Sunday, January 17, 2021

361° Yushan Multi Tester Review

Article by John Tribbia and Sam Winebaum

361° Yushan 2 ($135)


Stats

Approximate Weight: 12.34 oz  / 350g (US9) 

  Samples: men’s 12.34 oz  / 350g (US9)

Midsole Stack: 18mm forefoot/26mm heel

Approx. Total Stack Height:  28mm forefoot / 36mm heel

Available Feb 2021. $135  


Pros:

Sam:  Extremely stable heel area, flexible forefoot with some bounce. 

Superb upper hold front to back

Very well cushioned forgiving ride on road and trail, trail outsole & geometry silent on road

Fair price for versatility. ride and rugged modern build and cool look

John:   Stable, well cushioned, conforming and secure fit


Cons:

Sam:     Weight! 

 Dense knit and closed mesh upper likely not that breathable in summer, warm in winter

Overbuilt: massive toe bumper, dense upper, full coverage outsole all add weight .

John:   Heavy, dense upper that has friction creating overlays


Tester Profiles

John Tribbia (5' 6", 130lbs) is a former sponsored mountain/trail runner who has run with La Sportiva, Brooks/Fleet Feet, Pearl Izumi, and Salomon. Even though he competes less frequently these days, you can still find John enjoying the daily grind of running on any surface, though his favorite terrain is 30-40% grade climbs. He has won races such as America's Uphill, Imogene Pass Run, and the US Skyrunner Vertical Kilometer Series; and he's held several FKTs on several iconic mountains in Boulder, Colorado and Salt Lake City, Utah. If you follow him on Strava, you'll notice he runs at varying paces between 5 minutes/mile to 12 minutes/mile before the break of dawn almost everyday.


Sam is the Editor and Founder of Road Trail Run. He is 63 with a 2018 3:40 Boston qualifier. Sam has been running for over 45 years and has a 2:28 marathon PR. These days he runs halves in the just sub 1:40 range training 30-40 miles per week mostly at moderate paces on the roads and trails of New Hampshire and Utah. He is 5’9” tall and weighs about 164 lbs.


First Impressions and Fit

Sam: Massive and with a very stylish array of colors from an nicely dull orange outsole, to a  turquoise and red midsole, ending with a deep rich red and black upper with hints of yellow. I would call it Southwestern US colors. And the visual impact seems to please as this pretty much unknown brand and shoe’s initial Instagram post on our page is one of the top most “liked” trail shoes ever RTR  at 1200 and counting in barely a week. 

I was sent a size 9, a half size up from my normal true to size. The rear and midfoot hold is beyond secure and stable, among the best in a trail shoe in recent memory for me. The combination of a somewhat further forward ending at a downwards angle from the rear heel counter than usual and the dense knit, bootie, and ridged close mesh through the tongue and toe box truly is a most safe and secure cocoon. 


Upfront the massive firmer toe bumper was not in the way but occasionally felt on steep downhills. I think most would be advised to size up half a size for a bit more space away from it. You will lose nothing as far as the rest of the fit.


Walking around I immediately noticed bounce and nice flexibility from the front Zip Foam all well controlled by the full outsole 


John: I wore the Yushans around the house as soon as they arrived. Out of the box, I noticed a fairly wide toe-box, formed midfoot, with a comfortably cradled heel cup. The soft and enveloping tongue is comfortable and prevents lace bites or top of foot discomfort. The heel cup is soft with a secure fit. I personally had some issues with the upper. 

Although the one-piece mesh was comfortable and well fitting, the toe shield and overlays across the forefoot feel rigid. Every time I bend my forefoot in the toe-off motion, I can feel the overlays bend and it feels like cardboard bending. 


Upper


Sam: The upper is called out as “knit” something that immediately rings alarm bells as knits tend to stretch more than mesh and are a no go for me in trails shoes for sure. Here the knit has little to no stretch and is densely knit.  

The tongue through the toe box is a soft quite stretchy 3D closed mesh that pads the tongue very well and up front allows toes to move and splay but with lots of side and front control from the big toe bumper. 


While not waterproof, the upper construction clearly will repel light moisture and I would be very surprised if any trail grit can penetrate. I found it comfortably warm in near freezing conditions and expect it will be warmer yet in summer.


The tongue is a gusset construction again of a thicker mesh or knit that has some but not to much stretch.

