Color: Dark Obsidian/Total Orange/Bright Citrus/Summit White
Nike's marketing pitch: Soft, responsive support.
Surfaces tested on: Road, ambient temperature of 20° C/68° F
Upper: Combination of Flyknit fabric and engineered mesh. No midfoot sleeve.
Midsole: Lunarlon seated within an injection molded EVA midsole.
Outsole: Carbon rubber under heel and forefoot, exposed EVA foam.
Weight: 289 gms/ 10.2 Oz for a half pair of Men's US11/UK 10/EUR 45/CM 29
Widths available: Single - regular (reviewed). Wide width only available as a NikeID option.
(Disclaimer: For this review, Solereview bought the shoe at full US retail price.)
If you went by standard definitions of ‘neutral’ and ‘motion control/stability’, the Nike Lunarglide 7 does not fit into either category. The absence of a firmer medial midsole does not make it a traditional support shoe, and the presence of a firmer foam casing wrapped around a softer Lunarlon foam core sets it apart from a neutral shoe.
So what is the Lunarglide concept, then?
The way we see it, it is a neutral shoe in a support guise. It wasn’t always like this, however. A bit of a history lesson will come in handy here, for which we’ll borrow the graphic from last year’s LG6 review. If you’re not reading this on a smartphone, click/zoom-in on the picture to enlarge it.
It all started with the 2009 Lunarglide, which did something unique. It strayed from the tried and tested ‘neutral’ and ‘stability’ template, and instead chose to plonk in an angled Lunarlon wedge encased within a firm EVA midsole.
Three years later, Lunarlon came out of its hiding place and evolved to form an opposing wedge, stacking up with the firmer EVA midsole (see picture above) on the inner side. That was the Lunarglide 4 and 5.
In 2014, the redesigned Lunarglide 6 put the Lunarlon foam back inside the firmer midsole, but left it exposed in the forefoot. So what you ended up with was a hybrid of the past two Lunarglide versions.
To avoid alienating existing users of the LG4 and 5, Nike played smart and painted the LG6 heel in the likeness of Lunarglide 5’s stacked midsole design. It was meant to convey the impression that the medial (inner) and lateral (outer) sides had different hardness levels.
However, the reality was something like this: the Lunarlon foam is inside the midsole, but not in an angular, beveled shape. It is placed within like any other cushioning insert, making the center soft with the firmer sides playing the role of support structures.
Agreed, the Lunarlon core is not perfectly symmetrical, but the lateral and medial curves only differ by a small margin.
And thats’ what we meant by Lunarglide being a supportive neutral. It does not feel like other motion control shoe, but instead delivers a supportive ride without any bias. Because of the design change, the LG6 rode firmer than the LG4 and 5.
While the Lunarglide 7 comes built on the same platform as the Lunarglide 6, there are a few functional updates.
In theory, the Lunarglide 6 and 7 should be similar because of shared parts such as the sole and the upper last. Except that they aren’t. The Lunarglide 7 rides and fits differently. The upper fit in particular has so many changes compared to last year that using the LG6’s upper as a reference seems redundant.
Before getting into the thick of it, we’d like to let you know that we see the Lunarglide 7 as an overall improvement over the Lunarglide 6. That being the case, the total score awarded to the LG7 will come into question as it is lower than what we gave the LG6.
There are a couple of reasons. With increased review experience, our scoring mechanism has evolved in the past year, and we now take a far more critical view of the shoes reviewed.
Which means that shoes such as the LG6 and Energy Boost would have scored lower than 90% if reviewed today. That’s the first reason. The second factor involves Lunarglide 7’s $15 price increase over the LG6, and these kind of price jumps makes our scoring spreadsheet nervous.
With that caveat out of the way, let’s give the new Lunarglide 7 the full solereview treatment.
What’s instantly obvious is that the LG7 has used the identical sole design as the Lunarglide 6.
It is a dual density set-up with the firmer part forming the outer midsole under the mid and rearfoot, and exposed Lunarlon foam under the forefoot.
What’s not so apparent is what goes on inside. A few changes here and there affects the LG7’s ride manners, something you’ll notice as early as during your first run. The most telling of all changes is the removable insole.
