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.]