361 Degrees Spire 5 Review: Searching for In-Spire-ation
Weighs 10 oz. (283 g.) for a US M9 / 8.2 oz. (232 g.) for a US W7.5
An upper that only a mother (or anyone else) could love
Qu!kflame and Qu!kspring, but is that a good thing?
At least 361 Degrees keeps on truckin’
Available now for $160
LINDSAY: In case anyone else was wondering, it’s pronounced Three-Six-One-Degrees. “One Degree Beyond” is their motto. Get it? Bueller? Bueller?
I had to do my research before writing this review because I’d never heard of this brand before. Not entirely a shocker to those who know me — I’m one of the more novice runners around here — but I digress. 361 Degrees launched in China in 2003 and is now making its way across the Pacific to our great United States.
The Spire 5 is 361’s latest shoe. It comes in three different colorways (magenta, black, and turquoise), and I think all three are very simplistic with a modern design. Nothing flashy here, just some daily colors on a daily trainer. It’s worth mentioning that only the magenta comes in Wide, though. Are you taking notes?
When I first put this shoe on, I was floored by how comfortable it was. Did I just put on a Hoka? Is this going to be my new go-to? Unfortunately, it didn’t pan out like that, but it’s not all bad news. Let’s get into it.
JARRETT (WIDE FOOT): Like Lindsay, I, too, am brand new to the world of 361. I wasn’t expecting to be on the review for the Spire 5, so when it showed up, I was able to go in without any expectations. After my first run, I decided to look up the shoe, and 361 says it’s introducing race day foam into the comfort of a premium trainer. That’s a bold assertion. One that I’m not too sure I agree with.
LINDSAY: I enjoyed the upper on this shoe. So snug, so comfy, so plush. Like the Spire 4, the forefoot looks narrow, but there was plenty of room in the toe box. And while my toes could wiggle around a bit, the excellent lockdown in the midfoot held me in place. The “pressure-free” tongue design also “freed” me up for great range of motion.
There’s a 10/10 Ortholite foam insole with an extra cushion around the ankle. Maybe I’m just getting older, and my ankles are getting weaker, but if loving a little extra cushion for the pushing is wrong, then I don’t want to be right. I also ran through quite a few puddles in these and did not end up with soaked socks. Just say no to pruney toes.
The midsole houses a full length of their Qu!kspring component on top of the Qu!kflame foam layer. (Try saying that 10 times fast) This dynamic duo gives it a pretty high stack for a neutral training shoe, but there’s still a solid balance of cushion and performance.
Not too much to say about the outsole because, well, there’s hardly any outsole! A thin layer of rubber lines the toes and the heel, keeping this shoe lightweight while still feeling durable and offering good traction on wet roads. It’s rather wide, as well, which made for confident steppin’.
JARRETT (WIDE FOOT): The upper consists of an engineered jacquard mesh, a thin tongue, and a plush heel collar. I do think the upper is solid and comfortable. My US M10.5 length fits great, and the 2E width hugs my midfoot, keeping things from moving around.
That thin tongue I mentioned is an anatomically designed pressure-free tongue to remove pressure and stress from the top of the foot. It’s a fancy way of saying it’s thin but doesn’t cause pressure from the laces. I’m a fan of the plush heel collar, which adds to the comfort and lockdown.
The outsole is an anti-abrasion rubber formula that allows it to be thinner. This rubber covers the forefoot and heel while the midfoot has exposed midsole foam. I thought the traction was pretty good in dry conditions, but I got a little squirrely during my run in the rain.
Last but not least, the Spire 5 is a clean and simple-looking shoe. Those who don’t want neon retina burners would like this.Shop 361 Degrees Spire 5 – Men Shop 361 Degrees Spire 5 – Women
LINDSAY: The Spire 4 was a hit amongst the mid and forefoot strikers, but I’m not sure they’d feel the same with the Spire 5. I felt every toe off on the concrete roads, and my metatarsals were howlin’. It’s just a firm shoe, and even after some miles, I felt like I was still trying to break through the out-of-the-box stiffness.
361 Degrees advertises this shoe as “race day foam in a premium trainer,” but I did not get the bouncy response of a race day shoe, so that one didn’t quite resonate with me. I also wouldn’t say these are the lightweight version of the Spire shoe that Austin has been looking for since reviewing the Spire 3. Sigh. Maybe next time.
JARRETT (WIDE FOOT): The midsole is dual layer. The bottom foam is Qu!kflame, a PEBA material for better cushion at a lighter weight, while the top layer is Qu!kspring, an EVA compound that helps with cushion and responsiveness. While I wouldn’t say the midsole is terrible, I’m putting it in this section because I didn’t get much cushion or response.
All of my runs were firm and non-responsive. Sure, the shoe was smooth, but that was the only redeeming quality I felt with the ride. I put off writing this review because I kept pulling it out in hopes things would feel better. Unfortunately, it didn’t.Shop 361 Degrees Spire 5 – Men Shop 361 Degrees Spire 5 – Women
LINDSAY: Overall, the 361 Degrees Spire 5 is an excellent fit for those shorter, moderately-paced runs. The insanely comfortable upper makes you feel like you just put on a Hoka, but the firmer outsole feel and ride make this shoe one of a kind. Take that as you will. At $160, it’s priced fairly against other traditional, daily neutral trainers and will easily find a place among any level of runner.
JARRETT (WIDE FOOT): 361 Degrees compares the Spire 5 to the Asics Nimbus, Saucony Triumph, and New Balance Fresh Foam 1080. I don’t see it, as those shoes are all softer underfoot. I’d almost compare this to the Saucony Ride 15 with the firmer feel. So if you’re a fan of 361 Degrees and want a firmer shoe that rolls pretty smoothly, you may want to check out the Spire 5.
You can pick up the 361 Degrees Spire 5 for $160 by using the shop link below.Shop 361 Degrees Spire 5 – Men Shop 361 Degrees Spire 5 – Women
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Lindsay is an optometrist by day and runner by… all other hours. Originally from south Florida, Lindsay started running with Believe Run Club when she moved to Baltimore and the rest is history. When she’s not running or fixing eyeballs, you can find her exploring with her dog, Iris, or grabbing a beer with friends.
All-time favorite shoes: Asics Novablast, Saucony Endorphin line, Nike Vaporfly NEXT%More from Lindsay
Wide Foot Jarrett likes talking about wide shoes. Did you know he wears wide shoes? You should probably know he wears wide shoes. Besides running, Jarrett is a lover of coffee, donuts, pizza, and tacos. Basically, Jarrett is the ultimate race-cation travel companion because he will be on food duty while you’re busy panicking about whether you want to try and break your PR. Will also sleep on the floor. He’ll also answer any question in his DMs.
All-time favorite shoes: New Balance Vazee Prism v2, New Balance FuelCell SC Trainer, Asics Metaspeed Sky.More from Jarrett