Shoe Reviews

361º Spire 3 Performance Review

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Austin: After hearing the noisy FedEx truck rumble up the street, I sauntered to the front door. Opening it quickly in anticipation of receiving a package, I glanced down at the brown box with dimensions well-suited for containing a shoebox. Sweet, I thought. Maybe it’s a new Skechers model or the highly anticipated Altra Escalante 1.5. Nope—it was a shoe by 361 Degrees, the Spire 3. Frankly, I wasn’t thrilled at the prospect of running in another 361 shoe as the previous models I have reviewed have no wow factor or distinct flair. My bland expectations for the Spire 3, however, quickly fell by the wayside run after run. In short, I was wowed as this model excels.

361 Spire 3

The Good

Austin: Along with the Strata 2, the Spire 3 is the priciest model in the 361 family at $150. Accordingly, I’d expect the cushioning to be nothing less than on par with shoes like the Brooks Glycerin or Asics Nimbus. Though the Spire 3 isn’t as plush as the recently updated Glycerin 16 based on the emerging reviews of this Brooks fan favorite, runners who seek a soft but noticeably firmer ride in their long runs will appreciate the Spire’s characteristics. I didn’t bother reading much about the Spire 2, but I did discover that the Spire 3 now has a carbon fiber plate in the midsole. Also, weight increased by two-tenths of an ounce (10.3 to 10.5 in a men’s nine), but the heel drop decreased by 2 millimeters (11 to 9). The Glycerin 16, as a point of contrast, weighs 10.8 ounces in a men’s nine and has a 10 mm drop. The Nimbus 20 numbers are identical to the Glycerin.
The ride is soft but firm, courtesy of QU!KFOAM and EVA. Both feet stayed secure in the shoe, and I didn’t observe any pressure along the top or sides. The engineered mesh upper, along with improving appearance, enhances breathability. While I’m on the subject of design, the Spire 2 is ugly held against the 3. The black and white pattern I donned is classy. As for traction, pairing carbon rubber in the heel and blown rubber in the forefoot increased the feeling of security on slick roads after pop-up showers in late June and early July.

Thomas: Hey now! The first thing I thought was “these don’t look so bad.” Previous 361º trainers have been capable trainers but looked pretty lame. The US team is working with the overseas designers to create a more palatable looking shoe to appeal to the North American runner. They have done well.

The Spire 3 seems to be targeting the Nike Pegasus and Brooks Ghost customer. The fit and feel are pretty close to the rivals, at least before the Peg 35 came out. I agree with Austin that the ride is smooth, cushioned and still firm enough to give you an efficient turnover. The durability of the Spire 3 won’t be an issue either. There is lots of rubber on the outsole to keep you going.

The upper has breathable mesh up front with plenty of room for your toes. The lacing and tongue are unremarkable, which is a good thing. Moving to the heel counter, you will find a rigid cup that cradles your heel without messing with your Achilles.

Spire 3 runs a bit on the heavy side weighing 11.3 oz. or 320 grams for a 10.5, with a 9mm drop.

All in all, the shoe is well designed with no surprises.

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361º Spire 3

The Bad

Austin: I ran 54 miles before penning this review and noticed no discernible issues that inhibited comfort. After initially taking the Spire 3 out of the box, I thought the pointed end might be indicative of a narrow toe box, but toe splay was excellent. I’d like to see the weight drop at least one ounce, but I recognize that a shoe like this designed to offer substantial cushioning may not see reductions of this magnitude. Tenths of an ounce is a more likely outcome in subsequent updates. Otherwise, the Spire shines, and I have no grievances to fling in its direction.

Thomas: The 361º Spire 3 feels like it is a year or two behind in some of the running trends. It is a very good daily trainer that relies on proven technologies and existing materials. That might be why it reminds me of the Pegasus 33 so much.

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361 Spire 3

The 361º Spire 3 Conclusion

Austin: The 361º Spire 3 won the 2018 ISPO Award in the Health & Fitness category, an honor noted on the company’s website. The Cloudace and Cloud X, designed by ON, along with the iSpike by Salming, were the other running shoe winners. Like any runner, I’m naturally intrigued with shoes that receive praise to the point of being presented with prestigious accolades by professional judges. However, every shoe is ultimately subject to the rigors of the wearer. They are the ones who gauge the fit, feel, and ride for the purpose of ascertaining comfort from heel to toe. Like the ancient pyramids, the Spire 3 rises high.

Thomas: The Spire 3 is a good shoe. It will work well for the majority of runners out there. I would equate the shoe to a Labrador Retriever, it is like a basic dog. I have no gripes with the shoe and am enjoying the progress 361º is making with their products. I think they can take off if they figure out how to get runners emotionally attached to their brand. Right now the product is good, but 361º lacks a personality.

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