Nike LunarEpic Flyknit 2 Performance Review
Mileage in the Nike LunarEpic 2
Thomas: The LunarEpic was one of my favorite trainers from 2016. It even won our B.I.G. award for best innovation. The good news is, the midsole/outsole stayed the same in the LunarEpic 2. The character of the shoe is intact. The Lunarlon midsole provides plenty of cushion without being sloppy and the laser-siped sides let the midsole crash and expand where you need it to soften your landing.
On the outsole the laser-siped pods cushion and grip. It is uncanny how the outsole of this shoe can grip different surfaces to keep you feeling confident in your stride. The ride is unique. I haven’t had any durability issues even though there isn’t any rubber on the outsole.
The LunarEpic 2 leans forward with a 10mm drop, but it doesn’t interfere with my stride, even as a midfoot striker. The weight of the shoe is in a sweet spot for this much cushioning. My 10.5 weighs 9.05 oz.
The big change in the LunarEpic 2 is the Flyknit upper. It didn’t seem like the high-top version of the LunarEpic was widely popular. Nike’s team scrapped the design and created a one-piece Flyknit design. It doesn’t even have a separate tongue. The heel counter and the collar of the shoe come up higher in front and back and scoop under the ankle on the sides. It’s amazingly soft, comfortable and almost disappears as much as the original LunarEpic. It will certainly appeal to more runners.
Meaghan: My first experience in the Nike LunarEpic Flyknit 2 was at a Blast Fitness studio. We were invited down to test out the shoes during what I thought was an easy 3-miler, or something of that nature. Instead, I found myself running up a 30% incline and at 12mph. There were a few times I almost threw up. Nausea aside, the shoes felt pretty good right out of the box. The upper is a stretchy mesh that hugs your foot like a sock. The Flywire lacing is integrated into the shoe nicely so you can get a locked down fit. The collar has a unique design. The material comes up higher in the heel and tongue, with scooped out sides. I didn’t have any issues with rubbing, slipping, etc. and I MUCH prefer this look over the original LunarEpic that had those awful looking ankle covers.
The midsole/outsole is designed with Lunarlon cushioning, a mix of soft and firm foam and laser cut grooves. The shoes are super flexible, but provide enough cushioning that I felt comfortable taking these out for 20+ miles. The transition from toe-off to landing is smooth. The more I ran in this shoe, the more it seemed to morph around my foot.
Of course, one of my favorite features is the weight. My W7.5 comes in at 6.9 oz. Anything under 7 ounces is a win in my book.
Thomas: The Original LunarEpic upper felt more streamlined and truly vanished on my feet. I had never felt so connected to a shoe. The LunarEpic 2 comes close to that feeling, but just shy. The lacing system doesn’t offer many ways to adjust the fit of the shoe, so it better fit right.
Meaghan: I’m going to be totally honest, if there wasn’t a Nike Swoosh on the side of this shoe, I would think it’s pretty ugly. Aesthetics aside, the only issue I encountered was some slight foot pain/fatigue on longer runs. It may be an issue of me coming off of a marathon not too long ago, but it’s something I noticed specifically in these shoes.
Nike LunarEpic 2 Conclusion
Thomas: I really enjoy putting in miles in the LunarEpic 2. My longest run in them was 20 miles and my fastest run in them was at 12 mph, that’s equivalent to 5-minute mile pace. Luckily for me, that was only for 30-second intervals. The point to my humble brag is, the LunarEpic 2 is a hard shoe to categorize. It has enough cushion for the long haul, it is light enough to pick up the pace, and it doesn’t feel like a traditional trainer. It is a phenomenal running shoe that won’t suit everyone, but if you try it on you may be one of the fortunate runners that finds a new partner that can handle almost all of your training needs.
Meaghan: I know I like a shoe when I lace it up, run after run. If you prefer a flexible, soft underfoot feel – the Nike LunarEpic 2 is a great option. At $160, it’s a little above your average shoe price, but so far it’s proven to be very durable. I’m sure I’ll get a good 250+ miles out of these guys.