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Nike Lunartempo Running Shoe Review

Nike Lunartempo SquareMy mileage has been relatively low for the past few months as teaching (loving it!) and family responsibilities have taken up a lot of my time, but most of the miles I have run recently have been in the Nike Lunartempo (formerly called the Lunar Trainer – my pair still has this name printed on the tongue). The Lunartempo is a shoe that I heard raves about from fellow runners in the Running Shoe Geeks group on Facebook, and based on this feedback I couldn’t resist giving them a try. They’re a shoe that has grown on me with continued use, and I’ve been impressed by their versatility – it’s a shoe that should suit a wide variety of runners, and they should appeal to fans of shoes like the Saucony Kinvara, Skechers GoRun, and New Balance Zante/Boracay.

Specs

Per Running Warehouse, the Nike Lunartempo weigh in at 6.8 oz, and stack heights are 26 mm heel, 18mm forefoot (8 mm drop). MSRP is $110. The fit runs a bit small – I went up a half size in my pair, and would recommend doing so if you plan to try them out.

Nike Lunartempo

Upper And Fit

The upper of the Lunartempo is really, really nice. There’s really not that much to say about it – it’s minimally structured – no overlays, no real support elements beyond Flywire strings that attach from the sole to the lace eyelets. I don’t even think there is a heel counter – if present, it’s extremely flexible so as to barely be noticeable. The only area that seems to be reinforced is the front portion of the forefoot over the toes. The upper itself is a breathable, double-layered mesh, and it is largely seamless. I have not run sockless in them, but suspect they would be fine for that purpose. If you like a structured upper, look elsewhere, but for me the upper of the Lunartempo is near perfect.

Nike Lunartempo

As mentioned above, the Lunartempo does seem to run about a half-size small. The fit is otherwise nearly perfect on me – the forefoot is average width, and the heel and midfoot are comfortably snug. Though the upper does have a knit-like appearance, it does not have a lot of give to it, and the forefoot is fairly shallow. Not a lot of wiggle space for the toes if you don’t size up.

Sole

My previous experience with Nike Lunar shoes is limited to the Lunar Racer. Like that shoe, the Lunarlon midsole of the Lunartempo is fairly soft, particularly under the heel. If you like a soft ride (like Saucony Kinvara soft, not Hoka Clifton soft), these are definitely worth a look. At first I felt like the ride was kind of dead, but with each subsequent run they kind of grew on me. There’s actually a bit of snappiness in the Lunartempo despite the softish sole, and at around 7 oz I could see using these for races from the half to full marathon (not a lot of shoes in that weight-class that I’d use for double-digit racing). If you’re looking for a racing shoe that retains quite a bit of cushion, these should be near the top of your list.

Nike Lunartempo

The outsole of the Lunartempo consists of rubber pods under the forefoot and heel (blue in the photo above). The midfoot is exposed EVA foam. I’m not sure exactly how many miles I’ve put on the shoes (haven’t been using my GPS lately), but it’s a fair amount and the outsole is holding up well. There is a bit of wear under the outer heel of my left shoe, but that is a typical wear pattern for my stride. The Lunartempo is probably not a shoe that will last much beyond 200-300 miles unless you have a low-abrasion stride, but I’m pretty happy with how they have held up so far.

Nike Lunartempo

Conclusion

The Nike Lunartempo should appeal to runners who like lightweight shoes with minimally structured uppers. It could be an all-purpose shoe for those in that category. It is also worth a look for those who like more structure, but want a lighter shoe for speed workouts or race day. They retain a surprising amount of cushion for a sub-7 oz shoe, and would be suitable for long runs and longer races. They’re also a reasonably affordable shoe in a market where shoe prices seem to be skyrocketing more and more every year ($110 MSRP, thought they can be found online for under $75).

The Nike Lunartempo can be purchased at Running Warehouse.

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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. Good stuff.
    I tried it recently in a running store but the drop was too much for my liking, and the toebox way too tight. Also, with the Nike Free Distance around now, the Lunar line’s racers kinda lost its point in my opinion. Tried the Free Distance as well, and its 4mm drop paired with a lunarlon midsole, while retaining the flexible Free’s hexagonal pods is definitely a win. Shame though that it took over the Lunar’s toebox, and not the Free’s – way too cramped.

    • The cramped toe box is the only thing that holds me from trying those Lunars (Tempo, Racer, Flyknit). Only Nike I tried (and enjoyed) is the Free 4.0 which has a not so cramped toe box. I saw the pictures of the Free Distance and it indeed looks like a still narrow shoe in the forefoot.

      • Hoping to get a pair of the Free RN Distance – have heard they actually fit fairly wide. The Tempo fits wider than the Racer, but is low volume top to bottom in the forefoot. I agree on the 4.0 – my daily work shoe :)

        • I tried the RN Distance on again today. They’re nowhere near as wide as the Free Flyknits. Or at least don’t feel as such. I think this is due to the fact that the upper feels completely different. More like the Pegs than Frees. A bit stiffer with a lower volume.
          The midsole however feels like it can carry you to an ultra-marathon and further.

          That said, I will definitely get a pair just to know what it feels like to run long distances. However, not at the current MSRP. My rule is not to get running shoes that are more than 100€.

  2. I picked up these as a sorta replacement to my old Patagonia Everlongs (RIP). Love these shoes for pretty groomed trail. It’s a nice, secure fit, super light and decent outsole rubber for grip.
    Give em a shot on the trails, Peter.

  3. The design is cool but I don’t have budget to buy lunartempo

  4. Arne-Johan Martinsen says:

    From one Scandinavian to another- would you please include weight in grams and not only in ounces?? :)

  5. Arne-Johan Martinsen says:

    Cool :) Thanks for a really cool and thorough site btw. PS: are you from Swedish or Norwegian descent? Myself I`m Norwegian 😉

  6. Hi Pete.

    Over the past few weeks i have been looking more and more on this shoe. Since i’m on the hunt for a new light trainer.
    I can see you compair this shoe a bit with Kinvara and GoRun.
    I know i can be hard to tell how how soft is Lunatempo?
    I have tryed Kinvara and do not work for me at all i get a numb feeling in my feet almost at the get go.
    GoRun3 How ever i have now run quite a lot in them and find the pretty fine when i run without the insole in. The perfect trainer for me would be a light fairly low and not to soft shoe. Like the GoRun3 wihtout insole and then a bit less soft then that :)

    How would you rate the Lunatempo compaired to this?

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