We spent 9.6 hours reading reviews from experts and users. In summary, this is what runners think:

6 reasons to buy

  • Most users mentioned that the Nike Air Zoom Wildhorse 5 offers a nice blend of cushioning and ground feel.
  • The shoe has a roomier toe-box than the previous version, noted in some reviews.
  • A few lauded the laced of the shoe that stayed tight all through the run.
  • Many runners commented that the grip of the Wildhorse 5 is excellent.
  • According to some reviews, the shoe is durable.
  • A couple of buyers said that the shoe performs both on-road and off-road surfaces.

1 reasons not to buy

  • A few mentioned that the Wildhorse 5 runs smaller than usual.

Bottom line

The Nike Air Zoom Wildhorse 5 is a trail running shoe designed for neutral runners. The shoe gained positive feedback from users. Some admired the shoe’s durability and grip while others are satisfied with the shoe’s roomy toe-box and cushioning. In summary, the Wildhorse 5 is indeed a successful update to the old version.



Among the better Trail running shoes
A top rated Nike running shoe
Top 5% most popular running shoes
It has never been more popular than this July
Better rated than the previous version Nike Air Zoom Wildhorse 4

Expert Reviews

87 / 100 based on 6 expert reviews

  • 82 / 100 |

    Gonna' take my Wildhorse 5 to the old town road - Run 'til I can't no more

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    Last summer, I grabbed my first pair of Nike trail runners: Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 4. I didn't come in with very high expectations, but, boy, was I wrong. Very wrong.

    The Nike Kiger 4 was my absolute favorite trail running shoe up to that point, and I put hundreds of miles on them very quickly. They're actually still in my rotation, though with how many miles I've logged on them they probably shouldn't be.



    Having loved the Kiger 4, I figured I'd give the Nike Air Zoom Wildhorse 5 a try. From my perspective, they seemed to be a more beefed-up version of the Kigers with more significant cushion and heel-to-toe drop for longer outings.

    Since I've been hitting some longer miles on the weekends in the Rocky Mountains, I thought the Wildhorse 5 would be the perfect long-distance solution.

    As of writing this review, I've used the Wildhorse 5 to cover 75+ miles (10,000+ ft of elevation gain/loss) on primarily Boulder County and Rocky Mountain National Park trails. It's been a dry month, so I haven't experimented with the shoe in muddy conditions yet, but it has had a shot at some rather slick portions of some damp trails.

    Yeah, I'm gonna' take my Wildhorse 5s to the Rocky Mountains. I'm gonna' run 'til I can't no more...

    Without further ado, here are my experiences and review of the Nike Wildhorse 5.

    First impressions

    After unboxing the Wildhorse 5 (beautiful looking shoe in my opinion), I was stoked to give them a try. I took them to local Lake McIntosh for a quick 4-mile run. At first, the shoe felt stiff.



    More stiff than most new trail runners, but after getting 10+ miles in them, they finally started to break in and feel right.

    Surprisingly, I had the same experience with the responsiveness. At first, I felt like my feet were just slamming into the ground, and it wasn't until I hit double-digit mileage that I begin to feel some energy return from each step.

    It should be noted, also, that I hit a 12-month PR (still recovering from injuries) in these shoes the first week without any extra input, so that was a huge confidence boost in the Wildhorse.

    Honestly, my first impressions with the shoe weren't great. I was regretting buying them over the Kiger 5s. But after a full week of breaking them in, I finally began to experience the true Wildhorse that everyone else was raving about.

    TLTR? Here's the Quick Pros and Cons

    After 75+ miles, here are the pros and cons of the Wildhorse 5. I'll go into greater detail in the review, but if you have places to be and runs to run, here's the quick and easy:


    • Cheap: I bought these shoes at a wonderful $88, and that's fantastic for any trail running shoe. Granted, these were discounted from the original selling price, but the Wildhorse's selling price started and is still far below the Kiger 5s, which is a huge plus for me.
    • Durability: After 75+ miles in this shoe, it's showing very little signs of wear and tear. The upper and outsole of the shoe still look pristine, so I imagine I have hundreds of miles left in the shoe. The cushion does seem to be collapsing a bit faster than the outside appearance of the shoe, but it's not at an alarming rate.
    • Roomy Toe-Box: Lots of room for your feet to breathe and splay naturally. I never find myself in a hurry to get out of the shoes and back to my slides.
    • Padded Tongue: This is a pro and a con. Honestly, it feels good to have the cushioned tongue hugging the top of my foot, but sometimes it causes the foot to feel constrained and like I need to loosen the laces. Win-loss.
    • Light: This shoe is heavier than the Kigers, but I've been surprisingly satisfied with the light feel. At just about 10.6 ounces, it's still a relatively lighter trail shoe.


