Nike Flyknit Lunar1+ Review
Nike announced this shoe two months ago and I have been itching to try it since.
The premise is simple: they coupled their softest cushioning sole, the LunarFoam with their most comfortable and innovative upper, the FlyKnit.
I am not the right kind of runner for this shoe (I need more support) but as a shoe enthusiast and blogger (for the science!) I knew I had to own a pair. Nike did not do us the courtesy to send us a test pair so I shelled out the 170 euros of my own pocket. So be sure that I will take the price of the shoe into account.
Nike Flyknit Lunar1+ First Impression
The Flyknit Lunar1+ comes in a gazillion colors (8 to be precise) and they are NOT your typical running shoes colors. This shoe makes a statement. Actually the first color I tried on in-store was the black with white Swoosh – but that’s the wrong color for this shoe.
You want to be able to see that “Knit”. I picked a light blue+pink combo that is all but subtle.
Time to put them on my feet. I have worn probably 100 pairs of Nikes in my adult life from basketball shoes to tennis shoes, running shoes and sandals -> I have always been a size 11US. The Flyknit Lunar1+ felt uncomfortably narrow in size 11. Had to get a size 11.5 US and still then the toebox felt quite “snug”.
Mid to low arch like in most Nikes, an evolution of the Flywire made it so that I could leave the shoe a little loose in the front and quite tight towards the collar.
Nike Flyknit Lunar1+ Upper
The Flyknit upper takes some breaking-in. When you first put them on you’ll probably be unimpressed by the comfort. Completely overlay-free: yes. Sock-like: no. BUT HOLD ON! The more you wear them, the more the Flyknit becomes loose. And it becomes a dream.
After my first run (5k, treadmill) the upper started being looser, I decided to just keep them on as walking shoes to see if I could break them in further. I could.
After having been on my feet for two days, I never wanted to take them off. Good thing I can wear Sneakers at work.
I have them for a good couple of weeks now and I have run possibly 50km in them. The upper is so comfortable and lightweight I now want all my shoes to be Flyknit.
Downside: the shoe REALLY is sock-like. If it’s cold you’ll feel it, if you hit a puddle, your run is ruined. The shoe gets wet and stays so for a while.
Nike Flyknit Lunar1+ Sole Unit
I am not the target runner for this shoe. I over pronate and usually need way more support, especially for runs over 8 miles. This out of the way, the Sole unit of the Flyknir Lunar1+ is very smartly engineered.
At 11mm drop, the construction and the ride are quite traditional. The heel is very soft, pillow-like. The midfoot and forefoot though are very responsive. You can definitely feel the ground under the ball of your foot and the forefoot flexes well in both directions.
There’s a very little amount of hard rubber (to save weight I believe). The exposed foam parts – the white parts in the picture, to be clear – do wear out quite fast. In less than 50 km any ridges that were present are now gone. I will update this review as the miles pile up to comment on the durability.
Nike Flyknit Lunar1+ Opinion
Let’s get it out of the way. I think the Flyknit Lunar1+ is a fantastic shoe and there’s no question about it.
I love the upper – it has drawbacks such as the cold/rain issue, and a very slim tongue that although comfortable, does tend to slide towards the medial side of the shoe. Doesn’t bother me too much, but it’s not ideal either.
The Lunar sole is soft – so soft I wear it for walking around to give my ankles and peroneal tendon a break. But it’s unsettling. How can such a lightweight shoe be this soft? It’s a prime for me.
This winter I have run my fast runs (and planned to run my summer races) in the Asics GEL-Lyte 33 2. At the time I was impressed by how such a lightweight shoe had such a soft cushioning.
But the Lunar1 blows it out of the water. It’s lighter, it’s softer. What the Asics has in its favour is the lower drop. Comes racing, I’ll probably favour the lower drop – the higher heel of the Lunar One does come in the way of a midfoot/forefoot run.
So the last question is: who do I recommend this shoe to?. Honestly if price is not an object and you are a neutral runner -> by any means buy a pair. It’s a comfortable, well cushioned shoe that is incredibly light. It’s striking beautiful and mark my words, Nike created a classic that they will still sell in 20 years. But the price is high, and I am not sure how long the midsole will last.
It’s a great option as a marathon-race shoe.
Nike did not send us a test pair to review. They prefer to send shoes to lifestyle/technology websites (gizmodo, really??) rather than running websites. This does not change our opinion of the shoe, formed after running 50km in them