The RW Takeaway: With its lower drop, lighter weight, and locked-in lacing, the Terra Kiger 5 is ideal for both runs and races on technical trails in mostly dry conditions.

As of this writing, Nike makes three horses for the off-road: the Pegasus 36 Trail, the Wildhorse 5, and the Terra Kiger 5. The first is a great road-trail hybrid, the second offers the essentials for budget-minded runners and beginners, and the third takes the best parts of both—deeper lugs and a midsole rock plate remind us of the rugged Wildhorse, but premium foam and a softer, perforated mesh upper offers more Peg-like comfort on foot. It’s a combination perfect for longer runs on soft, dry singletrack and shorter efforts on rocky, technical terrain. “The traction on off-camber turns is as good as, or better than, any trail shoe I have worn,” one tester said. “It’s firmer on hard or frozen trails, but comes alive and feels a bit more cushy in the dirt.”

New to the fifth Kiger is React foam—the same material on speedy shoes like the Peg Turbo—which offers a nimble base for the redesigned grippy outsole, now flush with multidirectional rubber lugs. Although it isn’t waterproof, a double-layered mesh upper with a padded tongue sheds moisture quick, and ghillie-style lacing wrangles in a snug fit over the arch to keep it all secure.



When it comes to cushioning, the Kiger falls right between the Pegasus Trail and the Wildhorse. All three shoes have a bouncy Zoom Air unit in the heel, but the Kiger pairs it with React foam for a more responsive ride, where the Peg Trail adds a second air unit and Cushlon foam for the most softness. Combined with its lower drop, the Kiger offers you a good feel for the ground without sensing too much of the rock plate in the forefoot. Unlike the Wildhorse, the Kiger’s plate is segmented, which gives the shoe a little more flexibility (although our RW lab results show that the women’s model will feel slightly firmer and stiffer than the men’s). That said, the Zoom Air unit ensures both the men’s and women’s models keep higher energy return in the heel for plenty of comfort when you’re striking hard on downhills.

Nike doubles down on traction for the Kiger outsole. It switches from mostly square-shaped pegs in the previous version to sticker, crisply angled lugs, and is now fully constructed from high-abrasion rubber. The lugs clear out at the center of the outsole for a larger panel of more tacky rubber, which helps keep the ride smooth and unobstructed for midfoot strikers without sacrificing on grip. One tester found the setup ideal for runs on dry terrain, but felt a little unsteady in the forefoot on steep climbs in wet mud. (He describes his experience in the Wear Tester Feedback section below.)

The bad news is that the Kiger isn’t waterproof, but it does have a very generous forefoot overlay that will let you splash through deep puddles without taking on water. The good news is that when you do get the shoe wet, that moisture doesn’t hang around for long with a breathable Flymesh upper that drains water quick. While the 5 nixes the previous version’s Flywire cables, our testers found that the tweaked lacing gives the shoe a snug, wrap-like fit. With extra padding on the tongue to relieve pressure, the design allows you to really pull the laces taut without digging in—there’s no chance this shoe is getting sucked off your foot in deep mud.

“The upper and lacing system is awesome,” one tester said. “As you pull the laces snug, the entire upper hugs the top of the foot...[it’s a] sweet design.”

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Matthew R., tester since 2014Arch: Medium | Gait: Neutral | Footstrike: Midfoot“While it excels in softer dryish trail conditions, I wasn’t nearly as confident in very wet conditions. I wasn’t getting the traction in the forefoot when pushing off on an incline. But if you look at normal conditions on the trail, the Kiger 5 is simply one of my favorites.”

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