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Nike Wildhorse 7 Review

These shoes are for folks who charge hard, put in big miles, and strike with their heels
Nike Wildhorse 7
Photo: Nike
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Price:  $130 List | Check Price at REI
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Pros:  Great protection, heel collar keeps dirt out, dries quickly
Cons:  Not very sensitive, poor traction on wet or smooth surfaces
Manufacturer:   Nike
By Matt Bento ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Aug 6, 2021
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71
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#8 of 16
  • Foot Protection - 25% 9
  • Traction - 20% 7
  • Sensitivity - 15% 5
  • Stability - 15% 7
  • Comfort - 15% 9
  • Weight - 10% 3

Our Verdict

The Nike Wildhorse 7 looks like a clunky, overbuilt shoe that seasoned runners will thumb their noses at, but once we got them on our feet, we found a protection-oriented trail runner that still offers a fair amount of sensitivity. While they're a little heavy, they don't feel bad at all, and folks who tend to strike with their heels or midfoot will appreciate this surprisingly nimble shoe. Like other models from Nike, we felt the rubber lacked the traction we like on smoother rock surfaces, but on hard-packed dirt and sand, we felt great.

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Nike Wildhorse 7
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Nike Wildhorse 7
Awards  Editors' Choice Award   Best Buy Award 
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Pros Great protection, heel collar keeps dirt out, dries quicklyUnbeatable fit, very comfortable, fantastic underfoot protection, doesn’t absorb much water, ankle collar keeps out debris, very stableGood protection and sensitivity, stableStable, low to the ground, great tractionG-grip graphene enhanced outsole is very durable, super comfortable, low to the ground and responsive
Cons Not very sensitive, poor traction on wet or smooth surfacesExpensive, hard to get on foot, must wear above the ankle height socks, hard to stuff laces into garageNot particularly breathable, fit is smallA little heavy for a trail shoeNot as sticky as previous versions, not super protective underfoot or in the upper
Bottom Line These shoes are for folks who charge hard, put in big miles, and strike with their heelsThe cream of the crop for trail running shoes delivers fine-tuned long run performanceThese protective tanks will keep going over rocky ridges and scree fields but aren't great for hotter environmentsThis is a very stable shoe with a sticky outsole that's perfect for putting in miles over varied terrainA very comfortable, low riding shoe that has excellent and durable traction
Rating Categories Nike Wildhorse 7 Salomon S/Lab Ultra 3 La Sportiva Bushido II Saucony Peregrine 11 Inov-8 Roclite 290
Foot Protection (25%)
9.0
9.0
8.0
5.0
5.0
Traction (20%)
7.0
7.0
8.0
9.0
9.0
Sensitivity (15%)
5.0
6.0
8.0
9.0
8.0
Stability (15%)
7.0
9.0
8.0
9.0
8.0
Comfort (15%)
9.0
9.0
6.0
8.0
8.0
Weight (10%)
3.0
6.0
7.0
5.0
7.0
Specs Nike Wildhorse 7 Salomon S/Lab Ultra 3 La Sportiva Bushido II Saucony Peregrine 11 Inov-8 Roclite 290
Measured Weight (per pair) 22.6 oz (size 9.5) 22.4 oz (size 11) 21.9 oz (size 9.5) 22.5 oz (size 9.5) 21.6 oz (size 11)
Heel-to-Toe Drop 8 mm 8 mm 6 mm 4 mm 4 mm
Stack Height (Heel, Forefoot) 22.5 mm, 14.5 mm 26 mm, 18 mm 19 mm, 13 mm 27 mm, 23 mm 17.5 mm, 13.5 mm
Upper Synthetic, textile Anti-Debris Mesh with sockliner Air mesh/thermal adhesive microfiber/high-frequency welded ripstop overlays/TPU toe cap Reinforced mesh Mesh upper with ADAPTERWEB foot cradle system
Midsole EVA Energy Save PU foam with Profeel Film rock protection 4mm LaSpEVA/compression-molded MEMlex/1.5 mm dual-density compressed EVA PWRRUN PowerFlow
Outsole Rubber Contagrip MA Rubber FriXion XT V-Groove2 rubber with Impact Brake System PWRTRAC Tri-C Sticky
Lacing Style Traditional Quicklace with garage Traditional Traditional Traditional
Wide Version Available? No No No Yes No
Sizes Available 6 - 15 4 - 13 38 - 48.5 7 - 14 7 - 15

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. It has more protection, more stack height, more drop, more features, and consequently, it weighs more as well. 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.

Performance Comparison


These shoes are great for midfoot and heel strikers.
These shoes are great for midfoot and heel strikers.
Photo: Ryan Baker

Foot Protection


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 both cush 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, and the shoe is still easy to get on and off.

Check out that overbuilt heel! Fortunately, it doesn't feel as...
Check out that overbuilt heel! Fortunately, it doesn't feel as clunky as it looks, and we really like how the ankle collar keeps the dirt out.
Photo: Ryan Baker

Traction


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.

The shallow, spaced-out lugs are good for shedding mud.
The shallow, spaced-out lugs are good for shedding mud.
Photo: Ryan Baker

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.

We wish these shoes had better traction on smooth surfaces like...
We wish these shoes had better traction on smooth surfaces like granite.
Photo: Ryan Baker

Sensitivity


These shoes are predictably less sensitive than lighter, less protective, lower-to-the-ground models, but if they fit, they won't feel clunky like some crossover models or Hoka's. This is apparent when running in both 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.

More protection means less sensitivity, and these shoes are no...
More protection means less sensitivity, and these shoes are no exception. They don't feel as clunky as we expected though.
Photo: Ryan Baker

Stability


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 wider platform (like the Terra Kiger) as they become accustomed to the undulating, often uneven surfaces encountered when trail running.

These shoes offer decent stability, especially for heel strikers.
These shoes offer decent stability, especially for heel strikers.
Photo: Ryan Baker

Comfort


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 we tramped through creeks and streams.

The padded tongue feels very comfy, even when the laces are cranked...
The padded tongue feels very comfy, even when the laces are cranked down. These shoes also dry very quickly, which we appreciated on a rare day of rain in Nevada.
Photo: Ryan Baker

Weight


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 are an ounce and a half lighter for the 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.

These shoes weigh 22.6oz for a pair of size 9.5's.
These shoes weigh 22.6oz for a pair of size 9.5's.
Photo: Matt Bento

Value


The Wild Horse 7 are 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.

Conclusion


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 Vibram outsole.

These shoes performed well in the blazing heat, rain, and light hail...
These shoes performed well in the blazing heat, rain, and light hail we experienced all in a few hours on our run.
Photo: Ryan Baker

Matt Bento