From a design overview, nothing seems amiss as the footbed looks exactly the same. Molded foam with mesh, with some descriptive text printed over the heel.
The reverse face of the insole has deep channels running lengthwise, though we’re not exactly sure what this does. Based on our experience, these grooves have the effect of making the insole cup easier around the foot.
Between the insole and the midsole is the foam lasting, and this too goes from firm to soft. And finally, the firmer outer midsole with its accordion-like sidewall design drops a few levels in density, becoming softer in the process.
At first, it wasn’t evident. It was assumed that the soft insole was causing 100% of the changed feel. But when we swapped the new insole with LG6’s firmer one, the LG7 still felt softer. The Lunarlon core inside hasn’t changed at all in density, leaving us with the midsole casing as the only other variable. And it is indeed molded softer, and it is easier to compress than that on the Lunarglide 6.
Still, what really swings the ride around is the revised insole. It does make the rearfoot cushioning go softer, but it ends up affecting the ride quality regardless of where you load weight. The forefoot for instance, now feels a little more responsive.
LG7 has the same outsole design introduced on the Lunarglide 6 last year. The midfoot and rearfoot is mostly EVA foam, except for the horse-shoe shaped rubberised reinforcement under the heel. Under the forefoot, there’s plenty of action owing to how the outsole is designed.
The entire contact area under the front is covered with rubber. Specifically speaking, concentric rings of geometrically shaped rubber mounted on a combined base of EVA (orange) and softer (black) Lunarlon. These effectively work as pistons, depressing inwards with forefoot strike or simply under weight loading.
With Lunarglide 7’s softened insole, the ‘pistoning’ sensation is heightened due to easier transmission through the midsole.
This makes the LG7 feel more responsive under the forefoot compared to LG6.
The present Lunarglide still remains a great option for forefoot strikers, who not only seek substantial forefoot cushioning, but some measure of responsive behavior.
The pre-existing, LG6 set-up of 100% Lunarlon had made the forefoot a comfortable place, and now only more so with the LG7’s softer insole.
The single density Lunarlon insert extends from heel to toe, and the outsole is full contact, so that makes for smooth transitions. There are no soft zones, and the cushioning feel is very consistent.
The ride is extremely supportive too. The softer Lunarlon embed makes sure than your foot is seated right in the center, and the wide rearfoot base made of firmer foam makes sure that there is no sideways lean or roll.
At the same time, you can’t discount the role of the LG7’s upper when it comes to providing support. The plastic heel counter is a key player when it comes to delivering support, and that too has undergone a significant redesign.
Nike’s concentric forefoot design, which the brand calls ‘pressure mapped’, isn’t without its drawbacks. The rubber lugs don’t provide a high level of grip, less so when compared to shoes such as the Pegasus 32. It also fares poorly on smooth, damp surfaces.
The rearfoot has scant rubber coverage from a contact perspective. At first, it might seem to have a lot of rubber, but the actual contact footprint is much smaller. A lot of the rubber is stuck under the highly angled edge of the outsole. While this is good for gradual landings and transition quality, it does little for grip.
The second shortcoming is that if you’re running on surfaces littered with small debris, these get lodged inside the midsole grooves. Now small stones and the like get trapped under shoes all the time, but since the grooves on the Lunarglide run lengthwise instead of sideways, the small things stay put.
A traditional side-to-side groove would have otherwise released small debris each time they flexed, which isn’t the case on the LG7. And speaking of flex, the concentric design makes the forefoot rather stiff. Can’t say this to be a good thing or bad, because it works either ways.
The overall ride quality is very civil, very balanced in its feel. It is cushioned, but with a hint of firmness coming from the dual density midsole design. Transitions are pleasing, and help keep up the pace without the distraction of energy-sapping soft spots. Considering all that’s going around, the fact that the shoe manages to stay below the 300gm/10.6 Oz threshold is quite remarkable.
