Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 7 - Women's Review
Our Analysis and Test Results
What's new with the Nike Terra Kiger 7 for women?
We compared the Terra Kiger 6 to the 7, and these are the differences we've observed:
- More breathable upper (more breathable holes at the back of the shoe)
- Less cushioned collar (thinner material)
- More reinforced toe bumper (an additional TPU enforcement at the toe)
- Outsole design has fewer lugs with higher surface area for better performance on steep terrain
- A wider base across the heel, offering a little more stability
- More length throughout the shoe, offering more depth and room in the toe box
- A few more measured ounces on our scale
The Nike Terra Kiger 7 is a cross-over trail runner with a light level of cushioning. It's a favorite for fast and flat terrain because of its responsive ride. The outsole is sticky and does the trick on everything from single track to technical descents. Just note the fit is best for those with a narrow foot.
After three months and over 300 miles running with this shoe in the mountains and on beaches, we can't say that it's hugely protective. We appreciate the integrated rock plate protecting from sharp rocks, but other elements simply aren't that burly. It has only 10.5mm of Nike React cushioning on the forefoot and 14.5mm on the heel. We could still feel rocks underfoot, and our feet felt a little more worn after 10 miles in this shoe than in others. While the upper is quick to dry, it doesn't protect from fine particulates. The upper mesh traps sand between the layers, requiring us to empty the shoe out when in desert conditions. Overall, it earns a lower score in this category for its lack of protective elements.
We love the updated lug pattern that offers excellent traction on most types of terrain. The lugs are evenly spaced and, in muddy conditions, provide better mud shed performance than this shoe has in the past. We also love the tacky rubber that sticks to wet rocks and other nastier conditions. After a few road running sessions, we noticed that the lugs wore down quicker than other types of rubber, but this is to be expected with a stickier rubber compound. Overall, the Terra Kiger 7 offers good traction on steep and flat terrain, and it's a shoe we'd trust on technical, wet surfaces.
Want to feel like you're intimate with the earth under your feet? This shoe offers a nimble and sensitive ride. With a lower stack height across the heel and forefoot, you can feel every inch of the trail. When testing it on a mountain run to an alpine lake, we ran over a groundhog pocked landscape. We could feel every slope, undulation, and rock, which allowed us to reposition ourselves for a healthier foot strike in each step. If sensitivity is essential to you, this is a shoe we'd recommend you consider.
While this shoe offers stability in its sensitivity, our testers still felt a little less confident in it on really uneven and technical terrain. Unlike super stable contenders that swallow your foot, making you feel like you sink into the outsole, the responsive and rigid construction of the midsole on the Kiger 7 makes you feel like you are sitting higher, even though the stack height is lower than most. While the newest model does have a more stable feel than it's had in the past, the narrow design doesn't offer a ton of lateral stability. We think this is attributed to the shoe having less volume in its fit, which converts to a less stable feeling. That said, we appreciate the "wings" on the back of the heel collar that splay outwards, making the ride on the downhill more stable than it's been in the past.
Comfort and Fit
We appreciate the lightweight appeal and responsive cushioning that makes this shoe comfortable for long distances — depending on if the fit works for your foot. The newest design is longer, which offers a more versatile fit than it has in the past. The heel doesn't pinch and will keep your foot in place. On the downhill, our feet didn't slip forward either. Our only issue with the fit is the lack of volume (still) in the forefoot. While it feels a touch wider than in the past, there isn't much top to bottom room, which doesn't accommodate a thicker foot. Our testers with a slim, narrow foot love the fit of this shoe, which converts to better performance across the board. On the other hand, testers with a wider foot loathed putting it on. Overall, make sure the shoe fits. This version is true to size.
While this shoe has always been touted as lightweight, the newest version now sits at a "regular" weight earning it an average score in this category. It's a little heavier than it's been in the past, but it still feels exceptionally lightweight when in use. The weight is distributed nicely, inspiring quick turnover and faster cadence on the trail.
Should You Buy the Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 7?
While a little heavier than the previous iteration, the Nike Terra Kiger 7 still feels incredibly light on the trail. It offers a more responsive ride than most trail runners with a sticky outsole that'll inspire any downhill charge. The fit is best for those with a narrow, less voluminous foot, and if it works, it's one you'll love for increasing your cadence and setting new personal best records.
What Other Trail Running Shoes Should You Consider?
We think the price of the Terra Kiger 7 is a bit high for its ranking in this particular review, but you might be willing to throw down the cash if the fit is perfect and you are looking for a responsive ride and confidence-inspiring traction on the trail. However, at this level of performance, other running shoes are more budget-friendly, such as the Merrell Antora 2, which is more stable and offers better protection. If you aren't worried about the price of your sneakers, we recommend going with a higher ranking option like the Salomon S/Lab Ultra 3, which blew its competitors out of the water on most fronts.