361 Fierce 2 Review

Something a little different this week, with the 361 Fierce 2 Review. 361 were established in 2003 and has become a successful running shoe brand in the Asian markets. They started distributing their shoes through specialist running stores in Europe in 2016. 361 has become a popular brand at Northern Runner offering well cushioned, durable shoes like the Nemesis and Strata, with a more traditional fit and feel. The 361 Fierce 2 is a lightweight everyday training shoe with the men’s weighing around 279g and the women’s around 229g.

361-Fierce-2-ReviewDespite its light weight, the 361 Fierce 2 is designed as an everyday training shoe and not a lightweight speedster. An Ortholite insole sits on top of the full length Quickspring+ layer, which is on top of the EVA midsole gives the shoes an initial soft feel. It’s quite surprising given the weight and look of the shoes. As well as the initial soft feel, the other noticeable feature is the forefoot flexibility.

The midsole has a broad base, which makes the Fierce 2 feel stable when your foot initially hits the floor. There is then a smooth transition onto the very flexible forefoot that makes the 361 Fierce 2 feel both cushioned and nimble.


Although the fit is narrow your feet aren’t too cramped in the toe box. That means that the flexible forefoot does allow for some foot function. The upper is made of a one piece engineered mesh so there are no overlays or stitch lines to prevent the foot from moving inside the shoes either. It also means that the upper is free to bend where it needs to with no crease lines that might rub or irritate. The tongue is soft and padded enough to prevent you feeling any pressure from the laces.

361-Fierce-2-BlackThe heel cup has a plastic insert to give it some stability. This together with the broad base to the shoes gives a stable feel to the ride of the shoe. The heel tab curves away from the Achilles in the swallow tail design that has become common in a lot of running shoes. I found the fit of the heel to be snug and very comfortable. The upper wrapped over my foot well, before spreading out in the forefoot, which gave my feet the freedom to function. 361 call this fit the ‘Morphit’ fit and it is created by having tabs that are secured at the base of the upper. The laces thread through these and when the laces are tightened up the upper is pulled around the foot. The toe box has a straight big toe line, which in my experience allows for a better toe off and more foot function. It also makes the toe box feel more roomy because the toes are able to wiggle more than they can in a toe box that goes to a point.
The upper is made of recycled materials. The Ortholite insole is made of 20% recycled materials and the outsole is made of recycled rubber.

The stack height is 23.5mm in the heel and 14.5 mm in the forefoot giving a 9mm heel to forefoot drop. This is higher than I would normally wear and I was aware of the heel height while walking in the shoes. However, once running the lovely flexible forefoot allowed me to happily run midfoot without noticing the heel.


There is a trend in the running market currently towards very softly cushioned shoes. The Fierce 2 has a soft initial feel in my opinion but it isn’t a ‘running on pillows’ super-soft shoe. This gives the shoes a more nimble, lightweight feel. I used them for everything from easy morning runs to longer steadier runs and some intervals and hill reps. They coped adequately with all these types of running. However, I did feel that when using them for quicker running like intervals or hills they don’t have enough stiffness in the forefoot to aid forward propulsion. This was compared to at slightly slower paces in steady runs and tempo runs I found the Fierce 2 to be comfortable and smooth.

In summary the 361 Fierce 2 offers a more nimble and lightweight feel than the super-cushioned running shoes, that will appeal to those that feel too bogged down when the cushion is too high. I enjoyed the stable feeling, flexible forefoot and even felt like it had some good pro-foot function aspects to it.

Other Considerations

Altra Escalante: These are a shoe made with a similar concept. A lightweight ‘all rounder’. The toe box is broader and more rounded and the heel to forefoot drop is zero. Here is a link to our review: https://www.northernrunner.com/blog/altra-escalante-3-review/

Hoka Rincon 3: A lot softer cushioning. Not a durable or stable but, better at higher speeds. The Hoka Rincon 3 is available in 2 widths Men’s and two widths Women’s. Here is a link to our review: https://www.northernrunner.com/blog/hoka-rincon-3-review/

Brooks Launch 9: Similar shape and fit. Hell to forefoot 10mm so also very similar. The Launch is less flexible in the forefoot and a slightly firmer ride. The Launch also comes in a neutral and a mild stability version (Launch GTS). https://www.northernrunner.com/brooks-m59/launch-t181

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