Clinical Analysis of Running, Running Footwear, and Injury Prevention/Performance. The Doctor(s) of Running, using knowledge of human movement, clinical biomechanics and performance to bring you cutting edge reviews, science and knowledge.

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361 Degrees Sensation 4 Multiple Tester Review

Matt: Good light stability shoes were rare not too long ago.  The market was polarized between the more popular neutral shoe category with a smattering of moderate stability to motion control shoes.  As motion control shoes slowly start to die out, a small resurgence is being seen the light stability category.  These are the shoes for people who like picking up the pace in a lighter shoe, but want just a little guidance.  The 361 Sensation series made a great turn at version 3 (review) and returns with a little beefier but better fitting shoe that continues this trend. 

David: The 361 Sensation 4 is a lightweight stability daily trainer that goes back to the roots of what makes a stability shoe great. It is simplistic while also adding some new bells and whistles to accompany advancing technology, such as carbon fiber plating.


Specifications (per 361)
Weight: 10.3 oz (men's size 9)
Stack Height: 25mm / 16 mm
Drop: 9 mm
Classification: Mild Stability Trainer
Available: July 1st, 2019


FIT/UPPER

Matt: The upper is the biggest update of the Sensation 4.  It has been completely overhauled with a new completely seamless engineered Jacquard Mesh.  It is completely pressure free throughout the foot.  Even the significant heel counter has plenty of padding.  The mesh is extremely comfortable and breathable.  This does allow for sockless wear (which I have done without issue).  The fit is true to size.  I normally wear a size 10 and the 361 Sensation 4 fits exactly at that length.  I did feel a little pressure on my big toe at first as the toebox at the very end does taper a little quick, but overall there is more room in the midfoot and forefoot compared to the previous version.  I had to wear a wide width (2E) in the Sensation 3 to have enough room and I am able to wear a normal width in the Sensation 4 without issue.


There is more room overall, but the internal sleeve in the midfoot (called MORPHIT) snugs the midfoot down very well when the laces are tightened.  The toe box has more room, especially on the lateral side as I no longer feel any pressure on my pinky toes.  The mesh also stretches well and should fit a variety of foot types.  Despite the additional room in Sensation 4, I have had no issues with slippage.  The laces and the cushioned heel counter do a great job of locking the foot down, but do not cause any extra pressure on the foot.  The new cushioned tongue does a great job of not causing any additional pressure on the ankle even when the laces are tied down tightly.

David: The upper to the 361 Sensation 4 is made up of a very breathable Jacquard Mesh. The mesh material is surprisingly airy without jeopardizing durability. It is seamless which gives the shoe a sock like sensation across the top. The tongue is also designed to relieve pressure over the dorsum of the foot, which is observed most when climbing large hills or positions that place you into increased dorsiflexion. The MORPHIT sleeve is a nice component to the fitting of the shoe, for it does not waste any space. The upper and midfoot hug the foot very well without being overly compressive. This shoe is true to size and does not compress in the forefoot area.


RIDE/MIDSOLE

Matt:  The outsole and midsole in the Sensation 4 are carried over with little change from version 3.  The ride continues to be on the firmer side thanks to the QU!KFOAM and carbon fiber shank.   There is not much of a heel bevel, so rearfoot landings are quite stiff.  The forefoot flex grooves are deep and make for a great and responsive toe off also thanks to the carbon fiber shank.  The midfoot is stiff and stable thanks to the medial post and shank.  The ride does loosen up after 20-30 miles and begins to feel a bit more forgiving, but maintains the firmer

There is a 9mm drop listed for the 361 Sensation 4 and that is how it feels.   The firm midsole has little give to it at slower speeds.  When the pace picks up, the ride begins to shine a bit more.  Running with a heavy heel strike while fatigued does not feel great.  The transition is very stiff at slower paces.  However, when the pace picks up and little more force is put through the sole, the ride begins to come alive and gives you a little push.  So for normal to uptempo pace runs, the Sensation 4 shines.


David: The 361 Sensation 4 gives a responsive ride with minimal cushioning. The QU!CKFOAM technology coupled with the carbon fiber shank give this shoe a much more responsive ride. This is a shoe that you will want to run moderate paces in. When the pace is too light, the shoe may just come off as stiff. The medial post does a good job of providing light stability while not being excessive (as seen in many motion control shoes). The shoe allows for intrinsic foot musculature to activate while still supporting the navicular lift at the same time.  Because of the responsiveness of this shoe, it will be more comfortable for those who midfoot strike or forefoot strike. Heel striking may feel awkward with the carbon fiber shank transferring forces forward.


STABILITY

Matt: With a firm ride, medial post and a carbon fiber shank, the 361 Degree Sensation 4 is a stable shoe.  Although listed as a mild stability shoe, the features make it far more stable.  A firm ride is always more stable and the QU!KFOAM material is no exception.  This feeling is uniform throughout the sole.  The carbon fiber shank creates a great deal of stiffness in the midfoot, drastically improving torsional rigidity.  Finally, the medial post in the midfoot is present but not obtrusive.  It further adds to the stiffness of the midfoot, but does not push excessively into the arch.  Most people will notice it stepping into the shoe, but the height is on the moderate to low side.  These features contribute to a very stiff midfoot and heel,  but the deep flex grooves in the forefoot create some guidance forward without additional stiffness.


David: As stated earlier, this shoe presents with a more rigid ride, thanks to the medial post and carbon fiber shank. Coupled with the QU!CKFOAM, the medial post provide a significant amount of stability. I believe this shoe is accurate as a moderate stability shoe (ranking "motion control" to be highly stable). As a runner that is primarily neutral, this is about as stable as I am looking to run in. I think this is a shoe that will make a large group of people happy (neutral and stability runners).


