What Did You Run In Today?
Nike's new LunarGlide gets put to the test.
words & images_Nick DePaula First off, there's a huge disclaimer here. I HATE RUNNING. Hate it. And even despite the disdain, I used to run 3.5 miles for three days a week in high school. Once I got to college, I realized spending Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday nights away from the track and familiarizing myself with terms like body shots and movie nights study hall and Blackboard were probably a better use of my time. I never really got back into the groove of jogging ever since, but this summer, for reasons probably related to the WNBA and MLB being my only TV options for now, I've decided to give running another try. No guarantees once hoops season comes along. I have tons of shoes, thankfully, but the newfound foray into running seemed like a nice excuse to add yet another pair. (It always comes down to justifying the purchase.) So I scooped up these sweet LunarGlides in Techno Blue/Volt/Blueprint/Medium Grey on Thursday. As it turns out, the two-sport athlete turned performance review legend that is Prof. K actually had an extensive role in the making of the LunarGlide, as he left the magazine to work in Nike Running a few years ago as Product Line Manager. While the shoe builds upon the Lunar Foam embedded cushioning unit and Phylite carrier foam that we saw in the LunaRacer last year, this year the team focused more on making the shoe adaptable for a wide variety of wearers' support needs. It's a bit complex to explain in a concise way, so be sure to check out the video featuring Nike Running's Global Footwear Product Director Phil McCartney below for all of the diagrams and info you'll need. It's probably worth noting that the last shoe I ran in was the Asics Gel Kinsei, which I've worn sparingly over the past two years, simply because I did my best to avoid a run at all costs. For a neutral runner like myself, they may have been a bit too supportive and it sounds like the Gel Nimbus would be better suited for me, but I still was a huge fan of the ride and overall comfort. (The price -- not so much.) While I haven't actually ran consistently for the past five years, I've been paying close attention to the models, modifications and gimmicks that every running group has been crafting. I also happen to enjoy being a complete dork and reading up on the various running forums for differing views, brand allegiances and flavors of the marathon. For my grand return to the track, I slipped into the Lunarglide this morning, and the definite softness is the first thing you'll surely notice. They also seemed to be a bit tall in the heel, and I'll be interested to find out the heel and forefoot midsole heights and report back. [UPDATE: I found out they have a 24/12 offset, meaning the heel is 24mm tall, and the forefoot 12mm. The industry standard is generally 20/10, so indeed they sit a tad taller.] If you enjoy a lower stance, this might be an issue. Like most Lunar-based shoes, they're not only light in weight, but they offer a pillowy soft feel right out of the box. Some might prefer more perceptive firmness, but because of the offset embedded Lunar unit, Nike Running swears the shoe's cushioning can withstand lengthy runs over months of time without a reduction in support. Oh, and for people of all sizes too. Whether that's true or not, surely the interweb's discerning running community will have no problem having their verdict heard. Above: The LunarGlide's decoupled heel kicked ass for me. Transition was smooth as could be. Another nice touch is the reliance on Nike's BRS1000 rubber, found in black throughout the heavily carved outsole. Nike's often-used softer Duralon foam wears much more quickly, while the BRS1000 should offer more durability. A few things cosmetically that I liked right away was the no-sew construction upper, which resulted in as little seams and stitches on the underside of the upper as possible. No irritation = a good thing. The heel Achilles notch is also noticeably softer than Nike's past running shoes, conforming nicely in tandem with the sizeable external heel counter for a nice fit and lockdown. One thing to point out is that the production version doesn't feature the anti-slip gel nubs on the Achilles notch that the sample pairs did. [Check out Ernest Kim's video HERE detailing how the women's and men's LunarGlide are actually quite different.] The shoe features a traditional tongue and lacing set-up, as compared to a split tongue, inner sleeve or ghilley speed system, but the standard approach is easy to lace and straightforward. As I began my run, the first thing I noticed was how targeted the radiused decoupled heel is. The transition was particularly smooth as a result, and the shoe flowed well during stride with the cushioned ride. There's nothing worse than a clunky shoe that moves violently from heel to toe. Again, today was simply Day 1 and I only put in 2 miles in distance, as I'm trying to work my way back up to around the 3.5 mile mark (I don't EVER envision myself clocking in more.) It'll be interesting to see how the foam breaks down over time and if there's any less support or issues with longevity, as all foams do break down over time, and in basketball, Lunar Foam is already a repeat suspect. At 6'3" and 190 pounds, my frame is perhaps on the leaner side, and I'm curious to see how the shoe's "Dynamic Support System" will hold up for those with heavier mass or more problematic support needs. For as long as I can remember, dating back to when I worked with a wide variety of running brands at Copeland's Sports, runners have an array of needs that a single shoe has never been able to solve. It's why more than any other sport, you'll continually hear, "Make sure you have the right shoes for YOU!" While the "one-for-all" approach of the LunarGlide certainly appears to make great business and marketing sense, I'm continually on the hunt online for alternate views and perspectives from runners of all sizes. [PLEASE chime in if you've gotten a chance to run in them.] From what I've gathered so far, larger runners and those who over-pronate have been a little underwhelmed with the support of the shoe and have also reported the shoe feeling a bit "slappy." After my first run, they felt light, well-cushioned and noticeably smooth for the whole time, but that's my own personal experience. I'd definitely recommend checking out your nearest running specialty store and having your stride, stance, arch and footstrike examined. If you're willing to commit the hours upon hours of time that consistent running demands, it shouldn't be too much of a burden to drop by a specialty store to chat it up with some near-experts for a bit. For now, I'm looking forward to busting the LunarGlide out more regularly, even if that means it'll be involving the dreaded activity I've brushed aside for all these years. Watch as Ernest Kim, the current Nike Running Product Line Manager, breaks down the upper. And Phil McCartney, Nike Running's Global Footwear Product Director, talks about the "Dynamic Support System."