When the test pair of Nike Lunar Waverlys first emerged from the box, Mrs. Critical Golf immediately stepped into them and went into a rather frightening rendition of “It’s Tricky.” Ignoring the fact that Run-D.M.C were adidas men, the point remains clear – the Lunar Waverly is old school, with styling modeled after some of Nike’s first shoes.
While it is true that you can wear these around town or even to the office (assuming you work in the tech world), and then step right on to the course, Nike might have gone a bit overboard in their efforts to make an old school shoe, since the Lunar Waverly not only looks like but is also about as comfortable as a shoe from decades ago. While the Lunar Waverly may win some over with its hipster design and reasonable price point, we found that the technology and design elements didn’t match the comfort and performance of other spikeless golf shoes in our tests.
As soon as you see the Lunar Waverlys you’ll be thrown back in time, and it isn’t accidental. With the Lunar Waverlys, which are part of the “Versatility” footwear family from Nike Golf, the design team drew inspiration from iconic running and tennis shoe designs, with the goal of creating something that could be worn on and off the golf course.
While we went old school Lunar Waverly with white shoes with grey and red highlights (aka White/Action Red/Light Bone/Sail), you can also choose from a wide variety of color combinations. One can only envision the Nike creative department with whiteboards full of names such as Obsidian/Summit White/Clearwater/Blue Lagoon (apparently someone is a Brooke Shields fan), Tawny/Prism Pink/Lunar Grey/Tawny, Cargo Khaki/Desert Camo/Green Haze/Summit White, Anthracite/Summit White/Venice/Anthracite, White/Volt/Barely Volt (come on, really?)/Black, Black/Pure Platinum/Volt/Anthracite, and Baroque Brown/Sail/Hyper Punch (Hey Kool-Aid!)/Black. Now imagine the names not selected. No, we can’t imagine those either. If you want to try to step from your office to the range at lunch, just pick your color choice wisely.
Nike also incorporated a number of new design elements into the Lunar Waverlys, although they didn’t seem to enhance the fit or performance of the shoe. The laces run through what are basically thin cords, which in turn are threaded through the holes in the waterproof full-grain leather uppers (where the eyelets would customarily be), and then attach to the midsole of the shoe. Now we need a fancy name. Call it “Dynamic Flywire.” There is also a rubber cup-sole that provides lateral support. The sock liner (aka insole) is made of – get this – cork! This is a first for Nike Golf, and the purported benefits include greater comfort (which we didn’t experience), light weight (though this wasn’t enough to keep the Lunar Waverlys, at about 1.7 lbs. for a pair of size 10s, from being one of the heavier shoes in our tests), and odor prevention (which we we haven’t been able to confirm). It certainly is distinctive, though you’ll be the only one to know that it is there. To retain comfort, there is a “Lunarlon” form (thus the use of ‘Lunar’ in the shoe name) that is included to provide responsive cushioning. We weren’t fans of the feel, finding the shoe had less arch support than others in our tests, and left our feet more tired at the end of the round.
Other things we didn’t love were the shape of the toe box, which, while traditional in look, wasn’t as wide or comfortable as some of the spikeless alternatives, and the heel tab, since we prefer a lower-cut heel tab/scoop for greater comfort
On the sole the Lunar Waverly features a waffle-like design (think squared off small rubber spikes) set on a diagonal. Curiously, the “spikes” vary quite a bit in length, with the longest spikes around the ball of the foot and extending toward the big toe. The spikes get shorter and shorter toward the instep, where they are quite short, and then lengthen again toward the heel. One byproduct of having spikes of relatively long length and soft material is that you can actually move the sole and shoe in different directions, while still keeping the spikes firmly affixed to the ground. We aren’t sure the benefit to this design, as it seems that this would provide more shoe movement when one would theoretically want less. However, we didn’t notice any additional movement when swinging, experiencing it only on cart paths and extremely hard ground. Perhaps this longer soft “spike” design is to allow some amount of ability for the foot and leg to pivot and twist to lessen stress on joints? Hey, it’s just a guess.
At $140 retail the Nike Lunar Waverly is about average within our tests – far from the least expensive that hover at $100, and much more reasonable than those that break $200. Even at this price tag we found that there were others that provided far more comfort for the same bill.