try out the 361° Pacer ST. They came in a brilliant shade of yellow, perfect for a spring shoe. They run somewhat long; the ones I tested were a size 8, and I typically wear an 8.5 or 9 in running shoes. Kelly, who normally wears an 8.5 in running shoes, felt the length of the size 8 was actually perfect. These have a fit more close to a racing flat than what you’d wear for your long runs, with the shoe fitting fairly close through the front of the foot.
I had never tried a pair of 361° shoes, but some quick research on their website helped educate me. A few of the features of these shoes include Qu!kfoam, which is an EVA rubber blend that provides a responsive energy return again and again, and a pressure free tongue which will feel more comfortable on the ankle during a run or walk. There’s also a Qu!k comfort insole, which again uses the proprietary foam material, and a Qu!k spine constructed of a lightweight carbon fiber that helps with stability.
The 361-Pacer ST is considered a speed shoe, and I can see why. They are the lightest of the 361° shoes and are advertised to be low to the ground in performance. The upper has a Jacquard mesh that helps with breathability and it molds to the foot well. If you’ve always just worn your training shoes for races where you’re aiming for a fast time, you should give these a try if you like a close-fitting shoe with firm cushion. The benefit of being able to “feel” the running surface along with the energy return from the shoe’s midsole will help you increase your cadence.
I wore the 361-Pacer ST for an 8 miler and it took a bit of time to get used to them, but my feet ended up settling into them after awhile. I’m used to a more cushioned shoe, but I didn’t have any soreness or pain, due to this shoe’s structure and support.
There is a 9mm drop, so there’s not as much toe-spring as you might find in a more cushioned shoe, but these are great shoes if you are looking for a neutral speed trainer or a good overall daily trainer – or a shoe you can train in with plans to wear them while racing shorter distances (5k/10k). They are stable and firm as well as very durable with the carbon rubber in the heel and blown rubber in the forefoot.
The bottom line is that these are well-constructed shoes with potential to give you a faster “feel” as you’re training for speed. They’re lightweight (9.4 oz) and their streamlined design just might make you feel like running some quarter repeats.
As with all shoes we review, we suggest you shop with a local running store so that you can give the shoes a real run-test before you commit. Plus, we are lucky in Oregon to have a variety of really great running stores that do more than just sell shoes. They provide the backbone to our local running communities!
Products & Price:
- 361-PACER ST ($119.95)
More about 361°:
Running is our passion. It’s the core of our business. However, it’s not just about selling shoes. We are dedicated to going ONE DEGREE BEYOND. The 361 Degrees team is built of passionate runners of all levels and abilities who just want to bring that love of running to everyone around them. To share this passion, we have teamed up with You Run This Town Foundation, Orange County, CA, a nonprofit who is committed to developing the next generation of leaders. Through our partnership with YRTTF, We are working with local youth learning center, Providing workshops like ‘how to sell yourself’ and ‘what it takes to start a business’ to organizing a run group that will compete in their first ever 5k race in a couple of weeks. We want to not only share our knowledge and life lessons as a collected group but to inspire a younger generation to take up running.
Thank you to 361° for providing us with a sample pair. Please read our transparency page for info on how we do our reviews.