Nike Men's Lunar Ballistec Shoe Review
- Missing durability of past Ballistecs
For the player looking to reach for the moon, Nike offers the Lunar Ballistec. Loaded with technologies, this Ballistec takes performance tennis footwear to new heights. A full Lunarlon midsole makes it the most comfortable Ballistec yet. Our testers were extremely impressed with the no break-in comfort and plush cushioning. Supple uppers support the feet via Nike's Adaptive Fit system and Flywire technology. As with the Vapor 9 Tour, the lace system can be tailored for tightness at each eyelet, enabling the shoe to support the foot without the need of stiff upper materials. The result is a snug and very secure fit without any hot spots or pressure points. Very light and fast, this Ballistec goes head to head with the likes of the Vapor 9 Tour. It's by far the fastest Ballistec yet; we found an average weight of around 14.3 ounces for a men's size 10.5. The XDR outsole offered all the traction and give our team needed for sprinting to the ball, coming to a controlled stop or making a lateral cut. Fast, supportive, comfortable and eye catching, the Lunar Ballistec has quickly become a favorite with our team.
Comfort - Score: 4.8
Adaptive Fit, Lunarlon cushioning and softer supple uppers combined to offer our testers a comfortable ride in the Lunar Ballistec. Chris simply found the comfort to be perfect. He said, "From the very first wear I found the comfort to be superb in these shoes. I scored them top marks. The fit, feel and cushioning all felt spot on. I never had any rubbing or pinching issues from the uppers. Likewise, the midsole did everything needed to protect my feet from the court. I loved the way this shoe blended comfort with enough court feel to let me move confidently. The Adaptive Fit of the lace system held my foot perfectly, with no pressure spots or loose areas. What an amazing feeling shoe!"
Granville was just as impressed, adding, "The only reason I don't give this shoe a 5.0 for comfort is that I just don't know what a 5.0 comfort shoe would feel like. This Lunar Ballistec is as close to pure comfort as I can imagine in a performance tennis shoe."
Ventilation - Score: 3.3
The Lunar Ballistec features subtle upper perforations on the vamp and a mesh tongue to help cool the feet. However, our testers found ventilation to be somewhat minimal. Granville offered, "This shoe is so comfortable I don't even care about ventilation! It never entered my mind. That being said, I don't see any mesh panels or screening for breathability, but I don't care -- this shoe is so comfortable."
Chris would have liked some added breathability. He said, "The uppers are not very perforated on this shoe. My feet ran a little hot in them, but it was never much of a concern. There are some perforations on the vamp, and the tongue of the shoe is mesh, but neither really helped expel any heat from inside of the shoe. I liked to get the shoes off quickly after I played because I noticed the heat more once I stopped running around."
Arch Support - Score: 3.0
When it came to arch support our testers found the Lunar Ballistec to be up to the job. Chris said, "I was impressed with the arch support of this shoe. The feel through the arch was a tad low at first. I have high arches, and it took a couple of sessions for the insoles to mold to the shape of my feet. However, the shoes were plenty strong through the arch area and my arches always felt very protected in them. I was impressed how the shoes flexed enough to feel fast, but were also stiff enough that I never had to worry about any undue stress on my feet.
Granville added his usual aftermarket insoles and was good to go, saying, "As with most tennis shoes, the insole in this one seemed to be an afterthought. I'd suggest insoles for additional arch support."
Foot Support/Stability - Score: 4.4
Providing a soft and fast feel, the Lunar Ballistec also impressed our testers with how supportive it felt. Chris again scored the shoes very highly, saying, "The Lunar Ballistec is far from stiff, but it offers a ton of support and comfort. I was amazed at how supportive the shoes felt. I was very confident sprinting around the court in them, and I could come to a quick stop without any fear of rolling an ankle or sliding around inside the shoes. I liked how the Adaptive Fit enabled the shoes to fit perfectly around my feet, making the ride feel very, very supportive. I found much more flex from the chassis of this shoe compared to previous versions of the Ballistecs, which made the shoe feel the fastest yet. There was just the right amount of flex for comfort and speed, while the shoes were stiff enough to still feel stable. It felt to me like Nike did a great job of allowing the shoes to flex where needed while keeping them stiff in the right places to protect my feet. I would have given the shoes perfect marks here if it weren't for the lace system. The laces worked loose every time I used the shoes and required an adjustment at least once a set."
Granville was also impressed. He offered, "The fit is really the big story here. The shoe is snug around my entire foot without any pinching or pressure. As such, I'm not thinking about my shoes or anything other than where the ball is landing. Lacing them up is very easy, as the laces slide open and tighten with ease, making them very easy to take on and off. The shoe fit must have enhanced the stability because I never had an ankle roll or slip."
