The Nike Lunaracer 4 is a versatile, lightweight performance running shoe.
The shoe is very simple looking, however, there are many complex technologies built into the shoe that make it special. Nike uses BRS 1000 rubber as the outsole, a Lunarlon foam midsole and a Flymesh upper.
Overall, the Lunaracer is very fast, and very comfortable.
The Lunaracer 4 has a lightweight, breathable upper. The lacing system is similar to Saucony’s ISO fit. There is a sock like bootie and an external cage of fingers that wrap around the foot and hold the laces.
The difference between the lunaracer and ISO fit is that the ‘external cage’ is not completely external; It is attached to the bootie. The lacing was not as adaptable or secure as a true ISO fit shoe.
I found my foot sliding around in the shoe whilst running. The laces are very standard flat laces. These laces do not come undone while running unless they are tied very loosely.
The upper is made from a single layer of stretchy mesh. Since the upper is stretchy, I did not get any blisters or hotspots while running in this shoe.
The mesh was a little bit too stretchy, which led to an unstable feeling while running. This mesh is perforated to enhance the breathability of the shoe.
A good way to test how breathable a shoe is, is by putting it up to your mouth and literally breathing through it. My breathing felt unobstructed, which shows just how breathable the shoe is.
Since the upper is so minimal, the your feet are very susceptible to the elements.
Rain will wet your feet and cold air will freeze them. In my opinion, this is a good problem to have in a racing flat. There is a small amount of cushioning material in the heel collar so that the shoe is still comfortable when it is tied very tightly.
There is a very narrow piece of plastic in the heel that acts as a heel cup. When I first received the shoe, I thought that this heel cup was a joke. I didn’t believe that such a small piece of plastic could help with the fit and increase the support of the shoe.
I was very wrong. The heel cup is angled forward towards the rest of the shoe. Because of this, the heel of the shoe is always pressed up against my foot no matter what part of the gait cycle I am in. The small insubstantial heel cup helps the fit considerably.
The Lunaracer 4 has an adaptable fit. The stretchy upper and the lacing system give the shoe the ability to fit most feet. The toe box of the Lunaracer 4 is narrow.
It has a very straight fit on the medial side of the shoe, however, the lateral side tapers off a little bit too much. My pinky toe is squished between the upper and my next toe.
The stretchy mesh helps compensate for this narrow platform but also makes my foot slide around.
There is no reflective material on the shoe.
The midsole is where this shoe shines. The midsole is made of an EVA shell, filled with Lunarlon foam, underneath a strobel board.
Lunarlon is a very lightweight and soft foam. Lunarlon is so lightweight that this shoe has the best cushion to weight ratio out of any shoe on the market.
This soft cushion gives the shoe a protective feeling while still being light and fast. The hard EVA shell gives the shoe more longevity and causes the shoe to be more stiff.
The first time that I ran in this shoe, I thought that this was another firm racing flat. Once I broke in the shoe, the EVA shell compressed and gave me the soft feeling that I was looking for.
This shoe is still a racing flat, so I wouldn't want it to be a soft as a Hoka, but it is a very nice blend of cushion and speed. Nike uses a technology called Waffle Pistons on the perimeter of the midsole to enhance the shoes’s responsive feeling.
These pistons look like an accordion in its compressed position. The pistons compress when your foot strikes the ground, and rebound at toe off to give the shoe a springy and responsive ‘pop’.
The Lunarlon Foam
This technology works particularly well with lunarlon foam. The pistons protect and lengthen the lifespan of the Lunarlon foam.
Lunarlon foam on its own would not be very responsive, however, the Waffle Pistons allow you to feel the soft feeling of the Lunarlon foam and have a responsive ride.
While walking around in the Lunaracer, you are not putting enough pressure on the Waffle Pistons which makes the shoe feel hard.
The shoe uses a strobel board construction which means that there is a very hard piece of material underneath the sockliner. This means that your foot does not sink into the midsole.
The epicenter of the midsole compression is at the contact point between the shoe and the ground, not where your foot meets the shoe.
This makes your stride more efficient by forcing you to engage more of your foot and lower leg muscles, despite the cushioning. In short, a strobel board makes a shoe faster and less comfortable.
There is an eight millimeter drop between the heel and the forefoot. This is enough drop so that heel strikers will rapidly transition from heel strike to toe off. This is also a comfortable, but large amount of drop for a forefoot striker.
The reason that the drop doesn’t bother most forefoot strikers is because when running races, especially in racing flats, forefoot striking tends to be more pronounced.
The large rubber pads in the heel and forefoot areas make the shoe compatible with the landing zones of both heel and forefoot strikers.
The outsole is made of rubber pods and foam pods. The rubber material that Nike uses is BRS 1000, which is a standard carbon rubber compound.
This rubber gives the shoe great traction on wet roads. It also helps you run fast by letting your toe off powerfully.
The rubber makes the outsole the most durable part of the shoe. The shoe has a lifespan of about 250 miles due to the short lifespan of the midsole and the upper.
The rubber will definitely last longer than 250 miles. The foam that Nike uses on the outsole is the same hard EVA that Nike uses on as the hard EVA shell for the midsole.
The Nike Lunaracer 4 has a very wide platform. This enhances the stability, helping you run more comfortably on tilted surfaces.
