I was among the approximately 50 privileged people who were invited by Nike Sales Malaysia to the launch of Nike's latest running shoe in the Lunar lineage - the LunarGlide+, the earlier 2 models being the LunaRacer and Lunar Trainer. As the name suggests, this iteration supports the use of Nike+ gear be it the Sensor with the iPod or Sensor with the Sportband. Among the invitees were models and celebs, triathletes, national athletes, bloggers, serious runners and members of the media. It was great catching up with many of the familiar faces again, including Richard (TimeOut), Niki (Bangsar Boy), Pueh Tian and Frank - all of whom were part of the party down in the Singapore leg of the Human Race. Other running friends - too many to list out - were also there. With the number of active people, the goodies which Nike laid out for us and the M&Ms, bananas, marshmallows and drinks, suffice to say that the energy levels in the Bowerman Room were pretty high.
Chien Yi and Wong Li-Zren (Nike's EKIN) were among those whom I met when I walked into the room and after registration and collecting my press kit and gears, I settled down in the role of a photographer. Afterall, I was trying to build up my experience of shooting with the flash. Back to the shoe.
The most obvious difference you'll notice when you pick up the LunarGlide+ is the increased weight. At 10.6oz for the men's US9, that would be like a brick compared to the sub-6oz of the flyweight racer and the 9oz of the trainer. The reason is obvious. The Glides are meant to cater to a wider spectrum of runners from beginners to the advanced. As a result it also sport a more plush build as well as having durability properties incorporated into its design. Flip the shoe over and you'll see the use of BRS1000 as the heel plug. You'll also see the that the outsole features cut-aways to reduce the weight. Though I don't think it contributed much, the grooves certainly will contribute to greater flexibility. The cutaways reveal the yellow LunarLite foam, which actually sits within the external midsole carrier.
The outsole appears unconventional, a mixture of mini waffle-like patterns. The upper has the usual Nike tech built in such as the Flywire support system and mesh fabrics for breathability. Other than the bold black and orange look, the shoe has minimal overlays, which I favour, regardless of brands and make. Runners who know their shoes would know that Nike incorporate several gender specific models on top of the generic product lineup. You can see the differences between the men and women Vomeros, Pegasus and Structure Triax - all part of the Bowerman Series - but the Glides have much more women specific features to differentiate from the mens. The women's model is lighter as 8.6oz since they averagely weigh lesser than men. Since women's forefoot are broader than men's the Women's Glides have Dynamic Fit Technology built into the medial side of their shoes. Women will also benefit from the Arch Strap (cosmetically similar to Saucony's Arch Lock, but less rigid). The heel counter of the women's model is a 2-part and softer design as opposed to the single cupped approach of the men's model.
The Arch Strap on the women's model
Both the men's and women's LunarGlides are much more padded than their predecessors, the Racer and Trainer. In fact the 3 are different shoes altogether. Perhaps the most important feature to me as part of making the shoe more appealing to the masses would be the Dynamic Support. The Dynamic Support system in the Nike LunarGlide+ midsole is comprised of the aforementioned LunarLite foam core that sits within a firmer foam carriage. The LunarLite foam core is cut to fit into the carriage at an angle creating a deeper cushioned lateral side. The medial side of the Nike LunarGlide+ mid-sole features a rear-foot wedge that has been contoured into the firmer foam carriage which provides stability on an as-needed basis. What this means to the distance runner is that the shoes will provide stability support in the later part of the run when you fatigued. When a runner is tired, it's an established fact that his gait and form can turn pretty inefficient and downright clumsy even. The angled wedge of the shoe's support system will kick in to provide the benefit of added support. See picture below.
This picture of the left shoe shows clearly the higher wedged of the medial foam.Seamless inner construction will make sockless running a possibility
When I slipped into the shoe, I wasn't impressed with the flat and very firm forefoot. But the thick padding on the shoe's collar and the use of seamless contruction inside the shoe certainly upped the comfort level. Added to the roomier toebox, the fit was much better than that of the Trainer. Nike have obviously took into account the feedback provided by runners. After the briefing by Nike's Marketing Manager, Menaha, and the technical walkthrough by Wong, several personalities came up to talk about their experiences - just to get everyone in the mood for the impending run.
The light drizzle failed to cause much concerns and after taking the group through a short stretching session we were off. The plan was to run 5K but a misdirection saw us doing only close to 2.7K. Throughout the route, I made sure that I ran over different surfaces and the Glides maintained a firm hold on all the wet surfaces. The thing about this shoe is that it will feel bouncy and comfortable when you run in them but very firm when just casually worn. The larger toebox and the padded collar rendered the old problems afflicting the Racer and Trainer obsolete. No noticeable heat buildup in the shoe and it's one that I'll be quite at home up to 21K. Of course this theory will have to be tested during the long runs.
Now which of the Lunars do I like the most? Let's just say that the Racer is still my shoe of choice for key races while the Glides have overtaken the Trainer in terms of a training shoe role. Personally with Injinji socks I've very little problems with blisters when wearing the Racer. In closing I'd like to thank Nike Sales Malaysia and Wong for hosting us - with the latest gear, good food and good company.
Note to Nike: Any plans of including the Lunar Series into the Bowerman line?
Labels: Gear Review, Nike LunarGlide+