Sunday, March 4, 2018

361 Chaser 2 Initial Review

The original Chaser from 361 was an interesting shoe (REVIEW).  Upon try on, I felt that it was far too heavy for a short distance racer and that it MIGHT work as a long distance racer.  Then I used it for a 5k and was able to drop a 15:40 while not in good shape.  I was impressed but still felt the shoe was too bulky.  And finally along came the Chaser 2.  This is the racer I have been waiting for from 361.  Finally they have a lighter weight racing shoe that to actually differentiate itself from the KgM2 2 (REVIEW) .  How does it do that?  Let's talk.

Specs (per 361)
Classification: Racer
Weight: 6.8 oz
Drop: 8mm drop


The first thing I noticed about version two is how much leaner it looks.  Although Running Warehouse lists the weight as similar to the previous version (8.1oz), the Chaser 2 feels and looks much lighter (as listed at 6.8oz).  While I think this is also due to the fit and structure of the upper (more on this later), the weight change definitely affects the ride.  Previously I stated the original felt like it would do better as a long distance racer as it feel more like a lightweight trainer with a plate.  That is, until you tried to pick the pace and and the carbon fiber plate began to shine.  Now with the lighter weight and feel, the Chaser 2 feels like a much faster racing shoe.  The carbon fiber plate in the midsole can definitely be felt when the speed picks up.  The sole is somewhat firm but a bit forgiving thanks to the QU!KFOAM.  By this I mean when jogging lightly in the shoe between repetitions, it actually feels protective and doesn't beat my legs up like most overly firm racing flats.  As soon as the pace picks up though, the colors change to an aggressive racer.  So now this is a shoe I would use for both a 5k and marathon with confidence.  This is interesting as many 361 shoes feel  firmer, but this combination of the QU!KFOAM and the carbon fiber plate make the midsole feel bouncier.  This may have to do with the lighter weight.

Like all 361 shoes, the outsole rubber is very durable and grippy.  I first tested this shoe after some rare rain in Los Angeles and had no slipping or feelings of instability picking up the pace or going around corners.  Although I have not put enough miles on this shoe to comment fully on durability (that will come more from Dr. Kollias and his extended review later), I expect this shoe to last for many miles as either a racer or a very lightweight trainer for the minimally inclined runner.

Like the previous version, the midfoot is a bit narrow.  In the previous version this led to a bit of instability.  The solution for this appears to be that the last of the shoe is now narrower overall.  The previous version had a wider forefoot last that made for a stable push off, but the contrast led to a more unstable midfoot.  The current version has a more consistent width throughout.  I would have thought that would decrease stability of the shoe having what feels like a narrower forefoot last, but it felt more stable to me.

There is an 8mm drop, which is pretty consistent for most 361 shoes (8-9mm drop).  Due to the plate, the heel did not feel as obtrusive as other shoes due to the fact that landing back there resulted in a decent activation of the carbon fiber plate, which still pushes you forward.


A large change from the previous version is a much more snug and lean upper.  Gone is the wider fit and in its place a snugger more racing style fit.  The Chaser 2 does fit narrower overall compared to the original.  The upper has a little give to it, but not a ton.  For this reason, those with normal to narrower width feet will feel much more at home in this shoe.  It is a racing flat, which do tend to run narrower.

Fit wise the Chaser 2 fits somewhat true to size if a bit small.  The upper in the forefoot was a bit narrow for me not because of the taper but because of the narrower fit overall.  Which is likely what accounts more for my comment on a slightly smaller fit more than an actual length difference.  So I would suggest staying with your normal size unless you have a wider foot or are between sizes.  The upper has a bit of give but not much.

That being said, the snugger fit and less give from the upper greatly improves the hold of the foot on the platform.  Due to the wider fit of the previous version, I did not feel the most secure at high speed.  The Chaser 2 feels much more locked on without any specific hot spots that are common from other companies using things like midfoot wraps in the upper.

Finally, there is a mild heel counter in this shoe but I did not notice it extensively while running.  I as always am a bit biased about the shape of the heel aspect of the upper.  I generally want a split Achilles notch to give some room for the tendon during gait.  However, it seems less companies are using that and I have not had any rubbing issues with the design of Chaser 2 back there.  I would suggest wearing socks with this upper as it does not have the softest internal feel, but I have not had any rubbing or chaffing issues.

Thoughts as a DPT

Prior to the Nike Vaporfly, I believed that plates in the midsole should reach the full length of the foot to act as a springboard and imitate the plantar fascia.  This issue with this (and the issue many of patients who train/race in that shoe have) is that a plate that limits the mobility of the MTP joints (metatarsophalangeal joints. aka your proximal toe joints) will cause issues further up the chain no matter how much toe spring you put in the shoe.  The MTP joint extension is VERY important for forward propulsion during the terminal stance (push-off) stance of gait.  The Chaser 2 does a much better job of this by having a carbon fiber plate in the midfoot that goes up close but does not pass the toes.  This is FAR more similar to the plantarfascia (which for the most part stops at the toes to act as a force transfer mechanism), which really helps transfer forces and passively stabilize the midfoot.  The carbon fiber plate is VERY responsive (as I mentioned earlier) yet stiff enough to provide some structure at speed.  So while the midfoot is narrower than I would like, there is still structure to keep you going for long miles.


The design, looks, fit and weight of this shoe have drastically improved over the first version.  The Chaser 2 is lighter, leaner and faster, which differentiates it from the uptempo and protective 361 KgM2 2.  I would still use this as a long distance racer, however it has the versatility to be used down to the 5K.  For those looking for a versatile, snug fitting and eye catching racer, take a look at the 361 Chaser 2.

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 this review.  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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  1. Does the plate help the shoe to have very stiff torsional rigidity like how podiatrists recommend when you try to twist the shoe?

    1. Hi anonymous,

      Yes the plate is stiff but has a nice snap to it. I am having no issues putting miles on these shoes and find there to be plenty of torsional rigidity. Hope that helps!

    2. It does thanks

  2. If one is picking up speed and landing more on the forefoot, does the plate help to propel the runner forward? How does the plate here compare with the meraki? Thanks

    1. Great question!!!

      I still feel quite a bit of propulsion due to the midsole foam when picking up the pace. My 10 miles were actually done as a track workout doing 400s and they felt great. The plate is engaged far more with a flatter footstrike but they still work great. Optimally even with a forefoot strike, your midfoot and heel should make contact with the ground lightly during midstance. If not you are putting a little too much pressure on your gastrocsoleus complex. Unless of course you are sprinting. Those mechanics are a little different.

      The Meraki is a great shoe (check out our review) but the plate is a little more subdued that the chaser. This is due to the fact that there is less midsole and shoe in the CHaser 2, so the plate is more noticeable (in a good way).

      Hope that helps.

      -Dr. Matthew Klein PT DPT

  3. Thanks for sharing