Spring 2010 brings new additions to the Nike Lunar family: the LunarElite+ and LunarSwift+. The Nike Lunar concept originated with the LunarLite Racer and LunarLite Trainer in Fall 2008 and introduced a new foam along with a carrier/inlay midsole construction method. The Lunar concept hinges on the super-light space-age Lunar foam (it’s true, this is where the foam originated) Nike originated in this line. The bounce is the result of the Lunar’s innovative midsole construction in which the super shock absorbing space-age foam is encased within a lightweight but slightly stiffer foam that provides a trampoline effect. It’s a unique, cushioned feel that provides impressive energy return.
The LunarGlide+ (available August 2009) uses the carrier/inlay method of the previous Lunar shoes, but the midsole is built with an asymmetrical design known as Dynamic Support. This system, with a TPU medial reinforcement, allows the shoe to deliver support for moderate over-pronation, while still being effective for a neutral gait. Another distinction for the LunarGlide+ is that it uses Phylon and Cushlon foams versus Phylon and LunarLite foams. Cushlon provides a firmer road feel which most runners prefer in a support trainer. The LunarGlide+ is light given the moderate support trainers it competes against are 2-3 oz heavier. The LunarGlide+ comes in at an estimated 10.7 oz. and provides the most pronation control within the Lunar family.
The LunarElite+ takes the Dynamic Support asymmetrical design method from the LunarGlide+ but sheds the TPU piece and also has a reduced midsole height. Flywire Technology in the midfoot enhances fit while reducing weight. The result is a lightweight trainer designed to work for mild over-pronation, but is just as good for neutral and supinated gates. The LunarElite+ is based on the heritage of the Zoom Elite even down to the original Nike Waffle outsole design, but improves on the most recent editions of the Elite which lost it’s way in recent editions by putting on too much weight to be classified a lightweight trainer. The LunarElite+ rectifies this problem by shedding weight (now 9.7 oz) and reestablishes itself as true lightweight performance trainer/racer.
The LunarSwift+ is new to the lineup of Lunar products and is essentially a LunarElite+ with more midsole that increases weight slightly to 10.2 oz for added life and protection. If the LunarElite+ is a Nissan 370Z, then the LunarSwift+ is a Nissan Altima Coupe. It may not be the fastest shoe around, but it sure won’t get in the way of you picking up the tempo.
The Nike LunarRacer+ 2 retains many of the key attributes that made the original LunarLite Racer one of the most popular racing flats in 2008. The outsole design and midsole tooling remain largely unchanged. The upper of the LunarRacer+ 2 is based on the same last as the previous version and features Flywire technology. The key changes to the upper is the addition of a slightly molded arch as well as moving the overlays from the inside of the upper to the outside of the Flywire upper to allow for a smoother fit. The heel counter now has a T-shaped design, while the outsole offers BRS Rubber in the toe off area for added durability.
Nike being a highly successful publicly held company based on innovation and marketing must consistently introduce technology that swings for the fences and makes a statement in doing so to obtain the next sales home-run for their shareholders. Sometimes this works well while other times it fails horribly and alientates people along the way. The Lunar concept is a technology that works. Very light, cushioned and responsive, exactly the properties runners are looking for in footwear. Add to that a perfect vehicle to introduce Out of the Box styling along with bold colorways and you have a compelling package that is available nowhere else in the industry. The expansion of this lineup of shoes is certain to draw attention and sales through a nice blend of technology that performs and modern styling. A great example of Nike doing what Nike does best.