A few weeks ago I posted about being invited to participate in a group run and launch party with Nike Run Club+ here in Chicago.
When the day arrived, I was less excited, because it was cold (around 25 degrees), windy (gusts of over 30 mph), and snowing. Those are not ideal running conditions! But, per my intentions for the year and for March, I need to put myself out there, so I trudged my way to the Adler.
The Adler lobby was packed with nearly 100 runners,most donning Nike gear from head to toe. I immediately felt out of place, as it was clear these runners are part of a normal NRC group, and all knew each other. Rather than being welcoming, I was asked to move several times so various sub-groups could take pictures. Not awesome.
They did have a bag and coat check, which was awesome because I’d come directly from work. They also had hand warmers, which were brilliant because the winds were absolutely frigid.
The run route, had it not been freezing, was a great Chicago run. Since the run and party were coordinated with the LunarEpic shoe launch, and it’s touted as Nike’s most innovative shoe yet, the run route circled some of Chicago’s most famous buildings, The Field Museum, Soldier Field, and Northerly Island, which the Pace team incorrectly said were part of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. Although their info was not correct, these are still fabulous parts of the Chicago Lakefront.
It was a stereotypical Chicago winter evening. Cold, whipping wind coming across the lake, seemingly from every angle. Snow was falling everywhere. The kind people at Nike had hand warmers available, which was great, because even with my gloves my hands would have been frozen.
The route was great, except if you were behind their slowest pace group (which was a 10:00 min/mile pace), it was easy to go too far in a few places. Thankfully there a couple of people near me, so we figured it out and got back on track. For an event with a lot of planning, lack of clear direction or showing people where to go seems like a big miss.
The After Party
The best part of this event was the location. The Adler is so much fun, and they’d set everything up to leverage exactly how cool it is.
They made it into a challenge to learn about their new LunarEpic Fliyknit shoes. Each stop along the way taught you something else new about their new technology. The actual process didn’t stick with me, but the first station noted how the goal of the ride feel was to replicate running on the pine needle coated trails of Oregon.
Once you had your lunar passport punched by each area, you entered the goal zone: the moon! Here you could get food and drinks, and take a test run of the LunarEpic Flyknits on the moon.
I am not a fan of Nike running shoes. They tend to be focused on neutral runners, and style over function. The LunarEpic was no different. It’s a narrow, neutral shoe with no support, even though the knit upper goes all the way to the ankle. After my test run, the Nike employee manning my treadmill asked how I liked them. When I said they were not supportive enough for me, her response: “oh, well then you’d just run 6 or so miles in them”. Clearly she is not educated on running gait at all. For a pronator, running 6 miles in the wrong shoe is begging for an injury.
I was impressed by the comfortable ride, despite the lack of support. Does it feel like running on pine needles? I have no idea. But if you have a neutral gait, and want to try something new, give these a try.
My initial opinion of Nike being more style than substance was upheld. Their running groups cater to those who have plastered themselves in their gear, have a swift pace, and are part of their running “clique”.