Nike Lunarglide 5 Review

2014-04-11 13.56.06I recently purchased a pair of Nike Lunarglide 5’s for a consulting project that I was working on. I didn’t really know much about the shoe, and it’s not one that I’d considered before because it has a bit more heel to forefoot drop than I typically like in a running shoe. But, when I tried them on at a nearby Nike outlet I was intrigued. Great looking shoe, very well made, super comfortable upper, and a nice cushy sole (the latter tends to work well for me). They did fit a bit snug through the midfoot, but I couldn’t help but take them out on a “real” run (i.e., not while filming on treadmill).

My first run in the Lunarglide 5’s didn’t go very well. About halfway through the 5 mile run my left arch started to hurt. It was a sharp, burning pain, and not something I have felt before. I thought maybe it was the snug (bordering on tight) midfoot fit that was causing the problem, and I decided I wasn’t going to run in them again. I wore them a bit casually, and then tried a thinner insole to create some additional space. The insole swap made them feel a lot better, so I decided to take them out for another run. No problems. Went for a few more. All good. I tried again with the original insole and all was fine – they may have broken in a bit, or the arch pain was just a flukey thing on that one run. Last week I took them out for a 12 mile long run and had no issues – I now have enough miles on them to be comfortable writing up a review.

Nike Lunarglide 5

Upper Construction and Fit

First off, the Nike Lunarglide 5 is a great looking shoe. It’s one of those rare shoes that I’ll wear simply because I like the way it looks. My pair are in gray and bright orange, and the combo works really well.

The upper consists of two layers of fabric separated by flywire bands that extend from the sole to the eyelets on each side (the orange strings that can be seen in the images here). The outer layer is a stretchy, open mesh, the inner layer is a more tightly woven fabric. The inner layer is stitched to the tongue on each side and has very few seams. It fits like a snug sock, and feels great against bare skin. At the back of the shoe there is a firm plastic cradle that wraps around the heel to provide support – I have not experienced any irritation from this. The ankle collar is well padded and lined by a soft material. Overall, I’m really impressed by the upper design and construction.

I’ve found the the fit of the Lunarglide 5 to be different than a lot of other Nike’s I’ve tried. I have plenty of room in the forefoot (and the stretchy upper in the forefoot is awesome), but the midfoot is quite snug. This has improved a bit as the shoes have broken in, but it’s something to be wary of if you have a high-volume foot. A swap to a thinner insole will help.

Sole Construction

The Lunarglide 5 is a soft shoe. I’m a mild heel striker, but when I force a harder heel strike the softness of the heel becomes very apparent. And at 10mm drop (per Running Warehouse – 28mm heel height, 18mm forefoot; 9.6 oz in size 9), there is more sole underfoot than I typically need for my stride. If you like a soft shoe with a lot of heel cushion, these would be a fine choice (I find them somewhat similar to the adidas Energy Boost). The sole feels quite similar to the Nike Lunaracer, though the latter is a bit lower profile. Pair the Lunaracer sole with the Lunarglide upper and forefoot fit and you’d have one awesome shoe!

The Lunarglide has rubber in all major wear spots, and my pair is not showing any unusual or accelerated breakdown after about 30 miles on roads (note – I do tend to catch rocks in the forefoot grooves, not a big deal though).

2014-04-11 13.56.50

Performance

I haven’t been wowed by this shoe, and on several occasions I’ve almost shelved it, but for some reason I keep coming back to it. I like the soft feel, I love the upper, I love the look. I don’t like the snug midfoot, but I can tolerate it.