It nearly weighs the same as last year, but if you have to be specific, the LG7 is lighter than the LG6 by a few grams. Being lightweight, the Lunarglide 7 carries itself over distances very well. Its ‘fast’ feel isn’t on the same level as the LunarTempo (which is an entirely different shoe, by the way), yet works out well for fast paced daily training.
And by now, you would have figured out that the Lunarglide 7 is more comfortable, more cushioned than the Lunarglide 6. The way we would treat the new Lunarglide is as a supportive neutral shoe with adequate cushioning.
Which means that you should not let words like ’stability’ and ‘support’ scare you – as underscored much earlier in the review, the Lunarglide 7 isn’t in the same vein as traditionally known ‘motion control’ shoes. The picture of the dissected midsole is proof enough; the beveled angle of the Lunarlon is benign.
A shoe is nothing but a lot of things coming together to produce a certain result, and what really distinguishes the Lunarglide 7’s personality is its redesigned upper. This will be followed by a question: What has changed in the new upper?
The short answer is: everything.
Start delving into the basics of materials and construction, and you’ll quickly discover that newness is sewn into every fiber of the LG7’s upper. The mesh is now a Flyknit-engineered mesh hybrid.
The forefoot has engineered mesh, a term used to describe a single piece fabric with different types of structures. There are holes in some parts for ventilation and flexibility, while other parts have tighter pores or densely knit support structures. This is similar to what you saw on the 2012 Lunarglide 4 and 5, except for one crucial difference.
The lining inside isn’t a flat mesh like on the Lunarglide versions 4-6. In this case – where the lining also doubles up as a forefoot slip – the textile has a spongy feel to it.
This alters the way how the interior environment feels over the foot, doing so in a way which delivers increased comfort when compared to last year’s design.
Flywire lacing is also used on the LG7, but in a different avatar. Unlike last year, where the cords ran between the outer upper and inner sleeve, the LG7’s Flywire is similar to Flyknit Lunar 3’s design.
The cords run entirely on the outer surface, burrowing through tunnels knit into the midfoot panels.
And did someone say inner sleeve? That part is also updated, or should we say, left behind with the LG6. There isn’t a midfoot sleeve anymore.
You can lift the tongue far enough to stand on its base, and if any sleeving happens, that’s restricted to forefoot only. This redesign has an obvious consequence on the fit too.
Out there in the front, the toe bumper is molded higher and less slope-y than the Lunarglide 6.
In addition, the lacing moves back on the shoe by around 12 mm, freeing up more space over the forefoot.
The tongue isn’t tethered to an eye-stay anymore. The forefoot and tongue forms a continuous component, which makes the tongue longer (without actually being so) as you can now stretch it better over the foot.
Foam padding is inside in plenty, and the flap feels more cushioned. Not so much due to the volume of foam inside, but rather due to how the puckered seams have been shortened on either ends of the tongue flap.
The saying that looks can be deceptive applies to the heel counter. You might be initially fooled into believing that the plastic heel clip – the rigid component which wraps around the back – is exactly the same as the Lunarglide 6.
Except that it ain’t so.
It is actually a brand new heel clip. It looks identical, but then begins the tell-tale signs of change. Look at both shoes from a birds-eye view, and the molding angle is a dead giveaway. The comparative picture just above shows how different both the heels are.
Whereas the Lunarglide 6 had a narrow molding bordering on pointy, the LG7’s heel opens up more space alongside the Achilles. What’s more, the heel clip also sits lower, freeing up a large expanse of softer mesh above it.
1+1+1 does equals 3, and the updated forefoot, midfoot and heel combine to result in a brand new upper fit.
Perhaps ‘transformed’ is the right adjective to describe the change, because the LG7’s upper feels nothing like the Lunarglide 6’s.
You can begin with the front, where there’s a new abundance of space. Not only does the higher toe-bumper increase vertical space, but it also helps broaden out the entire toe-box, including space ahead of the smaller toes.
And the toe-box does not work in isolation to create more room. The broader heel molding also helps the foot sit slightly backwards, away from the front.
The lacing moves backwards, putting more distance between it and the toe-tip. When you also factor in the comparatively liberal design of the forefoot mesh, both work together to create more splay room for the foot.
