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Nike LunarElite for 2010

Written by: Jeroen van Geelen
Date: Thu Feb 11 2010

The new Nike LunarElite is nominally the latest edition of the Elite series from Nike. However, this LunarElite bears almost no attachment to or connection with the former Elites. Nike upgraded the shoe from its traditional molded EVA midsole—with a full length Zoom Air unit—to Nike's proprietary LunarFoam. This produces an entirely different sensation when running in the shoe versus any former Elite.

More curious yet: The Lunarfoam used in this shoe is completely different in feel than the foam used in the LunarGlide. While the LunarGlide is spongy and soft, the LunarFoam used in this new Elite is direct, responsive, and it feels active. You can see that Nike developed this shoe with the mid/forefoot striker in mind. Just like the Saucony Kinvara the LunarElite has a level profile—the difference in height between heel and forefoot is less than shoes typically made for heel strikers.

The LunarFoam has a built-in wedge to add support, nevertheless we categorize this a neutral shoe. This shoe's "ancestry"—all previous Elites—featured a slight medial post and were more supportive than this new version. I must add, though, that I think most users of previous Elites can run in this 2010 version.

But not only the midsole has undergone significant change. Likewise the upper.

I find that new Nike models often tend to show up with its proprietary FlyWire technology. This midfoot-positioned material is flexible, but almost non-expandable, so it hugs your midfoot when you lace up and gives support (especially in the arch).

But that's not all. This shoe's upper is almost free of stitching. Most assemblies are glued and the inside of the upper is covered with a completely seamless, breathable material which makes the shoe well suited for running without socks.

Wide-footed runners may find these shoes too narrow as they are, again, different than the former Elites.

The LunarElite is best used by those who'll run at a faster clip, as well as the more efficient runners with a neutral-to-slight pronation. If you are a bit heavier and need more stability, wait for the introduction of the LunarEclipse later this year. Or, run in a different class of Nikes; or in a brand other than Nikes.

The LunarElite weights in at a light 9oz in a size-9 men's, and is available in men's- and women's-specific models. It is Nike+ ready. If you order online I suggest a half-size up, because it fits just slightly smaller than prior models of Elites.

[Editor’s note: Our capable editor-at-large for footwear Jeroen van Geelen owns Total Running, one of the more important running and triathlon retail establishments in The Netherlands.]


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article misses the point 1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed by: Dan, Jan 17 2011 11:28AM

"However, this LunarElite bears almost no attachment to or connection with the former Elites." This is a very telling comment. I've been running in the Zoom Elite since it's inception and loved it. The original elite was a light weight support shoe for neutral runners. The LunarElite is light, but has very little support in the mid foot and hurt my arches on an easy 8 mile run. The LunarElite is also shaped completely different as the former elite size 9.5 is the same length as the LunarElite 9. DO NOT BUY THIS SHOE IF YOU LIKED THE FORMER ZOOM ELITE!

great revew 5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed by: Jose Figuero, Dec 20 2010 10:48AM

This was a great review. Exactly what I was looking for as I am looking for my next shoe. I think i'm gonna try them out

Article awesome shoes bland. 3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed by: Brian M Stern, Feb 17 2010 10:51AM

I was so impressed with the article I went to purchase these shoes. The problem is the shoe is nothing like the article. I race the Lunar Racer and love the feel and response. The Lunar Elite is a blah shoe with no support on top and a dead feeling, even pulling at the heel for a true fore foot runner. I hope the new Lunar shoe out this spring is better.

Spot on review 5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed by: milkywaye, Feb 14 2010 3:30AM

Good write up of the new Lunar Elite. Unfortunately I am one of the ones that must look elsewhere. I found the former Zoom Elite a fantastic shoe for my general training, but the Lunar Elite doesn't suit me in the same way. I will have to condemn it to treadmill and shorter distance runs. Your comment about the change in cushioning and the feel of it is spot on. Unfortunately, the feel of the old Zoom Elite was one of the main loves of it for me.

An Elite Running Shoe 5 out of 5 stars

A nicely cushioned low profile ride for a neutral

Reviewed by: Selby, Feb 11 2010 2:36PM

I bought my Lunar Elites two weeks ago and have nothing but positive things to say. The shoe fits nicely (I think its a true fit) and unlike the Glide, the Elite is very responsive and low to the ground. The flywire at the midfoot is a great addition keeping the upper close to the foot while helping out with arch support.