The 3D high frequency molded heel counter is very rigid with interestingly a progression from very rigid at the far rear to somewhat less rigid further forward. You can see in the photo above how much more pronounced the ridges are at the rear than as the heel counter goes forward ending near the top of the black diagonal line and extending unusually far forward The result is an impeccably secure well padded lace up and rear hold if a bit of an overwhelming one to be quite frank and likely adding to the weight here.



The entire midfoot stance construction and hold is called out by 361 as “Morphfit cage construction” and it for sure delivers “superior support and comfort” exactly as advertised. 

The toe bumper is massive, thick and firm at the tip of the shoe and with some plabilty further back. It is stitched which likely is not helpful to pending with the foot as John found out but secures it. So thick likely it could not be welded or bonded.. The bumper clearly helps secure that soft somewhat stretchy mesh down the center and of course protect from any obstacles. I do think it is a bit over the top as while visually it projects protection I wish it was slimmed down so it was a touch less noticed when the foot is bending. At my half size up the bumper was not a meaningful issue but it does take away from the overall seamless smooth fit of the rest of the upper when the shoe is sharply bent.

John: The knit upper is great. It provides an excellent combination of fit, comfort, flexibility, breathability, and some protection from dirt, debris, and water. The overlays give good support and (as Sam mentions) the toe bumper is really big and noticeable. I found the toe bumper effective at protecting from rocks, but as I mentioned above I discovered that the integrated overlay over the forefoot yielded some discomfort, feeling like bending cardboard on my forefoot flex. I’m a true size 9.0 and that’s what I ran in, so maybe if I sized up like Sam then I could avoid that. The well padded tongue is an excellent feature that adds to security and comfort. The lacing is a little bit of an afterthought and could use some precision for better security. I like the thicker laces to ensure tight and secure tie-up. The heel counter is well structured and padded, providing great heel hold and stability.


Midsole

Sam: The Yushan has a dual density midsole. The forefoot and running to the rear through the center of the shoe is a core of QuikFoam a rubberized EVA foam with a PU coating. The PU coating helps effectively “stabilize” the relatively soft and quite bouncy QuikFoam. 

Starting at midfoot behind the thin red line below "QuikFoam" is in a carrier of turquoise blue QuikSpring+ “a molecular modified base EVA material”. 361 tells us it a an EVA with Polyolefin elastomers for softness and flexibility and Olefin Block Copolymers for resiliency and light weight. This relatively soft foam is forgiving with excellent vibration shock reduction and touch of bounce even with the stout outsole in the mix.

The midsole stack is 18mm forefoot / 26mm heel so when adding the approx 5mm outsole thickness and 5mm sockliner we arrive at a stout 28mm  forefoot / 36mm heel stack so about the same stack height up front as a Speedgoat with 4mm more at the heel. This is a lot of forgiving yet incredibly stable rear cushion and up front and unlike Speedgoat much more flexibility.


The overall midsole feel is lively with some bounce. Unlike many big stack trail shoes, there is plenty of front flex which makes them unusually quiet on road for a trail shoe and makes them climb well. They are relatively agile for such a massive shoe at the front but a bit overly far rear stable.


John: The 361° Yushan feels supportive and well cushioned. The mix of QuikFoam midsole top-layer embedded in the Quick Spring + carrier provides shock absorption with the QuikFoam forefoot providing a balanced toe-off contact point. The 8mm offset in drop means there is a ton of heel cushion, which is a bit more than I typically prefer, but it is nice to have a solid anchor of stability in the heel.  As Sam mentions, there is a lot of foot flex and I found this yielded a relatively energetic ride, response, and push off. Despite no rock plate (a change since the last version, I discovered), the midsole offers some protection with the layers of cushion.



Outsole


Sam: The outsole is a single sheet of rubber of moderate firmness with approximately 5mm multi directional lugs in an intricate pattern which includes front flex grooves with behind a more continuous pattern for I assume stability.  I like that the outer lugs are broader with more contact for wear and also smooth running on firmer surfaces while the central pattern is more aggressive for grip 

As said above given the relatively soft geometry and flex patterns it is extremely quiet on road for a trail shoe, a good sign. There is no rock plate  and as far as i concerned none needed given the front rubber coverage.

My test was on firmer surface trails, road, and some mud. Mud grip was excellent with minimal accumulation. Durability remains to seen.


