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° FEISU Multiple Tester Review

In a time of fancy foams and carbon fiber plates, it is rare to see a shoe or racing shoe that holds to the concept that simple sometimes work best.  Inspired by the lightweight, tried and true designs of many of Japanese racing shoes, the 361 Feisu feels anything but simple.



Specifications (per Running Warehouse)
Weight: 6.4 ounces
Stack Height: 26mm to 17mm
Drop: 9 mm
Classification: Racing Flat


HIGHLIGHTS

Matt: This has been my go to 5k-10k shoe recently.  Although I could easily see this shoe handling marathons, I am amazed how fast I can run in this shoe.  It has a wider fit in the forefoot and has a higher drop (that I prefer more currently for my sensitive calves) but doesn't get in the way of my stride.  The Feisu has a versatile enough ride I can warm up in it, race a 5k and do a long tempo in it.  The upper is extremely comfortable and is one of the rare shoes that disappears from my mind when I am racing and training.

David: The 361 Feisu is a racing flat that makes you feel like you are cheating.  The 9 mm drop gives the shoe a much less aggressive feel than other flats on the market, but yet equally responsive.  The weight being at 6.4 ounces makes this shoe a VERY versatile racing flat.  It may be on the heavy end for 5k (but definitely doable), it is perfect for everything 10k and up (and even marathon). The upper is just as breathable as other flats and the outsole is durable enough to take high mileage (relative to racing flats)! It's light, durable, and a lot of fun to run in.

Nathan: Full disclosure, this is my first time running in a racing flat. I became a runner in college 10 years ago and have slowly been creeping my way to faster paces (now running a sub 20 minute 5K, so faster but not blazing). One of the beauties of this flat is that it isn't too aggressive (higher drop for a racing flat) and made for a simple transition to a racing shoe. It is also extremely versatile and did well for me for anything from a track workout to 5K to half marathon. A "lighter than its weight" feel, secure midfoot, and roomy toe box makes for enjoyable and fast racing.


FIT

Matt: The upper is very simple.  What you need and nothing more.  Utilizing an air mesh upper and a micro fiber suede, the upper is lightweight and comfortable.  The mesh is breathable (definitely not a cold weather shoe) and very comfortable.  The fit is slightly long but I would still stick with your normal size, particularly when using socks.  Like most Japanese racers, the toe box is a little wider and the heel is a little narrower. I really like the fit as it sits just right on my foot with enough room not to squeeze the foot but snug enough through the heel and midfoot (due to the Fitz-Rite in the midfoot) that the foot is held down well.  The forefoot is not super wide, but thanks to a greater taper on the lateral aspect of the forefoot than the medial (slightly straighter on the medial side for the hallux), the fit is a little more anatomical than most racers.  The heel fit is a little narrower and holds the foot snug. There is a heel counter that travels up to the posterior midfoot.  It is thinner and there is some upper cushion, so I have not had any issues with my sensitive Achilles insertion.  I would like to give bonus points for the suede toe guard.  Thank you 361 for not using one of the blister inducing plastic ones. This does increase the durability without taking skin off.

David:
Having ran in many racing flats and spikes, this is one of the nicest fitting competition shoes that I have had the luxury to run in.  The upper is airy and light (and doesn't feel like it will tear at any moment on you).  The dimensions of the shoe also help contribute to a smooth ride. The heel is narrower and the forefoot is wider.  Many flats feel like they are putting pressure on your toes, and this shoe is the opposite allowing for toe splay and a smooth transition through toe off. The midfoot holds nice and snug without any excessive rubbing (I have done 5+ mile workouts in the shoe with multiple turns and varying terrains and... no hot spots!).

Nathan: This shoe had a great fit for me. It was maybe a tinge long and was nice and roomy in the forefoot, but it did not impact the ride in any way (the slightly wider forefoot was a big plus, by the way). If you like a more snug shoe, you might get away with a half size down. The heel and midfoot lock down well with the laces and I personally enjoyed using the extra eyelet. The upper is a light mesh that has some overlays to secure the midfoot. It is very airy and breathes well for hotter days. Although some of the overlays give pressure in areas at first, it was the kind of mesh upper that disappears once I start running. One less thing to distract during a race.


RIDE

Matt:  The sole of the 361 Feisu is full ground contact.  This makes the shoe more inherently stable.  The addition of the mild lugs on the bottom help grip the road well.  There are several flex grooves in the outsole which provides great flexibility.  Although there are a few in the midfoot (which is generally a no-no since there are no sagittal plane joints there), most lie in the forefoot. With that comes much better flexibility in the forefoot, making for a very nice transition during toe off.  The sole is completely EVA (no QU!KFOAM) and has a kick when the pace picks up.  This is interesting given all the companies using different foam types, that the pure EVA feels so good.  The drop feels around 7-9mm and is not too low or too high for me.  There is some mild toe spring but not enough to cause any issues for me.  There is also some mild heel bevel that smooths out heel landings (361 is slowly getting better at this).

