According to popular opinion, a good pair of shoes can last approximately 400-600 miles of running. Racking up 100 miles or more per month, my shoes don’t really last that long. So I was thrilled when I was offered the chance to try out the new 361° Sensation 2 trainers.
361° was founded in 2003 in China but quickly became one of the largest suppliers of sports apparel and shoes in the country. The brand successfully expanded into the US and Brazil and in September 2016, launched in Europe.
As part of the launch, 361° partnered with several fitness and running bloggers to trial the shoes. I was lucky enough to be included in that group and literally couldn’t wait for my new shoes to arrive. The excitement of new shoes arriving in the mail is basically as close as I’ll get in adult life to the childhood joy of Christmas morning.
Aesthetics are really the first thing I evaluate in any shoe. What can I say? Appearance matters. Thankfully, the Sensation 2 do not disappoint in this category. The Sensation 2 in Spark/Crush is the perfect colour combo. With a bright yellow upper, and purple and navy heel, it really is an impressive looking shoe. I love a bold shoe. The brighter the better. I am convinced that bright colours make me run faster. Naturally, I couldn’t wait to try them out.
I took my new shoes out for a test drive on Thursday morning. I could immediately tell that these are the type of shoe that can stand up to some serious training. Described as a “well-balanced workhorse,” these shoes use QU!CKFOAM technology which adds some serious support and stability making them perfect for long distances.
A recent Runner’s World review suggested the shoes are best for slim-footed runners. So with my super wide, flat feet, it’s not surprising that I needed to go up a half size in these shoes.
Sadly, I did end up with one small blister on my left heel. I probably should have spent a little time breaking in my new shoes. Instead, I dashed out the door to complete a really tough training run that was a 10 minute easy run, followed by 2x 15 minute threshold runs with 2 minute breaks, then another 10 minute easy run. This would have been a tough run in any shoe, and I probably pushed it a little hard in fresh, out-of-the-box trainers. I mean, it was basically like running a 10K race in brand new shoes. Probably my fault.
Anyway, my blister aside, there is no doubt that these shoes are pretty awesome. As part of the European launch, 361° has also partnered with German runner Kai Markus who will be running from Hamburg to Shanghai – an epic adventure spanning 235 days, 8 countries and 12,000km! Not only is the mission a testament to the athletic performance of the 361° shoes and gear, but it also represents an opportunity connect German and Chinese culture. With his run, Kai plans to build a cultural bridge between the two countries.
The mission, which will be promoted across Twitter and Instagram via @runmysilkroad, really embodies the brand’s motto which is “Beyond your expectations.” If these shoes can stand up to a 12,000km run, they can certainly carry me through the rest of my marathon training!
For more information on 361°, check out www.361europe.com and make sure you follow Kai’s journey via @runmysilkroad. You can also learn more about Kai and his motivations for taking on this challenge here.
In case it wasn’t abundantly clear, I received the Sensation 2 trainers for free in exchange for writing this review. That said, my comments about these shoes represent my true and honest feedback.