John: I tested the Yushans on road, groomed trail, technical rocky trails, grassy off-trail, and through mud and snow. There are horizontal lugs on the outside perimeter of the outsole and smaller triangle shaped lugs on the interior of the outsole. The design performed really well on the mud and snow tests, but the hardness of the outsole material was more slippery on technical features, both wet and dry. I found the outsole to be aggressive enough for the muddy days, but reasonably conducive to hard surfaces like road and hard groomed trail. So, the Yushan can be an appropriate shoe to take to the road + trail for those longer, slower rambling adventures. 


Ride

Sam: The ride is gentle with nice bounce, massively cushioned, and very stable particularly at the heel. This is a shoe for those days you just want to move along mostly easy does it in total security and comfort no matter the terrain from highly technical all the way to road where they have a smooth leisurely no need to hurry ride. There is no question this is a heavier trail shoe at 12.34 oz and the weight is noticed. I found that the weight kept my paces reasonable. No need to hurry, just go distance and enjoy the views.  An 8.5 mile run with just about every surface in the mix from moderately rooty rocky trails to road went by smooth as can be. Much as the Saucony Xodus 10 was last year, the Yushan can serve as an all surfaces recovery run shoe and thus versatile for m nay uses. I think it would also be an outstanding long distance trekking shoe. 


I have yet to take them in the White Mountains, some of the most technical trails anywhere but fullly expect due to their protection, stability, security and decent agility they will be an outstanding hiker for those trails.


John: If you are a heel striker or midfoot striker, this shoe is a really good option for you. The cushioned heel and midsole combined with a relatively wide platform yield a stable a smooth transitioning ride. Like Sam, the heavier weight means you won’t be crushing FKTs or Strava segments in this, but instead means you’ll be rambling along wearing the Yushan. Though not the most nimble of shoes, I loved the Yushan for those run/hike days where speed isn’t the objective. I found the midsole, 6mm drop, and absence of a rock plate gives the Yushan a nice energy return for those types of outings, meaning I could imagine myself out all day in these. 

  


Conclusions and Recommendations

Sam: The 361 Yushan 2 surprised me. Seeing the weight I was dreading the ride but low and behold this gentle lively giant is a near perfect shoe fo those easy any terrain runs of any length up to very long where pace is not as important as confidently (due to their impeccable cushion, flex, security and stability) enjoying the views.


The flex for such a big shoe is remarkable leading to a smooth toe off and some decent agility. The cushioning is forgiving and plentiful with a lively bouncy yet well enough protected forefoot.  The rear stability and support is best in class. The upper is comfortable and secure front to back, warm in winter and I expect warmer yet in summer.


All of this is great but the weight..12.34 oz, which puts it 0.65 oz more than for example the Xodus 10. and 1.5 oz more than a Speedgoat 4 both shoes in the same class of cushion and use and it is also a few fractions of an ounce more than the New Balance Hierro ( I have not tested).


I do think you get a yet more supportive secure and comfortable upper and heel stability than than Xodus or Speedgoat a liviler more flexible ride than the Speedgoat and almost as bouncy a ride as the fun Xodus 10 with at least as much cushion if not more than either. 


Yup it is a bit overbuilt especially the upper and the full coverage outsole both for sure adding to weight. Would slimming all of this down a solid ounce be possible and still retain the special characteristics?  I don’t know but the challenge is out there 361! My only significant deductions will be for weight.


I recommend the Yushan 2 for any terrain, any distance easy runs, highly technical slower paced runs, and hiking. It is a solid value for such a substantial versatile shoe.

Sam’s Score 8.9 /10

(-1.0  for weight, -0.1 for overbuilt toe bumper affecting front comfort. Happy I am half size up)



John: The Yushan is a great all-around trail shoe for a day spent out on the trails. Although a bit on the heavier side and overbuilt in the forefoot and toe bumper, the shoe is secure fitting with a great balance of cushion, flex and response, traction in sloppy places, and protection. More than anything, it is really comfortable on the feet, even at the end of a long run or hike. I really appreciate the versatility that the Yushan brings to my shoe collection.

