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.

Post Page Advertisement [Top]

361° PACER ST Multiple Tester Review

Designed to be a performance trainer to get you ready for race day, the 361° Pacer ST is an entirely new model from 361° that makes its appearance on the market. The shoe shaves off weight where it can and also features the new QU!K Spring+ midsole while giving a low to the ground, performance like feel in a training shoe.


Specifications (361° website)
Weight: 9.4 oz
Stack Height: Not Provided
Drop: 9mm
Classification: Performance Trainer

HIGHLIGHTS

David - The PACER ST is the lightest trainer from 361° that I have had the luxury to put my feet in. This shoe couples lightweight with a propulsive plate from the midfoot to the forefoot to make the shoe more responsive. The QU!K Spring+ midsole also gives the shoe more rebound than some of the other trainers that they have made so far. This is an exciting shoe that with a couple modifications could push boundaries for 361°!

Matt - The 361 PACER ST is a great lightweight trainer featuring a far more adaptive fit than I have seen from 361. A propulsive plate in front of the shoe makes this an ideal ride for those who land farther forward, while a new QU!K Spring+ midsole provides even more pop at a variety of speeds. Best utilized as a long run, mileage and uptempo shoe, the PACER ST is an interesting successor to the KGM2 2.

Nathan - The 361 PACER ST is a "bridge" shoe that is built for tempo days but has many elements that allow it to perform as a daily trainer. The new QU!K Spring + EVA blend provides a bit more cushion to compliment the firmer yet propulsive QU!CKFOAM. A durable outsole and comfortable upper round this out to make it a great option for those who like some ground feel.


FIT

David - One thing that stands out immediately is the shoe does run long in the forefoot. I was nervous about having slippage, but if I use all of the eyelets and lace the shoe down I haven't had any problems. The width of the forefoot is normal, with a slight snug hold through the midfoot, and comfortable fitting heel. I am absolutely fine true to size with fit, but if someone is concerned about the long fit and really likes a snug fit, they could potentially go down a half size. The upper is composed of a Jacquard mesh that breathes incredibly well and molds to the foot nicely with the MORPHIT microfiber design in the midfoot.

Matt - The 361 Pacer ST fits slightly long in my normal size 10 (mens). The overall fit is on the snug side, but the mesh in the forefoot is stretchy enough to accommodate most foot types. The upper is composed of a Jacquard mesh that is very breathable and adaptable to the foot. The MORPHIT design in the midfoot works very well to secure the foot without being obtrusive. I did not have to lace lock the Pacer ST and the hold on the foot was great. The heel fits fairly normal in width. There is a significant heel counter in the rear of the shoe, which does add stability to the rearfoot. There is plenty of cushioning in the heel collar however and my sensitive heels have not had any issues.

Nathan - (**Please note that I was inadvertantly sent a size 9.5 instead of my typical size 9. The box had size 9 written on it, but as I just looked inside the tongue, I realized they were size 9.5s**face palm**) The most noticeable aspect of the fit for the 361 PACER ST is that it was quite long. Because of that, I would have benefited from being a half size down, especially given that the mesh upper is really nice and adaptable. Apart from the length, this shoe had a great fit. The MORPHIT midfoot design does a great job of locking down the foot and heel counter and cushioning prevented any slippage. The quick foam around the heel does wrap up slightly on the medial and lateral aspects of the heel, which gives some additional security.


RIDE

 David - The ride of the 361° PACER ST is relatively firm, but does have enough cushioning for daily runs (16 and 11 miles longest effort in them so far). The shoe has a 9mm drop that gives it a very traditional trainer like feel for all foot strikes. The plate involvement is subtle, but as a midfoot striker I do notice it. It feels like it tapers off into the forefoot for the metatarsal heads. Unfortunately I did develop a hot spot in the met head region of my 1st and 2nd toe when running quick in this shoe (7 miles at 5:45 to 5:55 in a long run). The shoe does not have much of a toe spring that is built in, so the ride is very smooth all the way until you reach toe off at high speeds. I found that I had to "dig in" my forefoot into the ground to keep the pace up for an extended amount of time. The tapering of the plate and lack of toe spring is also evident in my outsole wear of the shoe (picture below). I show much more outsole wear at the very front of the shoe where toe off should be a little smoother. Ironically, I love this ride for daily training, for it is very smooth at daily paces (6:15 to 7:30) for me.
42 miles, David, midfoot strike
Matt  - The ride of the 361 PACER ST is on the firmer end but changes depending on where you land. The forefoot, despite having a plate, is very flexible. There is very little toe spring, which is a nice surprise as that has been a very common design recently. The flex grooves in the forefoot provide a very smooth toe off and is one of my favorite parts of the shoe. Despite riding a little lower to the ground, the forefoot is still cushioned thanks to the QU!K Spring+ foam that provides plenty of protection and rebound. The midfoot and heel are a bit softer thanks to a solid amount of QU!KFOAM. QU!KFOAM provides more rebound the more force you put into it, so the rearfoot can have a nice pop forward. Luckily this is hear, as the rearfoot transition is no the smoothest thanks to very little heel bevel (if at all). For rearfoot strikers, this shoe may take 15-20 miles to break in, while those that land farther forward will be instantly greeted with a smooth toe off.

