Nike Wildhorse 7 Review
Our Analysis and Test Results
One cannot help but compare the Nike Wild Horse 7 to its cousin, the Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 7. They are very similar designs with a similar fit, though, for the most part, the Wild Horse goes for more in almost every sense. It has more protection, more stack height, more drop, more features, and consequently, it weighs more. While the Terra Kiger is for folks who are light on their feet and dance down the trail, the Wild Horse is for aggressive heel strikers who pound out the miles.
Upon strapping these things on, our testers felt like they had armor on their feet. Protection is the strong suit of the Wild Horse 7. They have a stack height of 22.5mm under the heel and 14.5mm under the forefoot. The React foam is cushy and durable and feels a tad firmer to us than the EVA foam used in much of the competition. This model doesn't have an air pocket, but while running with the Wild Horse on one foot and the Terra Kiger on the other, the Wild Horse still felt cushier. There is also a segmented rock plate that effectively blunts the impact of sharp rocks across the length of the shoe. Up top, the toe bumper comes well over the end of the shoe, and there is a snug collar around the ankle to keep out dust and small pebbles. It's effective, negating the need for a gaiter, and the shoe is still easy to get on and off.
The traction on this shoe performs great on hard-packed dirt, pebbles, and sand, much like the Terra Kiger, though the lugs are somewhat farther apart, making them better at shedding mud. It uses the same high-abrasion rubber as its cousin, which suffers from the same lack of traction on more slippery surfaces like smooth granite.
We find that shoes with Vibram rubber perform better on slicker terrain. For the deserts of the Southwest, where grippy sandstone and sandy trails are par for the course, the Wild Horse 7 thrives, but for true mountain running or wetter climates with slick roots and leaves, the traction is lacking.
These shoes are predictably less sensitive than lighter, less protective, lower-to-the-ground models. Still, if they fit, they won't feel clunky like some men's running shoes designed for pavement. The feel is apparent when running in the Wild Horse and the Terra Kiger. We could feel the trail much better in the Terra Kiger, but we could land heel strikes on sharp rocks in the Wild Horse without consequence. If you're worried about smashing into rocks and roots at the end of a long run, these shoes are a great option.
The Wild Horse 7 is not quite as stable as shoes with a lower stack height, but they are much less wobbly than we expected them to be. The overbuilt heel provides a good platform for heel strikers, and the lacing system does a good job of ensuring that the feet don't slide around. That said, those new to trail running may prefer a shoe with a broader platform (like the Terra Kiger) as they become accustomed to the undulating, often uneven surfaces encountered when trail running.
For medium to narrow feet, the Wild Horse feels very comfortable. They fit true to size, and they seem to accommodate high volume feet a little better than the Terra Kiger. The tongue is nicely padded and stays comfortable even after you crank down the laces, and the ankle collar is soft and supple, creating no uncomfortable pressure on the Achilles. Despite the ankle collar and the tongue padding, we found these shoes still drained and dried quickly after tramping through creeks and streams.
These shoes don't feel as heavy as they look (check out the chunky heel), but they're noticeably heavier than more minimalist models, and the extra ounces add up over the miles. The Terra Kiger is an ounce and a half lighter as a pair, but running in both shoes, we couldn't feel much of a weight difference. If you want a lightweight shoe, these are not what you're looking for.
Should You Buy the Nike Wildhorse 7?
The Wild Horse 7 is an average price that isn't going to raise any eyebrows, but they deliver above-average performance. We consider them a great value, and since they seem to get updated every year, it's not uncommon to find them on sale. While not winning any awards, they hold their own against the best trail running shoes, and we recommend them to those who value comfort and protection in their footwear.
What Other Trail Running Shoes Should You Consider?
The Nike Wild Horse 7 is a versatile trail shoe that should appeal to many runners for its excellent protection without sacrificing too much sensitivity. Don't be dissuaded by the overbuilt-looking heel, as they feel lighter than they look. Just keep in mind that if you live in a wetter climate, you may want to consider a model with a more aggressive outsole. In this case, we recommend you look at the Saucony Peregrine 13 or the Scarpa Spin Ultra.
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