    • Poor Heel Fit: The shoe feels snug all around except for in the heel pocket. I have to lace up the shoes a bit too tight if I want my foot to sit securely in the heel pocket, which I'm not a big fan of. When I'm bombing hills, it sometimes feels like my heel is flapping along without the security I'd prefer.
    • Grip: On dirt trails and crush rock, these shoes hold up no problem, but I've found they're not quite as grippy when I'm doing some class 2, class 3 scrambling. And if it's wet, the grip gets detrimentally worse.
    • Cushion Fails Quickly: I was planning on using this shoe for my longer runs, but I've found the cushion collapses a bit prematurely. Miles 3-5 feel fantastic, but then the shoes seem to lose most responsiveness after that. I usually rotate shoes to give each pair a 48-hour break, so when I return to the  Wildhorse 5 a couple of days later, the cushion is there, but it just doesn't seem to last as much as I'd prefer.


    The protection provided by the rock plate is excellent, as I've yet to feel anything from the jagged rocks I frequently encounter.

    The grip, however, leaves me wanting much more. The lug pattern reminded me of the Kiger 4 (which provided fantastic grip), but I was unfortunately surprised to find it didn't perform as I'd hoped.



    I don't feel as confident as I would like to when bombing down steep trails or scrambling over rocks. And if I'm trying to hop between wet rocks while crossing a stream, I find myself very uncomfortable.


    The cushioning was the primary reason I opted for the Wildhorse 5 over the Kigers, yet it didn't deliver as I'd hoped.

    Sure, when you slip them on, you feel the extra cushioning padding your foot all around, but it just doesn't hold up to the beating from the trails.



    After a few miles, the cushioning seems to fall behind the Kigers. The extreme cushioning of the tongue is a pro and con for me. Sometimes it makes the most feel extra secure, but other times it causes the foot to be constrained.


    Really happy with the upper. The shoe feels snug and great (except for the heel), and I love the welded overlays for support, fit, and protection.

    Not a whole lot of breathability and poor drainage, but besides that, couldn't ask for more from the upper.



    All-in-all, while the Wildhorse 5 doesn't check all my boxes, I can't deny it's a high-quality shoe. From the upper to the laces to the outsole, everything feels well-made and durable.


    Final thoughts

    Reading this review, it may seem like I had more negative things to say, but overall, I like the Wildhorse 5. It just didn't deliver on the points I was hoping it would.

    For the beginning trail runner looking for a shoe to handle a variety of terrains and distances, I'd say this is a go-to trainer. I wouldn't recommend it for any ultraraces, though, since I feel like the cushioning just doesn't perform as long as it should.



    For now, I'm going to take my Wildhorse 5s to the Old Town Road and keeping running.

    They have hundreds of miles left in them, and while they might not be my go-to, they're going to fit nicely into my weekly rotation for shorter, slower training runs.

  • 70 / 100 |

    A review of the Nike Wildhorse 5 (Hint-be careful going downhill)

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    In a nutshell: This is a good, but not a great all-around trail shoe. For most trails, the traction is adequate except for wet rock and loose scree-especially going downhill. It’s not an expensive shoe and is very easy to find in running stores, sport goods stores and on-line.



    Frustrated with the narrow and uncomfortable Salomon trail shoe line, in 2019, I went in search of the running shoe version of the Unicorn.

    I looked for a trail shoe that is comfortable, has excellent traction, a rock plate, doesn’t heat in the summer or fill with water in wet conditions. So, off to the YouTube reviews, running magazines promos, and internet I went.

    Unlike the bad old days, there are many options for trail shoes these days and going to my local running shop was a dizzying experience. I tried on the Hoka One One Speedgoat 3’s, several models of Altras and other brands.

    Still, the only shoe that felt comfortable in the toes and had just enough cushioning was the Nike Wildhorse and Kiger 5’s. The difference for me was the rock plate.

    I needed protection on the technical trails that I like to run on, and I have an allergic reaction to bruises on the bottom of my feet.



    I chose the Wildhorse 5. My only concern was the lugs on the Wildhorse 5 were advertised as 4mm. Still, at $110 out the door, I took the chance.

    Would I buy it again

    Maybe, although there are plenty of other shoes available with better traction. On moderate trails, the Wildhorse 5 works very well. Comfortable and nimble so that these kinds of runs can be a joy.

    I wore these on the smooth singletrack in Joaquin Miller Park in Oakland, California, and the feeling was sublime. But, when I wore them on steep downhills with loose scree, the feeling was close to terror.

    In my opinion, had Nike put on 5mm lugs, the Wildhorse 5 would have been the best trail shoe of 2019.

    Primary use

    I’ve worn this shoe mostly on the trails of Mt. Diablo, Clayton CA. These trails are mostly single track on steep terrain with loose rocky soil, with some technical sections, few switchbacks.



    As a result, I wear these on days when I am running trails that don’t include steep downhills.