Nathan - The ride of this shoe changes quite a bit depending on the speed. If you've ran in 361 shoes in the past that utilize QU!KFOAM (a EVA and rubber blend), you know that the rebound increases as you push the pace. This is no different here with the PACER ST. Put more in, and you'll feel the shoe give more back. The unique difference in this shoe is that the QU!K Spring+ EVA blend, which is redesigned to have more softness and ability to return to its original form in a consistent manner, provides some cushion that allows this shoe to do well as more moderate paces as well. You can see the "explosion diagram" above, which shows that the propulsion plate is primarily spanning the forefoot. However, don't think of this as a completely rigid forefoot. In fact, it is quite flexible and you can easily bent it with your hands. The flexibility, combined with the flex grooves in the outsole, give a very smooth toe off, with a bit of snap from the propulsion plate. The one part of the ride that gets rough is the heel strike, particularly at slower paces. This shoe shines when landing even slightly forward.


STABILITY

David - This is a neutral performance training shoe and so there are no specific stability measures implemented. The shoe does have good ground feel due to the lower and firmer ride adding stability. The plate also indirectly stabilizes the landing a little as well. For a neutral speed trainer, the shoe is stable.

Matt - The 361 Pacer ST is very much a neutral shoe. The heel does extend farther than normal, which does provide a little resistance to medial or lateral motion. However, the heel and particularly midfoot are a little narrower than most shoes. This is fairly normal for a performance trainer. My feet moved quite a bit more than normal thanks to the narrow midfoot, however the firmer and great ground feel does help with body awareness and feedback. So overall if you need additional stability methods, this shoe will work great for fast days, but as a trainer may be limited to those with a little more ankle stability. Those that have higher stability needs may need to take some time to transition into this shoe. 

Nathan - Given that this shoe is geared slightly towards performance training, the midfoot is on the more narrow side and requires some stability from the runner. However, the "wrapping" of the QU!KFOAM in the heel as well as the full forefoot propulsive plate provide some helpful stability during through the gait cycle.

SPEED

 David - As a speed trainer, I think the shoe could be made to be a little faster. It feels like a daily trainer that can pick up the pace if you really ask it to, but it doesn't naturally want to push. The shoe will work for tempos though, especially if someone is used to heavier daily trainers. Without a toe spring built in (curvature to "roll" or "rocker" through toe off in the forefoot), it can be a little difficult to push the pace (to be fair, about 5:40 pace). The shoe still weighs 9.4 oz, so there is still some substance to it. As noted above, this ironically is probably one of my favorite daily trainers, but I struggle with top speeds in it. It is to be noted though that fast is different for everyone though. I feel from 6:00 to 7:30 pace is the sweet spot for this shoe and glides nicely for me.

Matt - The PACER ST works very well as a trainer and uptempo shoe. For anything faster it seems to struggle. For me, the transition at the heel is particularly bothersome, but as I get up on my toes that goes away. However, I am having trouble feeling the plate in the forefoot. The extra flexibility in the forefoot is very nice, but requires a great deal more work than I am used to at high speeds thanks to the recent number of special foam and carbon fiber plated racers. When it comes to tempo runs, uptempo runs or cruising, the PACER ST shines as consistent paces tend to work better with the design. Just don't expect to have a finishing kick.

Nathan - The PACER ST had a sweet spot for pace. For longer tempo days, the PACER ST was at its smoothest and shined (for me, that is a 6:30-7min/mile pace). At these paces, there was an optimal amount of rebound from the foam, some snappiness from the propulsion plate, and cushion from the QU!K Spring. At slower paces, though, the heel was a bit clunky. At the other end of the spectrum, the flexibility of the forefoot, even with the little bit of snap from the propulsion plate, prevented top speeds for racing (BUT that's not what this shoe is designed for!!). Overall, this shoe allows for enjoyable tempo days and makes the 9.4oz weight feel even lighter.