David:
As I stated earlier, this shoe feels like you are cheating.  It feels like a trainer that you can turn up to 5:00 pace and still feel light and springy.  The sole is full contact which I think adds to its versatility (I believe you can expand this to XC, and not just roads).  It has a very durable outsole for being a racing flat and it is one I see lasting a very long time.  I actually welcome the 9 mm drop with open arms.  There have been many racing flats and spikes that I would "feel their presence" about 4 miles into an 8k or long workout, and these shoes continue feeling smooth on my calves.  The midsole is good old fashioned EVA foam.  There is no fancy carbon fiber plate, or additional technology throughout it to push the shoe, but I think this is a good thing.

Nathan: Light and quick. The simplicity of the foam doesn't pack a necessarily responsive ride, but it feels fast, and the higher drop makes the heel-toe transition like a performance trainer. This is what made the transition to this racing flat so easy. The outsole has great grip, which prevented any slipping and loss of propulsion from the pavement. The EVA foam used is just firm enough to keep quick turnover but flexible enough for smooth transitions. There is just enough underfoot to keep your feet from being beat up after longer races like a half marathon. Although my feet felt good for my half marathon, I will say that as my legs fatigued I found myself desiring a bit more responsiveness and cushion from the shoe.


STABILITY

Matt:  The Feisu has more of a performance last, meaning the midfoot is a bit narrower.  However, the sole is somewhat wider than most racing shoes (including the midfoot) making the shoe more stable.  I notice this most during slower miles as slower speeds can mean more force in directions outside of the sagittal plane (forward to back).  Most racing shoes feel terrible jogging because of the more narrow and thus unstable soles.  The Feisu not only has the light 6.4 oz going for it, but the combination with the wider last makes it stable at all speeds.

David:
For not being a posted flat this shoe is surprisingly stable. The full contact outsole and rigid heel allow for this shoe to have hints of stability.  Even at slower speeds it does just as good of a job as neutral trainers controlling foot and ankle mechanics.  I do a lot of change of pace workouts and it feels great at fast and cooldown speeds.

Nathan: The FEISU has a rigid heel cup and a full contact outsole that is a bit wider through the forefoot. This provides an overall stable ride, for a neutral racing flat that is. The shoe felt stable for pushoff and heel toe transitions during warm up miles and racing.


SPEED

Matt:  This is a great light shoe for distance workouts (thanks to the higher drop, personal preference) but has the speed to run down to 5k races or do track workouts.  6.4 oz is extremely light for the amount of shoe there and reminds me somewhat of the old T7 racer and Hyperion but with a far better fit and way more stability.  This is the type of shoe I have been looking for and would be my first choice for a 10k or half marathon racer given the fit, lightweight, responsiveness AND protection underfoot.  Somehow though I have used this shoe exclusively for 5ks (16:10 recently) and speed workouts (ran my fastest 800m in years during the end of a workout).  So it has great range.

David:
I am going to be completely honest, this is my second favorite racing flat I have run in (not going to disclose number 1).  The speed it can handle is one of the most appealing features of this shoe for me, for it handles everything from high 4 minute miles to 9 minute resting paces.  It feels great on the track, grass, and on the roads.  It is my go to shoe for workouts and my most recent racer for all distances.

Nathan: This shoe feels so light and fast. It's listed as 6.4 oz, and it even feels lighter than that. I ran a PR 10K (40:12) during a training run for my half marathon, and had fun track workouts while running 800s. I never felt it was holding me back. This will be my go-to shoe for 5K and 10K races. As mentioned above, the FEISU did perform well for me during my half marathon, but I found the foam started to feel flat when my legs got fatigued and I wanted a bit more responsiveness to stay fast for longer.


DURABILITY

Matt:  As with most 361 shoes, durability has been phenomenal.  Despite being a racer, I have close to 80 miles on my original pair, 20 miles on my new pair and there is little wear.  I have only used this shoe for road running and despite my heavy footstrike (working on that), the midsole feel has also remained consistent.  The Feisu did not need any time to break in as I was able to do a workout in these right out of the box (tempo run).  Even the lugs have not worn down.  I would expect to get over 200 miles out of these if not more for others.

David:
I am very impressed with the durability of the 361 Feisu.  The shoe still looks brand new after 25 miles of workouts and races with hardly any wear on the outsole.  I am very confident one can do a half or full marathon in these with no problem (and I am planning on doing this within this calendar year).

Nathan: No wear noted for me at this point. I have done several training runs and raced a half marathon in them, and they look and feel just as they did the first time I put them on. No signs of wear in the outsole and the foam hasn't become bogged down at all. My half marathon was partially on a crushed gravel road and I still have no wear.


