361 Degrees Sensation 3 Performance Review
Austin: Preamble, In my review of the 361 Degrees Sensation 2 last June, I, along with Thomas and Meaghan, critiqued the shoe’s heavyweight (among other things). Version two weighed more than the original, but the designers of the Sensation 3 have made some drastic changes based on the feedback they received. Thomas said of the Sensation 2, “There is just too much going on in this shoe.” Let’s unpack his remark from last year as we revisit this daily trainer a third time.
Runners who lamented the weight of the Sensation 2 can rejoice as it has drastically come down in version 3. Those synthetic overlays across the upper? Gone. An external heel counter? Gone. The TPU stability shank? Gone. Lots of foam? Gone. The Sensation 3 is proof that weight can be shed without sacrificing comfort and structure. The retooled mesh upper – minus the overlays – gives the toes ample room to spread without a locked-down feeling. Fewer overlays also means the shoe breathes better and will accommodate more foot types from a width standpoint.
Like the Chaser 2, 361 added a carbon fiber plate (the QU!K Spine) in the Sensation 3 for torsional rigidity. QU!KFOAM is retained too, along with a medial post for runners who exhibit mild to moderate overpronation. The outsole pattern has also been reconfigured, though I didn’t observe it has having a positive impact on the shoe’s ride. Still, the simplification of the Sensation 3 from top to bottom made for a better ride than version 2 as a lot of bulk was shed in the time between the two versions. The drop also stayed the same at 9 millimeters.
Erin: Alright, so this section isn’t going to be very long. There were a lot of things that contributed to my dislike of this shoe. Even so, I didn’t really have any issues with the ride itself. The shoe is pretty firm but reasonably responsive, with a smooth transition. The midsole is 361’s QU!CKFOAM, which isn’t anything groundbreaking: it’s an EVA-rubber blend encapsulated in PU. The company’s tagline for QU!CKFOAM is “consistent cushioning and comfort”; I’d agree with the first bit. It feels good underfoot, and together with the dense rubber outsole, I imagine that this is a shoe you can get a lot of miles out of. I’d say that the Sensation 3 is very similar to the Asics GT-2000, if you’re looking for a comparative shoe. As a matter of fact, I did a short test run with one Sensation and one GT-2000, and if it weren’t for the fit issues with the Sensation, I’d have had a hard time differentiating the two.
Austin: Though the weight has come down, a few critiques still emerged. First, the laces. They are too long. I like to tuck excess lace under the midfoot loops, but the slack still neared touching the ground. Also, the Running Warehouse website lists the Sensation 3 as $10 more than the Sensation 2. With less shoe in the composition of version 3, I figured that the price would stay constant or even drop $5.
Erin: Though I liked the firmness and responsiveness of the shoe (especially for a neutral stability trainer), the fit was not great for me. The Sensation runs pretty narrow, and even though the knit upper has a decent amount of stretch to it, I came away from my first run with a few hot spots due to the aggressive overlays on the upper. I also had some rubbing from the medial post, which may just be because I don’t run in stability shoes and am not used to having a post there. Either way, it was hard to want to run in these after that first run. I almost never have issues with blisters or hot spots, but man, I did in these shoes.
We gotta talk about aesthetics too, of course. I really liked the white/ebony colorway I received, which was mostly white with ebony (looks navy to me), teal, and bright yellow accents. They aren’t pink! So that’s nice. Unfortunately, style-wise, they look like a Gel Nimbus from the early aughts.
361 Degrees Sensation 3 Conclusion
Austin: Prior to running in the Sensation 3, I was acquiring miles in the ASICS GT-2000 6. Priced at $120, the GT-2000 is a strong competitor to the 361 model. In comparing the two closely, I’d choose the GT-2000 based on comfort, design, ride, and price. The FlyteFoam midsole reduced weight while the inclusion of GEL kept a touch of softness intact. ASICS doesn’t design the best patterns in their footwear lineup, but the GT-2000 does eclipse the Sensation 3 based on aesthetics and visual appeal. I also felt that the ride of the GT-2000 was softer and smoother than the Sensation. Finally, the GT-2000 is ten bucks less than the Sensation 3. The Sensation 3 is much improved over version 2, but there’s still some work to be done.
Erin: This COULD be a decent mild stability trainer; in fact, it may be the right shoe for someone with narrow feet who is looking to get 600+ miles out of a shoe and needs some mild stability. At 8.2 ounces and with a 9 mm drop, this shoe does perform pretty well at faster paces, especially for a daily trainer. But please, please, GET RID OF THE OVERLAYS. And maybe widen the shoe a tad? With a little tweaking, this could be a solid shoe, but currently, I’d have a hard time recommending it to anyone, especially at $130, which is a pretty steep price point.361º Sensation 3