The Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 4 is an excellent option for those seeking a lightweight and low profile shoe that offers a springy and carefree trail experience.
This is a lightweight contender that boasts decent performance overall.
The Kiger 4 provides a surprising level of protection for such a lightweight shoe. This shoe comes equipped with 24 mm of cushion in the heel and 21 mm in the forefoot, which is an ample barrier to protect feet from sharp trail hazards. It earns a six in this metric.
The toe cap isn't as protective as others out there, but still provides cushion from unexpected stubs.
While it doesn't feature a rock plate (which would only increase its awesome factor), we found the cushioning in addition to the toe cap to be sufficient for protection overall. That said, the upper could use a little work. While the fly mesh has been adapted to provide better support, it allows fine particles like sand and clay in between its layers. When it comes to water protection, this shoe doesn't have much security from wet weather. The inner-liner provides some wicking power, but the shoe does absorb water when immersed. That said, it is breathable and dries quickly.
The upper mesh has two different layers. Pictured here is the upper layer. This allows particulates inside and we noticed debris building between the two layers. That said, it doesn't allow anything into the shoe.
The Kiger 4 allows you to feel the trail with every press of the shoe. While the 24mm of cushioning protects the foot from trail hazards, the foam maintains sensitivity on the trail. It's also incredibly flexible, allowing you to adjust for trail hazards quickly.
A look at one of the many different surfaces we used to test the sensitivity of the Nike Terra Kiger.
The Kiger 4 features a regulation-grade trail outsole with sticky rubber that forms to rocks and other surfaces. The waffle-like design has tiny lugs that are not well-spaced out. As a result, it doesn't shed mud very well, and things like tiny stones get caught in between the tread.
This outsole is sticky but doesn't feature super aggressive nor durable lugs.
While crossing streams, it slipped a lot over rocks; 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 continually slipping and unable to trust the shoe while running. Since the lugs aren't long, they aren't the best option for super steep ascents or descents; the shoes slip on these higher grades.
They stick nicely to rocks for easy scrambling in canyons.
What's more is that after one long hike down one of the Grand Canyon's hardest trails, the outsole of this shoe began to fall apart. A row of lugs separated from the platform of the shoe, which makes us question the durability of this shoe. Aside from these experiences, the tread as a whole does well on your conventional trail surfaces. Overall, it earns a little less than average performance score.
With minimal cushioning, a lower stack height, and wider forefoot, this shoe is incredibly stable. 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. Besides, with just a 4mm drop, we didn't have any problems with rolled ankles on even the toughest terrain. Overall, it's a great option if you're looking for a low profile, stable shoe.
The lacing systems attach to the upper but don't have any type of support harness. That's okay though given its low profile design and a glove-like fit.
Comfort & Fit
This lightweight trail shoe offers comfort on your shortest to longest adventure. The midsole is stacked with 24mm of foam in the heel, providing additional support for heel strikers. The 4mm heel to toe drop makes them profile, keeping you closer to the ground. The newer midsole sports small air cells that provide a more cushioned and airy ride, which we totally noticed on the trail.
The midsole is thinner but provides ample and responsive cushioning on a variety of different types of terrain.
The midsole is incredibly responsive and will have you springing along like the energizer bunny. For fit, this shoe will fit a variety of foot shapes and sizes. The wider toe box offers some volume that accommodates a diversity of feet, in addition to the foot swell after super long runs. Many of our testers were happy with the versatile fit of this shoe, and many felt that it was so comfortable that it could be worn all day for work or while hiking.
With a versatile fit, it fits most!
Weighing in at just 8.55 oz and absorbing only 3.9 oz of water in our submersion tests, this is an incredibly lightweight shoe that doesn't absorb a whole lot of water. Should you get caught in a downpour, it is quick to dry. This shoe is a lightweight profile trail model.
This is a lightweight shoe that is quick to dry.
Go anywhere with this low-profile and lightweight shoe. Take it to your next race or consider a trail marathon! While the outsole is super aggressive, it can certainly tackle technical terrain and cross over to paved roads. It also works for hiking!
Take this shoe hiking or running. Here we hike the New Hance trail, an unknown and very technical trail. We also took this shoe trail running when we got to the bottom where it did great.
Retailing for just $125, with many deals on older models or past colors, this is a less expensive trail shoe. That said, we are a little worried about the durability of the upper as it started to fray after one overnight backpack/running trip in canyon country. That said, we're not sure how long this shoe would last. The outsole is seemingly durable, but its lugs broke off after a run in the Grand Canyon. As a result, we're not sure if the value is worth the higher price.
While we love its lightweight performance, we noticed some serious wear and tear after a few technical hikes and runs. Here we see the lugs delaminating from the midsole.
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 stepping it up in the trail running category.
Here we test the Nike Terra Kiger on a trail that we thought might be dry, but were pleasantly surprised. We were happy to observe that despite the deep snow, it did pretty - even nasty conditions.