Although 361˚ USA is a new brand to the American running scene, you’ll be hearing a lot more about this company this year. A subsidiary of the second-largest footwear brand in China, 361˚ USA put down roots for the brand in the U.S. last year with help from several U.S. footwear veterans. The parent company is an official sponsor of this summer’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro—the first Asian company to sponsor the Olympics—and will supply gear for the Olympic Torch relay, volunteers and technical staff.
The U.S. subsidiary designs and manufacturers shoes specifically for the American market. The new Chaser is a neutral, low-profile, lightweight trainer/racer that, depending on your running form and preferences for more or less shoe, makes a great 10K or half marathon race shoe. It is certainly well suited for speed training and provided enough underfoot that it served testers well for fast runs but wasn’t built up enough to obscure underfoot feel for tight cornering.
The breathable mesh upper is quite open and features a gasket-like, super thin tongue and overlays of TPU film. The fit is snug and secure enough to hold the foot firmly and it may be too tight a fit to accommodate higher-volume feet. The forefoot is highly flexible and makes for great toe-off, as encouraged by the action of the carbon fiber shank in the midfoot and rearfoot; a combination for quick transition for a snappy gait cycle. The cushioning is ample, especially for such a minimal platform, courtesy of 361’s injected foam construction that seals in a absorption and rebound, all-in-one. Besides having a great name, the Chaser runs rather quietly as the result of muting blown rubber that softens the blow while carbon rubber pods in the heel enhance durability.
Weights: 7.8 oz. (men’s size 9.0); 6.2 oz. (women’s size 7.0)
Heel-Toe Offset: 9mm; 18mm (heel); 9mm (forefoot)