Saturday, February 24, 2018

361 Sensation 3 Initial Review

If you have read my reviews before, you know I have a special place in my heart for light stability shoes.  These are the types of shoes I tend to work best with because I usually need just a little bit of guidance.  I can easily run in neutral shoes but perform best in these.  So I was very excited when I saw the Sensation 3 (first on the feet of my girlfriend Regina Lopez, who is currently sponsored by them).  Upon inspection, it was immediately apparent that these were not moderate or high support shoes.  These were mild stability shoes meant to guide the foot, support you during mileage and help you pick up the pace.  Did I have the same experience?  Let's talk.


Specs (per 361)
Classification: Mild/Mod Stability Trainer
Weight: 9.8 oz
Drop: 9mm



Sole/Ride

The first thing I noticed about this shoe was the stability and firmness of the ride.  The QU!KFOAM tends to come most to life when the pace picks up.  One of the runs I used these for was a light fartlek and I was surprised how the shoe transforms from a firm ride to a bouncy fast ride as you put more force into it.  The ride is very consistent from heel to toe, which is partially due to the full length QU!KFOAM.  It also remains consistent over the course of the run.  Many shoes tend to bottom out as you pound away at them.  The QU!KFOAM maintains its consistency from the first mile to the last.


361 shoes tend to be very durable and this one is no exception.  While I have not put enough miles on them to truly test this, every 361 shoe has lasted me well over 500 miles (which is rare given how hard I am on shoes) and have maintained similar rides throughout.  The outsole rubber definitely contributes to the firmness of the ride, but the durability trade off and responsiveness of the sole is definitely worth it.  


As a stability shoe, there is a mild medial post (gray discolored material) in the midfoot.  The post is very non-intrusive and even neutral runners will be able to run comfortably in this shoe.  There is also a carbon fiber plate in the midfoot that definitely contributes to the ability to take this shoe into uptempo paces (despite being a trainer).  Both add to the sense of stability in the shoe along with the firmer ride and full ground contact outsole.


Upper/Fit

The first thing I notice about the Sensation 3 is that the fit is on the narrower side.  The mesh upper is definitely stretchy and conforms very well to the foot.  The last (shape) and fit of the shoe just runs narrower.  The fit is very much true to size (I generally wear size 10 and this is exactly how the shoe fits) and the heel is somewhat snug, holding the rearfoot very well.


There is a solid external heel counter in the shoe, which means that although there is a stable rearfoot, there is still soft lining touching your achilles and calcaneus/heel bone.  So most people that are sensitive back there should be fine.



I am impressed with how stretchy the mesh in the forefoot is.  I am really tired of companies using aggressive toe bumpers on road shoes.  These tend to cause more problems as I  continue to observe tearing there and a TON of blisters from patients.  This is NOT the case with the Sensation 3 as the entire front is mesh with just a little bit of a light flexible guard at the front for durability.  So for those with normal to narrow feet, this should be a shoe that provides enough stretch around the toes.


Thoughts as a DPT

A mild medial post, a firmer midsole, a full ground contact outsole, an external heel counter and a carbon fiber plate in the midsole makes this shoe a very stable shoe but not in the traditional sense.  The running shoe industry still views "support" as how much medial posting there is.  This is quickly chancing just as the definition of "support" is ever evolving, but 361 has done a great job of stabilizing the foot using a combination of milder methods.

I realize I said 4 things below but mentioned 5 above.  The full ground contact outsole goes without saying.  More ground contact means more stability.   

The medial post obviously functions to slow down the rate of pronation.  In the Sensation 3, the post is fairly mild, to the point I actually felt the plate far more than the post.  The carbon fiber plate adds additional rigidity into the midfoot (which needs to be stable to assist during the propulsive phase of gait).  The firmness of the midsole and QU!KFOAM also make the shoe more stable (think concrete vs a soft mattress).  The external heel counter holds the rearfoot (to a degree) to stabilize the calcaneus.  All four of these together add up to a stable shoe, but none are overbearing.  This is a great way to do this, as many people are VERY sensitive to medial posts.  I see this frequently in people who refuse to wear their $600 custom orthotics.  They may be custom made, but they won't work if the person doesn't have highly sensitive feet because they won't wear them!


Conclusion

For those with narrower feet looking for a firm, stable and versatile daily trainer, I would take a look at the Sensation 3.  The support elements are mild enough that even a neutral runner could easily use this shoe for some extra stability on long runs.  Meanwhile, the carbon fiber plate and QU!KFOAM really come to light when the pace picks up.  This is a shoe I would reach for during long runs and longer workouts.  Even for those looking for a little more shoe than traditional marathon racers, this would make a great shoe for long distance racing.

Due to the narrower width, I will be sending these to my co-writer here on Doctors of Running, Dr. Kollias as he has narrow feet and needs more rearfoot stability that I do.  Look for a full review here in the coming weeks!

Thanks for reading!

Editor's Note: As always, the views presented on this website belong to myself or the selected few who contribute to these posts. This website should not and does not serve as a replacement for seeking medical care. If you are currently injured or concerned about an injury, please see your local running physical therapist. If you are in the Los Angeles area, I am currently taking clients for running evaluations.

Dr. Matthew Klein, PT, DPT
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Kaiser SoCal Manual Therapy and Sport Fellow

***Disclaimer: These shoes were provided free of charge in exchange for a review by 361 USA.  We very much appreciate them sending these to us and thank them for their support.  This did not change the honesty of these reviews.  We put at least 50-75 miles on trainers and 25 miles on racing flats prior to reviewing them. Currently I have 10 miles on my pair and will be sending them to Dr. Kollias for a full review (coming soon). My views are based on my extensive history in the footwear industry and years testing and developing footwear. If you are a footwear rep looking for footwear reviews or consultations on development, we are currently looking to partner with companies to assist, discuss and promote footwear models. Partnership will not affect the honesty of our reviews.


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