Nike’s new Air successors don’t just look space-age – they’ve got enough futuristic tech to make you a middle distance champ
Nike’s colourful and often experimental approach to making trainers has left it in something of a quandary. On one hand, its shoes sell by the truckload because they’re iconic and stylish. On the other, regular runners frequently dismiss them in favour of more ‘serious’ brands like Asics and Saucony.
Its new LunaRacers are unlikely to change their mind, though they deserve to. Heirs to the legendary Air brand, they’re packed with advanced tech that goes well beyond nonsensical hype. But they’re also bright green, so won’t exactly lure in the ‘white socks, white trainers’ traditionalist.
Style and substance
To dismiss them as attention-seeking fashion shoes, though, would be wrong. Designed with distance running in mind, they weigh in at just 156g.
That’s mainly thanks to two new technologies, the most obvious of which is the ‘Lunar foam’ in the sole. The Beaverton brand's previous foam creations have been trailblazing, but this NASA-developed tech has taken it up a notch.
It achieves the rare feat of being able to take shocks over a long distance, yet remaining responsive and springy. Marathon runners can finally get the best of both worlds.
But it’s the second innovation, called ‘Flywire’, that enables them to be so light. The wire patterns on the upper act as supports for the whole shoe, meaning the rest of trainer only has to worry about protecting your tootsies rather than maintaining its integrity.
Not only do you forget you’re wearing advanced footwear, racing flats are rarely this stylish either. The stealthy shape, forefoot paneling and attention-grabbing ribbed midsole shows that these mean business and, while Flywire might be a serious application, it looks pretty too.
Even the Swoosh has been printed rather than stitched on to keep the weight down. And they're perfect for casual wear too, remaining durable, supremely snug and carrying just the right measure of eccentric design to warrant wanted attention.
Low-profile and featherlight, the LunaRacer is a secret weapon for the distance running brigade, regardless of your ability.
Nike LunaRacer review
The next step for middle distance running shoes, if a bit too flash for some