The 361-Fantom Is a Smooth Trainer for Long Runs (2023)

The RW Takeaway: Cushioned but not clunky, the 361-Fantom excels at long, pavement-pounding efforts

  • A two-layer midsole dissipates impact forces without slowing you down
  • Tongue and collar padding gives you a lock-down heel fit without creating pressure points
  • Minimal outsole rubber saves weight but doesn’t appear to affect durability

Price: $120
Weight: 10.2 oz (men) 8.4 oz (women)
Type: Road
Available: July 1


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The 361-Fantom Is a Smooth Trainer for Long Runs (1)

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The 361-Fantom is a neutral shoe for road runners who want nothing but softness surrounding their feet. A midsole made with a combination of EVA foam and an EVA-rubber blend provides some of the smoothest cushioning out there, and above your foot, a padded tongue swaddles your foot once you tighten the laces. Such luxury would typically come with a weight penalty, but 361 Degrees’ sparing use of outsole rubber keeps the heft within close range of neutral competitors like the Saucony Ride ISO 2 and Brooks Ricochet. A modern, one-piece engineered mesh upper with TPU film gusseting the laces completes a shoe that looks quite good on paper.

We found the 361-Fantom works quite well on the roads, too. The foam midsole and mostly foam outsole don’t generate much rebound, but the heel-toe transition feels smooth and well-cushioned as you roll through the shoe’s 6mm offset. “Most of my runs were on roads and the cushioning kept me from feeling the road,” said one tester. The mesh upper feels comfortable against the foot, although one tester noted that the slightly pointy toe box wasn’t roomy enough. The soft tongue allows you to wear the shoes snug without putting pressure points on your foot or ankle, and substantial padding around the collar locks your heel down.

The 361-Fantom isn’t a go-fast shoe and it won’t satisfy your speed pangs, but our testers agreed it’s ideal for taking the sting out of a hard-surface long run.


The 361-Fantom is for runners who want cushioning that doesn’t sap their momentum.

Softness to Spare

The 361-Fantom has an EVA-foam midsole, with added cushioning from 361 Degrees’ Qu!kfoam in the heel and forefoot. The latter material is a blend of EVA foam and rubber that’s encapsulated in polyurethane; it provides extra cushioning while the surrounding EVA foam lends structure and lightness. A thick Qu!kfoam sockliner adds to the feeling of plushness. “They felt bulky to me, kind of like boats,” said one tester. “Not a great shoe for speed workouts; the shoes had more than ample cushioning for long runs.” Some said the shoes felt more cushioned than their Hoka trainers. Neutral by construction, the 361-Fantom doesn’t feel like it’s purposefully arresting your pronation, but the secure fit and bulky sole provide more stability than most neutral shoes.


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A layer of soft, EVA and rubber foam blend is embedded within the EVA foam midsole.

There’s Cushioning in the Upper, Too

Some uppers aim to get by using as little material as possible. The 361-Fantom is the opposite: Copious foam padding keeps you locked-down and secure, like a straitjacket for your feet. A shoe’s tongue is seldom a point of compliment, yet our testers tend to enjoy 361 Degrees’ padded tongue design. “The tongue of the shoe was perfect,” one tester said. “It had a nice cushioning on it, yet not too thick or bulging at all.” The plush tongue connects to the laces in three places, so doesn’t slide laterally mid-run, and its thin top won’t dig into your ankle.

The heel is equally substantial. A firm heel counter stiffens the shoe and wrap-around foam padding in the collar constricts the ankle, a sensation some testers liked more than others. “The ankle collar was very snug and sometimes uncomfortable,” one tester said, although others enjoyed the secure heel fit. The engineered knit that comprises the rest of the upper is breathable and slightly stretchy.

Just Enough Rubber

The outsole of the 361-Fantom is mostly foam. Less rubber means less weight, so it’s only been used in high-abrasion areas like the lateral heel and medial forefoot—places where most runners weight their feet through pronation. As a midfoot striker who lands near the outside of my midfoot, I actually prefer foam as the first material to touch down—it makes my footstrike feel smoother than landing on rubber, which has a slight braking effect. And despite the minimal rubber, our wear testers said the shoe showed less outsole wear than other shoes with less exposed foam. Traction on wet roads is slightly lacking and we wouldn’t pick the 361-Fantom for rugged trails. But the grip is adequate for a road-focused long run shoe.

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The sparing use of outsole foam saves weight.

Run Impressions

The 361-Fantom isn’t the plushest trainer around, but it is soft, and not just below your foot. The tongue and collar padding reduce the shoe’s volume somewhat, so they might fit snug with thick socks, but I didn’t get any rubbing or irritation from the tight fit. The underfoot cushioning isn’t springy nor propulsive-feeling shoe, but it takes a lot of pounding out of hard-surface running and makes running on tired legs less arduous.

What One Tester Said

Shannon K., tester since 2014
Arch: High | Gait: Neutral | Footstrike: Heel

The 361 Fantom was very comfortable to wear. The cushioning provided great support and comfort on all surfaces, even on light trails. Feeling rocks underneath me only occurred on very rugged trails. My feet felt a little more snug and in place than other shoes I've worn (like Skechers, Altras, Brooks or Topo’s), yet not to the point of ever feeling numb or pins and needles in my feet. The thick mesh material around the sides and top of the shoe was stretchy, yet I did not feel like my foot was ever sliding all over. Not the best at keeping water out because of the mesh material, but that does not bother me as I prefer comfort, safety and support over anything else.

The tongue of the shoe I felt was perfect. It had a nice cushioning on it, yet not too thick or bulging at all. It never dug into my ankle and seemed to stay in place nicely. The padding around the collar was great. It was very supportive and prevented my ankles from sliding around, especially on the rugged trails. My feet felt very snug and secure, but never felt numb or pins and needles. I believe the only hard plastic part of the shoe was in the ankle support but it never dug into my feet. I didn't even notice it was there until I felt the inside of the shoe with my hand just now to see if there was any plastic parts to the shoe. The material surrounding the plastic area is not cushioned below the collar, but it was durable enough to prevent anything irritating my ankle.

Dan Roe

Test Editor

A former Division 1 runner, Dan grew up riding fixies and mountain bikes and now reviews everything from performance running shoes to road and cross bikes, to the latest tech for runners and cyclists at Bicycling and Runner’s World.

This content is imported from OpenWeb. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.

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How many kms should trainers run? ›

Experts recommend you replace your running shoes every 500 to 750 kilometers. That's roughly every 300 to 500 miles, which equates to approximately four to six months for someone who runs 20 miles a week.

How long should a pair of running trainers last? ›

If you keep track of the miles you run in each pair, most high-quality running shoes should last between 300 and 500 miles—about four to six months for someone who runs 20 miles per week—though that number is lower for race-day shoes, which are designed to be lighter and faster.

Do you need special trainers for running? ›

Yes, running shoes do actually make a difference. They are specifically made for running and the high-impact forces it generates. Proper running footwear serves multiple purposes. A snug fit means fewer foot issues, like blisters, while still giving you flexibility and comfort of movement.


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