TRACTION – One of the greatest examples of innovation working and being adopted across lines is forefoot flex-grooves. Not only do these grooves help with transition and foot fatigue, they also help with traction, allowing the shoe to dig into the ground for push-off. The Strata has separations and indentations all across the forefoot allowing this support/stability shoe to be one of the most flexible “high-mileage” runners on the market. The use of stable-rebound EVA in the forefoot also keeps the slips on wet roads and tracks down to a minimum with a harder rubber utilized underfoot around the forefoot (in red) and heel (in black).
CUSHION – My absolute favorite part of any running shoe is cushioning, and in less than a year of competitive US marketing, 361° has nailed it. Qu!kFoam is WAY more than what should be expected in this short time — much like Under Armour when they unveiled Micro G. Qu!kFoam is a dense, responsive rubber compound that continues to bounce under the forefoot every time they are worn. Although most runs were only 4-5 miles at a time, every single one showed how good the Qu!kFoam is.
But wait, there is more – QDP. What? QDP? Yeah, a vertically integrated system that starts with a Qu!kFoam insole, the aforementioned QF midsole, and ends with stable-rebound EVA, keeping the foam from being TOO bouncy and uncontrolled. One of the best cushions on the market, no holds barred.
MATERIALS – Very much in line with running shoes of the past few years, the Strata features open mesh uppers with foam backing in comfort areas like over the toebox, balls of the forefoot, and heel lining. The toebox is a wide-open mesh for flexibility and breathability, while the midfoot saddles are a tighter mesh for stability and containment. Over those areas are printed fuse for extra durability and hold. The heel is thickly padded around the ankle collar with a dense, almost memory-like foam. The tongue is more of the mesh from the midfoot. Normally, tighter mesh means less ventilation, but the toe area being so open works to even out your foot-funk.
FIT – Absolutely true to size, and the way a runner should fit. We have tried so many smaller brand runners this year (and most were extremely good products) and every company has an idea of how a shoe should fit. 361° flows with a wider toebox for natural splaying while running with no effort or constraint. The midfoot narrows under the arch and the heel is a narrow cut to lessen slip, which works.
With very little tightening, the foam in the upper forms to the foot and cuts off movement altogether, and the fuse overlays in the midfoot hold the mesh together to snug up. As far as length, on the Volitation, I felt the shoe was about a half size short. On the Spire, the fit was much better and felt great from first wear to last.
SUPPORT – The Strata is a stability/support shoe, so it would stand to reason that stability and support is good. It is, but not in a bulky, clunky style. The main support structure is the TP footbridge under the arch that flows into a small medial post. No super-dense foam, no bulky midsole; instead, there is a streamline and hidden support that lightly pushes the foot upright without straining the gait. The wider outsole and forefoot give the runner plenty of landing pad and the fit in the midfoot ties everything together into a stability shoe that feels like a neutral cushioned shoe.
OVERALL – With every 361º shoe we review, they just get better. If you haven’t already figured out, cushioning is, honestly, second only to Boost — and that’s close. High praise, but still valid. Plush, soft, quick, and responsive,
Qu!kFoam is freaking great. If you are a runner needing high mileage, extra cushion, great wearing outsole, and really, REALLY good fit, and oh yeah, a highly flexible stability shoe, look at the Strata. If you are blinded by marketing and branding, you will miss out.