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Hands-on Gear Review
Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 4 - Women's Review
Cons: Mesh is not debris-proof, lacks a rock plate
Bottom line: This lightweight trail shoe will have you tackling miles at turbo speed.
The Nike Terra Kiger 4 stands out for its quick and lightweight designs that will have you quickly tackling all types of terrain. Featuring a lightweight fly mesh upper and a robust 24 mm midsole, this shoe is not only lightweight but also protective. We love its wider toe box that offers lots of extra room for toes to wiggle in addition to its sleek fit that doesn't allow heel slippage. We are also impressed by its super durable waffle-like outsole that sticks to pretty much every surface (except wet rocks and ice). While we loved this shoe, we wished that the ultra-breathable upper did not allow so many particulates between the mesh and the inner sock liner and that it had a protective rock plate. Other then that, this shoe is perfect for tackling pretty much any kind of terrain. It's preferred by forefoot strikers and promotes a lightweight ride on the trail. Enjoy this low profile and protective trail shoe for a fair price of just $125.
RELATED REVIEW: The Best Women's Trail Running Shoes for 2017
Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The Terra Kiger 4 is a great option for those seeking a lightweight, low profile shoe that offers bomber underfoot protection.
We gave this shoe a seven out of ten in the area of foot protection. Equipped with 24 mm of cushion in the heel and 21 mm in the forefoot, there is lots of cushion to absorb blunt blows to the underside of the foot. The only addition we wish for is the integration of a protective rock plate. However, the foam is so responsive and firm it protected well on non-technical terrain.
That said, the upper could use a little work. While the fly mesh has been adapted to provide better support, it allows particulates in between the layers of the mesh and the liner. This proved to be annoying, especially when running in the desert. That said, the fine particulates were unable to penetrate the inner-sleeve construction, which is a big plus. A better option to protect from debris is our Editors' Choice winner, the inov-8 Roclite 305 GTX - Women's or the highly protective Salomon Speedcross 4 - Women's. Both offer better protection in the way of the upper.
The inov-8 also features a Gore-Tex overlay that protects from wet weather. The Terra Kiger unfortunately is not waterproof, but the inner sock provides some water-wicking capabilities allowing it to perform well in precipitation. In addition to these protective elements, we were happy to learn that this shoe is breathable - perfect for three seasons of the year (except winter). If you're in the market for a protective and lightweight shoe, the Terra Kiger 4 is a great option!
Earning a six out of ten in this category, we did not think the Terra Kiger 4 features an overly impressive outsole. While durable, the outsole features a waffle-like design with 4mm lugs. While the lugs are impressively sticky on mostly every surface, they don't perform well on wet surfaces.
While testing on a seven-mile trail run in early Spring, we learned very quickly that the rubber is not sticky in cold, wet conditions, but the opposite. We found ourselves constantly slipping and unable to trust the shoe to actually run. Aside from this experience, it sticks well when dry to rocks, scree, buffed out trails and more. That said, if you're planning on tackling tough clay or mud, be sure to use a pair of shoes with longer lugs like the Salming Elements or Salomon Speedcross 4.
With minimal cushioning and a wider forefoot, this shoe is incredibly stable. With a low stack height: width ratio, this shoe earned a solid nine out of ten in this category. The newly designed fly mesh wraps around the foot while the lacing system provides a nice concise fit that adds to the stability of the shoe.
In addition, with just a 4mm drop, we didn't have any problems with rolled ankles on even the toughest terrain. Overall, a great option if you're looking for a low profile, stable shoe. If you're interested in the shoe with the best stability, be sure to check out the ultra flexible Salming Elements.
Comfort & Fit
Earning a six out of ten in this category, we think this shoe boasts above average comfort. That said, even with a stack height of 24mm, this foam is on the firmer end of the EVA foam spectrum. The Phylom midsole also sports brand new zoom air units to provide a more cushioned and airy ride which we definitely noticed on the trail. That said, this shoe is still a lot less plush than maximalist models like the HOKA ONE ONE Challenger ATR 3 - Women's, which is attributed to the 'hard' nature of the foam used in the midsole. That said, it is very responsive. We also thought that the Dynamic fit makes for a very comfortable fit that trumps other contenders like the Saucony Xodus ISO 2 or the Salomon Speedcross 4.
We were surprised that this neutral shoe actually features a wider toe box making it more versatile for all foot shapes than narrow contenders like the inov-8 Roclite 305 GTX. The shoe has a fairly firm fit with a low profile that fore- and midfoot strikers prefer (as opposed to heel strikers). In addition, this trail shoe does not have additional arch support like the Merrell Agility Peak Flex.
In general, Nike tends to fit a little smaller than normal, so we'd recommend to size up one-half size.
Weighing in at just 8.55 oz and absorbing only 3.9 oz of water in our water tests, we are happy to report this shoe is the lightest shoe in our current review. Not only that, but it is quick to dry if you ever get caught in a downpour. As a result, it scored a nine out of ten in this category. Other lightweight (and quick to dry) options include; HOKA ONE ONE Challenger ATR 3 (8.80 oz) and the New Balance Leadville Trail v3 - Women's (least absorbent).
With an eight out of ten in this category, this shoe boasts above average sensitivity. While the cushioning protects, it's not so bulky that it discourages sensitivity. The lack of a rock plate makes it more flexible as well. We found ourselves easily picking our way over technical terrain. If you're looking for an option with even better sensitivity, be sure to check out the La Sportiva Bushido or the Salming Elements. Both offer better sensitivity but a little less in the way of protection on the trail.
Given the lightweight, low-profile nature of this shoe, we say go anywhere! Given its lack of a rock plate (and lower level of cushioning) we'd recommend it for shorter distances (otherwise it will take some getting used to). In addition, given the great durability of the outsole, it's also a fantastic cross-over option.
For only $125, this shoe was a contender for our Best Buy award. We think for the price its high value. It has all the necessities of a great trail shoe in addition to a lightweight and low profile construct. Plus it's durable! A great deal in our eyes. If you're looking for an even more affordable option, be sure to click on over to our Best Buy award winner, the Saucony Peregrine 7 - Women's.
The Nike Terra Kiger 4 is luxurious but lightweight. It's the perfect trail option for those in search of a lightweight and low-profile option that offers great protection and traction. Don't be deterred by the brand, Nike is definitely stepping it up in the trail running category.
— Amber King
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