Blister Brand Guide: Nike Trail Running Shoe Lineup, 2020

Blister Brand Guide: Running Shoe Lineups

Intro

When considering a new running shoe, there are so many similar-looking shoes on the market being made by so many different companies, it is virtually impossible to (1) know where to begin; (2) quickly figure out which one or two products from a given brand might work well for you; and (3) determine what products from other brands might be the most similar and also worth considering.

So in our new “Blister Brand Guide” series, we provide an overview of the entire product lineup of a brand; highlight how each product stands out from the rest of that brand’s lineup; and help you figure out quickly and easily which shoe might work best for you. 

In our individual product reviews, we go very deep into the details of particular products. With these Brand Guides, the goal is not Depth, but Breadth. Our Brand Guides and full reviews are designed to complement each other — provide a broad overview of entire company lineups, and then also very detailed reviews of individual products. 

See our other running shoe Brand Guides

Nike: Brand Background

Nike is one of the biggest names in road running, but they’re still relatively new to the trail running world. Nike has dabbled in the trail shoe market in the past, but their current line of “Nike Trail” shoes made its first appearance in 2014 with the release of the Zoom Wildhorse. Since then, the Nike trail lineup has grown to include four other models.

While Nike’s trail shoe lineup might seem fairly limited compared to brands like Hoka or Salomon at a first glance, each shoe in Nike’s line up has a distinct set of features that cater to a specific type of runner. In this brand guide, we’ll outline these features and provide an idea of what each Nike Trail shoe is designed to do best.

NIKE TRAIL SHOES

(Most Cushioned to Least Cushioned)

Most Cushion

Blister Brand Guide: Blister covers the 2020 Nike Trail running shoe lineup
The Pegasus Trail 2 is an update to the Pegasus Trail 36, which Nike released last year. Aside from its 10 mm heel-to-toe drop, the Pegasus Trail 2 doesn’t have a whole lot in common with the previous version of the shoe — the Pegasus Trail 2 has a thicker midsole, more aggressive outsole, and re-designed upper. Those changes also make it about 50 g / 1.8 oz heavier per shoe than the Pegasus Trail 36. Still, like the previous version, Nike markets the Pegasus Trail 2 as a versatile, “road-to-trail” shoe that performs well on both roads and non-technical trails. If you’re looking for a high-cushion shoe for runs on mixed surfaces and like a higher heel-to-toe drop, the Pegasus Trail 2 could be a good option. It likely won’t perform as well on technical trails as the Wildhorse or Terra Kiger because of its higher stack height, higher drop, and relatively lower-profile outsole lugs.

Stack Height

Drop: 10 mm

Stated Weight

MSRP: $130.00
Blister Brand Guide: Blister covers the 2020 Nike Trail running shoe lineup

The Pegasus Trail 2 GORE-TEX has the same midsole and outsole as the standard Pegasus Trail 2, but with a waterproof / breathable upper. Like the regular version of the shoe, the Pegasus Trail 2 GORE-TEX is probably best suited for runs that mix roads and non-technical trails — but it offers more protection from wet, cold conditions than the Pegasus Trail 2. If you often run on a mix of pavement and dirt in inclement weather, the Pegasus Trail 2 GORE-TEX could be worth checking out.

Stack Height

Drop: 10 mm

Stated Weight

MSRP: $160.00
Blister Brand Guide: Blister covers the 2020 Nike Trail running shoe lineup

The Wildhorse 6 is also pretty much a complete redesign of the previous version of the shoe. The Wildhorse 6 has a much thicker midsole (about 10 mm thicker, to be exact) and much more aggressive outsole than the Wildhorse 5. The upper has also been completely overhauled — the Wildhorse 6 has a sock-like ankle collar that’s designed to keep rocks and dirt out of the shoe, and the updated lacing system purportedly provides a more locked-down fit through the midfoot. On the whole, these changes make the Wildhorse 6 more targeted to performance on technical terrain than previous versions of the shoe. The Wildhorse 2 will likely perform better on technical terrain than the Pegasus Trail 2 thanks to its much more aggressive outsole and lower heel-to-toe drop, while offering a bit more cushion / protection than the Terra Kiger 6 for longer runs. If you’re looking for a high-cushion shoe that can handle more technical trails, the Wildhorse 6 should be on your radar.

