Comparing Nike Lunar Racer 4 and Lunar Racer 3

65 / 100 by Andrew Dillow • Level 2 expert

I enjoyed the Nike Lunaracer 3 so much that I decided to replace them with Nike Lunaracer 4. I had read that the LR 4 ran about a half-size small, but I had remembered hearing this with the LR 3.

Well, I’m here to tell you that the LR 4 is built differently but not necessarily shorter. Keep reading…….

 

 

The Fit

I wear a 9.5 US for casual wear, however always order up in my running shoes to make room so that my toes don’t bump the ends of my shoes during workouts. I made no exception to the Nike LR 4, as I ordered the LR 3 in size 10.

The LR 4 fit more narrowly than the LR 3, and they felt shorter. I thought the toe box was comfortable, although a bit more snug than the LR 3.

The arch support was adequate for my medium arches and gave good support. It felt like these shoes were shorter than my LR 3 because my big toe felt like it was at the very end of the shoe.

 

Engineering

The first thing that you are going to notice is the large holes in the upper allowing for great foot ventilation. Next, you will see that Nike has changed the lacing engineering from the LR 3.

Look at the pictures and you will see how the laces enter the upper from the side opposed to vertically, like most every shoe that I have ever had. I don’t like it when my laces don’t lie flat on the tongue so this bothered me, although I think I was able to get more support from the laces.

Gone from the LR 3 are the Fly Wires that helped to support the medial part of your foot.

 

 

The forefoot cushioning was just like in the LR 3. This helps to keep my feet from getting beaten to death on my long runs. Along with the great cushioning, these shoes provide a great heel-to-toe snap making you feel like you are flying.

The shoes weighed in at 6.14oz compared to the LR 3 at 6.98oz. The advertised weight is 6.1oz for a size 9.

So, how did Nike get to the new weight in the same size? I alluded to comments about the shoe running short and that it felt short on my foot.

In reality, the shoe is no shorter than the LR 3. 

So why does the shoe feel shorter? The next picture is of the new structural reinforcement at the end of the toe box. It is very tight and makes the end of the shoe feel like it’s a ½ inch closer than it actually is:

 

 

Also, Nike has made the shoe narrower than the LR 3.

 

 

 

 

The Ride

I decided to give the shoes a few runs to see if the shoe would loosen up and become the greatest shoe that I had ever run in. I gave the shoes three good runs, an easy recovery day run of 6 miles, a speed workout consisting of 3 miles high intensity (8, 800’s) followed by 3 miles at high intensity, then a moderate 18-mile run.

While I did get the cushioning that I was hoping for, the support of the LR 4 was lacking in comparison to the LR 3. On top of this, my feet always felt like they were at the end of the shoe.

 

Durability

I won’t really know about the durability of this shoe as I decided to return them. I considered going a ½ larger (10.5 US) but felt like I might lose more foot support to gain the length that my feet wanted from the end of the toe box.

 

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Quick feel
  • Cloud-like cushion

 

Cons

  • New design misses on support
  • Shoe feels shorter than it really is

 

Conclusion

I sent the shoes back for the reasons stated above. If the shoe would have provided more support, I might have tried the 10.5 size. I dearly miss the Lunar Racer 3, and if you like the shoe half as much as I did, you will probably be disappointed with version 4.


Andrew Dillow

Andrew Dillow • Level 2 expert

I’m an avid runner, continually training for marathons and ultra-marathons, typically covering 50-140 miles per week. I ran my first 10K at 6 years old, ran NCAA Division I in college, and later ran for a shoe store. I now run for the fun of it but I still try to push myself to average 6 min/miles through marathons.


Interested in writing a review? Become an expert

See all reviews, colors and rankings of Nike Lunaracer 4