Nike Flyknit Lunar2 Review
The Nike Flyknit Lunar2s launched over in Berlin back in February with some hype and fanfare over their new design and updated features. However, rather than just go for a quick run and share our thoughts, we’ve logged in excess of 100 miles in the Nike Flyknit Lunar2s to give you a proper review. We’ve gone out in all weathers and tried all manner of terrain to test these neutral running shoes to the max, and quite frankly, whilst they are the best we’ve had from Nike yet, we still think there is room for improvement.
When we got our first glimpse of the Flyknit Lunar2s, we were very much struc by the new appearance. The Lunar1s offered a limited upper colourway, allowing for one colour or design over the entire fabric of the shoe. The Flyknit Lunar2s, however, have two distinct colour sections that allow for both bold and contrasting designs, but lack the sheer elegance of their predecessors. The NikeID options online give you the chance to play with all manner of combinations, but the main body of the upper is restricted to Black/Volt/Grey which severely hampers your ability to truly customise the shoe.
The ability to customise the two different lunarlon soles are pretty special, as you might have noticed in the pictures, as we went for the fade on the upper section, and the flecks on the bottom. We think the bold designs make for a great statement, but ultimately mourn the loss of the elegant Lunar1s. The first model could be worn anywhere and was quite fashionable, but now, we feel that unless you want something black, you won’t want to wear these other than when you’re going for a run.
The features of the Flyknit Lunar2 certainly prove that this running shoe is more about evolution than revolution. Having gotten things so spot on with the Lunar1s, where exactly could they go? Well, one of the more obvious changes to the Lunar2s is the rather striking sole sections that alter the feel of the shoe when you strike. Having analysed hundreds of hours of footage, Nike’s developers came up with this rather distinctive strike pattern that responds to the way feet hit the ground, rather than how the shoe wants your foot to hit. In addition to this, the tongue of the shoe is now woven into place to prevent slippage, and there’s a handy loop on the heel for easy pulling on/off with a few reflective strips like their Flash gear on it (we appreciate the little things).
The flyknit upper didn’t need changing and it hasn’t really received any tampering with, thankfully, so it still is a marvellously woven one piece of polyester yarn that provides near perfect tightness, fit and flexibility. The Flywire tech underneath, once again provides the support you expect without adding much to the weight of the shoe. Similarly, the ultra light Lunarlon provides great comfort but will not slow you down in the process.
FIT & COMFORT
So, after running 100 miles over snow & ice, pavements, gravel, tracks, grass, rocks and mud, how do we feel about the fit and the comfort of the Nike Flyknit Lunar2s? Well, firstly, it is a neutral shoe, so is not designed specifically for those with more accented running styles, and this naturally has an impact on the feel, trying to be a jack of all trades. We first noticed the amount of cushioning in the heel was quite extreme, and whilst not measuring up to the cloud like feel of the Lunarglide 5s, it was still softer than the Nike 5.0s we’ve been out in previously. The more noticeable difference was in the front of the shoe. The new layout gives, at first, a novel feeling, but before long feels incredibly natural. The sole gives a great close feeling to the running surface and feels instantly more flexible than the Flyknit Lunar1s. Bravo Nike, what might have looked like a gimmick at first does make quite a difference.
Having had some knee issues in the past, we were curious to see how the combination of Lunarlon sole, lightweight upper and integrated flywire might affect us in comparison to some of our other favourite running shoes. The biggest test for us, and for most of you we expect, is how it reacts when you’re out pounding the merciless pavements. We were slightly sceptical given that, whilst still being cushioned, we felt the sole on the Flyknit Lunar2 was firmer than we would have liked. However, it performed admirably, without creating any extra and undue pressure on the knees going up and down some steep hills in London. Get these shoes on almost any other surface and they quickly become impeded by their lack of grip: we would only really recommend running on tracks and pavements or well compacted trails. In addition to this, it appears that most of the grip is located in the front of the shoe, so if you are a heel striker, be a tad wary. As time progressed, we became more accustomed to the ride, although the sole is beginning to suffer already in the heel, losing what little grip it did have.
The sokliner and flyknit upper are, without a doubt, the very best thing about the shoe. They make them feel ridiculously light and tight around the foot. It is so easy to forget you are even wearing them, as horrifically cliché as that sounds! Our main gripe is that the tightening of the flyknit lace system is not quite independent enough and that the toe area has been largely ignored (save for an obscure slightly more open design over the big toe). Also, when they get wet they don’t drain particularly well and, because they’re naturally quite light, you definitely notice the extra weight. We have heard reports of rubbing caused by the profile of the heel of the shoe, but this is easily fixed by tightening the laces properly to lock the heel in place.
We think that, design wise, you’ll either love or hate the Nike Flyknit Lunar2s. However, if you’ve given them a go, like the strike, the comfort and the near weightlessness feel to the foot, then you will absolutely want to get a pair. The evolution of the shoe is a positive one, and we are a little curious to see where it could go next. They really are only designed for urban running though, so if you need a combination or trail shoe, we recommend looking elsewhere. We might recommend avoiding using these shoes in the gym as well, they’re clearly not designed for any cycling and definitely avoid lifting weights in these, however, if you’re only going to be doing bodyweight exercise and some non-cycle cardio, they’re perfect. The pricetag might be a bit intimidating then for a restricted running shoe, priced at £135 in standard colourways or £155 for the Nike iD customisation, but they really do feel worth it on the road for both the newbie sprinter to the seasoned marathoner.