Nike’s range of premium road running shoes is well-known, from the Vaporfly to the React Infinity Run. Nike has taken the well-proven technologies from its range of successful road shoes and produced a comprehensive range of Nike trail running shoes, as well as trail clothing that caters for different distances and a variety of terrain.
Team Nike Trail
Nike’s long list of professional athletes includes trail and ultra runners who have achieved inspirational performances in Nike trail kit. Ultrarunner and Nike athlete Rachel Drake tested its ability to perform on seriously tough terrain at the 2020 Golden Trail World Series in the Azores, where she finished in 2nd place overall! The multi-stage grand finale took place in wild terrain (humid tropical forest, high exposed volcano peaks, thick mud), which she tackled admirably in Nike trail shoes.
While professional athletes test Nike’s trail range to its limits, the new Nike Trail collection offers something for all runners, packed with cool and functional training gear suitable for any Nike fans who fancy taking things off road and exploring local or remote tracks and trails.
Providing comfort, protection and speed on mixed terrain, the Nike trail running shoes have what it takes to help you escape the pavement and hit the trails!
Let’s dive into the shoe specs.
Nike Wildhorse 7 | The versatile trail shoe
The Nike Wildhorse 7 is a unique trail running shoe by its design but especially by the changes made from the previous version. Don’t let its unusual look put you off, the model has a lot to offer.
Best for: stable comfort on a variety of trails and hills
Distance: from 5k to ultra
Weight: 301g (men’s) / 273g (women’s)
The previous version, the Wildhorse 6, has been in my shoe rotation for more than a year now and they’ve not disappointed me. I’ve been using them for shorter road-to-trail runs, feeling really comfortable on road sections and super reliable on trails. They’ve also accompanied me on long days out on the hills during the summer, bagging a few Munros – they’ve been really comfortable over 20miles+ distances and on a variety of trails and profiles.
I have now run close to 500km in them and they’re still in perfect condition. Even the outsole hasn’t worn down too much.
So, I was excited to try out the Wildhorse 7 and see how they compare to the 6th version.
As noted above, the Wildhorse is a brilliant all-rounder and the 7th edition hasn’t changed much, keeping it as good as the 6th.
The main update is the upper and the introduction of an open mesh design to this new model to improve breathability. I personally never had problems with the upper in the Wildhorse 6, but when running longer distances, increased breathability can definitely make a difference. And this new upper hasn’t changed what I love about the Wildhorse 6: its fit. The collar around the ankle nicely hugs the foot and the toe box is roomy enough. Moreover, the tongue features segmented padding which helps cut down on lace pressure.
First time on, I was more aware of the soft cushioning in the heel in the Wildhorse 7 than in the Wildhorse 6. Nike have not changed anything in the midsole, but it seemed a bit softer in this new edition. When running, the React foam just feels brilliant: it provides a springy but protective and soft sensation underfoot – the perfect amount of cushioning for a trail shoe, not overly soft but not too hard either.
On more demanding trails, the full rubber outsole does a really good job. The tread sticks and digs well to give traction on softer terrain (grass, mud etc.). The anti-clog coating across the outsole helps keep dirt out: to my surprise the shoes still look clean after a few runs on wet terrain.
The only downside to the Wildhorse 7 (same in the Wildhorse 6) is its poor performance on wet rocks: the shoe is slippery on wet hard surfaces, the outsole doesn’t stick well.
Overall, the Nike Wildhorse 7 is the perfect weapon to go long, on all kinds of trails and terrain.
If you’re looking for a lighter, quicker option, look at the Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 7.
Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 7 | The tough terrain tackler
Compared to the Wildhorse, the Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 7 is a lighter, more responsive model that feels fast and provides more ground feel. A great option for training and race day.
Best for: longer runs and shorter quicker off-road sessions
Distance:from 5k to marathon
Weight: 283g (men’s) / 250g (women’s)
Straight out of the box, we can tell there has been a couple of tweaks to this new version. I noticed a different lug pattern, which made the shoe look more aggressive at first glance. Combined with a new high-abrasion rubber this version of the Terra Kiger will deliver enhanced grip on steep slopes and wet and rocky trails. Moreover, this 7th edition features a rubber pod in the middle to improve traction and increase levels of controls on flatter, harder surfaces.
Compared with the Wildhorse 7, the Terra Kiger is the more nimble option, but can still do well over longer distances.
Like the Wildhorse, the Terra Kiger also features a React foam but the lower drop (4mm) gives a closer to the ground feel that is great for speed. A Zoom Air unit in the forefoot provides extra responsiveness, returning your energy to help guide you down the trail.
Responsive and fast on a mixture of terrain
The shoe is built with a segmented rock plate in the forefoot that helps shield feet from rough terrain without sacrificing flexibility or ground-feel.
Overall, both the Wildhorse and the Terra Kiger could be considered for the same type of runs: tough, technical trails. The Wildhorse 7 will provide more protection and cushioning while the low profile of the Terra Kiger 7 will make you feel light and fast (ideal for hillier runs).
If you want to be connected to the trails, the Terra Kiger is definitely the shoe for you. But if you’d like something a bit less ‘minimalist’, check out the Pegasus Trail 2.
Nike Pegasus Trail 2 | Road comfort for trails
The Nike Pegasus is an iconic road running shoe that Nike has tuned for trail with this version. The Nike Pegasus Trail 2 is a great option for those who like to keep their options open and run on a variety of trails as well as road.
Best for: short and long runs on a mixture of surfaces
The Nike Pegasus Trail 2 is a highly cushioned hybrid trail shoe that takes you door-to-trail. It features React foam which delivers lightweight cushioning and protection over long distances.
The outsole lugs are more aggressive than the road version to optimise traction on both road and trails. Additional grip is provided by a rubber outsole that has a bike tyre inspired look. Nike call this a shock wave-like pattern. Nubs provide traction and a smooth feeling underfoot on a mixture of surfaces, including road.
The Pegasus Trail 2 has got everything you need to make those trail runs comfortable. Indeed, the durable mesh upper helps water drain from the shoe. This is coupled with a perforated tongue that resists water and further increases drainage. A faux gaiter piece at the collar reduces the amount of dirt and debris that can get in.
This shoe is better suited for paths and hard-packed trails. I would consider the Wildhorse 7 for wet, steeper terrain, where you’ll need better traction!