I’ve written a number of shoe reviews on this blog in the past few months, but have barely scratched the surface in comparison to the number of shoes that I’ve actually run in. The next installment in my series of review is the Nike Lunaracer.
I bought a pair of Nike Lunaracers last summer (the 1st generation Lunaracer is the basis for this review) to use primarily as a racing shoe. They’re incredibly lightweight, with my size 10.5′s weighing in at an amazingly miniscule 6.9 oz, which means less weight to move with each swing of the foot, and thus a quicker turnover. Over the course of a longer race (e.g., a marathon), a lighter shoe also translates into less energy expended, and thus more gas in the tank in the final miles. The Lunaracers are probably the lightest shoe that I have worn, and they most definitely make me feel fast. Below are my collected thoughts about these shoes after putting in about 100 miles in them:
Appeaance: I’ve talked before about my love for flashy shoes, and these certainly fit the bill (see picture above). The shockingly yellow, puffed-up sole is very bright, and I’ve been asked on occasion if they glow in the dark – like many of the running shoes that I wear, these are definite head-turners. I have the original Lunaracer (the Lunaracer 2+ has now been released), and I really like the look – their appearance alone makes you feel fast.
Fit: When I first ordered my Lunaracers, I ordered the same size (10) as I wear in my other running shoes. They felt incredibly tight, and it was with a good deal of disappointment that I decided to return them for a half-size larger (10.5) – I desperately wanted to take them for a spin. The second pair arrived, and the fit was much better, though still fairly snug. In fact, my only real criticism of these shoes is that they don’t seem to fit my foot perfectly. They’re not uncomfortable really, they just feel a bit too snug, and I think it’s because they’re slightly narrow for my foot (which seems to be in line with my past history with Nike shoes in general). My feet are by no means extra-wide, and I chalk this snugness more up to a difference between my foot and the specific fit of the shoe. I don’t blame the shoe for this, and I know plenty of people who love the feel of the Lunaracers. I’ll add that I did wear these during the Hartford Marathon last October, and I had some serious blistering issues – hard to say for sure that it was the shoes since I had run a previous 20-miler in them with no major problems.
Performance: Performance is where the Lunaracers truly shine. They’re so light that they make you feel like you’re flying when you run in them. At the same time, the sole is well-cushioned, and more than capable of taking you on a long run without suffering. I would go so far as to say that the LunarLite cushioning feels downright cushy, but in a good way. The upper is very minimalist and largely lacking any support – the flywire fibers are about the only thing giving the upper anything beyond a fabric-like feel. If these shoes were just a tad wider, I’d go so far as to say that they’d be among the most comfortable shoes that I have worn. Given my experience with them in the Hartford Marathon, I’d say they’re more than capable of handling the distance, they just weren’t ideal for me given the reasons mentioned above. That being said, for a shorter race (5K, 10K), I wouldn’t hesitate to use these with regularity even given their relative narrowness.
Summary: The Lunaracers are light, cushy, and flashy shoes. They tend to run small and on the narrow side, so ordering a half-size up was necessary for me, and even with this they are still a bit snug. If you have a narrowish foot, the Lunaracers will likely work well for any race distance, but if. like me, your foot is moderate too wide, then they might be more suited for shorter races on the range of 5K’s to the half-marathon. Regardless of the fit, the one thing is one thing that the Lunaracers most definitely are is fast, and this I can guarantee.
Update: As I mentioned above, the Nike Lunaracer 2+ has been released, but the original Lunaracer can still be found on-line from a variety of sites, and in most cases it can be had at a relatively cheap price relative to its original MSRP.
Below are a few videos that highlight the Lunaracer and new Lunaracer 2+: