Review: Nike LunarEpic Flyknit 2
Conventional design for better comfort
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Last year’s Nike LunarEpic Flyknit had a rather radical look, with the “high-top” barrel design of the upper not to everyone’s liking. However, Nike has more than made amends with the 2017 edition, the LunarEpic Flyknit 2. It has a more conventional “low” design and is lightweight too, with the US 10 shoe size weighing 249g. The colour options range from subtle to bright and include black, cool grey, rough green and electro- green.
The knit upper material is stronger than earlier, with the knit itself being denser. The forefoot area is more spacious. The tongue is integrated into the upper, so it won’t slide around, and makes for a seamless one-piece build. This will always be more stable and rigid than any shoe-upper part put together. The collar height on the sides of the ankles is smaller than in its predecessor, but your foot will feel perfectly secure. The Flywire cables run around the shoe nicely, and when laced up properly, you get a comfortable yet locked-down fit. While we have seen varieties of the Flyknit implementation across multiple running shoes, the LunarEpic Flyknit 2 is extremely comfortable and doesn’t tug at the foot. The materials used aren’t as breathable perhaps as the Nike Free RN Flyknit's upper but it does not feel uncomfortable even on a hot day.
The LunarEpic Flyknit 2 has a 10mm heel-to-toe drop—this is the same as the Nike Zoom Structure 20 and is just a bit more than the Air Zoom Elite 8’s 8mm drop. The first thing you notice is that there is a generous amount of cushioning underfoot. That is because of the Lunarlon cushion, which is a mix of soft and firm foam, and is 30% lighter than the conventional Phylon material. What you get is a lot of comfort, and unlike many sock-like-fit running footwear, this doesn’t sit very close to the ground.
The outsole has rather unique concentric grooves cut into the raised thick foam pods. It is interesting to note that there is no rubber used on the outsole, and the way the shoe manages to change grip levels on different running surfaces, dry or wet, is almost uncanny. However, there is no running away from the fact that this tread pattern catches tiny pebbles very easily. Second, the foam material may wear out quicker than a rubber outsole if you run on abrasive surfaces.
The Nike LunarEpic Flyknit 2 will inevitably be compared to the adidas AlphaBounce (Rs5,690 on Amazon.in). The latter has been developed after adidas used a digital-image correlation system, called Aramis, to better map human foot movements and stress points, for instance. The AlphaBounce has a Forged Mesh upper, which is lightweight and flexible, but not as conducive to ventilation as the Flyknit mesh that Nike uses. In terms of comfort, the AlphaBounce too comes close to the LunarEpic Flyknit 2, but the latter still has the advantage of extra cushioning.