Sunday, October 26, 2008

It's the New Shoe Review, Comin' at You

It's the New Shoe Review...comin' at you.
It's the New Shoe Reee-view, comin' right at you.
If you remember the New Zoo Review, a children's tv show from the seventies, you'll get the reference. If not, so sorry, but the theme song is in my head and will not leave.

About three weeks ago, I promised I would provide a review of the Nike LunaRacer. At that time, I had only worn them a few times, and I wasn't even sure if I would wear them in Chicago. Well, as I mentioned last week, I did wear them and the results were...well..the results were pretty freckin' good.
These are by far the lightest racing shoes I have ever worn. When I take them off, I tie the laces to my wrist and they float in the air like helium balloons. Ummm...OK, they really don't float in the air, but Nike's press release says they weight only 5.5ounces. I verified the weight on a recently calibrated and certified component scale at work, and it came out to exactly 5.5 ounces.
You might think that to get that light weight, you pay a heavy price in terms of lost support. You might want to stop thinking that now. The innovative construction of these shoes, particularly the uppers, and the remarkable properties of the Lunarlite foam, provide more than adequate support. After 26.2 miles on the concrete streets of Chicago, I felt no pain or discomfort in my feet, nor in my ankles or knees for that matter. Now, I should add that I do most of my training miles in Nike Free 5.0 and 3.0, which are very neutral, minimalist shoes, so my feet have been strengthened and prepared for these light-weight, low-heeled, very flexible racers. Further, I have worked on my stide to become a mid-foot striker, with a sufficient knee bend to allow me to let the natural mechanics of my ankles and knees to absorb the impact. (If you want to know more about this, just leave a comment and I'll happily blather on for hours until you are very sorry indeed that you ever asked about this topic.)
I have a moderate arch, neither low nor high. Much of the LunaRacers arch support is provided by the Flywire which are tiny filaments embedded in the mesh of the upper, and attached at the laces. See the image below. They are super-light and strong, providing support for your arch in a way similar to the cables of a suspension bridge.
In summary, they are incredibly light (you have to hold them in your hand to appreciate how light 5.5 ounces feels). They provide excellent support. There construction quality is good, with no irritating seams or abrasion point to irritate your feet. They are highly flexible, and give you a Nike Free-like feel. They may not be a good choice for runners who prefer traditional, highly constructed road running shoes. If you are among them, but are still intrigued by the LunaRacers, I'd recommend first doing some training in a flatter, less rigid shoe to see how your feet react. Or you might want to try the Lunar Trainer, although I have not tried this (yet) so I cannot recommend it.


What a nice running week I've had! I'm feeling good, no injuries to deal with, so I'm enjoying the runs, watching the leaves fall. And since I have no races planned until Boston in April, I am not putting in big miles. Here are the training totals.

Total Miles for the week 58.7

On Saturday, I got to Lock 29 about a half-hour early, intending to do a couple of early miles before the group arrived. Another one of the regulars, Tom, was there, and he asked if I want to do our early miles together. Well, one thing led to another, we lost track of the time, and did five miles. When we got back to Lock 29, the group had left. It all worked out anyway, because as Tom and I were returning, we spotted E-speed approaching. She turned and ran back with us. When we found that the group had left, E-speed asked if we would run on the roads with her, as she needed to do some road work to perp for the Richmond Marathon. Tom declined, but I said 'Sure', and we took off. We ran south on Riverview, then cut across on Bolanz to Akron-Peninsula Road for a six mile out and back. Added to my five early miles, that gave me 11 for the day. E-speed kept going as she was doing her long run on Saturday so she could work an aid station at the Running With Scissors ultra on Sunday.

The Sunday long run was remarkable good. I did an early mile or so before the group started, then ran a very good pace for a long, training run, especially when I'm not actually training for anything right now. I averaged 7:40 pace, and that was only because I really backed off (to about an 8:40 pace) for the last mile and a half.


E-Speed said...

Thanks for running with me Saturday Frank! I ended up averaging 7:54 pace for the whole 20 and it was a really big mental boost for my Richmond Goals. I am glad I started with ya to make sure I got started at a quicker pace than I would have likely done on my own!

Steve Stenzel said...

Sweet shoes! I've been thinking about getting a pair of racing flats, and I might have to check those out! I mean, they FLOAT!


DaisyDuc said...

Those shoes sound awesome! I pronate and wear a stability shoe (Asics Kayano) but often wonder how far I could run in a light weight racing shoe without causing problems. (Right now I have not worn them in anything longer than a 10K) Anyway, sounds like you are clipping along great!