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.
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)
Drop: 10 mm
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.
Drop: 10 mm
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.
Drop: 8 mm
Drop: 6 mm
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.