Just when you thought that running shoes all look a certain way, Nike goes and explodes that idea. The Nike LunarEpic Flyknit had the Oregon-based company’s design team take a long look at what a running shoe is, and then found themselves wondering, well, why does it look and function that way, and what could make it better?
After an 18-month design phase, the LunarEpic is sure to get runners talking. It’s easily the most interesting looking design we’ve seen in quite a while from a running shoe brand. But is it all style, or is there substance to this crazy looking running high top?
The ankle collar is the obvious standout design element. But there are many other new-and-improved aspects of this shoe, which fits nicely into their “Lunar” line of soft, responsive trainers. Nike used heat instead of glue to fuse two foams together. Then, they laser-cut sections out of the midsole to make it feel more light, flexible and with an “accordion-like” responsiveness after touchdown on the road. After our initial tests, the LunarEpic certainly did feel marshmallowy, yet did have a nice return upon toe-off.
We’re pretty certain this shoe is going to create a lot of buzz this spring when you start seeing runners out in what will look like a pair of high tops.
The North Face
ULTRA LITE WP JACKET
At first, this waterproof jacket looks like it’s missing something – actually two things. But its sleeveless design is just so crazy that it might work. It was actually created by one of The North Face’s pro athletes, ultrarunner Mike Foote, who got tired of feeling like he was running in a garbage bag when it started to rain during a 100-miler. So, like all great inventors, he decided to “modify” one of his already super light technical jackets by snipping off the sleeves. The result is a jacket that works really well when you’re under sustained rain for a long period.
The Ultra Lite WP packs into a pocket the size of a deck of cards and weighs just 139 g, about that of two energy bars. Another key to the design is that its got a hood, which is something that most running vests lack. There are two hand pockets and a chest pocket for a phone or gels. The entire shell is dusted in a shimmering reflective coating, just in case you get stuck in the rain for longer than you’d anticipated.– MD