Saturday, December 23, 2023

361° Flame-RS Multi Tester Review

Article by Steven Gedwill and Bryan Lim

361° Flame-RS ($160)


361, One degree Beyond.

Off the back of the success of the 361 Flame (marathon bronze medal winner at the Tokyo Olympics 2020), comes the updated 361 Flame-RS. This lightweight, race-ready running shoes is the newest model designed to chase down records and is fitted with a full-length carbon plate working in tandem with a new PU midsole technology.

Bryan: I have high expectations after reviewing the 361 Flame (Version 1) back in early 2021 which at the time was one of my highest rated shoes of the year. At $160, Version 1 was the best value for money super shoe (high stacked and full plated) and I rated it as competitive against other major brands’ flagship racers.The RS retains the same retail price at $160 in the US but is considerably more expensive in Australia at A$350 (A$20 more than the Vaporfly 3).

In the current Flame lineup, there is the Flame ST which has been designed with a training focus and is marketed as more versatile and softer, and the currently reviewed Flame RS as its racing partner. Let’s see how the RS runs!

Sally Reiley’s women’s colorway


Responsive: Steve/ Bryan

Feels lighter on foot:  Steve

Great Lockdown:  Bryan

Excellent traction: Bryan


It’s a loud shoe! Firm rubber on outsole makes footfalls very loud: Steve Bryan Sally

A bit firm: Steve Bryan

Lack of a trampoline effect (as with version 1): Bryan

Not very flexible: Steve


  Samples: men’s  234g / 8.25oz (US9), 9.05oz / g (US11.5) ,  

                  women’s 7.2 oz / 205 g US W7.5

Stack Height: men’s 32mm heel / 24mm forefoot ( 8mm drop spec) 

$160.00  Available now

First Impressions, Fit and Upper

Steve: There is no hiding this shoe, the bright blue and green combo catches the eye, but people may ask what is that thing? 361 is a brand that wasn’t on my radar until some of my fellow Road Trail Run reviewers spoke very highly of their performance. When I got asked to test the 361 Flame-RS I jumped at the opportunity, or more fitting I ran at it! 

The shoe not only looks great, it feels high quality in hand. You’ll notice the large stack of PEBA, but it’s actually quite stable. 

The upper is a nice dual layered mesh that is both comfortable and breathable. The shoe is quite comfortable on foot with nice volume up front The heel collar provides great support and solid lockdown. 

It has a traditional lace system paired with a non-gusseted tongue, but I didn’t experience any issues with it moving around. 

361 suggests to go a half size down, I will double down on that suggestion. I was sent an 11.5 and I usually go with size 12, and the 11.5 fits like my usual size 12 would. Overall I think it's a stylish shoe that fits well and feels high quality.   

There is also a slight increase in weight from version 1 (223g / 7.83 oz v 234g / 8.25 oz, US9). Judging by the design and construction, it appears that only the upper has been redesigned, and going from the mono mesh in version 1 to a double layered mesh in the RS, I suspect this is where the weight increase is coming from.

Bryan: Surprisingly since 361 sponsored the Rio Olympics and the very good Flame version 1, the brand has not gained much traction in the running world in terms of popularity. However, when the opportunity arose to review the RS, it was a must for me! 

The  RS feels of high quality and is evidently very stable with a wide and high stack of PU/PEBA foam. The upper material has been redesigned with a dual layered mesh with plenty of perforations for ample ventilation. 

I believe the dual layering provides the benefit of securing the foot into lockdown as it adds structure to the upper. Overall no major issues with the upper and I found that it was comfortable whilst offering good lockdown.

However, I’d like to point out that it is evident 361 has not addressed the heel cup bulge found in version 1, indicating they have retained the same heel cup design and construction over the last over two years. Whilst for me this did no impact performance, it could affect my confidence in purchasing the shoe from a shop.

Heel cup bulge in version 1 (top) and the RS (bottom)

In version 1 we had  a mono mesh upper similar to that in the Vaporfly Next% (version 1). This has since been redesigned with a dual layer mesh upper as seen in the pictures below. The structure and security offered by this is noticeable over the mono mesh.

Mono mesh upper with a reinforced toe box in version 1

Dual layered mesh with a reinforced toe box in the RS

Midsole & Platform

Steve: The nice chunk of PEBA midsole is accompanied by the Quikbone full length Carbon fiber plate. We see a 32mm rearfoot and 24mm fForefoot stack making it an 8mm drop. There is a nice cutout in the midsole that exposes the Quikbone plate which also serves as a super shoe common weight saving feature. 

The width of the midsole is pretty narrow in the midfoot section. The shoe feels quite stable and the 8mm drop height works well with the curve of the carbon plate. 

The moderately wide platform provides good stability 

Bryan: It appears that not much if not nothing has changed in the midsole and platform of the RS from version 1. 

Same stack height, drop, plate and from eye-balling, plate position (see image of underfoot cutout below). The midsole foam still feels relatively hard to the touch, especially when comparing to ZoomX, PWRRUN PB and FF Turbo midsoles.It certainly also runs firm when compared to other super shoes.

It has a moderately high (32/24mm) stack but not as maximal high as major brands who tether to the race legal limit of 40mm with various drops. By today’s standards, a shoe with a lower stack height at this weight (234g/8.25oz, US9) would be seen as disadvantageous. In saying this, the RS rides slightly higher than the advertised stack height.

