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361 Spire 5: A Refreshing Update
By Senior Contributor David Salas and Contributor Ryan Flugaur

The Spire has always been the premium daily training shoe from 361 for the neutral category. In the past, the Spire series has used a carbon fiber shank through the midfoot. The new Spire 5 receives some big updates. The midsole is now PEBA based for most of it and the carbon fiber shank was removed. The shoe creates a more daily pacing friendly feel and a relatively sturdy shoe to the premium training line. 

361 Degrees Spire 5
Price: $160 at 361
Weight: 10 oz, 283 g (men's size 9), 8.2 oz, 232 g  (women's size 8)
Stack Height: 29mm heel, 20mm forefoot (without insole)
Drop: 9mm
Classification: Premium Daily Trainer


David: The 361 Spire 5 is a premium daily trainer in the neutral category. The shoe provides good cushioning underfoot with a slightly stiff platform underfoot. The shoe feels much like a new generation version of a traditional high drop trainer on foot. For me this was actually a refreshing change for the Spire line and a shoe that felt much more comfortable at daily training paces.

Ryan: The 361 Spire 5 is a premium neutral daily trainer designed for daily mileage with a PEBA nylon elastomer midsole. While I enjoyed running in previous versions of the Spire line, the 5th generation model feels new and improved and is a big step in the right direction for 361. The PEBA-based midsole, Quikflame, feels soft but not mushy underfoot and the removal of the carbon plate makes it more comfortable when used as a daily training shoe. Overall, I was pleasantly surprised on how much I enjoyed the ride of the Spire 5, but I did run into some fit issues and possible concerns for certain running styles.

: Asics Nimbus 24, Mizuno Wave Sky 6


David: The 361 Spire 5 fits true to size in my men's 9.5. The mesh material is a little thicker throughout and runs a tad warm, though never provided any issues for me. The material has a little bit of stretch to it, but less than most other meshes I've run. The width in the heel and midfoot are normal with the forefoot being normal to slightly wide. The tongue is padded and does well with lockdown from the lacing system. The upper is pretty solid for the premium training category, though probably just a tad warmer than I'd normally like. I think airing it out slightly would make the experience more improved when logging longer mileage runs.

Ryan: Unlike David, I did have some fit issues with the Spire 5. For me, the forefoot fits slightly wide causing my feet to slide around, especially when turning corners. This led to some minor irritation over the medial side of both my big toes. Wearing a thicker sock and tightening up the laces did help. However, every time I put on the shoe, I could feel the area where the mesh contracted my foot making the ride slightly uncomfortable. I feel this is more of a fit issue than a shoe issue and would likely be addressed for me going a half size smaller. I experienced no issues with the length of the shoe.    

Moving to the upper, the engineered mesh is thick allowing very little stretch and may potentially get very warm during the hot summer months. Over the back of the shoe there is a stiff internal heel counter that wraps around both the medial and lateral sides. Padding over the heel counter is thick which helps to soften the stiffer material but those individuals sensitive to a firm and stiff heel counters should take note here as this may be a point of irritation. The tongue is not gusseted and is free to move slightly but a lace loop helps hold it in place over the dorsum of the foot. There is a very slight amount of padding located throughout the tongue but in general it is very minimal, and I found the tongue comfortable.  Overall, I found the fit to be comfortable but there are a few characteristics that may steer runners away. If possible, this would be a good shoe to try on at your local running store.


David: The Spire 5 made a lot of changes in the right direction for me. The PEBA-based midsole provides a soft underfoot foam that gives the toe off a nice sense of bounce and responsiveness. The shoe has a thin top sole that maintains a sense of firmness and helps keep the shoe feel grounded on the softer PEBA foam. The balance works pretty well I find. The shoe feels like a traditional high drop training shoe, but with a little more cushion underfoot. The ride feels a tad firmer than say the Saucony Triumph or ASICS Novablast because of the topsole. For those that struggle with these softer foams but like the feeling they get from it this provides some middle ground. The shoe has a very gently heel bevel that seems to work okay. The transition through the midfoot can be a tiny bit slappy but it honestly is pretty smooth. The toe off has some rigidity due to the thick outsole underfoot but still transitions well. The shoe does carry a little bit of weight underfoot.

For me, I find that I like running at natural easy paces in the Spire 5. I have noticed that the shoe responds decently well if I want to spice up the pacing which is fun, though still on the heavier end at faster paces. I feel pretty secure in the Spire 5 and find I can run in multiple footing and terrain as well. This a neutral workhorse trainer that can run on a little bit of everything.

Ryan: The Performance of the 361 Spire 5 surprised me in a good way and despite the fit issues, I thoroughly enjoyed running in the Spire 5. The new Quikflame PEBA based midsole paired with a firmer top midsole works well to create a smooth and cushy ride without feeling unstable. I found the Spire 5 works best during my foundational or easy paced runs due to its heavier weight (10 oz) but is still able to pick up the pace when doing intervals or strides. This would not be my first choice as a speed and workout shoe, but I think it works well as an everyday trainer that has the potential to work in some speed when necessary.


David: I found the existing stability of the Spire 5 to be functional. The upper lockdown is pretty good throughout with minimal stretch. The outsole has pretty good grip and also provides some rigidity to the platform. The base underfoot feels pretty good and I do not find it to feel too narrow. The topsole also provides a pretty solid footbed under you. The shoe certainly still runs on the neutral end with no major stability mechanics in place, but I do think I'd place this is into that stable neutral middle ground thanks to the various elements discussed.

Ryan: From a stability aspect, the 361 Spire 5 is a true neutral daily trainer but like many daily trainers of today offers some structural stability components. Despite its softer PEBA midsole, the Spire 5 feels stable underfoot thanks to a thinner, less flexible top foam adding structure to the shoe. The Spire 5 also features a wider outsole with excellent grip and traction, adding more torsional stability to the shoe.

