No matter what Nike product I try, I am never disappointed; all of its products made for runners are totally reliable and effective, and the LunarEpic Flyknit Shield Running Shoes are no different.

When I opened the box of the LunarEpic shoes, I’ll admit I was a little confused at first because it looked like it had built in socks. I learned these shoes were designed for winter running after runners requested a shoe that resembled a sock. The 10 mm “offset” was designed to cover the ankles and create a “supportive, flexible and breathable layer” to resemble a snug sock, according to Nike.com. I had never tried (or even seen) a running shoe with this feature, so I was very eager to try it out.

However, this offset created an inner debate: to wear a real sock or not? I thought if I did, I might start to feel claustrophobic, but if I didn’t, my feet would sweat and stick to the inside of the show, and smell really badly afterwards. I decided to put on a no-show sock (to avoid having too many layers above the ankle), and my toes still had plenty of room to wiggle and I did not once feel constricted. I later learned that you are still supposed to wear socks with these shoes, so good thing I did!

On a brisk afternoon, temperatures in the low 30s, I pulled out my new LunarEpics and went out for a three mile run. Instantly, I noticed how the “sock” hugged my ankle perfectly; it was not constricting, and was the perfect amount of thickness to avoid being uncomfortable. For someone with long legs, running tights usually stop right before my ankle, but this feature closed the gap that socks usually don’t, and kept my skin from being exposed in cold conditions.

As for the rest of the shoe, I was fairly happy with how it performed – usually, I use Nikes as my walking, shopping, everything-but-exercise shoe because they tend to feel heavier and make me stomp my feet. However, the LunarEpic shoes are so feathery, that I almost think I liked them better than my normal running shoes, and I’m a Brooks Ghost model enthusiast. No exaggeration – I felt like I was gliding in these shoes, and my feet felt like they were resting on pillows, thanks to the Lunarlon pods that provide extra cushioning.

Along with some wind, the day I ran in my mock socks (the nickname I gave these shoes), ice and snow was melting from our big snow storm earlier this winter. As a natural klutz, I usually resort to running in muddy grass than attempting to conquer anything that could be slippery; with the LunarEpic’s updated traction pattern which helps grip wet surfaces, however, I definitely felt more confident. The shoe also has a water-repellent coating to keep everything inside dry, and my real socks were only soaked with sweat at the end of my run.

Usually the first few times I wear a new pair of shoes, I end up with multiple blisters on my heels and in between my toes. The offset in the LunarEpic kept my skin from rubbing against any stiff material though, making the shoes feel broken-in after just one run. Who knew that a little piece of fabric could make such a difference?

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