As the name of the shoe would indicate, the Nike LunaRacer was originally designed for the serious racer — and you’ll see it on the feet of many elite marathoners.
However, the shoe translates to the everyday runner as well as the elite because of the combination of flexibility, cushioning and it’s amazingly low weight.
This shoe tries to combine many of Nike’s most popular offerings in one shoe, using the Lunarlon cushioning and Flywire lacing system, and it does so in a very complimentary way.
Nike LunaRacer +3 General Info
The Nike LunaRacer was first introduced in late 2000’s as a competitive marathon racing flat, something with cushioning for long miles that didn’t bring lots of weight to the party.
Since then, Nike has redesigned the shoe twice — the wildly unpopular LunaRacer 2 and the current model.
The current model combines Nike’s Flywire upper technology with their Lunarlon sole, while getting rid of any excess you might have on other shoes to keep the weight as low as possible.
This model weighs in at 6.3 oz. These shoes are also known for their bright colors and different color combinations the Nike has released since the LunaRacer+ 3 was introduced.
Upon unboxing and trying them on for the first time, I was take aback by the feel. They are springy and flexible at the same time. The other thing that immediately stands out is the bright color schemes chosen by Nike.
These schemes include — but are not limited to — volt yellow with lime green, electric blue with volt yellow, bright red with white, or the stand out neon orange version.
Nike LunaRacer +3 Sole Info
The sole unit of this racer is made up of Nike’s signature Lunarlon foam — which delivers a high level of cushioning with minimal weight.
Nike has used Lunarlon foam in many trainers over the past few years with similar feel and cushion. And using this technology has allowed Nike to give these shoes a very cushioned, cloud-like ride, that is completely unexpected.
With the cushioning, however, is where these racers finish their similarity to other “trainers.” The rest of the composition of the sole unit is geared towards speed, and not much else.
The bottom of the sole is made mostly of the Lunarlon material, with strategic boxes of rubber on the toe — to aid on the toe off of your gait.
The lack of rubber means there is also a lack of traction on any surface other than paved roadways, although they seem to work well on packed gravel trails.
The traction issue can be big one for different runners — or even more so — in different areas. In my experience, these shoes are not well suited for slick surfaces.
I have used them during rain storms — they held up fine — snow storms and with ice on the ground. Once the ground is slick itself — especially snow and ice — these shoes lack the necessary traction to be functional.
Nike LunaRacer +3 Upper Info
This upper is a very breathable, seamless upper that uses Nike’s Flywire technology to help keep the fit snug. It is a shoe that runs true to size
The breathability of the mesh on the upper helps keep your feet cool throughout your run, but also makes the shoe a little cold for winter running — unless coupled with warm socks.
As part of the breathability of the upper, Nike uses a dual-layer mesh tongue that both helps wick sweat away from the foot and allow air to help cool.
For the lace up system on the upper upper, Nike uses no-sew overlays and Flywire lacing system to add support while keeping it from becoming irritating on your foot.
Flywire cables secure the foot in a way that continually adapts to your feet through your run based on the impact of your stride.
Using this system, you can make the shoe as loose or as snug as you like, although as it is a racing flat it is intended to be tighter on the foot.
The actual upper is tight in the heel and arch while loosening up a little in the toe box. However, this is not a shoe that will be described as having a big toe box, and if you are someone with wide feet, this is not a great option to you.
The last aspect to consider in the upper is its safety components — namely reflectivity. Nike advertises reflective components to the upper to help keep the runner safe.
However, the only reflective component to this shoe I have encountered is a strip of material on the heel of the shoe.
Yes, it is there, and if a car is behind you, the strip might reflect their headlights. However, the front and side of the shoe contain no reflective materials that I could note.
Nike LunaRacer +3 Conclusions
The Nike LunaRacer +3 is the main shoe I have worn in the past year for marathon and half marathon training. It is light and fast, while still having the cushioning needed for high miles.
The ride is smooth and responsive while staying fast. Although light, I have been able to log long miles — going up to 18 — in them without feeling fatigue in my feet.
I have also used them for races from 5k-half marathons and felt great. I have also talked to other runners who have used these as trainers and racers for runs in excess of 20 miles while having no problems.
The biggest drawback from this shoe is that they are not built with the longevity of other high-mileage trainers. On my third pair at the moment, I have gotten around 250-300 miles out of each pair so far (unlike the 400-500 I have logged on other trainers).
Other negatives to keep in mind are the lack of traction for poor weather conditions and the extreme breathability of the shoe can be a drawback for half the year in cold-weather climates.
With all that said, I would recommend this shoe to any runner who has experience training and is looking for a well cushioned, fast ride. Plus, they look pretty nice on your feet.