The Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 7 is a top trail running shoe for fast and flowy trails. It has an outstanding balance of protection and sensitivity and feels like it has way more cushion than what's there. These shoes can take you from the pavement to the fire roads to winding single track with ease, though mountain runners will want a stickier rubber for running over exposed granite (like the La Sportiva Kaptiva). For everyone else (except those with the narrowest of feet), the Terra Kiger is a worthy choice that we would not hesitate to add to our quiver of best shoes..Editor's Note: The Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 7 review was updated on March 6, 2022, with more in-depth product comparisons and suggestions on which shoes you should buy.
Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 7 Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Light, sensitive, very stable
Cons: Traction inadequate on slick surfaces
Our Analysis and Test Results
We've been fans of the last few iterations of the Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger, and this latest addition mostly follows the path of predecessors, with a few tweaks. This shoe features the same Nike React midsole, but the stack height is a little higher, and the rock plate in the forefoot has been moved back a bit and now resides directly under the midfoot, while the uppers remain essentially unchanged.
While this shoe certainly doesn't have the best protection, it does have an excellent balance of protection and sensitivity. Featuring a heel stack height of 16.5mm and 12mm in the forefoot, there's not a lot between your foot and the trail. However, the React foam combined with the air pocket in the heel and the rock plate under the midfoot make it feel like there is a lot more than what the numbers say. It isn't our favorite shoe for rocky, technical trails with the occasional scramble, but that has more to do with traction and stability, as the protection is adequate for most terrain and is even suitable for shorter distances on the pavement.
This tread of the Terra Kiger 7 consists of a shallow lug pattern that sheds mud well and performs well on hard-packed single track and dirt fire roads. It features Nike's high abrasion rubber, which we've found to be durable and resist breaking down longer than much of the competition. The midfoot has exposed React foam, and while we didn't damage or puncture that part of the outsole, heavy midfoot strikers should be wary. When cruising over talus or wet granite slabs, the rubber doesn't feel as sticky as compounds from Salomon or La Sportiva, but we felt very confident bombing steep dirt trails.
Like previous versions of this shoe, lucky number 7 is a sensitive model, letting you feel roots, rocks, and uneven terrain while still protecting your tired feet. This sensitivity gave us the confidence to let loose on the downhills, as we could easily feel the trail and react quickly to whatever came our way.
This shoe feels wonderfully stable with a somewhat low stack height and plenty of room for the forefoot to splay while remaining locked in place. It has just enough drop to encourage forefoot striking and give that sense of forward inertia we've come to expect from the modern running shoe, without the heel feeling clunky.
We find the Terra Kiger to be very comfortable. It fits true to size and has a medium width, with a little extra room in the forefoot. The fit reminds us of some of our favorite models from Salomon. The upper is a breathable perforated synthetic and feels light and airy along with the lightly padded tongue. The tongue has just enough padding to keep the laces from feeling too tight over the top of the foot, even when they're cranked down on a high-volume foot.
Our scale puts a pair of these shoes at 21 ounces for a size 9.5. While not the absolute lightest shoe we've reviewed, they offer a lot of comfort and protection for such a lightweight shoe. If counting ounces is your thing, we implore you to check these shoes out, as they are a worthy compromise.
Should You Buy the Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 7?
The Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 7 will appeal to many different runners. They are lightweight, and the medium amount of drop will appeal to experienced trail runners and people looking for the best running shoes for pavement. Folks new to hitting the trail will appreciate the cushioning and familiar feel. Just remember that smooth and flowy trails are their forte, and you may want something more protective for mega runs in the mountains.
What Other Trail Running Shoes Should You Consider?
This shoe has an average price and way above average performance relative to other shoes we've worn. In our experience, they are very durable, and we expect to get loads of pleasurable miles out of them. As stated above, these are not for extremely steep, rough, or rocky terrain. If this is the type of trail you like to take when out on a run, the Salomon Speedcross 5 or the Inov-8 Roclite G 290 may be better suited to your style.
— Matt Bento
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