THOUGHTS AS A DPT 

The Feisu is the kind of shoe that reminds me how effective and sexy being simple can be.  This is a great looking and riding shoe, yet it is has a simple EVA midsole, a good fit that give a bit of wiggle room in the forefoot and a snug heel.  There is nothing magic about this shoe, yet it is what I wanted out of so many previous racing shoes.  The Adios, Hyperion, Streak, Chaser are all good shoes, but all lacked a little something.  All of those shoes have extras: plates, special midsoles, etc.  The Feisu feels better and faster than all of them, yet only has EVA.  Why?  Because sometimes the simplest answer is the best.  That is why many of the Japanese racers like the Asics Sortie series have changed very little over the years but still remain favorites in the Asian market.

When it comes to injuries, movement problems, and other disorders I am amazed how often going back to the basics of movement, strength, coordination and endurance solve a majority of the performance issues out there.  I can't tell you how many elite athletes (olympic runners, professional basketball players, elite gymnasts) have weak gluteal muscles, sub par balance, poor scapular coordination, etc.  Some people have complex issues, but most don't.  So instead of making things complicated, making simple better is a key thing I have continued to revisit in my career as a health care provider.  The Feisu is a great example of this.  A great fit, comfortable upper, light weight, responsive ride, decent flexibility, somewhat wider forefoot (fit and stability) a little drop (for longer races) and a snug heel are pretty much all you need for a successful distance racer.

-Matthew Klein PT DPT OCS FAAOMPT


RECOMMENDATIONS 

Matt: I would be hesitant to make major tweaks to this shoe.  I would like to see the drop just a hair lower into the 7-8mm drop range, but that is personal preference.   I would potentially like to see a sole update with a more responsive sole material, given recent advances in shoe technology.  However, as stated above, sometimes simple is better.  If adding new material means sacrificing the ride and weight, then I would not change that.

David: I really do not have much to recommend for this shoe.  From a biomechanical perspective, this shoe is pretty sound.  The only thing I found myself asking (and this was more for 5k running at the time) is that I wish it was just a hair lighter.  However, the weight is just fine because this really is a do it all racing flat. If 361 was able to find a way to make this shoe a little more responsive without jeopardizing the drop ratio, this shoe could find itself going very deep in the racing world.  Weight and responsiveness would be the emphasis of focus for me, but again... very small tweaks.  I really like the shoe the way it is right now.

Nathan: I thoroughly enjoyed racing in this shoe and it is my go to for 5Ks and 10K races. I would love some element of responsiveness added for longer races, but this is not the only shoe in the 361 racing line and I'm sure I could find that somewhere else. It would be nice to have a bit of responsiveness, but it might not be worth sacrificing the weight.


WHO THIS SHOE IS FOR (Conclusion)

Matt: For those looking for a Japanese inspired protective lightweight racer with a little more drop and a wonderful fit, take a look at the 361 Feisu.  This is a fantastic shoe for distance races like the marathon and half marathon but is light enough to be used for shorter workouts/races.  A snug heel and a slightly wider forefoot make for a comfortable fit that combined with a great ride make for a shoe that will keep you going for miles.



David: This shoe is for a very wide range of runners.  Whether someone is elite or recreational, the shoe feels great at all paces and does not penalize you if you are not up to the speed it was designed for.  5k to marathon, someone who is looking for a smooth ride that does not break down late into the race, this an excellent option.  If someone wants a highly responsive and aggressive racing flat, they may want to look at some other shoes.  The Feisu is still responsive enough to race very well and I feel it will suit many runners, especially new runners getting used to racing flats.


Nathan: The 361 FEISU is a versatile and durable racing flat that performs well for workouts and racing 5Ks, 10Ks, and even a half marathon. Given the traditional drop, it can be a great transition shoe to racing flats for those who haven't used them before. A locked in heel, secure midfoot, and disappearing upper make this shoe wonderful to race in.

    

GRADING

Fit                     9.2/10 (M: 9/10  D: 9.5/10 N: 8.5/10 )
Ride                  9.5/10 (M: 10/10  D: 9/10 N: 9.5/10 )
Stability            9/10 (M: 9/10  D: 9/10 N: 9/10 )
Speed                9.3/10 (M: 9/10  D: 9.5/10 N: 9/10 )
Durability          10/10 (M: 10/10  D: 10/10 N: 10/10 )

Total Score: 9.3/10 (M: 9.4/10  D: 9.4/10 N: 9.2/10 )

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.

Matthew Klein, PT DPT OCS FAAOMPT
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist
PhD Candidate APU: Rehabilitation and Movement Science
Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists

Nathan Brown PT DPT MS
Doctor of Physical Therapy 
Masters in Anatomy and Clinical Health Science
Movement Performance Institute Certified in Advanced Functional Biomechanics 

David Salas DPT PTLA CSCS
Doctor of Physical Therapy
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 35-50 miles on trainers and 10-25 miles on racing flats prior to reviewing them. Currently we have 80 and 20 miles (Matt, who has two pairs), 27 miles (Nathan) and 25 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.

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