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361° Chromoso Runner – Performance Review

All Around the World


361° may not be familiar to most of the United States, but that doesn’t mean they don’t make quality performance products. My question is – do they? I’ll find out with the Chromoso, a new performance runner for the US market.

361° may best be known for signing Kevin Love, but they are actually the second-largest athletic shoe and clothing manufacturer in China. Their designs, until just a few years ago, were very “familiar”, for lack of a better term, but with the insertion into the US market, things have changed. A new cushioning system, new designs, and new athletes bring new reviews, so here we go Chromoso (sounds like Ultron had a brother)…

chromoso4Cushioning:   361° has developed a new system called Quick Dynamic Defense/Quick Dynamic Performance. While the website itself is not very informative of the makeup of these two systems, other than “The specialized QDD (Quick Dynamic Defense) system is extremely lightweight and responsive. Working to provide superior shock dispersion, guidance, and energy return upon each stride’s impact with the ground.” Here is what I figured out from this shoe – QDD is designed to provide fast cushioning. Not a max-protection along the lines of Air Max or Boost but more in line with adiprene+ and Zoom Air. Actually, my first thought when I put the shoe on was “Pegasus 31” – this shoe feels almost exactly like the new Pegasus. I don’t look at this as a bad thing – the Peg31 is one of the best runners of 2014 and a fantastic update to a line that was losing innovation. It is not exactly responsive, but it does disperse impact very well over the entire foot, not just a concentrated area. Being such a thin midsole I thought I would have more feel of the ground – rocks, sticks, uneven areas – but the QDD foam kept all of that away and kept moving. Seriously impressed with the system – it was a shoe I didn’t want to take off even after long runs (for me about 4-5 miles). Here is a breakdown of the different layers (QDD is on the left):

361 cush (580x387)


chromoso3Fit and Stability:    The mesh upper on the Chromoso provides a really close fit, especially through the mid and forefoot. One thing I wish basketball could take form running is the ability to fit a shoe to a foot with little to no dead space. Most runners that focus on performance have nailed this area, and 361° is no different. The shoe is about as close to 1:1 as any shoe on the market – in the forefoot. The heel is a little different, as under that mesh sits a hard, high-cut heel counter. If you look at the pics (or watch the video), it comes to just above the 361° logo and extends almost to the support strap. Really helps in the stability but does hinder heel fit a bit. Not dealbreaker bad, but I never got the wrapped feeling I get in shoes with an external, softer counter. And they do fit true to size – 10.5 in these is the same as 10.5 in adidas Boost and Mizuno Creation.

Stability was surprisingly good as well. I say this because the sole is cut narrow – the sides of the shoe sit as wide or just a little wider than the outsole in some areas. But the Chromoso rides so low and has a little midsole flare-out that the shoe never felt like it was tipping or rolling. Again, the heel counter holds you up solid. The support/fitstraps on the sides are worthless – pure decoration. They are supposed to hold your foot in laterally but they made tightening the laces in that area difficult and if too tight they bit into the sides of my foot. But they do break up the solid upper with a little design, so I will let them stay – for now.

chromoso5Transition: This area was the shining moment for the Chromoso (still sounds like an Avengers villain). Most flat-soled shoes, for me, feel slow and slappy. The Chromoso had a nice roll under foot from heel to toe. No shank for support, just low-riding and well cushioned with minor heel-to-toe drop led my feet down the right path. Consistency in cushioning also helped – the impact dispersion into the foam bed was natural and smooth. And really, that is the word I was looking for to describe these – Smooth. They just feel and look fast on foot (I wear the shoes while writing these. SHOE NERD!!!!) Every step was natural, whether first or 500th.

One thing I am always concerned about when testing new brands is durability. We at Weartesters probably won’t wear our shoes as long as you, the buying audience, will – the whole “on to the next one” thing. So when you buy Nike, or Jordan, or adidas, you mostly know what you are getting. 361°, being new, may scare some of you with a durability question. Know this – I took these pics after about 150 miles, some sprint work, some distance. No signs of wear on the uppers other than a couple scuffs, and the midsole creasing is very minimal (slow breakdown). The outsole is still in great shape. I won’t say they will last you 6 months or a year, but they seem to be holding up like I-beams so far.

Overall:   I guess the one word I would use is, again, surprised. I was predetermined to not like this shoe, just because I thought it was a bland design using foam technology for cushioning. Wrong. I still run in these, and will continue to do so. The fast feel and transition lends to speed work – short runs of quarter mile training and 200 yard sprints. I won’t say the Chromoso is a groundbreaker – it isn’t. But what it does it does pretty well, and that is cushion your foot for the next step. Very nice.


  1. the funny thing is, this product is actually not on Chinese market. I know this firsthand because I’m from China and 361° is a Quanzhou(my hometown)-based company.

    1. that’s kinda messed up. They were designed(maybe) and manufactured(definitely) in China but ppl living in the same city with the company have no access to them? sorry i don’t think that makes sense on any level.

      1. 361 USA claims these were designed in Taiwan with inputs from US runner designers.

        These are obviously better than some of the Chinese market runners, although I hope they would see wide releases so everyone can have a choice, too. We have these here in the Philippines together with the Chinese designed ones, though.

  2. has anyone bought a pair of 361 Kevin Love or Marbury with the NFO cushioning? I’m curious about their NFO cushioning.

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