Overall Sole Durability - Score: 3.1
Nike continues to use its XDR (eXtra Durable Rubber) outsole material in this update to the Ballistec line. For Granville, it was business as usual for durability. He said, "I found the outsole durability in line with other Ballistecs (or any other durable shoe) -- nothing extraordinary here. For the price, Nike could have built up the outsole under the toe a bit. Maybe another millimeter of outsole?"
However, Chris was left wanting for more, saying, "I wore these shoes out faster than expected. The outsoles started to smooth out quickly under the forefoot area of both shoes. My right shoe took an especially hard beating under my right toe. This is the high wear area for me, and it's not unusual for me to wear out an outsole faster than most. The Lunar Ballistec outsole lasted nine hours before I had worn through and was exposing the Lunarlon midsole material. The lateral side of the outsole was also wearing through to the midsole at the lateral edge, and the tread was completely gone from the entire forefoot. This shoe wore down in about a third of the time of the previous Ballistec, but it was twice as durable as the Vapor 9 Tour."
Toe Durability - Score: 2.7
Nike uses its DragOn material to protect the toe of the Lunar Ballistec without compromising the aesthetic lines of the shoe. Chris, our lone toe dragger on this test, put the shoes through some severe wear. He said, "As well as wearing through the outsoles of these shoes, I also wore through the toe guard of both shoes. On my left shoe I wore through the tip of the toe guard and on my right shoe I wore through the guard where it wraps under the outsole (once there was no longer any outsole left to protect that part of the toe guard). I have to admit I was disappointed in the toe durability since the Ballistec line has always been a good choice for hard core players. This one didn't live up to the durability of previous versions, nor my expectations."
Traction - Score: 4.4
With its unique tread pattern the Lunar Ballistec proved to be up to the task of gripping the hard courts. Granville was very pleased, saying, "I found the Lunar Ballistecs to have very good traction (and cushioning). There may be a price to pay for the traction, as a wear pattern was evident on the outsoles after just a few hours on the court. There's always that fine line there between rubber soft enough to grip and hard enough to be durable."
Equally impressed was Chris. He said, "I really enjoyed the level of traction I found with these shoes. There was just enough give to allow me to slide out of a tough stop, yet the shoes offered the grab needed for a quick first step. The outsoles felt soft, and I liked how the chassis of the shoe flexed for maximum contact area between the outsole and the court. I felt very in tune with how the shoe was interacting with the court, and that made me feel very fast in these shoes. I loved how I could always trust the shoe to do its job, and that let me focus on getting to the ball and putting some hurt on my opponent."
Weight - Score: 4.7
When it came to the weight of the shoes, our testers agreed the Lunar Ballistecs were built for speed. Granville felt the Lunar Ballistec was a "great lightweight shoe!" He added, "These shoes are noticeably lighter, yet I'm hard pressed to find anywhere on the shoe where they might have taken some material to lighten it."
Chris also found a fast feel, saying, "For all of the support and comfort it offers, the Lunar Ballistec is a very light and fast feeling shoe. What little weight there is in each shoe is well hidden. The shoes also fit to the shape of my feet so well that they never felt clunky in any way. The one downside for me was the fast wear of the outsole. I could have handled some more weight if it meant the shoes lasted longer."
Overall - Score: 4.2
Chris - "I loved the styling, fit, comfort, cushioning, support and traction. Along with the Vapor 9 Tour, this is my favorite shoe to wear for a match."
Granville - "Cannot beat the fit -- that's the big story here for me."
Chris - "I'd like both the toe and outsole to be more durable."
Granville - "It's expensive."
Comparing this shoe to other shoes they've worn, our testers said:
Chris - "This shoe moved the Ballistec closer to the Vapor line for me. It felt light, fast and a lot softer and more flexible than previous Ballistecs. There is a huge difference between this shoe and the Air CourtBallistec 4.3. This shoe is softer and more comfortable in every way. It is also a much faster feeling shoe. The uppers are softer and more comfortable than the Vapor 6 and the general feel reminds me a little of the Vapor 8 -- especially in cushioning. However, this shoe's Adaptive Fit takes it all to another level and puts it right up there with the Vapor 9 Tour, and perhaps beyond."
Granville - "This new Ballistec is unique due to the comfort fit story, as well as the redesigned shank."
Playtester Foot Types:
Chris - Narrow width / Medium arch
Granville - Narrow width / Low arch
Review date: January 2014. If you found this review interesting or have further questions or comments please contact us.
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