Nike LunarCharge Essential

8.1 score
Runnerclick score (8.1)/10

Our overall Runnerclick score is based on 3 different factors: Editor's rating after in-depth testing. User ratings submitted on this page Overall score from the "reviewmeter" based on reviews across the web the weight of each factor is: 40% editor rating 15% user ratings 45% reviewmeter
Editor rating: 8.5 / 10
User's rating: based on 42 user ratings
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Nike LunarCharge Essential Review Facts

Nowadays, footwear manufacturer Nike may not seem like a very big deal. Their shoes have been around for decades at this point and largely fit into the same styles of running accessories, including footwear and general active apparel, as do other manufacturers such as Adidas and Reebok. However, the only reason why Nike appears so safe and static these days is that this company defined the style we see today. All of the contemporary footwear manufacturers have followed in Nike’s footsteps, adopting different aspects of their bold and visionary style. While recent days have seen Nike playing it safe with their footwear designs, there will be the occasional innovation offered by this long-standing company. The Nike LunarCharge Essential is one of these unconventional developments, offering a radically new design that is unlike any other running shoe today.

Editor's Pros & Cons
  • Fantastic midsole cushioning
  • Snug-fitting upper 
  • Unconventional design 
  • Outsole made from abrasion-resistant hard rubber
  • Extra breathability and responsiveness towards the forefoot
  • Comfort issues in the heel
  • Runs a half size too small
See How
Reviews were analyzed here:
We read, analyze and sort reviews into positive & negative categories to give you the complete picture.
What are buyers saying?

We have spent 4 hours analyzing a total of 750 reviews.

These reviews are then categoried into "Positive" and "Negative" feedback.

Below you will read a summary of them:

  • I use these as a casual shoe and I am very pleased. I love that they are super light and fluffy; cloud like. I would not suggest these as a work shoe or running shoe.
  • I liked that these were so comfortable but they were a little smaller than normal for my feet.
  • I use these for light gym use and wearing when going out. I would say these are definitely just a casual, lightweight shoe.
  • I have to wear high socks with these shoes because the ankle rubs but they are great looking shoes. I don't really see me using them for running. I would also suggest getting a half size larger.
  • I was pleased that these shoes were exactly what I wanted. They are very comfortable and are light on my feet.
  • These are my favorite shoes. I like the fact the tongue and ankle have elastic in them; it looks good. They breathe great and are very easy to clean. They run true to size and look great on.
  • I use these when I am training for boxing. These are so light and perfect, I forget they are on sometimes.
  • The only thing I can say about this shoe is that you probably should order a size bigger, everything else is perfect for me.
  • They aren't the most durable shoe. However, they are really light and comfy.
  • These shoes run fairly small but they have a great look to them and are very stylish.
  • I had to purchase a size larger. These shoes win in design and comfort though. I am pleased with them.
  • Long hours on your feet? No problem! These have worked great for me so far and I am on my feet all day. These have more cushion that I was expecting and they are narrow but give pretty easily.
  • I was a little surprised to have to go a half size up. I am a Lunar fan and never had this issue. However, they cannot be beat n comfort so I am still a fan.
  • Super snug around my feet and comfortable. I would suggest purchasing a half size up. They are compliment getters and very fashionable. I would only buy these for casual wear, not for running or working out.
  • I love how great these look on my feet. They are also very light weight and breathable.
  • The material on this shoe is made great and they breath wonderfully. Unfortunately, they were too small and I had to switch them for a larger size. However, I would recommend these shoes.
  • I really love this shoe. Looks great on and is perfect for a casual runner shoe. Order a size up, they run small.
  • These are really small but once you find where you fit, they are super comfy. I highly recommend this shoe!
  • This sneaker wins in fashion and comfort in my book. I had to buy them a size bigger than normal, which I expected.
  • I had to purchase a full size larger than I am used too. The shoe however, fits amazing and is super comfortable and very light. I really like that the shoelaces change in the light.
  • They rub on my heal a bit and no matter what I did it still rubbed. The shoe is comfortable and light but I feel that there could be a few improvements on the design.
  • I feel these shoes are more a casual sport shoe than a trainer. I really like these shoes a lot and they are snug. A bit tight at first but super comfy! Just be sure to go half a size up. I really enjoy these shoes otherwise.
  • I have switched socks and they still rub in the ankle. I feel this is a design flaw. Other than that, they are very comfortable and cushy and the sole is amazing.
  • These shoes were made for walking. I am not to sure how they would hold up for you runners out there. I am a walker though and these don't hurt my feet at all; get a size up though, they run small.
  • I’m surprised at how good these shoes look on my feet. I love them and they are very, very comfortable.
  • I am a very satisfied customer. These shoes were exactly what I was expecting. They fit the flow, and they are just as comfortable as clouds.
  • I was upset these were so uncomfortable because they look great. While breaking them in, they rubbed a blister on my heel. They made my ankles roll a lot while doing sports, which is dangerous. So, I would say they aren't for anything other than casual wear. These are not made for running either, strictly fashion. I am disappointed.
  • When I received these shoes, they were not at all what I wanted. I need a running shoe, not a shoe that makes you look like you want to run.
  • The colors were off and they were very, very much to small.
  • They were comfortable but the heel design needs to be improved. They also come very small. Why can’t sport shoes ever be the size they say?
  • These are not work out shoes. They look good and I get complimented all the time, however, that is not why I bought them. The ankle is very high and it is annoying because it rubs a lot. I really don't think these should be used for anything but short distant walks.
The Reviewmeter shows you an overall score that you can easily refer to. The highest rating is 10 (100% positive feedback)
Of the 750 reviews we found in total, 22% were negative, and 78% were positive.