DURABILITY

David - The outsole is built with two different types of rubber. The shoe features a carbon rubber in the heel of the outsole and a blown rubber in the forefoot. Overall I feel the outsole is relatively durable, especially for a speed trainer. I think this will last just as much as a normal daily trainer in the 300 mile range. I was curious to see if the midsole or ride would change, but the foam and ride are holding up well. I think the plate and QU!KFOAM portions of the midsole help maintain the ride. I think the QU!K Spring+ midsole gives the shoe the responsive bounce, the QU!KFOAM helps smoothen everything out.

Matt - 361 typically makes durable shoes and the PACER ST is no exception. The outsole rubber in the heel (where I typically land) has only begun to show mild signs of wear at almost 40 miles. The midsole feels exactly the same as the first run I did in them, which given the durability of the QU!KFOAM and QU!K Spring+ is no surprise. For rearfoot strikers and people who land lightly, you should be able to get a fairly normal amount of miles on the PACER ST.  If you put a great deal of load through the forefoot like David, your results may vary. 

Nathan - Durability and 361 go together like glue. No signs of wear on my pair minor minor scuffs in the mid-fore foot outsole, and the durability of their midsole compounds is top notch. Add in a propulsion plate, and you have a shoe that is going to keep its feel for a long time, which is a gift in a shoe designed for performance.

THOUGHTS AS A DPT 

 David - When looking at foot and ankle mechanics when performing gait, there are several "rocker" points to observe in running. Some of it is dependent on the strike of the runner, but everyone will have to transition from forefoot to toe off in order to advance the lower limbs. This is the area that I want to focus on with the PACER ST. The shoe has a friendly drop, midsole, and plate that really assists the transition from heel/midfoot to the forefoot, but seemingly comes a little short at the toe off at faster paces. If they were to incorporate a curvature at the front of the forefoot as the plate transition ends, that could really smoothen out the toe off portion of gait and make this shoe significantly faster.


RECOMMENDATIONS

 David - I noted on my recommendations above, but I would focus on forefoot mechanics in this shoe by adding a toe spring where the plate begins to transition away. This would smoothen out the toe off portions of gait a little more when the pace picks up. The shoe also runs on the long side, so decreasing the length may reduce the need to lace down the shoe as much.

Matt - I probably sound like a broken record, but that heel needs to be beveled for rearfoot strikers. That would smooth the ride out a great deal. The shoe does run a little on the long side, but I think that is due to the wonderful mesh in the forefoot. So a recommendation for buyers, if you want a snugger ride for faster running, buy a half size down. If this is truly meant as a speed shoe, that plate in the forefoot needs to be a little stiffer. This is a great lightweight trainer, but I would not use this for a race as I just can't hit top speeds in this shoe (even marathon pace).

Nathan - Three main recommendations on my end. 1. Keep going 361, your progression in footwear development is looking good and heading the right direction! The new elements within this shoe made it fun to run in. (This second recommendation is no longer in effect necessarily due to having a half size too large sent to me) 2. Alter the length. I haven't had any problems with length in the past, so I am surprised this one fit quite long. 3. Find a way to smooth out heel strike, most likely with a heel bevel.

CONCLUSION

 David - I am very happy with the PACER ST but do feel that the shoe fits into a different category. The shoe does a great job as a lightweight daily trainer in my opinion, and not so much as a "speed trainer". For those who like to log long miles in a shoe that has some weight shaved off and doesn't need to push the pace into really fast paces, this could be a great option. It can handle faster paces, but does feel a little forced. I feel the sweet spot for this shoe is around 6 to 7 minute pace. This will be one of my daily training options for some time to come.

Matt - The 361 PACER ST is a great lightweight trainer for logging miles and hitting uptempo work. This is the kind of shoe that works best in the early season as you get used to running fast again or are just working on sustained efforts. Although a little rough at the back, the ride is very smooth up front. The QU!K Spring+ combined with the QU!KFOAM in the midsole provide plenty of rebound for uptempo miles. I am really impressed with the upper and fit of this shoe. It is probably one of the most comfortable uppers from 361 I have tried other than the Feisu (so excited for version 2!). This is a great comfortable shoe to log miles on and will work well for those who land a little farther forward.

