Our reviews

91
/100 by , posted on .

If you are looking for a lightweight shoe that can put down serious mileage, look no further.

I’ve always been a fan of lighter weight shoes in general and put the first two iterations of the Lunaracer through their paces. The Nike Lunaracer 3 provides a plush ride that you can take from the track to the gym and even out on longest runs.

 

Upper

In all honesty, I ordered these kicks without trying them on in any store, trusting that Nike’s sizing would remain true to form and it did. They fit like a glove and provided plenty of room in the toe box for my wider foot.

The upper is made of Nike’s engineered mesh and includes eyelets made of their proprietary Flywire cord. The engineered mesh provides more of a sock-like fit, hugging the foot with every step you take. 

 

 

It breathes and stretches with your foot to give a secure ride while maintaining the flexibility to contain my admittedly fat feet.

The tongue is an odd, thin material that I found initially to be bothersome if I let my socks sink below it. After running in the shoes a few times though, it becomes more natural.

Midsole

R.I.P. Nike+.  The Lunaracer 3 was one of the last Nike shoes to come with the pod compartment for the Nike+ chip.  It has been phased out across the brand as cellular phones and the apps therein along with fitness wearables have taken over the GPS mantle. 

 

 

The Lunaracer 3 maintains the same midsole construction as the two generations before it.

The ultrasoft, ultra lasting Lunarlon compound is tucked inside a firmer EVA midsole. This marriage of materials results in a midsole that is plush out of the box and maintains its bounce throughout the life of the shoe.

Outsole

The one spot that I have any qualms with on this shoe is where the rubber meets the road, literally.

The outsole is very minimalist in nature (likely to shave ounces from the weight), and only provides Nike’s BRS 1000 rubber compound on the essential areas. The rest of the outsole, sadly, is the same EVA material that encases the midsole.

 

 

Another slight issue to traditional lightweight shoes is the stiffness of the outsole.

The Lunaracer 3 does not have a deeply segmented outsole, so there isn’t much-added flexibility aside from that of the typical Nike running shoe featuring Lunarlon in the midsole.

Appearance

The Lunaracer 3 looks fast. Although the shoe rides a bit higher than similar racing flats, its vented upper and ribbed midsole look great as they speed past other runners.

As far as colors available are concerned, there were six initial colorways offered by Nike and several new colors have since been added in both Men’s and Women’s shoes.

Stats

  • Weight – 6.3 ounces
  • Style – Neutral
  • Upper – Engineered mesh/Flywire
  • Midsole – Lunarlon/EVA
  • Outsole – Carbon rubber/EVA

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Well cushioned
  • Durable
  • Variety of colors
  • Wide toe box

Cons

  • Odd thin tongue
  • Lack of rubber on the outsole

Conclusion

For any runner looking for some speed work, the Nike Lunaracer 3 is a must buy.  Even if you traditionally run longer, give this shoe a try for a change-of-pace.

Racer? Give this shoe a try.

Essentially, there’s not really a reason not to buy the Lunaracer 3 (unless you require a motion control type shoe, sorry control-footed people).

| Level 1 expert Verified
Clete DeWispelare is an exercise enthusiast from Omaha, NE. He runs up to 40 miles weekly--mostly paved surfaces, along with participating in several other sports. Clete ran cross country in high school and since has completed the Muddy Mo Half Marathon, Tough Mudder, Warrior Dash, and several shorter, local obstacle course/mud races. After selling shoes for several years while in college, he enjoys experiencing all brands of footwear (Merrell and Nike being a couple of his favorites) and believes the brand doesn't matter. What matters for him is whether or not that shoe fits the wearer's foot properly. He is an advocate of the "barefoot" or "minimalist" concept and appreciates a comfortable, low heel-to-toe drop/offset shoe.

Good to know

  • Nike impressively responds to breathability issues of the past edition by coming up with a new mesh upper in the Lunaracer 3. With larger holes in the mesh, particularly in the forefoot, runners should be able to enjoy sweat-free runs.
  • The Dynamic Flywire gets a reboot as well. Now made of tough nylon, these cables are now built outside the shoe and works directly hand in hand with the laces and upper for a truly form-fitting and secure fit.
  • A reflective strip at the back of the heel serves as a handy feature for those who run in low-visibility areas.
  •  

The fit of the 3rd edition of the Lunaracer is very similar to the prior model. It remains to be average with a very nice option of getting a glove-like fit courtesy of the adaptive mesh and the Flywire technology. The heel and the arch are a bit snug while before it slightly widens in the toe room. Runners with medium-sized to narrow feet can comfortably run for miles or race in this shoe. D and B for the men’s and women’s versions are available.

The rubber configuration in the outsole is almost identical to the older version. In this model the rubber pods are a bit larger for a little more cushioning. Nike’s Lunarlon midsole also makes up a good part of the outsole. The black portions of the outsole indicate Nike’s durable BRS 1000 carbon rubber to improve outsole durability. This element is also utilized in the Lunaracer 4 running shoe.

Running along the length of the shoe is the Lunarlon foam, which is quite impressive in giving a very cushioned ride. For such a lightweight shoe, the cushioning can almost be described as cloud-like. Because it spans the entire shoe, there is an enhanced transition from landing to take off in the Lunarlon 3.

Pretty much the biggest update in the shoe is the revamped upper to directly address breathability issues of the prior model. This new mesh is soft and adapts very well to the runner’s foot. The iconic Flywire technology is located outside and is completely separate from the upper. With the Flywire cables directly connected to the laces, a single pull will clearly help runners get their most desired fit and feel. A single strip of reflective light in the heel provides a little safety measure in low-light conditions.

Rankings

How Nike Lunaracer 3 ranks compared to all other shoes
Bottom 39% road running shoes
All road running shoes
Bottom 38% Nike running shoes
All Nike running shoes
Bottom 39% neutral running shoes
All neutral running shoes

Popularity

The current trend of Nike Lunaracer 3.
Compare to another shoe:
Author
Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen

Jens Jakob is a fan of short distances with a 5K PR at 15:58 minutes. Based on 35 million race results, he's among the fastest 0.2% runners. Jens Jakob previously owned a running store, when he was also a competitive runner. His work is regularly featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC and the likes as well as peer-reviewed journals. Finally, he has been a guest on +30 podcasts on running.