Doctors of Running Review: 361-Feisu

Doctors of Running Review: 361-Feisu

361 Feisu Review

I love Asian market racing shoes.  I loved the Adidas Takumi Sen and Ren series but was somewhat disappointed with the current iterations (reviews of v3 HERE and HERE ).  I love the Nike Zoom Rival and Zoom Speed Racers that were eventually brought over to the us (reviews HERE and HERE).  Having gone through all those shoes and not being the biggest fan of the ride of many Asics and Mizuno shoes, I was waiting for something else to come along.  I had heard about the Feisu being inspired by the Japanese racing shoes (ironic coming from a Chinese brand) but did not expect them to come so soon.  Suddenly I had a pair of beautiful racing flats on my doorstep.  And they did not disappoint.  Inspired by the Japanese design of simple and fast, the Feisu is the kind of shoe I have been looking for.  Why?  Let's talk.

Specs (per Running Warehouse)
Weight: 6.4oz (men's size 9)
Drop: 9mm (26mm/17mm Heel to Forefoot)
Classification: Racing Shoe


Upper/Fit

The upper is very simple.  What you need an nothing more.  Utilizing an air mesh upper and a micro fiber suede, the upper is lightweight and comfortable.  The mesh is breathable (definitely not a cold weather shoe) and very comfortable against the skin.  The upper suede is soft against the skin and the toe bumper is also soft, making this a possible shoe to use sockless.  I have run a few times without socks, but due to the slightly long fit, would suggest them just in case.  For those used to this, you should be fine to sail sans socks.


The fit is slightly long but I would still stick with your normal size, particularly when using socks.  Like most Japanese racers, the toe box is a little wider and the heel is a little narrower. I really like the fit as it sits just right on my foot with enough room not to squeeze the foot but snug enough through the heel and midfoot (due to the Fitz-Ritz in the midfoot) that the foot is held down well.  The forefoot is not super wide, but thanks to a greater taper on the lateral aspect of the forefoot than the medial (slightly straighter on the medial side for the hallux), the fit is a little more anatomical than most racers.


The heel fit is a little narrower and holds the foot snug. There is a heel counter that travels up to the posterior midfoot.  It is thinner and there is some upper cushion, so I have not had any issues with my sensitive Achilles insertion.


I would like to give bonus points for the suede toe guard.  Thank you 361 for not using one of the blister inducing plastic ones. This does increase the durability without taking skin off.


Sole

The sole of the 361 Feisu is (essentially) full ground contact.  This makes the shoe more inherently stable.  The addition of the mild lugs on the bottom help grip the road well.  Los Angeles has had some decent rain in the last few months and the Feisu was my go to workout shoe during that time.  I never slipped on the wet ground and found them to have excellent traction.


There are several flex grooves in the outsole.  Although there are a few in the midfoot (which is generally a no-no since there are no sagittal plane joints there), most lie in the forefoot.  With that comes much better flexibility in the forefoot, making for a very nice transition during toe off.


The Feisu has more of a performance last, meaning the midfoot is a bit narrower.  However, the sole is somewhat wider than most racing shoes (including the midfoot) making the shoe more stable.  I notice this most during slower miles as slower speeds can mean more force in directions outside of the sagittal plane (forward to back).  Most racing shoes feel terrible jogging because of the more narrow and thus unstable soles.  The Feisu not only has the light 6.4 oz going for it, but the combination with the wider last makes them stable at all speeds.


Speed/Ride

The Feisu has a fast ride.  The sole is completely EVA (no QU!KFOAM) and has a kick when the pace picks up.  This is interesting given all the companies using different foam types, that the pure EVA feels so good.  The drop feels around 7-9mm and is not too low or too high for me.  The forefoot has great flexibility as mentioned earlier and the toe off feels great at all speeds.  There is some mild toe spring but not enough to cause any issues for me.  There is also some mild heel bevel that smooths out heel landings (361 is slowly getting better at this).

This is a great light shoe for distance workouts (thanks to the higher drop, personal preference) but has the speed to run down to 5k races or do track workouts.  6.4 oz is extremely light for the amount of shoe there and reminds me somewhat of the old T7 racer and Hyperion but with a far better fit and way more stable.  This is the type of shoe I have been looking for and would be my first choice for a half or full marathon racer given the fit, lightweight, responsiveness AND protection underfoot.


There is plenty of midsole there to protect the feet over long miles.  Many shoes in this weight range have very little cushioning but there is enough that I would no doubt use this as a half to full marathon racer (as mentioned previously).   My feet have felt great no matter what the distance of the workout I have used them for (intervals or longer tempos).  So for those that need a lightweight faster shoe that will save their legs (and are not willing to spend >$250 for a shoe like the Vaporfly 4% REVIEW), try the Feisu.



Outsole/Durability

As with most 361 shoes, durability has been phenomal.  Despite being a racer, I have close to 40 miles on my pair and there is little wear.  I have only used this shoe for road running and despite my heavy footstrike (working on that), the midsole feel has also remained consistent.  The Feisu did not need any time to break in as I was able to do a workout in these right out of the box (tempo run).  Even the lugs have not worn down.  I would expect to get over 200 miles out of these if not more for others.


Thoughts as a DPT

The Feisu is the kind of shoe that reminds me how effective and sexy being simple can be.  This is a great looking and riding shoe, yet it is has a simple EVA midsole, a good fit that give a bit of wiggle room in the forefoot and a snug heel.  There is nothing magic about this shoe, yet it is what I wanted out of so many previous racing shoes.  The Adios, Hyperion, Streak, Chaser are all good shoes, but all lacked a little something.  All of those shoes have extras: plates, special midsoles, etc.  The Feisu feels better and faster than all of them, yet only has EVA.  Why?  Because sometimes the simplest answer is the best.  That is why many of the Japanese racers like the Asics Sortie series have changed very little over the years but still remain favorites in the Asian market.

My experience as a Sport Fellow at Kaiser has definitely emphasized this.  While I am learning all these cool and amazing new things (treatments, assessments, thought processes, systems, etc), I am amazed how often going back to the basics of movement, strength, coordination and endurance solve a majority of the performance issues out there.  I can't tell you how many of my elite athletes (olympic runners, professional basketball players, elite gymnasts) have weak gluteal muscles, sub par balance, poor scapular coordination, etc.  Some people have complex issues, but most don't.  So instead of making things complicated, making simple better is a key thing I have continued to revisit.  The Feisu is a great example of this.  A great fit, comfortable upper, light weight, responsive ride, decent flexibility, somewhat wider forefoot (fit and stability) a little drop (for longer races) and a snug heel are pretty much all you need for a successful distance racer.  


Conclusion

For those looking for a Japanese inspired protective lightweight racer with a little more drop and a wonderful fit, take a look at the 361 Feisu.  This is a fantastic shoe for distance races like the marathon and half marathon but is light enough to be used for shorter workouts/races.  A snug heel and a slightly wider forefoot make for a comfortable fit that combined with a great ride make for a shoe that will keep you going for miles.

Thanks for reading!

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