Bar the weight, I think an increased stack height would pose the challenge of maintaining the RS’s top notch stability, but would significantly increase the palatability of the ride by potentially increasing its bounce and adding some softness but also add weight. Despite the stiff and firm ride, the QU!CKFLAME midsole is very lively and quick to rebound.

Not the name I would pick when designing a carbon plate… but it works!


Steve: The outsole features a full coverage rubber forefoot (Rubest Tech) and a couple patches that cover the rear with the PEBA exposed in the midfoot. The rubber grips quite well, but I have not tested it in wet conditions as of yet. The shoe is quite loud when impacting the ground, which I assume will be a common topic among my fellow reviewers. 

Bryan: As with the midsole, it appears the 361 have not made any changes to the outsole from version 1 which I rated very highly. As Steve has mentioned, the outsole coverage is strategically minimal. The compound has superb grip which is complemented by the stability and good lockdown that the shoe offers to runners. Durability does not seem to be an immediate issue.

Ride, Conclusions and Recommendations

Steve: I can’t tell you how excited I was to test this shoe, based on other reviews I figured this was a “shoe-in” for a great ride. I figured it would land somewhere between the past and current versions of the Saucony Endorphin Pro. I was hoping it would be a bit softer, but it definitely leans on the firmer side and has not much flex, much like the Endorphin Pro 2. 

On a positive note it makes the shoe quite responsive. I wouldn’t suggest taking this out for easy runs. I mean you can, but it doesn’t feel like the best use of the shoe. When doing tempo efforts or speedwork, the shoe comes to life! It weighs 3 grams more than my New Balance SC Elite V3, but in comparison feels lighter on foot. When picking up the pace, you can feel the shoe pushing you forward towards toe off and is quite snappy. It’s a fast shoe, I’d suggest using it for speed work or 5k/10k races. Any further, I’d prefer to have something a bit softer. 

Steve’s Score: 8/10 (Ride 7, Fit 8, Style 9)

Points deducted for the firm midsole.


Bryan: I will start with my given scores (actual and smiles). The drop in scoring as compared to version 1 is due to the fact that not much has been done to improve the Flame over the last two years. Whilst it was an amazing shoe in 2021, and it still is a great shoe today, and I really enjoyed running in the RS, I think the rest of the super shoe landscape and R&D has improved leaps and bounds since. 

On a positive note at the US retail price of $160, the RS makes for a fantastically valued full plated racing shoe as it still performs formidably. The RS being a race shoe means that it should only be used for speed work or race day as that is when its snappiness and rigidity comes to life and is best used. I would comfortably use this shoe up to a half marathon. My recommendations for 361 would be to improve the heel collar design to prevent bulging and to also soften the ride.

Score 7.99/10

Ride: 7.5 (50%) Fit: 8 (30%) Value: 6 (15%) Style: 8.5 (5%)


Please note my rating for Value is reflective of the Australian retail price, which is approximately 50% higher than that in the US



361 Flame RS vs 361 Flame (RTR Review)

Bryan: My part of the review is an extensive comparison of the two shoes. The RS sees an upper redesign over its predecessor. The fit and lockdown is better, the ride remains the same.

361 Flame RS vs Asics Magic Speed 3 (RTR Review)

Bryan: While the Magic Speed 3 is designed for speed work and less so for racing, I think this is a fair comparison as it has a more similar stack (36/29mm vs 32/24mm) as compared to other flagship racing shoes. The RS certainly feels closer to the Magic Speed in stack height. The main difference is that the RS is firmer, but not compared to  Metaspeed (FF Turbo) versus the FFBlast+ in the Magic Speed 3 where the FF Turbo is firmer yet bouncier. The foam in the RS is simply firmer and the ride snappier and harsher. In the US, the retail price of the two shoes are both at $160. The Magic Speed 3 is lighter, more forgiving and also has a full length carbon plate, and I would pick it over the RS as it is almost as fast, but offers more versatility.

361 Flame RS vs Asics Metaspeed Edge+ (RTR Review)

Bryan: The Edge+ also comes with an 8mm drop but has a considerably higher 39mm heel stack. The FF Turbo foam in it is more dynamic and bouncier, and it also weighs in lighter at 210g. The Edge+ is personally my favorite current racing shoe for most distances and in my opinion, is the superior shoe by quite a bit. However, the US retail price definitely increases the RS’ value proposition as a well-priced super shoe alternative. In saying that, I still very much enjoy running in the RS, but I would prefer other options for race day.


Index to all RTR reviews: HERE 

The Flame-RS is available at 361 and is currently on sale for $130

Tester Profiles

Bryan is a road and trail runner living in Melbourne, Australia. He is a consistent sub 1:25 half marathoner and finally having achieved his goal of a sub-3 marathon, he is now training for Comrades Ultramarathon in 2024. He is 176cm / 5'9" tall and weighs about 68kg / 150lbs.

Steve: A former high school track runner, turned physique competitor who then jumped back into the running scene. I’m 37 years old, 6’0 tall, 175 lbs and currently running 30-40 miles per week. My most recent Half Marathon time is 1:45:59. I am from Tampa, Florida originally, but have called Chicago, IL home for the last 5 years. I’m a huge running shoe geek and work in the craft beer industry!

Samples were provided at no charge for review purposes. RoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased via shopping links in this article. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.

Comments and Questions Welcome Below! Please let us know mileage, paces, race distances, and current preferred shoes

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