361 Degrees is a relatively new shoe brand on the running scene, and a brand you should consider trying. We’ve recently reviewed their Sensation 4, Spire 3 and Meraki 2 and all three shoes had the same snappy ride–this is a result of their QU!KFOAM.
Quick Foam is an EVA/rubber blend that provides an amazing combination of cushioning and responsiveness that’s proven to maintain the same high level of energy return and long-lasting comfort throughout the life of the shoe.
What does this foam feel like?
“If we took a poll of people who wore the shoe, we would basically end up with a 50/50 split of those who think it’s a firmer shoe and those who think it’s just right.” The foam certainly errs on the side of being slightly firmer, but that can be ideal for some runners.
What’s the cushioning system made of?
What makes the cushioning feel a bit firm is largely the polyurethane (PU) coating on top of the EVA-rubber blend. Tommy Garza is the Global VP of Footwear for 361 who says that, “It’s the PU protective skin that is over-top of the foam that inherently adds a little bit of firmness. The point of this layer is to “harness the energy” during loading. It also acts as a protective barrier from external elements providing excellent durability. The idea behind 361’s QU!KFOAM is to provide the maximum amount of feedback to the runner without compromising on protection. “This is why we added the layer of PU, it promotes a bit more propulsion and a faster toe-off, while still offering appropriate cushioning and protection.”
The 361 Degrees design team was looking to make a foam that accomplished three goals: optimal cushioning, responsiveness and durability. “The addition of the PU has been very important for the durability of the shoe. Think of it like a protective layer that encapsulates energy and gives it back to you. If you step on a mattress, it flattens–and a similar thing would happen to the shoe without the protective layer.” But Garza says that with the layer, the energy from your stride is contained and given back instead of being diminished during loading. This is what every runner prefers…better efficiency during their runs.
How long does is last?
QU!KFOAM should last a runner between 500 and 550 kilometres. “The variance in that number comes from the variability of every runner. It depends on height, weight, body type, the mechanics of how you load–all of these things factor into how long your shoes last.”
Prior to 361’s QU!KFOAM, they were using a standard EVA foam, which some companies continueto use in their shoes. The company changed that in 2015 with the launch of their signature foam. “QU!KFOAM is now used in all of our high performance shoes.” What the company is hanging their hat on is the commitment to cushioning, responsiveness and durability. “Every runner wants to have all three of those elements. If any one of these break down, then the shoe can become a contributing factor to an injury.”
Where is it going?
361 Degrees is really happy with where their foam is at, so they’re not looking to change that aspect of their shoes–what they’re looking to do is complement QU!KFOAM. “We want to look at the geometry of the shoe and re-imagine where we can incorporate the foam. We want the runner wearing our shoe to keep working efficiently without working harder.”
When asked if there could be a carbon-plated shoe in the company’s near future, Garza says yes. “We’re seeing a lot of shoes in the industry that are incorporating specialized construction with combinations of good foam and new technology. We’re interested in those same principles.”