Nathan - The PACER ST is a great option for those who like ground feel and want to be able to perform some longer tempo day runs. The upper is very comfortable and secure, and the progression towards a softer EVA blend (QU!K Spring) creates a versatile shoe that has the cushion for daily training and the propulsion (thanks to the propulsion plate and QU!KFOAM) for tempo days.

GRADING

David

Fit/Upper        9/10 (-1 for long fit, high marks for great upper and midfoot hold) 
Ride/Midsole  9/10 (-1 for difficult toe off at high speeds, though fluid transition to that point)
Stability           9.25/10 (-.75 for length potentially adding slippage, stable for low profile shoe)
Speed               8.75/10 (-1.25 for hard toe off at fast paces, though still quick for a daily trainer)
Durability        9.25/10 (-.75 for excessive forefoot wear, but good durability for lower profile)

Matt

Fit/Upper       9.5 /10 (Very Comfortable and accommodating fit, -.5 for slightly long fit)

Ride/Midsole  8 /10 (Smooth Toe off, -2 for clunky heel)
Stability          8 /10 (very stable heel counter and broad forefoot. -2 for narrow midfoot)
Speed              8 /10 (Nice at uptempo speeds but forefoot too flexible for anything faster)
Durability      9  /10 (mild wear at lateral heel, midsole will last forever though)


Nathan

Fit/Upper        8.5 /10 (-1.5 for long fit, high marks for comfortable upper)

Ride/Midsole  8/10 (-2 for clunky heel)
Stability          9 /10 (very stable rear foot with QU!KFOAM and wide forefoot, -1 for narrow mifoot)
Speed              8.5/10 (-1 for clunkiness at moderate to slow paces, -0.5 for lacking workout speed)
Durability      9.5/10 (Minor wear in mid/forefoot outsole, midsole is golden)


TOTAL 87.5%: David: 90.5% Matt: 85% Nathan: 87%

TESTER PROFILES

Dr. Salas is a 135 lb male with notable PRs of 3:54 1500m, 14:56 5k, 31:06 10k, 1:08 for half marathon. He typically runs 50 to 60 miles per week and trains from about 7:30 recovery runs to fast shorter efforts at 4:30 pace. He normally prefers neutral shoes with a firmer ride, but is completely open to other types of shoes.  He is a footwear enthusiast at heart and will always appreciate a high quality shoe when it comes around. For updates on training or testing, IG handle: @docsofrundavid

Dr. Klein is a 140 lb male with notable PRs of 14:45 for 5k and 2:32:44 for the full marathon.  He typically runs 70-100 miles per week and trains at a variety of paces from 8min per mile recovery runs to 4:40 per mile 1k repeats.  He prefers firmer and responsive shoes with snug heels and medium to wide toe boxes.  He is particular to less cushioned shoes and close to the ground shoes, but can handle a little cushion when he gets beat up.  IG handle: @kleinrunsdpt

Dr. Nathan Brown is a 155 lb male with notable PRs of 19:18 5K, 39:25 10K, 1:29 half marathon, and 3:54 marathon. He typically runs between 20-40 miles per week at a variety of paces from 8-8:30 min/mile for recovery runs to 6-6:45 min/mile for tempo runs. He typically prefers shoes that provide some cushioning underfoot but still maintain a more firm and responsive feel. Current goals for 2020 are to break the 1.5 hour half marathon (CHECK) and 3:30 marathon. IG Handle: @nate.docsofrunning

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.

David Salas PT DPT CSCS
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist

Matthew Klein, PT DPT OCS FAAOMPT
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist
Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists
 

***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 35-75 miles on trainers and 10-25 miles on racing flats prior to reviewing them. Currently we have 42 miles (David) and 38 miles (Matt) 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.


Like and Follow Doctors of Running
Facebook: Doctors of Running  Twitter: @kleinruns
Instagram: @doctorsofrunning Direct Contact: doctorsofrunning@gmail.com

Please feel free to reach out, comment and ask questions!

Featured Shoe Review: Skechers GOrun Speed Elite HYPER

Featured Footwear Science Post

Footwear Science: An Evidenced Based Review of PEBAX and Carbon Fiber Shoes

An Evidence Based Review of PEBAX and Carbon Fiber Shoes     In 2016, the Nike Vaporfly, a unique running shoe with a combination of a su...

Bottom Ad [Post Page]