John’s Score: 8.9 /10

Ride: 9 (fairly responsive ride for the weight)

Fit: 9 

Value: 8.5 (If this were lighter and less toe bumper, I would give it a 10)

Style: 9 (I love the color choices) 

Traction: 8.5 (high performing, but some insecurity on rocky surfaces)

Rock Protection: 8


8 Comparisons

Index to all RTR reviews: HERE


Saucony Xodus 10  vs. Yushan 2(RTR Review)

Sam: These two are very similar shoes. Both have a bouncy forgiving ride, flexibility, and very secure uppers. Both can do easy pace duty on any terrain. The Yushan’s upper and its hold is yet more secure but its 0.65 oz additional weight *and the Xodus isn’t light at 11.7 oz)  is felt and tips the scale towards the Xodus 10


Salomon Sense Ride 3 vs. Yushan 2  (RTR Review)

Sam: Highly cushioned, 1.7 oz lighter the Sense Ride 3 is a more versatile trail shoe for sure but it has a comparatively duller and stiffer ride and is not great on road which the Yushan is with its flexibility and slight bounce can handle. Ride 3’s upper is at least as secure if not more so but not as comfortable. If you are seeking a pleasant easy trail and even road days ride Yushan, if you are looking for a lighter weight highly cushioned and protective trail runner with a somewhat more boring ride Sense Ride. 


La Sportiva Wildcat  vs. Yushan 2

John: At roughly the same weight  I would consider both as shoes to casually ramble trails in. That said, I would prefer the Yushan for muddier or snowier terrain as well as to crossover to the roads, because of the cushion and flex. The Wildcat outsole performs better in technical and rocky surfaces.


La Sportiva Karacal vs. Yushan 2 (RTR Review)

John: The Karacal is lighter and stiffer with more ground feel and is designed for moderately long days in the high alpine or while scaling technical terrain. The outsole is best in class and grips to almost every surface. By contrast, the Yushan is comfortably cushioned and best performs on less technical routes, but is also suitable for moderately long excursions.


Brooks Cascadia  vs. Yushan 2 (RTR Review)

John: The Cascadia is and definitely feels lighter, but is  less responsive and has less cushioning compared than Yushan. In terms of agility and ride, I think the Yushan does better for longer slower distances, while the Cascadia has a more nimble feel to it in technical situations. Security, fit, traction, and durability seem similar in both.


Hoka Speedgoat 4  vs. Yushan 2 (RTR Review)

Sam: The Speedgoat is 1.5 oz lighter with an equivalent front stack of cushion but about 4mm less stack at the heel (4mm drop vs 8mm drop). It is firmer and stiffer while still copiously cushioned. Its MegaGrip outsole is superior on technical terrain and rock while it is hard and unfriendly in comparison to Yushan’s on smoother terrain and for sure pavement. Speedgoat relies on a rocker for propulsion while Yushan relies on flexibility. While the weight is clearly a factor, the Yushan is more foot and slow pace friendly on just about any less technical terrain while able to handle more technical terrain while Speedgoat excels for long rougher jaunts.


Merrell Agility Peak Flex  vs. Yushan 2 (RTR Review)

Sam: At  11 oz, 1.3 oz less the Agility Peak Flex has a very similar super secure heel hold and rear stability. The Agility has a far forward flex and somewhat more front stability as well. It shines on very technical terrain but is not nearly as pleasant or smooth on smoother terrain and certainly road as the Yushan is. Nod to the Yushan in this match up 


Hoka Kaha Low GTX vs. Yushan 2 (RTR Review)

Sam: The Kaha is a pure hiker. It has a full thick leather with Gore-Tex upper massive amounts of stable cushion  and a stiff rocker profile.It checks in over 16 oz so 4 oz more than Yushan They are similar in their incredible rear stability. If you need a massively protective and secure low top hiker Kaha, if you want a stable protective shoe that can both hike and run Yushan. 


The Yushan 2 release February 2021

Products reviewed were provided at no charge for testing. The opinions herein are the authors'

RTR Team's Best of 2020 Articles
Road Running Shoes HERE
Trail Running Shoes HERE
RTR Contributors Best of Run 2020, Year in Review Articles

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2 comments:

70's Teen said...

How would you compare the ride to similarly large, high stack shoes - the Olympus 4 and NB More Trail?

Hshawjr207 said...

Great review, I am starting to really, really like the 361* shoe lines, but the weight of the Yushan scared me away from looking closely at them. it is good to know that there are a lot of positives with this shoe and if 361 can get them down under the 11 ounce in the next version they would be something that I would really like to see. I do like the appearance the colorway is a good one. As it is I will probably pickup a pair for hiking/walking, but the weight is not something I would look forward to running a lot in. Could I? Sure, but I have other options that aren’t 3/4 pounders.