Although the use of high-abrasion rubber for this shoe’s outsole isn’t a particularly novel implementation, the way in which it’s designed can be considered in that way. Upon first observing it, the closest approximation as to what it resembles is a topographical map measuring the elevation of a landscape. A deep trench that circles the outer rim of this shoe’s underfoot gives way to five large plates: four near the front and one placed on the back. These plates have thin concentric grooves that work their way toward the center of each. Toward the middle, this moat-like outer trench gives way on one side so that Nike can place their trademark swoosh, acting as a signature on a work of art.


The reason that Nike refers to this model as a LunarCharge has to do with its midsole. Made from their proprietary Lunarlon material, this essential design aspect provides a very comfortable and responsive cradle for the wearer’s underfoot. In order to accomplish the impressive feats touted by their manufacturer, such as an even distribution of energy throughout the entirety of the wearer’s underfoot without adding weight or sacrificing comfort, multiple layers of foam with varying levels of thickness were used. The end result of this unconventional but innovative design principle is the creation of a midsole that allows the LunarCharge Essential to feel as though the wearer is walking on the moon.


The material used in the construction of this running shoe’s upper is a drastic departure from many of Nike’s previous forays into the world of athletic footwear. Rather than use their standard ventilated mesh, canvas, or Flyknit materials, the LunarCharge Essential was outfitted with a variety of different synthetics that offer a multifaceted appearance and feeling. For example, the forefoot of these shoes have a much more perforated and stretchy material that helps with responsiveness and flexibility, while the middle uses a much firmer synthetic in order to improve midfoot stability. There are a variety of colors that customers can choose from and the specific material, whether synthetic or faux leather or even actual leather, varies depending on each model.


Finding specific information regarding the average weight of the Nike LunarCharge Essential is difficult as neither the manufacturer’s website nor the numerous online retailers that stock this product have a weight listed. However, the general consensus among customers regarding how these shoes feel is that they are lightweight. The reason for this lighter feeling is likely due to the upper, with its thin and feathery synthetic fabrics, and the Lunarlon midsole that uses a spongier material for increased cushioning. It appears that Nike has taken steps to ensure that every ounce of weight added to these running shoes serves a purpose, avoiding any feeling of undue heft.


Due to the use of varying synthetic materials, there isn’t exactly a consistent level of breathability throughout the entirety of the LunarCharge Essential’s upper. Fortunately, an excellent amount of airflow is present toward the front of the shoe with the aid of some extra perforation. However, the less porous midfoot and rearfoot offers less ventilation. The good news is that this entire shoe is light enough so that breathability is less of a concern. While these shoes are perhaps not the best choice for running in the heat, they shouldn’t be a hindrance in any other environment.


With the unconventional design of the Nike LunarCharge Essential comes a mixed bag when it comes to comfort. The positives offered by this running shoe can mostly be located in the top half thanks to its combination of various synthetic fabrics. One thing that customers should be mindful of regarding this shoe’s upper is that Nike suggests ordering a half-size larger than your true size in order to avoid discomfort. Something else that will likely cause some concern for runners is numerous complaints left by customers experiencing sharp pain in their heels. However, the use of orthotic heel inserts can remedy this comfort issue.


Perhaps the most appealing aspect of this shoe’s design is its style. This is Nike’s specialty, and the reason why they’ve enjoyed their long-lasting popularity, so it should come as no surprise. It is a testament to the prowess of Nike’s designers that they can continue to create fascinating and visually appealing running shoes, year after year. From the topographical outsole to the ribbed midsole and the chameleon upper, the LunarCharge Essential is a fantastic addition to Nike’s roster.


With the exception of the potential for discomfort in the heel area, these shoes are able to maintain their shape and level of performance for many miles according to testimonials left by satisfied customers. Most of this can be attributed to the power of Lunarlon, Nike’s revolutionary midsole material. While keeping the total weight of the LunarCharge Essential low, this material ensures that the shoes can maintain their structural integrity for multiple running sessions on appropriate terrain.