    • 8mm drop
    • 4mm lugs
    • Weight for size 8.5: 9.7 ounces


    1. Wildhorse 5 provides comfort. The rock plate works very well under the forefoot while the midsole provides plenty of cushioning. The midsole of the forefoot supplied good cushioning as did the heel. Post-run, my legs did not feel beat up.
    2. It was nimble on technical sections—never felt clumsy or heavy. On smooth level singletrack, this shoe excelled, providing a feel similar to the shoes I use for tempo runs.
    3. It is versatile as it can run on almost any trail. If you can only buy one shoe, this will work.
    4. The lugs worked very well for climbing the steeps, and the shoe is flexible, so I could lift my heel to get even more traction.
    5. It is inexpensive. On average, it costs $40–$50 less than other trail shoes.


    The 4mm lugs not enough traction on loose scree downhills—a lot of slipping and sliding. The first time I went down a steep downhill section on Mt. Diablo, I was white-knuckling it all the way down.



    It was closer to skiing than running, and I wasn’t trying to run fast. During a race, the results could have been a severe crash and burn. I need a shoe I can trust when I am bombing downhill sections of a trail.

    Lastly, traction is non-existent on wet rocks, so be careful on those creek crossings.

  • 97 / 100 | Road Trail Run | | Level 5 expert

    With minor changes, the Wildhorse 5 got just a little bit better. The upper became more traditional and lighter weight, while the rest of the shoe stayed the same. It might be more accurate to think of this shoe as the Wildhorse 4.5, because there is a lot of shared DNA with the 4. It still has problems when it is wet outside, and that’s disappointing - a new rubber compound or different outsole design could have fixed that flaw, but underneath the foot nothing really changed.

  • 84 / 100 | OutdoorGearLab | | Level 4 expert

    The Nike Wildhorse 5 is one of the small selection of Nike trail running shoes, and represents the heavier, burlier, and most protective end of the spectrum. It features an 8mm heel-toe drop, a lot of underfoot protection, and is a bit more affordable than other Nike trail runners. This is an excellent shoe for runners who want their shoes to absorb the impact from the rocks they land on and is surprisingly lightweight, considering that it has a midsole rock plate. The shoe was updated from its previous version in April 2019, but except for the design of the upper, little has changed from the excellent value found in the Wildhorse 4. The Wildhorse 5 are great everyday trainers, and also make for great long-distance shoes. Our extensive experience has shown that these are very durable shoes, especially the midsole, so lots of tough miles are not too much for this shoe.

Become an expert

  • The Nike Air Zoom Wildhorse 5 features a major update in its upper. The shoe received a new look but it still offers maximum breathability just like its predecessor. The new version now uses an open mesh that is still flexible and durable.

The Nike Wildhorse 5 has a standard running shoe length and it runs true to size. The shoe offers medium fit from the heel to the forefoot and it has a toe box that is roomy enough for the toes to splay.

The men’s and women’s version of the shoe is available in standard medium width option. Wide-footed runners should consider purchasing a larger size to get the perfect fit.

In the outsole of the Nike Air Zoom Wildhorse 5 is the high-abrasion rubber that is environmentally-friendly. It gives durability to the outer sole without affecting flexibility and traction.

Configured in the outsole is also the multi-directional lugs that are designed to deliver reliable traction on soft and hard surfaces.

Added in between the midsole and the outsole is the Stoneshield. It provides added underfoot protection to keep the foot safe from sharp trail debris. This additional layer does not affect the shoe’s flexibility.

Utilized in the midsole is the full-length Phylon foam that delivers lightweight cushioning. It protects the foot against impact and delivers flexibility for a more satisfying running experience.

Working together with the Phylon foam is Zoom Air unit, which is also used in the Nike Structure 22, Nike Terra Kiger 5 and other best-selling running shoes from Nike.

A crash pad is added at the bottom of the heel. It has a gender-specific design and is efficient in reducing landing impact.

In the upper of the Wildhorse 5 is the open mesh material. This mesh coverage has enough ventilation to keep the foot dry and sweat-free. It also offers maximum durability for long-term use. It also comes with seamless overlays for structural integrity and improved fit.

The Dynamic Flywire is integrated into the lacing system. It is used to give runners an impressive fit and added support. It also provides a secure mid-foot lockdown.

The padded tongue and collar provides added comfort and enhanced fit.

The Air Zoom Wildhorse is one of the trail running shoe models from Nike. Now on its 5th version, the shoe continues to deliver the best to runners of all levels. There are two features that make the shoe a winning model to most trail runners - the traction and cushioning.

Traction. Trail shoes with multi-directional lugs are reliable when it comes to both uphill and downhill runs. The lugs of the Wildhorse 5 are aggressive yet lightweight and they offer long-lasting stability on uneven terrains.

Cushioning. The combination of the Phylon foam and Zoom Air unit functions incredibly well on the trails. People love how responsive and soft the performance of the midsole is, making the Nike Wildhorse 5 a good option for trail runners.

Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen

Jens Jakob is a fan of short distances with a 5K PR at 15:58 minutes. Based on 35 million race results, he's among the fastest 0.2% runners. Jens Jakob previously owned a running store, when he was also a competitive runner. His work is regularly featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC and the likes as well as peer-reviewed journals. Finally, he has been a guest on +30 podcasts on running.