Remember the squishy inner lining we talked about? That makes the insides much more comfortable. The mesh has a nice cushioned feel against the big-toe, in pleasant contrast to the flatness of prior versions.
With a large part of the inner sleeve gone, midfoot pressure is toned down. This new fit quality is also caused by the shifting the Flywire cords to the outside instead of stringing them between the upper layers. This eliminates the pressure exerted by the strings, and instead what you get is a more conventional midfoot wrap.
This has its positives and negatives, however. The midfoot feels more comfortable, yet you’ll miss the locked-down feel of the LG6. A snugger midfoot and forefoot has its advantages when you’re trying to go fast.
That said, the more relaxed heel fit is definitely an improvement. One of the things we called out in the Lunarglide 6 review last July was the plastic heel counter’s bear-hugging grip. Either ends of the clip applied pressure on the foot in a sensation which cannot be described as comfortable.
It felt as if someone was applying pressure on the base of your heel by gripping tightly with their thumb and index finger.
With the redesigned molding angle, the LG7’s heel clip does not feel as invasive as it did on the LG6. It also does two other things.
As it sits lower than before, the upper part of the upper is much softer. You’ll notice this straightaway the first time you put the Lunarglide on. The collar is very comfortable, and you’ll find this year’s Lunarglide to be much more gentler on the Achilles.
The second effect of the updated heel clip is on the sizing . The wider splay of its molding helps the foot slightly backwards over the shoe, and this increases the space ahead by a very small margin.
We’d still stay true to size, and stick to the same size you bought for the Lunarglide 6. But some of you might do okay with a half size smaller, so try before you buy.
The fit might be an overall improvement, but there are few chinks in Lunarglide 7’s veneer. Last year’s side swoosh logos had some amount of (faux?) reflectivity. This year’s logos are plain screen printed ones, and the only thing which shines at night is the tongue label.
The removal of midfoot sleeve makes the tongue a free agent, and a moderate amount of slide comes with the territory. And thirdly, the Lunarglide’s price is jacked up by over 10%, going from $110 to $125.
But that doesn’t sway our opinion, which is that we see the new Lunarglide 7 as a better Lunarglide. If you found last year’s edition a tad too firm, the forefoot too snug and the heel counter too tight, then you should give the new LG a try and see how they feel. It might just be the shoe you’re looking for.
RELEVANT BONUS CONTENT:
A brief summary of the Nike Zoom Odyssey before our full review follows – since that’s a brand new product with no history. The way you should view Odyssey is as a premium version of the Structure 19. It still rides firm, but more responsive. In short, you can consider the Odyssey as an option when sniffing around Lunarglide 7. But do so in the knowledge that the latter is a motion control shoe in the traditional sense, whereas the LG7 is a neutral with a supportive aura.
When shopping for the Lunarglide 7, you should also consider the adidas Supernova Sequence 8. Tighter upper than the LG, but the basic premise is the same. Kinda neutral, kinda stability.
And mind you, Nike.com’s marketing description of the Lunarglide 7 has a couple of misleading claims. The page says that the Lunarglide has a ‘firmer foam on the medial side’, which is untrue. The foam density on either sides is exactly the same. Instead, they should have said ‘soft Lunarlon core inside a firmer midsole covering’ or something to that effect.
Secondly, Nike claims that the Lunarglide has a ‘plush internal bootie’. That isn’t true either, at least not in way most people know it. The Lunarglide 7 (unlike the LG6) does not have a midfoot sleeve, which happens to be the default expectation of a bootie construction. The sleeve begins where the tongue ends, but by that definition every shoe has a bootie construction.
When you’re a 30 billion dollar company, you have to sweat the small stuff. Even semantics.
Looking to upgrade your older Nike Lunarglide 6 to the latest version, but not sure how the 2015 model compares? We can help here. The following infographic is a ready-reckoner for what changes you might expect in the new model vs. old. To make this more fun, we’ve put in a system of percentage match, which calculates a weighted average for a set of attributes.
A higher or lower match percentage is neither good or bad. The % number just tells you how similar or distanced the new shoe is from the previous version. Total match % is a result of weighted averages.