361º Spinject Performance Review
In the words of James Monahan, 361 Degrees USA President, “Our product message is simple: Build a shoe that fits and feels good and therefore provides the greatest level of protection to the runner.” Having run and reviewed the 361 Sensation 2 and KgM2 2, I believe that 361 is making progress from a “feels good” standpoint, but there’s still work to do should the company desire to be a disrupter in the marketplace. Enter the Spinject, a new model that combines protection with panache.
Austin: While I usually lead reviews off with a handful of remarks about technical specifications, the 361º Spinject should start with design. I love the black and white upper, and the color selection for this model would be perfect if the lime green sections on the outsole were dropped in favor of black. Next year, make it a pure black and white – no additional accents. Speaking of which, the engineered knit upper, a highlight of the Spinject, undoubtedly emphasizes the appealing pattern of lines and shapes.
Setting design for a moment, we can now turn our attention to fit and feel because any shoe that looks good but feels awful is not worth your hard-earned dollars. Like other 361 models, the Spinject uses the QU!KFOAM midsole to provide protection and responsiveness. For me, QU!KFOAM falls on the side of firmness (think Mizuno footwear), and this is likely why I favor softer shoes for most of my runs and snappy sneaks for workouts and races.
The Spinject is a firm shoe, but most runners will find it adequate as a daily trainer for any distance. Aside from the distinctive knit upper, no other attributes of note readily stand out. Sizing is accurate, the midfoot is secure (via a soft, internal webbing), and toe box room is satisfactory. Stack height, which seems to be garnering more focus today, is as follows: 28 millimeters in the heel and 20 millimeters in the forefoot (which yields an 8-millimeter offset).
Meaghan: The 361º Spinject is not like other 361 models we’ve reviewed. For starters, its designed with a knit upper. I like the construction; it’s breathable but provides a good amount of support. My wide feet fit in them just fine. The knit runs through about 3/4 of the upper with a lightly padded heel counter making up the back portion. The tongue is thin with extra padding on the top of the foot to minimize hot spots from the laces. It’s a comfortable shoe.
The midsole is designed with a full length QU!CKFOAM for a consistent ride. The ride is on the firmer end but not overly so. I have to disagree with Austin and his comparison to Mizuno. These feel nothing like that awful wave plate (IMO). Other than some rubber placement on the forefoot and heel of this shoe, there isn’t much else to them (in a good way). My W7.5 came in at 8.2oz – decent weight for an everyday trainer.
Austin: The tongue, which should be an afterthought, once again bothered me. Is it the brand as a whole that’s coming up short, or is it me? After running fifty yards or so in my first run in the Spinject, I paused to modify the lacing and pull up on the tongue as it slipped down. Like the Sensation 2 and the KgM2 2, the tongue also drifted to the side during my runs – an annoyance for sure.
A second critique pertains to the heel collar. This part of the shoe felt stiff and rubbed my ankle bone the wrong way. I like the firm ride of the Spinject, but the transition is lacking. To put another way, smoothness is absent. Finally, the name. I’m curious what the story behind this quirky selection is.
Meaghan: The midsole didn’t feel as responsive and bouncy as I was hoping. Particularly on tired legs – I felt that I was landing hard on dull shoes.
Austin: In consideration of James Monahan’s remarks about what makes a good running shoe – fit, feel, and protection – the Spinject is worth a closer look despite a few shortcomings. A $100 price point further augments its value as a versatile trainer that scores some additional points for style.
Incidentally, I’d be remiss not to point out the fact that the Spinject appears to be taking its design cues from a broader trend in running shoes right now: the proliferation of black and white and grey. I credit Nike and Adidas for starting this, but all of the major companies are currently offering models that position running shoes as a piece of exercise gear and a lifestyle shoe that matches apparel easily. Running is a lifestyle though, right? We might as well look good living it out.
Meaghan: The 361º Spinject is a simple, lightweight, durable daily trainer. While I wasn’t in love with the underfoot feel, it performed well for an easy day running. For $100, you can’t beat the value.