Nike Flyknit LunarEpic
My jaw dropped when I saw this shoe. The Nike LUNAREPIC FLYKNIT had me more juiced up than the Oregon Project on Run Gum. From the moment I saw the shoe, I was frantic. I had to try it, even if it was horrible the LUNAREPIC was sure to get attention from the shoe industry. I am certain every running shoe manufacturer’s design team has a pair of these that they are dissecting and deciding if there are features they need or can incorporate in their line. This shoe is epic. I drank the Kool-aid, I’ll pour you a glass.
The traction. Wow. The LUNAREPIC has a lasered outsole that grips like nothing I have ever tried. It is a hard to describe the feeling, you will need to try it for yourself. I doubt Spider-man’s feet are this grippy. I ran on pavement, cobblestones, wood decking, dry and wet surfaces, I felt superb grip and traction on all of them. Nike says the pressure-mapped outsole, combined with the laser etched lines on the midsole creates a tailored cushioning experience for the runner. You can dial in the cushion with two included Ortholite insoles, one is thicker throughout, the other has less cushion throughout. My shortest run in the LUNAREPIC was 6 miles and my longest so far has been 18 miles. The shoe’s midsole and outsole can take the high mileage and the shoe feels light and fast enough for speed days. The size 10 weighed in at 8.75 oz! That is incredibly light.
The upper is also quite impressive. I took Runners’ World editor David Wiley’s advice and sized down from my normal 10.5 to a 10. He was correct. The 10 fit perfect. I mean perfect. the upper is like a glove, no hot spots or pressure anywhere. It wrapped my foot so well that it was like having a midsole/outsole attached to my foot. I was nervous about the high collar on the shoe at first. I got over it. The first run I went with socks that were taller than the collar, it didn’t hurt the performance, but it did make everything feel bulkier. I went out for the 18 miler with a no-show pair of Swiftwick socks. The high collar was not an issue. Nike says “[The] Mid-rise Flyknit upper disappears for fantastic sensation underfoot.” I would agree. I was talking to couple other runners I trust that are also trying out the LUNAREPIC, here is what they had to say.
“While a high cuff isn’t common in running shoes, Nike’s Flyknit construction is what makes it even possible to wear the LunarEpic for many irritation-free miles. The bootie stretches to fit around every bone in your ankle and doesn’t interfere with your range of motion, something that can’t be achieved using traditional cut-and-sew techniques. The feeling really is no different than a quarter-length trail sock.” – Jeff Dengate, Shoes & Gear Editor at Runner’s World
“…LUNAREPIC really surprised me. I’ve done one full-length easy run in them and a couple shorter doubles… no need to buy another Pegasus. This is like the most modern interpretation of the same idea, and I think it delivers the goods.” –Brian Shelton, Owner, Foothills Running Co.
Get a jar out to collect all the rocks/pebbles that the unique pressure-mapped outsoles collect. The rocks are small enough that they haven’t bothered me during the run, but after every run, I remove a dozen small pebbles from the shoes. While I dig the look of the shoe, many won’t. If you have cankles or are self-conscience about your ankles I recommend avoiding this shoe, it won’t be flattering. The price is going to be a barrier. At $175 these ain’t cheap.
It is still early in the year, but these are definitely my front runner for “2016 shoe of the year.” They are fun to run in. As I mentioned, I would go with a 1/2 size down from your normal running shoe size. I have a low volume foot so both insole inserts worked for me. The thicker one made the upper even more snug and gave a little more cushion at the front of the foot, it may be too much for people with wide flat feet. When you get your pair of LUNAREPIC you can figure out which insert works better for you. I thought I would prefer the thinner one after a couple runs in both I lean towards the thicker one. The shoe is listed at 10mm for the offset, the inserts do not effect the drop. As far as durability goes, there isn’t much noticeable wear on the shoes after 50 miles. If you can part with the $175 I say grab a pair of these today. The LUNAREPIC are a unique and enjoyable experience to run in.