In all honesty, protection seems to be an afterthought in the design of the Nike LunarCharge Essential. A rudimentary level of coverage is offered through the upper half of these running shoes but it appears that this was not the main focus of its design. Slightly more protection can be found on the bottom half of this shoe thanks to the use of Lunarlon midsole cushioning; however, it seems that the unconventional outsole design causes discomfort for many runners’ heels. Ultimately, these running shoes will provide a level of protection for the wearer’s feet that is adequate but not noteworthy.


Some aspects of these Nike running shoes are less impressive than others. Fortunately, one aspect of the LunarCharge Essential that is impressive is its responsiveness. The main reason for this is the midsole, made from Nike’s proprietary Lunarlon technology. Through the aid of porous EVA foam of variable thicknesses, this essential core component of the LunarCharge Essential ensures quick and effective feedback with the wearer’s every step. An additional design component that benefits this aspect of these shoes’ design is the forefoot, which features a synthetic material that more closely resembles Flyknit-style knit fabric. This helps to provide the wearer’s toes with a more intimate feeling of contact with the ground.


Much has been said in this review about the Nike LunarCharge Essential’s midsole made from Lunarlon foam. While this component that makes up the middle layer of this shoe provides many benefits in terms of comfort, responsiveness, and stability, it fails to provide the same impressive benefits in terms of support. The blame for this can’t be entirely placed on the midsole, however, since the outsole is also expected to handle this aspect of a running shoe’s design. Unfortunately, the unconventional look of this shoe’s outsole results in a lack of support to the point where many individuals are experiencing sharp heel pain while running in these shoes.


Nike designed these shoes for the purpose of accommodating casual running sessions. This means that the environments that the LunarCharge Essential is best suited for are those with the most common forms of casual running terrain. As a result, the wearer can expect a reasonable running session while on grass, soft dirt, turf, asphalt, sidewalks, and standard running track. These shoes also work well as casual sneakers, but they will not perform well at all in harsher environments such as thick trails or steep inclines. Due to design limitations present in the outsole and upper, trail running or hiking in these shoes is a bad idea.


Aside from the fact that Nike designs some of the most fashionable running shoes in athletic footwear, they are also popular for their practice of selling these shoes for competitively low prices. This is the secret to their enduring success: selling good-looking shoes at affordable prices. The Nike LunarCharge Essential is similar in the sense that it both looks very appealing visually and has a reasonable cost attached to it. The exception to this is if a customer is interested in purchasing a limited release in a particular style since the scarcity could lead to a drastic price increase. However, the majority of available colors and sizes are listed for a very reasonable budget rate.


Thanks to some of the design features present in the Nike LunarCharge Essential’s curious looking outsole, a decent amount of traction can be experienced while wearing these shoes. Something worth keeping in mind is that these are still casual runners and will have the most success when used in appropriate running environments, such as a track or sidewalk. On these surfaces, the numerous small grooves present in the large lugs of this shoe’s underfoot work to provide a decent grip on the pavement beneath it. One downside to this construction style, as well as a reason to avoid using these shoes on trails, is that these small grooves can cause small debris to become stuck.


Many of the interesting stylistic choices made by Nike in the process of designing the LunarCharge Essential provide secondary benefits to its flexibility. Because of an unconventional outsole and a thin upper, these shoes offer a degree of pliability that vastly improve their performance. Although the forefoot’s lighter mesh upper contributes to this aspect of these shoes, the majority of this phenomenon can be attributed to the outsole with its multiple small grooves and large segregated plates. Perhaps most impressive of all regarding this shoe’s flexibility is that it doesn’t come at the expense of its stability.


While many running shoes struggle to find a balance between their stability and flexibility, the Nike LunarCharge Essential succeeds in striking a balance between them. Although many elements of this shoe are designed to provide excellent flexibility, an equal amount was implemented for the purpose of improving stability. This is most notable in the midsole, since the Lunarlon EVA material helps to keep the foot grounded and supported without feeling overly rigid. The snug upper also helps to keep the wearer’s foot in a stable position, although not to the same degree as the midsole.


Specific information has not been made available by the manufacturer regarding this shoe’s heel drop. However, a guess based on its appearance would place it in the same range as most other casual running shoes. These shoes often have a slight elevation from the heel to the forefoot in order to emphasize cushioning for heel strikers. This will be a common and comfortable feature for most running shoe wearers, but those who are more used to neutral-footed shoes will need to take some time in order to adjust.
Key Features

Key Features

  • Lunarlon midsole provides multifaceted cushioning and support

  • Synthetic mesh upper is breathable towards the front and protective toward the rear

  • Bold sense of style present in the upper and outsole

  • Speed lacing system for saving time

  • High heel drop to accommodate traditional heel strikers

Bottom Line

Bottom Line

There are many interesting features and concepts to be found in the Nike LunarCharge Essential. However, not all of these features will be appealing to runners. That said, individuals who care more about fashion than function will find a lot to love with these shoes, provided that they invest in some extra heel support first.