Nike’s Lunarglide series make some astonishing claims about dynamically reacting to the conditions of different runners’ feet and terrain, adapting and perfecting their own response for a peak experience. Can it all be hype, or is there some reasoning behind these claims? We’re taking a pair of the latest Nike Lunarglide 3 trainers out of the box and on to the trail to find out.
Out of the box
Two things are striking when you first handle a pair. First, the soles are thick, spongy and chunky for running shoes. Second, the uppers are incredibly light and breathable. Mesh runs all the way round the foot, with a inner layer separate from the outer. Take out the insoles and you can see the housing for the Nike+ pod (optional), and also a row of thick stitching holding the uppers to the sole. When you remove the laces and look inside the shoe, the lightweight construction is even more clear, with seams on the uppers that are ‘ultrasonically welded’ – basically melted together instead of stitched to provide a smoother join. The mid-part of the foot is hugged by two thicker plastic straps that join to the laces. Put together, the design seems to suggest that the shoe will respond closely to movements in different parts of the foot, be breathable and protect well from ground impact.
On the road
We took the Lunarglides out for a warm up and run on varying terrain – tarmac, gravel, grass and dirt. On each surface, the cushioning felt very comfortable, almost like having air pockets under the foot. This was welcome on the harder surfaces, but tended to give a bit too much bounce on soft trails. A significant sensation was around the front of the foot and toes, where the striking surface felt more responsive – not quite a ‘barefoot’ feeling, but definitely allowing your feet to gain more control and encouraging a gait that lands more towards the front rather than slamming on the heel, which we are prone to do.
The fit was excellent – no tightness or rubbing over a few miles, and no movement of the laces as we ran. The top lace holes are designed to grip the laces tight and seemed to do the job really well. Breathability was a big factor in enjoying the Lunarglides too: they’re very lightweight in action and didn’t overheat the feet one bit, despite the warm and muggy evening we ran in.
So did the Lunarglides work magic? One thing was clear, they do feel adaptive. Despite the thickness of the soles, the shoe flexed in such a way as to provide movements to all parts of the feet. As we mentioned, it gave us a feeling of close ground contact on the front of the foot while still giving huge cushioning to the back. That sensation carried over on all the surfaces we ran over. All in all, it’s a great running shoe. Perhaps people with more severe overpronation problems might be better placed to judge as to the truly dynamic qualities of the shoe: for the average runner, these are still a great buy for comfort and performance.
Buy Nike Lunarglide for around £60 from Amazon