The all-rounder Meraki 4 promises to be the best shoe yet from 361º – Kate finds out if it delivers
361º Meraki 4 | £124.95 | Tester: Kate Sellers
The Meraki 4 is a high-performance, plush comfort shoe that is universally loved by everyone from high-mileage distance runners to recreational runners who just enjoy the feeling of going faster for longer.
The Meraki from 361º is an iconic shoe that is universally loved, known for being a superstar all-rounder running trainer. The Meraki 4 is an exciting update on this best-selling shoe, designed to be light and responsive and offering improved ergonomic comfort. The technology includes a new light EVA foam, LTEVA, which works in unison with optimised, shock-absorbing QU!KFOAM and a high-energy return QU!KSPINE insert. This new version of the shoe also features an updated shoe platform to prove even more comfort and responsiveness for a smooth, cushioned ride throughout the heel-to-toe transition.
Before I first slid the Meraki 4s on, I’d read all about the shoe’s new features, and my brain was swimming with technical trainer knowledge. But my head cleared as my heel slotted in – whatever combination of super-foams are used in the shoe, in that moment I knew simply that they were darn comfy. Everything seemed to be designed with comfort in mind, from the insole to the tongue, and I felt as though I’d been wearing them for weeks – rarely the case with brand new shoes.
I’ve often found that the comfier the shoe, the less fast I’m inclined to run, but this was not at all the case in the Meraki 4s. I took them straight to the treadmill for my speed session, and was impressed at their responsiveness when I started to push the pace. They also handled longer pavement runs well, giving good energy return with no rubbing or blisters over the increased distances.
The only thing I didn’t like about the shoe was a matter of preference, rather than performance – I found the shoe to be too warm. Full disclosure: I was running on a rather balmy day, but I still felt that all that padding provided a tad too much insulation for my feet. That being said, I’m sure toasty toes would be more than welcome on a cooler day, or for those who need a bit of extra warmth for circulation reasons.
I’d also recommend going up a half or full size to allow plenty of room in the toe box, as mine felt a little snug.
Overall, I think the Meraki 4s are a great update on this all-rounder shoe. They’re ideal if you’re looking to invest in one pair of trainers that will do it all, and will be ready to run with you right from your first wear.