The 361 Degree Flames are a 2021 model that was released in the Spring and I got them through a sweet deal on eBay for $35, plus shipping in September. If I had to guess, they had less than 20 miles on them when they came in. This means that I got very, very lucky and didn’t hesitate to push the buy button when I saw that deal.
|361 Degree Flames|
The Flames are a shoe that I saw the pre-release video on a Doctors of Running interview and loved how they sounded and looked at that point. When Road, Trail, Run, Doctors of Running, and some other blogs reviewed the Flames and gave them high marks, with a few caveats. I knew at some point I would find a pair for myself.
The 361 Degree Flames are a carbon-plated, higher stack “go-faster” running shoe. While some compare them to the Vaporfly, they are not soft shoes, and while there is a lot of snap to them, I wonder how the firmness will play out over longer distances.
How I use them
This is a 25-mile review because the 361 Flames are a go faster and will be 5K/10K race day shoes for me when I start racing again. Yeah, the Flames are a hold-on to my hat kind of shoe.
|Disregard the Rolling 7 Day Totals — they are a bit off after sorting.|
Not that I am that fast, but each time I put them on to run, I have this habit of going faster than I planned in the Flames. This is not always a great thing, especially when you are attempting to rehab a balky Achilles. So, I am rather selective about how often I allow myself the pleasure of running in these (road rockets) shoes – for now.
Which is high praise for a pair of shoes in my rotation that I have to purposely limit how often I run in them because I run too well or is that too fast to stay healthy in them.
Who are they for
They are not daily trainers for me, I would be injured waaaay too soon if I wore them a lot. Not because they are bad shoes, it is more that my body couldn’t hold up to the faster paces.
For most of us recreational runners, I could see these being race day, tempo/fartlek shoe, bad weather racers, or for more efficient, faster runners daily trainers and tempo shoes. Especially, if you like a bit firmer shoe or need some extra stability, that other carbon-plated racers do not have.
I got them in a size 8.5 U.S. and when I put my thumb on the big toe, I have a bit of extra room length-wise. This means that I could probably go to a size 8.0 and be fine.
The Flames do not bother my hard to please right foot, and I have had no issues with heel slip. The shoes become a part of my feet and I have run comfortably in them up to a faster for me 10K time trial, without issues.
|361 Flames on the scale|
They are not the lightest carbon-plated racing shoe on the market at 7.7 ounces, but they do not feel that heavy when running in them. Not that a sub-8.0 ounce running shoe is heavy, but in comparison to some others that come in at under 7.0 ounces, you can feel the difference.
The heel-to-toe transition is smooth, with great pop on toe-off. Which I would expect from a carbon-plated running shoe, and would be disappointed if they didn’t.
The biggest thing I thought in my last run in the Flames was that “The Flames don’t do slow”.
When I get them out of storage, there is something about the way the 361 Flames fit me, that just lets me know — no lolligagging allowed. My average pace in the Flames is about a minute faster per mile than my overall average pace for 2021 and that doesn’t really show how much faster I do and can run in them.
The best part is that I don’t feel beat up after I finish. Yeah, I am tired from the workout, but the usual aches and pains in my Achilles or Hamstrings aren’t there. The big test will come when I do a race in them and maintain race pace for a longer period than I have in a long time.
With the amount of rubber on the outsole, I didn’t expect them to be super-quiet. However, TheWife was out walking when I was running in them, and she said she could hear me coming behind her without any problem in them. This is unusual because I am usually able to get within about 10 feet of her before she notices that I am behind her. Personally, I didn’t notice how loud they are, but I trust her comments on my running shoes because she doesn’t make them often.
So, the Flames are noisier than most of my running shoes.
The outsole works well, it is grippy in the rain, and has enough tread that running on a dirt road isn’t a problem due to traction issues. The carbon plate becomes a rock plate and protects my feet from most of the stray rocks and stuff you encounter on any dirt road.
|361 Flames – outsole photo|
The Flames do have that big cavity in the middle of the sole unit. I have had rocks stick in there, and they do become noticeable if the pointy end is sticking up towards the foot — even with a carbon plate. They are a lot like the old Mizuno’s in that respect.
While I think they would be okay on dry groomed trails and light snow, they are still road running shoes and work best on the roads, even when they are wet. They can handle forays onto the dirt shoulders on roads easily, but in mud or wet snow, I would find different shoes to use.
After 27.0 miles there is no wear on the outsole and I would expect them to wear about the same as many light-weight daily trainers.
There is plenty of foam between you and the road to keep the feet well protected, and I, personally, love the feeling of how they disappear on my feet and I forget about them after I start running. Most likely due to oxygen deprivation from running too fast 😜.
361 Degrees is using a PU Midsole material they call Qu!kflame, which looks similar to Adidas Boost midsole material, but seems a bit lighter. Their website has plenty of information about their version of a super foam that you can read there. It does feel much firmer than other carbon-plated “go faster” shoes I have run in, but I like it.
My Flames have a colorful (which I love) mesh upper that holds my feet correctly. My feet don’t slide around and with the design of the heel, there is no heel slippage. Best of all, they don’t bother my tailor’s bunionette and disappear when I get up to speed.
|361 Flame – view of upper|
The less I talk about an upper, the more positive it is in my opinion.
Unless it is about the colorway and the Flames with the orange and black rock it in my opinion. The black colorway just didn’t do it for me, although it would be the same shoe underfoot, these just scream — let’s get going and have some fun.
Looking at the 361 Degree website, if you are size 9.0 or 10.0 you might be in luck, otherwise, they are unavailable. Looking around on eBay, the searches come back with “no results found”. Some retail stores might have them, but I think that finding the Flames would be a hit-or-miss thing.
I have a feeling that the initial run by 361 was a limited number of shoes to see how the market viewed them. Now with the supply chain issues, you will probably find hen’s teeth quicker than getting a pair of 361 Degree Flames with this colorway, in your size.
I was very fortunate to find a pair on eBay for $35.00 plus shipping in pretty much new condition — I didn’t even have a second thought about getting them. The 361 Flames retail for $160 and for a pair of carbon-plated “go faster” shoes, that is still a pretty fantastic price.
WOULD I GET THEM AGAIN?
In a word — probably.
However, with the very light use and little wear that I have seen so far on the Flames, I won’t be needing a replacement anytime soon. Especially, without a lot of racing on the immediate horizon.
If I did get another pair of 361 Flames, it would be in a size 8.0, not another size 8.5, which, I think, would fit just a little better for 5K and 10K racing. They are firmer than most of the super shoes, and I am not sure how much I would use them beyond 10 miles until I have a chance to do a few longer runs in them.
All I know is that I run well in them, and they do everything I want from a go faster/race day running shoe. I would recommend the 361 Flames to anyone who likes a little firmer running shoe.
Especially, since it is one that I purposely limit how often I run in them because I tend to run faster than I should on workouts that I should be going slower, much slower.
To me, that is very high praise indeed.
Now to get more miles on them.
Come with me now — the best is yet to be.