This enhances the versatility of the shoe. The stability gained from the wide platform of the shoe does not compensate for the instability of the looser fit.
The lunaracer is moderately stiff. The pods of rubber and foam are strategically placed in rows to reduce weight and to add flexibility.
There are little grooves cut into the midsole between the pods that give the shoe a little more flexibility.
The little bit of flexibility enhances the comfort of the shoe. These grooves are shallow because fast racing shoes are stiff so that they can be more responsive. There is a nike+ box in the middle of the outsole.
This is the second best looking running shoe on the market. The best is the New Balance Vazee Pace in the blue, red, and orange color. Nike shoes in the Olympic Colorway are the second best.
Normally, I do not take looks into consideration when I buy a shoe (which is evident by my pair of Brooks Neuros), but this shoe looks so good that I might choose it over a more functional running shoe.
Because of the good looks, I wore the Lunaracer 4 to a dance. At the dance, everyone was repeatedly sprayed by paint guns. Now the upper is stained and it looks a little less cool.
I used the Nike Lunaracer 4 for long races, interval workouts, and tempo runs. This shoe truly excelled in these areas because it is as fast as a racing flat and as comfortable as some other training shoes.
The Lunaracer can work as a daily trainer, however, it will only last about 250 miles which is the reason why I almost always choose other shoes. This shoe is best for casual runners who need a good looking pair of sneakers, or competitive runners looking for another pair of running shoes for uptempo running and racing.
-0.5 indicates that you should buy 0.5 sizes smaller in a different shoe; -1 indicates that you should buy 1 size smaller in a different shoe.
Nike Lunaracer 4 vs Hoka Tracer
These two shoes are very similar. The Tracer has a 4 millimetre drop; the Lunaracer has an 8 millimeter drop. The two shoes are pretty equal in weight. Nike says that their shoe is lighter, however, Nike makes their shoes small, so that they can claim that their shoes are lighter than they are.
The Hoka tracer is stiffer and has much firmer cushion. It also has a more comfortable and more secure upper. The Tracer is a faster shoe than the Lunaracer. The Hoka Tracer fits ½ -1 size larger than the Lunaracer
Nike Lunaracer 4 vs Fastwitch
The Fastwitch has much more support than the Lunaracer. The Fastwitch has a 4 millimeter drop and very firm foam. The Lunaracer is about the same weight as the Fastwitch.
The Lunaracer is more comfortable, however, the Fastwitch has a better lockdown on the upper. The Lunaracer has a wider platform than the Fastwitch. Buy a full size down in the Fastwitch.
NIke Lunaracer 4 vs Brooks Hyperion
The Hyperion has a 10 millimeter drop. Although the Hyperion has much more drop, the Lunaracer 4 is better for heel strikers. The Hyperion has a much more comfortable and secure upper.
The Hyperion also has softer cushioning, however there is less cushioning than the Lunaracer 4.
The Hyperion is much more flexible than the Lunaracer. The Hyperion is a little bit lighter than the Lunaracer 4. Buy a full size down in the Hyperion.
Nike Lunaracer 4 vs Adidas Adios Boost
The Adios Boost has a 10 millimeter drop. Both shoes are equally stiff on the long axis of the shoe. The Adios Boost has more torsional rigidity. The Lunaracers cushioning is a little bit softer than the Adios; the Adios is more responsive.
The Adios Boost is 1.5 ounces heavier than the Lunaracer: A considerable amount. The upper is much more secure on the adios, but it is much more coarse, and therefore less comfortable. Buy ½ size down in the Adios.
Nike Lunaracer 4 vs Altra the One 2.5
The One’s cushioning is softer than the Lunaracer’s. The One has an even looser fit than the Lunaracer 4. The toe box is much more comfortable in the One.
The One is more flexible than the Lunaracer. The One is more of a training shoe than the Lunaracer. There is a better rubber coverage on the outsole in the Lunaracer 4.
The One has a zero drop platform which makes it exclusively a forefoot striking shoe. The One is a little bit lighter than the Lunaracer 4. Buy a full size down in the One.
Nike Lunaracer 4 vs New Balance 1400
Both shoes are high end long distance racing flats. The 1400 has a 10 millimeter drop compared to the 8 millimeters in the lunaracer. The lunaracer is still better for heel strikers because the 1400 lacks adequate cushioning.
The 1400 is more flexible and the midsole is considerably more firm than the Lunaracer. The fit is more secure on the 1400. The lunaracer has better grip than the 1400. Buy a full size down in the 1400.
Nike Lunaracer 4 vs Nike Zoom Streak
The Lunaracer 4 and Zoom Streak 6 are similar shoes. The Zoom Streak has the same upper as the Lunaracer. Both shoes also weigh the same amount.
The Zoom streak has a much more firm and responsive midsole. It is a little bit more flexible than the lunaracer. Both the Zoom Streak and the Lunaracer have an 8 millimeter drop.
Overall, this was a very fun shoe. I took off points because of the insecure fit, and the instability that it caused. I also took off points for the narrow toe box.
There are some people out there who will run in nothing but Nike shoes (I used to be one of them). If you're exclusively a Nike runner, you should give this shoe a try. It is their best running shoe.
For everyone else, this is not the fastest or most comfortable shoe on the market, but it has a unique, soft and fast ride that I found rather appealing.