SPEED

Matt: The Sensation 4 has packed on a little weight (10.3 oz up from 9.6 oz previously) but can still handle fartleks, uptempo runs and long runs.  The slight weight increase does make me reach for other shoes during workouts, but they can be done.  The carbon fiber plate feels best at the end of long runs when you want to pick up the pace or uptempo easy runs.  The Sensation 4 does feel better when the pace picks up and feels incredibly stiff during recovery runs.   So this shoe will work best for easy or uptempo days when you want a little pace increase.

David: This is a shoe that is best used for daily training and long runs. It is just light enough (10.3 oz) to accomplish longer tempo workouts if you do not have access to the other shoes. The shoe is responsive and can up the pace if you ask it too, but the weight does hold it back some. I find that it becomes a little heavy once I start running faster than 5:45 pace, which would be a moderate-fast pace (which correlates with tempo as well).



DURABILITY

Matt: The outsole durability is far improved over the previous version.  While I destroyed the outsole with less than 150 miles on the Sensation 3, the Sensation 4 is still doing well at over 200 miles.  The wear and tear on the outsole are the normal places I would expect (lateral heel and middle forefoot).  Overall I would expect average durability in the Sensation 4 of 400-500 miles thanks to a little extra ride maintenance from the carbon plate shank.


David: This shoe can take a hit. It can run through all terrains while still providing enough traction and stability to take on moderately harsh trails. I could see this shoe lasting on the longer side of mileage recommendations that are out there for daily trainers. I would not hesitate to say that this shoe could potentially get you to 500 miles before it is time to hang them up for a new pair. Thanks to the carbon fiber plate, the responsiveness helps lower total time on the sole, indirectly making it more durable.


THOUGHTS AS A DPT 

Medial posts are usually defined as an added firmer section of the sole on the medial side compared to the remainder of the sole.  Due to the difference in densities of the materials of the sole, this can also be referred to as a dual density midsole.  This term is now oudated as there are now many variations on that like Hoka's Profly midsole, which is not for stability, but simply different densities of the forefoot and heel (rather than the medial aspect).  Companies like Brooks, Saucony, Salomon and more are gradually moving away from this concept and instead use guide rails.  While the posts remain firm and are there whether you like it or not, the guide rails simply nudge the foot/ankle back on track.  Typically these "rails" line the full length of the sole and often are present on both the medial and lateral side of the shoe.  So for the rare supinator, the guide rails will provide the assistance you need.  The added benefit of the guide rails is that they guide.  If you need it, they will be there and if you don't, they tend to stay out of the way.  Whereas with the medial posts, often the stiffness or elevation of the medial sole can push people toward outward laterally and can limit the population that can use the shoe.   They are also limited as they are usually only present in a small section of the medial side.  They are most frequently found in the midfoot, which unfortunately ignores the fact that pronation is a multi joint motion that can occur at the hindfoot, midfoot and/or forefoot. 


That being said, there are many people who do very well with medial posts.  For those that need a little stiffer sole because of some extra medial motion, a post may do well.  For those that like a little extra pressure into their arch, they often do well in these shoes EVEN if the do not demonstrate uncontrolled foot/ankle pronation.  This is extremely common and something that used to drive me nuts when I worked in local running retail stores.  Knowing now that in the uncertain world of injury prevention, people tend to do better in the shoe that fits most comfortably (Nigg et al., 2015), that now makes sense to me.  So remember it is not about controlling motion when it comes to support.  It is about supporting an athlete's natural movement pattern as much as possible without interfering or forcing anything to occur (which may cause a loss of performance or a different injury).  Subtle influences are best!

-Matthew Klein PT DPT OCS FAAOMPT


WHO THIS SHOE IS FOR (Conclusion)

Matt: For those who want a firm uptempo trainer with traditional but mild methods of stability, the 361 Degree Sensation 4 is worth a look.  The new upper provides a far better and more accommodating fit in the midfoot and forefoot.  Meanwhile, the sole remains firm and responsive for normal to uptempo paces thanks to the QU!KFOAM and carbon fiber shank.  A traditional shoe with some new elements in the upper, check out the 361 Sensation 4, available July 1st, 2019.

David: This is a shoe for those who want a daily trainer that will last them a long duration of time while also not giving up responsiveness or excessive amounts of speed. If someone works out in trainers for tempos (rather than flats, or specifically light trainers), this is a shoe that can accommodate those needs if no other options are present. This shoe gives a light to moderate sense of stability while also being responsive, so people out there who like medial post shoes with a bit of performance additives may like these as well!

The Doctors of Running Youtube Review of the 361 Sensation 4

GRADING

Fit/Upper          9/10 (M: 9/10  D: 9/10)
Ride/Midsole    7.5/10 (M: 7/10  D: 8/10)
Stability            9/10 (M: 9/10  D: 9/10)
Speed                7.75/10 (M: 8/10  D: 7.5/10)
Durability          8/10 (M: 8/10  D: 8/10)

Total Score: 82.5% (M: 82%  D: 83%)

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 OCS FAAOMPT
Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist
PhD Candidate APU: Rehabilitation and Movement Science
Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists 

Dr. David Salas DPT PTLA CSCS
Physical Therapy License Applicant
Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist

***Disclaimer: These shoes were provided free of charge in exchange for a review.  We thank the  people at 361 for sending us a pair.  This in no way affected the honesty of this review. We put at least 50-75 miles on trainers and 10-25 miles on racing flats prior to reviewing them. Currently we have 210 miles (Matt) and 70 miles (David) on our pairs. Our 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.

References

1. Nigg, B., Baltich, J., Hoerzer, S., Enders, H.  (2015).  Running shoes and running injuries: mythbusting and a proposal for two new paradigms: 'preferred movement path' and 'comfort filter'.  British Journal of Sports Medicine, 49(20). 

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