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Nike Lunar Cross Element Review

Nike Lunar Cross Element
Photo: Nike
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Price:  $100 List
Pros:  Soft midsole is comfortable for running and jumping movements.
Cons:  Unsupportive for weightlifting, no protection for rope climbs.
Manufacturer:   Nike
By Audrey Hammond ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jan 17, 2017
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Our Verdict

Nike Discontinued the Lunar Cross Element January 2017

The Nike Lunar Cross Element is one of Nike's training shoes geared towards high-intensity workouts. We agree that these shoes are great for intense workouts that include double unders, plyometrics and sprints. However, the aspects of this shoe that make it well suited for jumping, such as the soft foam in the midsole, also make it a poor choice for weightlifting movements. A much better pick for a great all-around CrossFit shoe from Nike is our Editors' Choice winner, the Nike Metcon 1 - Women's. The Metcon 1 is a great combination of just enough cushion for running and a firm foundation for lifts, unlike this shoe which is lacking in support for heavy lifts. We also struggled on rope climbs with this model. The nylon upper did not grip onto the rope well at all, as compared to the sticky rubber reinforced sides of our Top Pick for Running WODs, the Reebok Sprint 2.0.

Our Analysis and Test Results

Hands-On Review

The Nike Lunar Cross Element weighs in at 5.8 ounces (164 grams). It has a 3 mm heel to toe drop and ripstop mesh uppers.
This shoe was a solid performer for running and jumping. It was not...
This shoe was a solid performer for running and jumping. It was not one of our awards winners, however, due to difficulties we had with rope climbs and weightlifting movements.
Photo: Audrey Hammond


The Nike Lunar Cross Element was not our go to shoe for weightlifting workouts. The soles were far too soft and squishy and did not provide the stable platform needed for heavy deadlifts and Olympic lifts. The Reebok Sprint 2.0 is a better choice if you are looking for a solid running shoe that can also be used for light to moderate weight lifts.


We gave this shoe our highest rating for running. While the soft sole causes problems for weightlifting movements, it makes the shoe very comfortable for running. One tester that is really not a fan of running stated she "felt light and fast in these."

The "Lunarlon" material in the midsole of this shoe was great for...
The "Lunarlon" material in the midsole of this shoe was great for running. It provided a springy and comfortable feel during our sprint testing.
Photo: Audrey Hammond


It was difficult to feel where our weight was on our feet in this shoe. This lack of awareness made it hard to stay back on our heels when cleaning and snatching, causing us to miss lifts at weights we normally don't have trouble with. In our search for a good running shoe that can also be worn for some light lifts, the Reebok Sprint 2.0 was a better match.


Although comfortable, this soft shoe did not provide enough support for what we were looking for in a general CrossFit shoe. When performing heavy squats it was hard to keep our feet in a solid connection to the ground while still allowing us to press our knees out. In contrast, when lifting in the Nike Metcon 1, we were much more grounded in our lifts.

During heavy kettlebell swings at 1.5 pood (53 lbs) it was difficult...
During heavy kettlebell swings at 1.5 pood (53 lbs) it was difficult to keep our weight back on our heels because of the soft sole in this shoe.
Photo: Audrey Hammond

Protection / Durability

There is decent toe protection in this shoe due to the synthetic overlay covering part of the toe box. When missing a few double unders our feet didn't suffer. However, on rope climbs these shoes were slippery. A lot of shoes that are marketed towards CrossFitters have extra grippy protection on the sides on the shoes just for the purpose of rope climbs, such as the "Rope Tech" on the Inov-8 F-Lite 195 - Women's. Not so on this model. We also noticed that the nylon uppers seemed to pucker from the friction of the rope sliding on the shoe.

The slick, ripstop mesh upper on this shoe did not give our feet...
The slick, ripstop mesh upper on this shoe did not give our feet traction during rope climbs. With our feet slipping on the rope we had to rely too heavily on our arms.
Photo: Audrey Hammond


This shoe ranked slightly above average for breathability. However, for a more breathable shoe that is also more versatile than the Nike Lunar Cross Element, our Best Buy winner, the Reebok Nano 2.0, is a consistently well liked option.


This shoe was quite comfortable for long days on our feet. According to one of our testers these shoes "were like clouds for my feet." This shoe does have an interesting tongue design that some testers didn't really like. The tongue is asymmetrical and wraps around the top of the foot, versus a traditional tongue that lies on top of the foot.

A few of the shoes in our review have creative tongue designs. This...
A few of the shoes in our review have creative tongue designs. This asymmetrical tongue wraps around from the side of the shoe.
Photo: Audrey Hammond

Best Applications

Running, box jumps, burpees and double unders felt great in these shoes. At 5.8 ounces (164 grams), they are on the lighter side for cross trainers which is beneficial for plyometric movements. The foam in the midsole nicely cushioned our feet when jumping and running.

Tara Ross takes off for a sprint after heavy kettlebell swings...
Tara Ross takes off for a sprint after heavy kettlebell swings during a team workout. We loved this shoe for the sprinting component of the workout. Meanwhile Lisa Ray prepares to test out our Editors' Choice winner, the Nike Metcon 1, for her next round.
Photo: Audrey Hammond


Retailing at $100, these shoes are about average in cost for the models in this review. However, since they do not perform well in all of the categories we are looking for in a cross training shoe, you might find yourself needing to purchase an additional pair of shoes to fill in the gaps. Spending the same amount of money on our Best Buy winner, the Reebok Nano 2.0, will get you a more versatile shoe.


The lack of support for lifting movements held this shoe back in its overall ratings. However, we loved how cushioned our feet were while running and jumping. This shoe would be great for plyometric workouts, but not a good option if you are looking for one shoe to wear to all of your CrossFit workouts.

Audrey Hammond

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