The one big problem I have had with the Lunarglide 5 is abrasion and blistering along the inner ball of my right foot behind my big toe. I’m almost certain the reason for this is the soft midsole. I tend to pronate a bit more on my right side, and a soft midsole under the medial forefoot will cave as I reach max pronation. This can lead to excessive movement of foot relative to shoe in this area. I have similar issues in the Nike Pegasus, and in some models of Nike Free. Also had issues with the original Skechers GoRun. It seems to happen only in shoes with a soft medial forefoot that doesn’t provide a stable base. I don’t get it on my left side where I pronate less (I’ve had this asymmetry confirmed in a 3D gait lab), and I don’t tend to get it in firmer shoes. The blistering issue is significant enough for me that these will likely not get much use from me for running after writing this review, but I want to clearly emphasize that this is likely an issue resulting from a bad match between my own form and the shoe. If you don’t tend to get calluses/blisters on the balls of your feet, the Lunarglide 5′s may be fine.

You can see a rear view of my gait in the Lunarglides here:

Conclusion

The Nike Lunarglide 5 has a lot going for it, and I’ve enjoyed running in them (minus the blisters mentioned above), but it wasn’t an ideal match for my stride. I would recommend it as a solid lightweight trainer to people who like a snug midfoot fit, and who like a soft sole with a very cushy heel (maybe those with a prominent heel strike). The closest comparison I can come up with among shoes I have run in is the adidas Energy Boost, both in terms of fit and feel. If you like that shoe, the Lunarglide would be a decent alternative.

The Nike Lunarglide 5 is available for purchase at Running Warehouse, Foot Locker, and at Nike.com. Outside of the US they can be purchased at Sportsshoes.com, Wiggle, and Millet Sports.

The Nike Lunarglide 5 is also available at Zappos in the following colorways:

About Peter Larson

This post was authored by Peter Larson. Pete is a recovering academic who currently works as an exercise physiologist, running coach, and writer. He's also a father of three and a fanatical runner with a bit of a shoe obsession. In addition to writing and editing this site, he is co-author of the book Tread Lightly, and writes a personal blog called The Blogologist. Follow Pete on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and via email.



Comments

  1. You’ll never catch me wearing a pair of Nikes. Good looking form on the treadmill. Man, those are some smooth looking legs. Are all you young people still into shaving yourselves?

  2. Longtime reader here, great website. About the Lunarglide: It’s listed as having a “Dynamic Support” pillar on the instep for pronation control. Did you feel this at all on your runs? I’m interested in the LGs for a long run/recovery shoe, but any form of medial posting tends to make me over-exaggerate my supination, causing extra stress on my knees.

    • I didn’t notice anything supportive in the Lunarglide. If anything, it exaggerated my pronation due to the soft medial forefoot (evidenced by my blistering along the inner ball of my right foot).

  3. Just a note on that heel cushioning: it can bottom out on heavier runners. I’m 6-3 and 175 and a slight heel-striker, no pavement pounder, but the Lunarglide just doesn’t have much underfoot for above-average -size runners. Too bad because it’s a relatively light shoe in large sizes. I only use it for shorter runs. No arch troubles for me.

  4. I had the same blistering problem you described with the Lunarglide 4. Except for this problem I really like the shoe but will not use them on runs over 3 miles. For longer runs I will stick with my Pegasus’.

  5. Looks like some minor cross over gait in that treadmill video.

  6. Joe Bowen says:

    Interesting, I have found the same blistering issue when wearing some shoes. Trends to be those with softer soles. I also find it only affects my right foot too. I’m starting to feel it when wearing my sketcher go run ride 3′s. Shame as I love the shoe, so I need to find a way to protect my foot. Do you have any advice for taping my foot or blister creams to put on before my run? I really want to keep using the go runs

    • I’ve never really found anything that works well other than letting a callus develop and leaving it be. I’ve also gotten good at predicting shoes that will cause trouble – soft medial forefoot almost always seems to be the culprit. Had the same issue in Nike Pegasus, some Skechers.

  7. I’ve had a pair of these for over a year now and I love them, I will likely get the 6 that is supposed to come out in a month or so. Reading your article I do remember at the beginning having a similar pain in the arch but it did go away and haven’t felt it again. I really like the Lunarlon outsole, it’s soft and superlight.

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