Stack Height

Drop: 8 mm

Stated Weight

MSRP: $130.00
Blister Brand Guide: Blister covers the 2020 Nike Trail running shoe lineup
The Juniper Trail is a new addition to the Nike Trail line up for 2020. With an MSRP of just $70 (for the black colorway — the blue one costs $80), the Juniper Trail is intended to be an entry-level trail shoe for runners on a budget. Its moderate stack height and low-profile outsole should provide decent protection and traction for mellow trails, but it likely won’t perform as well on more technical terrain as a more protective, grippy shoe like the Wildhorse 6. The Juniper’s lower price also does mean that the shoe makes some compromises on quality — the midsole material is softer and likely less durable than the React foam used on Nike’s other trail shoes, and the upper and outsole rubber might not hold up quite as long. But if you’re looking for a simple, straightforward trail shoe for moderate terrain that won’t break the bank, the Juniper Trail could be a good option.

Stack Height

Drop: 6 mm

Stated Weight

MSRP: $70-80.00
Blister Brand Guide: Blister covers the 2020 Nike Trail running shoe lineup

The Air Zoom Terra Kiger remains largely unchanged for 2020 — the Terra Kiger 6 has the same midsole and outsole as version 5, with just a few minor changes to the upper design. The Terra Kiger 6’s upper allegedly provides a better fit and better durability than the previous version. Aside from that, the Terra Kiger is still Nike’s go-to shoe for faster runs on moderate terrain. We found that the Terra Kiger 5’s outsole (which looks to be unchanged on version 6) didn’t provide much traction in wet conditions — so if you run lots of highly technical, muddy trails, the Wildhorse 6 might be a better option than the Terra Kiger 6. The Wildhorse 6 also provides more cushioning and protection than the Terra Kiger 6, which might make it a better option for longer runs (depending on your shoe preferences). But if you’re looking for a lighter, lower heel-to-toe drop shoe with firm cushioning for faster / shorter runs and don’t expect much mud, the Air Zoom Terra Kiger 6 could be worth a closer look.

Stack Height

Drop: 4 mm

Stated Weight

MSRP: $130.00

6 comments on “Blister Brand Guide: Nike Trail Running Shoe Lineup, 2020”

  1. So the Wild horse 5 has been my go to trail runner to a fault. The changes to the 6 have me skeptical about just “ordering” them without trying them on….covid is crazy here right now…so the question is which of these models is most similar to the “Old” wild horse 5. I’m thinking the TK6 but am wondering if you can enlighten me a bit…

    • Hey Tim-

      I haven’t actually run in either the Wildhorse 5 or 6, but I’d say the Terra Kiger 6 is probably closer to the Wildhorse 5 than the Pegasus or Juniper would be. With that said, the TK 6 does have a lower drop and a fair amount less cushioning than the Wildhorse 5 — so if you’re concerned about drop and / or cushion, the TK 6 might not work as well for you. At the end of the day, none of Nike’s current offerings have all that much in common with the Wildhorse 5. If you really like the Wildhorse 5, I’d just recommend trying to find a pair online — it looks like a few sites (Amazon, etc) still have them in stock. Hope that helps!

  2. Tim, Max,

    I too was a huge fan of the wildhorse 5. I pulled the trigger on a pair of 6’s and really do love them. They’re a different feel than the 5’s though. Bigger drop (i think) way more cushion (at least it feels like it). Buy a half size up because they run a bit narrow and small.

  3. WH6 is amazing shoe for me -101 last. Shape and foam tech is taken from Nikes’s road shoes. Having sais that i dont do road racing just training once a week. Extremely comfy long distance <=50km shoe! Upper is indestructible! I did around 500km! One thing: rubbish grip on wet, any wet surface! There is no grip at all, i was skating like on ice! Great shoe for dry fire roads and trail. Yes i am buying second pair.

  4. First of all, love your brand line ups.
    Anyway, I bought a Nike Trail 2 in 44 (10) size, I did a run in them mostly on the road, and my toes next to the big ones were killing me for the next two days. So I sold them online. It’s the plastic in the front…the React felt great on the hard surface. Go half of size up maybe.
    I think I would go for something less cushioned and lighter next time. Terra Kiger looks good, but can’t find it in the shops around here.
    Keep up the good work!

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