Of all the running shoes that I’ve (Brandon) had my feet in over the years, not a single one of them has been a Nike product using Lunarlon foam. There, I said it. Part of it is timing (and time) and part of it is simply what is sent to us from Nike. Today, however, I’m very excited to be looking at a shoe that I’ve drooled over since version one and that is the LunarTempo 2.
The outsole of the LunarTempo 2 is pretty a straightforward and simple, full-contact setup meant to provide great, full-length ground feel. Front to back, the sole is laid out in a square waffle piston pattern (see image – rubber is in the darker areas). On the heel of the shoe there are three areas of carbon rubber arranged across the heel and a bit up the lateral side. In the forefoot pods of rubber dominate everything from the metatarsal head, forward including one pod on the lateral side extended toward the arch for more durability where almost all runners need it. Apart from the pods of carbon rubber, the outsole is made from exposed Lunarlon foam while still maintaining the waffle piston layout.
The outsole of the Lunartempo 2 – which carries over into the midsole – is very nicely flexible, especially in the front half of the shoe both because of its material and the flex grooves between the waffle piston pods. As far as durability goes, with about 40 miles on this shoe the rubber is holding up well and shows signs of wear typical for the mileage and terrain I’ve put on these and while the foam shows more wear, with this layout it’s nothing I’d worry in shortening the lifespan. I should also mention that I like the traction this shoes provides, even in wet weather. The combination of the outsole materials and the good flexibility allow the foot to lock into pavement when turning a corner nicely.
As I mentioned at the outset of this review, the LunarTempo 2 is my first, full-on experience with Lunarlon foam. In this shoes the stack is 26mm in the heel and 18mm in the forefoot for a net drop of 8mm – higher than my ideal but with the consistency of feel, it rides lower in my opinion.
The big standout to this midsole as I just touched on is the consistency of feel from front to back. The LunarTempo 2 is meant to feel super soft and while I’d agree that softness is a word I’d use to describe the feel of the midsole, it also feels like there is a really solid – and firm – base underlying the cush. The reason find myself enjoying this is that that consistent feel across the whole sole unit means that my foot is going to work equally in all parts rather than softer or harder foam in different areas dictating the feel.
Since we’ve gotten our feet back in Nike’s here at Gearist, one of the things they consistently do extremely well is their uppers. Not only do they seem to set the bar for the athletic footwear industry, but they keep driving and making improvements. The upper of the LunarTempo 2 is made from and engineered mesh throughout. As we’ve touched on in other shoes by Nike (like the Terra Kiger 3 reviewed HERE), this mesh is designed so that it is supportive and durable where it needs to be without the use of overlays or other support structures, thus cutting down on weight and keeping nice, clean lines. For version 2 of the LunarTempo the big change in this setup is the addition of a perforated, internal bootie independent of the outer mesh. We’ve seen this as a trend in lots of shoes lately and I really like things moving in that direction as it can not only make for a better overall fit but can also help cut down on the perception that laces need to be as tight as some people tie them. This bootie extends for the entire front two-thirds of the shoe (and actually plays into the rear third as well, though not as much) and from what I noticed, didn’t affect the breathability.
Carrying over more similarities of the Zoom Terra Kiger 3, the lacing of the LunarTempo 2 is a set of double Flywire cables that enhance the bootie fit and wrap the midfoot comfortably. Rather than going strictly through the Flywire cables, the lacing also passes through the reinforced throat of the shoe as they would in a more tradition lacing setup which reinforces that area and keeps any potential fabric buckling at bay. The collar and tongue have a perfect amount of foam for me (not too much, not too bare bones) and keep the foot comfortable. The heel counter is flexible but somehow also very well shaped making for a malleable but secure heel cup. Rounding out the upper are reflective elements by way of large Swooshes on either side of the shoe and inlayed reflectivity surrounding the heel cup.
I’m going to mention the upper more below in the fit section of this review but for now let me just say that the quality and feel of this upper is excellent. It cradled my feet nicely whether I was going slow or less slow (my version of fast) and the breathability was great in both warmer (I had these out up to 80 humid degrees) and cooler temps though as with all breathable shoes, if you’re susceptible to colder temperatures definitely take thicker socks into consideration for sizing.
Let me start out by saying that the rear two-thirds of the LunarTempo 2 fits extremely well for me. The heel cup isn’t so stiff as to hinder movement and I always enjoy the Flywire lacing system implemented here in the midfoot. The bootie system in this shoe also does a great job of enhancing the fit all-around. Then there’s the forefoot of this shoe.
The forefoot of this is strange to me. On the one hand, I don’t mind the way it fits or feels overall. HOWEVER, my foot – which is really average and nowhere near wide – spills over the midsole a bit when my toes splay. I didn’t really notice this much at all and I never felt like I was overrunning the shoe but I do question its impact on durability. Additionally, while there is some give/stretch to the mesh over the toes that mostly takes care of this, there isn’t much vertical space. This shoe also runs a touch small to me – it’s not a half size small exactly but somewhere in between just right and a half size small so shop accordingly (and work with a retailer who’ll let you return/exchange with no hassle).
Here and there I like to refer to the ride of a shoe as “quiet” and in the case of the LunarTempo 2 this definitely applies. The front-to-back uniformity of feel and the supple upper and its internal bootie made for for no moving around on my feet. I’ve taken this shoe fast and slow and felt comfortable at both speeds – though to be honest, I felt most at home with this as a (wait for it) tempo run shoe. Yep, this shoe is very appropriately named in my not-so-humble opinion and taking it slow is all fine and good but I like to push it in the LunarTempo 2. As I mentioned earlier, while this shoe has a good amount of cushioning, I really enjoy the feeling of a firm base underneath.
As for what distance the LunarTempo 2 is good for, I think it’s going to be best (for me) for half marathons and under but if you’re feeling it – and have done the training – I say go longer.
This is a really solid shoe from the folks at Nike. The ride is nice and smooth with a great consistent feel regardless of the speed. The fit is solid with the possible exception of the forefoot issues I mentioned above but hopefully there’ll be some rethinking in the next version. A big selling point for me in this shoe (and for those of you who like version 1) is that the LunarTempo 2 comes in $10 cheaper than its predecessor at $100.
Yet again, I’ll mention that if you’ve looked past or avoided Nike recently you should really get the Swoosh on your feet and see what’s new!
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Born and raised in the great state of Virginia, Brandon is a former opera singer (true story) who’s had the outdoors flowing through his veins since day one. Brandon now lives in Colorado with his daughter Sydney (AKA, Baby Gearist).