Despite these stability features, the Spire 5 may not be a perfect choice shoe for those individuals prone to pronation related injuries.  There is a heel bevel located a bit more medial than what I'm used to seeing. Heel bevels come in all lengths and positions and are designed to provide a smooth transition from initial contact (for heel strikers) to midstance. Typically, they are located over the lateral (outside) portion of the shoe as most rearfoot strikers land over this area of the shoe.

The medial placement of the bevel in the Spire 5 may cause runners that are prone to pronating into a more inverted position. Runners that are prone to posterior tibial dysfunction or other pronation related injuries may want to look elsewhere.

Thoughts as a DPT: Dual Density Midsoles
By David Salas

One thing I find more and more common in recent years is dual density midsoles in training shoes. Dual density midsoles used to be something more indicative of a stability shoe. In recent times we are seeing so many companies playing with new materials to enhance the running experience through different properties. The 361 Spire 5 has two full length layers of midsole of different density. The majority of the midsole is PEBA based and gives a softer and bouncier experience. Along the top of the foam is a thin layer of a firmer top sole that creates a little more rigidity to the foot bed. This helps with creating a more natural experience on these softer foams. The Spire 5 can be a great shoe to transition to using PEBA. Because PEBA is softer and bouncier, it normally is a little more compliant. When the foam is more compliant our ankles and other joints need to maintain a little more stiffness around the joint to prevent any excessive movement. You can think of balancing on one foot on a soft spongy balance pad. Everything tightens up. When running, this is happening inside of us as we are landing and pushing off. These newer foams can provide more responsiveness, though increased intrinsic muscular demand. The firmer top sole seems to help with easing that process a little bit, though flattening out the toe off a tad. The usage of dual density midsoles are creating a fun avenue to play with materials in the footwear world.


David: The 361 Spire 5 performed quite well for me. This is a shoe I find myself thinking about on easy days. I will say, the upper is on the thicker end and I would prefer it a little thinner and airy. The midfoot still has a little slap to it and I think either rounding the heel a little more or extending the outsole in the rearfoot a little more forward would create a little less flex and slap through that midfoot.

Ryan: I really like what 361 is doing with the Spire series. I have run in many previous versions of the Spire and this current edition is my favorite. I have two recommendations that I think would be beneficial to keep the Spire line moving forward. First, I would like to see a change to the material of the upper. A thinner, more breathable material will make the shoe more usable for hot summer days and could assist with a better lock down in the forefoot. Second, I would alter the position of the heel bevel to help make the Spire a better option for more runners that land on the outside portion of the heel. Moving the bevel more lateral may help change the landing mechanics and create a smoother transition to the midfoot.      


David: The 361 is a premium daily training shoe for someone that likes the feeling of the newer PEBA based materials but still want to maintain a sense of firmness. The Spire 5 provides a ride that is similar with the "traditional" high drop trainers like an ASICS Nimbus, Mizuno Wave Rider, Brooks Ghost etc. with a slightly softer and bouncier feel. The shoe carries a little bit of weight to it but provides a consistent and reliable ride as a workhorse. I find I can take in most surfaces I wish to run in without much issue.

Ryan: The 361 Spire 5 is a neutral daily trainer built for the runner looking for a softer ride with a new PEBA-based midsole. While it can pick up speed when needed, its best use is every day and base training running. Two potential concerns I have when recommending this shoe to certain runners is the very stiff heel counter and the more medial heel bevel. Both characteristics can be problematic for certain individuals while potentially working very well for others. Those individuals sensitive to firm heel counters in the past and those with previous pronation related injuries may want to find a better option that suits their needs.


Fit: A- (Pretty neutral fit throughout with good lockdown. Upper runs warm.)
Performance: B+/A- 
(Weight takes some appeal away, though performs quite well as a premium performance trainer. Midfoot is a little slappy.)
Stability: A (I actually am really happy with the security of the Spire 5 as a premium daily trainer in the neutral category)
DPT/Footwear Science: A- (I like the integration of newer materials in a traditional feeling package)
Personal: B+ (I like this shoe a lot for my easy days, though it is still a little heavier than I normally run in and a little warmer than I'd normally like)
Overall: B+/A- (A solid daily training option in the premium trainer line, though a little heavy and warm)

Fit: C+ (Wider toe box may lead to some fit issues for those with narrow feet.)
Performance: A- 
(Nice upgrade for the Spire line. Enjoyed the PEBA based midsole providing a fun and bouncy ride without feeling squishy.)
Stability: B (Placement of the heel bevel may lead to issues for certain runners)
DPT/Footwear Science: A- (I liked the new PEBA based foam which led to a comfortable and enjoyable ride)
Personal: B (Without the fit issues I encountered, this would be a shoe I could see myself wearing consistently)
Overall: B+/A- (Overall, I enjoyed the Spire 5 and am excited for the series moving forward. There have been many good changes over the past several years.)


Price: $159.95 at 361 Degrees

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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.

***Disclaimer: These shoes were provided free of charge in exchange for a review.  We thank the people at 361 Degrees for sending us a pair.  This in no way affected the honesty of this review. We systematically put each type of shoe through certain runs prior to review. For trainers and performance trainers, we take them on daily runs, workouts, recovery runs and a long run prior to review (often accumulating anywhere from 20-50 miles in the process). For racing flats we ensure that we have completed intervals, a tempo or steady state run as well as a warm-up and cool down in each pair prior to review. This systematic process is to ensure that we have experience with each shoe in a large variety of conditions to provide expansive and thorough reviews for the public and for companies. Our views are based on our 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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