I received the Nike LunarGlide+ on 9 July 2009, courtesy of Nike Sales Malaysia as part of their launch event. One month plus down the road, it's about time I give I full blown review on it after testing it out on a few runs, including races. As the name suggest, it is the third model that falls under Nike's Lunar lineage, the Nike LunarTrainer+ and Nike LunaRacer+ being the 2 earlier models. One interesting fact about it is that it is built as a stability cushioning shoe hence offering the best of both worlds. And not forgetting it's also Nike+ enabled so you can pop that little Nike+ sensor into the midsole for distance and speed tracking.
Available now retailing at a recommended price of RM399, the Nike LunarGlide+ comes in gender specific model. The men's version in black and orange while the women in white, grey and orange. The reason is pretty much obvious. The bio-mechanics and motor function between the 2 genders are rather different, not to mention our running style. The women's version seems a little more curvy and much more attention is given to it which includes a different crash pad and arch support. However, I'm here to give my take on the men's version.
Weighting at about 297 grams for a men's size US8.5, it's the heaviest of all 3 shoes in the Lunar family. Despite it, the overall build quality is very much improved over its 2 predecessor. Paddings and memory foams are added to areas which are most prone to chaffing and irritation. The first batches of Nike LunarTrainer+ launched last year caused massive chaffing on the Achilles heel due to the high design. It was rectified wit the "face lifted" model by lowering the collar through a "crescent" shape design. And I was certainly glad Nike choose to add memory foam on the collar this time hence rectifying it once and for all. The heel counter this time was also made pretty hard with a plastic cup shaped over it. But thanks to the padding, it actually help for a more stabilise ride.
The plastic heel counter...
The overall fit of the shoe is much more superior this time. As mentioned earlier, the extra padding helped and it wrapped around my feet nicely without having feel too tight.It may not be as soft as the Nike LunarTrainer+, but I did prefer this. And most importantly, it was built seamlessly with a roomier toe box. However, I felt it would need a little more flexibility. Being a build over an overlays of narrow air mesh which includes FlyWire on the arch area, it felt stiff. And why did I mentioned narrow air mesh? The shoes were warm! Being black attracts heat and besides, the ventilation holes on the air mesh is so narrow that I can hardly actually see one with my naked eye.
So when one hears the name Lunar, they will immediately remember the Lunar foam and also the LunarLite cushioning system used in earlier models. However in the Nike LunarGlide+ this time, only the LunarLite is retained which is used as the outsole material which is represented in orange. The Lunar foam however is missing and only mildly injected into an external midsole carrier. I really do miss the foam as with it missing, it contributed to a cushioning that's a little hard for some of you out there. And one interesting to note is the wedge design. The medial foam within the shoe is made higher compared to the lateral and Nike calls this Dynamic Support (see picture below). Reasons for this is to provide the necessary heel support for runners based on the typical running gait of runners. One will feel the wedge design immediately after putting on the shoe, even when standing.
Dynamic Support or wedge design (left shoe)...
Compared to it's predesscors, lots of BRS 1000 carbon rubber were used. So much of it, it covered about 50% of the whole outsole. This might have been one of the factor that contributed to the hard cushioning I mentioned earlier, but it also meant that this shoe is built to last. No doubt by looking at the outsole, the durability can be determined almost immediately. I foresee a give and take of 1000KM running distance with it, since my Nike Air Zoom Vomero+ 3 gave me a close to 900KM. Not forgetting the traction was great with this shoe. The carbon rubber coupled with the mini waffle tread at the forefoot area gave me assurance of even running on wet surfaces especially on tiles and smooth cemented areas.
With the test runs I did over the past 1 month or so, I have mixed reaction for the shoe. No doubt, I felt comfortable putting it on. Running a 10KM with it is pretty much acceptable and perhaps 15KM too. However, I experienced forefoot discomfort on a couple of half marathon distance runs. I felt the shoe needed more forefoot cushioning and also assume that the poor flexibility of the shoe might have contributed to it. The stiffness of the shoe didn't allow my upper forefoot where metatarsals sits to flex naturally. As for the heel's cushioning, though it felt harder compared to its predecessors, I can live with it as I must say it does provides the "bounce" when running. Just don't go walking with it as it's just too hard! But in all, I do appreciate it's great traction and overall fit. No clumsy accidents like slipping during taking corners and so far, no irritations on any areas. But do remember to wear thin and moisture wicking socks as you don't want to end up with a squishy ride. So in the end, as usual I will sum it up with my own scores.