I was excited to try the 361 Meraki 4. Over the past couple of years, 361 has become one of my more favorite brands. They are lightweight and cushioned. The 361 Meraki 4 is 361’s daily trainer and is the “unglamorous but important shoe.”
Weight: 10 oz
Heel to Toe Drop: 8 mm
361 Meraki 4 Introduction:
As mentioned, the Meraki 4 is the staple natural trainer from 361. It’s designed with durability and to take most of your training. It competes against shoes like the New Balance 880v11, Brooks Ghost 14, and Saucony Ride 14. Compared to many of these other models, it’s slightly heavier, but I think you’ll find more durability as well and slightly more cushion as your trade-off.
361 Meraki 4 Fit:
Like many running shoes, the Meraki 4 uses an engineered mesh upper. It’s simple and fits well. The mesh is pliable and there are slots for ventilation. Since it’s seamless with no overlays, you don’t need to worry about it rubbing against bunions.
The tongue is thin but not thin enough or sharp enough to cut the ankles. This is an issue I’ve had with extremely thin sharp tongues. The back and heel collar are padded. The 3D high-frequency molded heel counter sounds fancy, but it keeps the foot locked down without extra weight.
The 361 Meraki 4 includes a “Morphfit Cage.” This band around the midfoot keeps the upper locked down and provides extra stability. It’s built well and doesn’t cause the midfoot to feel “too narrow.” It also doesn’t really affect the breathability of the shoe. I was worried it might feel “too hot,” but it feels fine.
I’m a strong believer that the best running shoe uppers disappear off your foot. You don’t want them to annoy or irritate you. The Meraki 4 doesn’t irritate my foot in any way.
In running shoes, I wear between a women’s size 10-11 wide, and I found the 10.5 in the 361 Meraki 4 to fit well. It was wide enough, and there was no additional rubbing or irritation.
361 Meraki 4 Ride:
The Meraki 4 is designed for easy and daily runs. It’s not made for your workout days, and its ride reflects that.
The midsole consists of 3 parts:
- 361’s Qu!kfoam: soft and absorbs shock
- LTEVA foam: provides cushion to the underfoot
- Quik Spine(midfoot shank): Provides extra support and midfoot propulsion. It also aids in the shoe being more responsive and not “too mushy.”
These three parts worked together to make the 361 Meraki 4 soft, with plenty of cushion but more responsive. It makes easy, and daily runs feel easy. I found it rolls easily from heel to toe and doesn’t feel “too choppy or clunky.” The Quik Spine is a lot more rigid than I expected and allows it to be more responsive.
Durability and Traction: I’ve used the 361 Meraki 4 on several sandy trails as well as inclement weather. So far, it’s performed well. I don’t need to worry about sliding around. Since the shoe is already on the heavier side, it’s not my favorite shoe to run in inclement weather because rain weighs the shoe down even more. As far as durability, I’ve now run just over 100 miles in the 361 Meraki 4, and it has no signs of slowing down.
As suggested, I’ve used the 361 Meraki 4 for daily and easy runs, and it’s been great. It performs well, and my body feels less beat up when I run in them. It’s not my favorite shoe to pick up the pace because it feels a little bit heavy and lacks a pop that I prefer for faster runs. But not every shoe needs that, and it’s great for daily runs.
One last thing to note is it took me about two runs to “warmup” to the shoe. I usually don’t say a shoe needs to break in, but I found the 361 Meraki 4 much softer after two runs, and it quickly became one of my favorite shoes.
361 Meraki 4 Conclusion:
In all, the Meraki 4 is great for what it’s recommended for: a daily and easy run shoe. Most of running is easy running, and these shoes often don’t get the respect or publicity they deserve. It’s one of my favorite shoes for the day after a workout.
My Current Shoe Rotation:
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Looking to learn more about running shoes? In my ebook, I talk about why you need a good running shoe, a shoe’s anatomy, neutral vs. stable, and even myths of running shoes.
Questions for you:
Have you tried the 361 Meraki 4?
What is your favorite easy run shoe?