6 Best Nike Trail Running Shoes in 2023

Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen on
6 Best Nike Trail Running Shoes in 2023
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Nike is a household name in the running world. Although it’s better known for its road running shoes, Nike doesn’t cut corners when it comes to its trail shoes. They’re sturdy, traction-ready, stable, and responsive, helping you blaze through the trails with no sweat. 

Because there’s so much hype over Nike trail running shoes, we tested them out ourselves and ended up picking the best models from different categories. 

These shoes have been tested meticulously, and we are confident they can help you run the gnarliest terrain with ease.

Best Nike trail running shoes overall

What makes it the best?

The Nike React Pegasus Trail 4 is one of the modern wonders of the Nike trail running shoe roster. Superbly cushioned yet highly responsive, exceptionally comfortable, and remarkably grippy—this almost perfect road-to-trail hybrid shoe gets the crown as the best Nike trail running shoe.

With a heel stack of 35.5 mm, the Pegasus Trail 4's midsole is significantly higher than the average of trail running shoes (31.7 mm). We could almost hear our feet thanking us for the protection they gained from the generous midsole.

Nike React Pegasus Trail 4’s lugs provide the shoe with noteworthy and excellent traction. At 3.4 mm, it is almost on par with the average but it provided us noticeably great grip when we tried diverse terrain. Wet or dry, road or trail, the Pegasus Trail 4 conquered them all and made us feel confident with every stride.

Perforations along its upper and tongue also help with the Pegasus Trail 4’s breathability. Running on warm days and humid conditions was less of a hassle and became quite a pleasant experience. 

Overall, the Pegasus Trail 4 definitely excels as a hybrid and no other Nike shoe comes close. However, runners who frequent super muddy and very technical trails could check out alternatives with beefier lugs.


  • Efficient road-to-trail
  • Well-cushioned
  • Stable ride
  • Excellent, secure fit
  • Very breathable
  • Great traction
  • Unexpectedly light
  • Reasonably priced


  • Not for muddy areas
  • Not for wide feet
  • Could be more stylish
Full review of Nike React Pegasus Trail 4

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Any color
Neutral Olive/Stadium Green/Phantom/Light Bone (FJ4733200)
Grey (DJ6158002)
Black (DJ6158003)
Brown (DJ6158200)
Black (DJ6158001)
Black Alligator Canyon Rust Mint Foam (DJ6158004)
Deep Royal Blue/Celestine Blue-Gorge Green-Enamel Green-Yellow Strike (DJ6158400)
Black/Olive Flak/Spring Green (DJ6158006)
More colors

Best Nike lightweight trail running shoes

What makes it the best?

Nimble and lightweight, yet offers protective cushioning and amazing traction. The Nike Zoom Terra Kiger 8 holds all of these powerful features packed in a featherlight package. If speed on the trails is the priority, whether in training or races, the Nike Zoom Terra Kiger 8 delivers. 

The Nike Zoom Terra Kiger 8 feels so light that it's almost cloud-like. Though it weighs 306g (10.79 oz), 10g (0.35 oz) more than the average of trail running shoes, it never felt bulky or heavy even when we covered long distances. 

Although it has a lower-than-average heel stack (28.1 mm vs. 31.7 mm), the Terra Kiger 8 offers plenty of protection for the feet. We could really feel how the segmented rock plate on the heel and the toe bumper overlay on the forefoot worked to protect our feet from roots, rocks, and debris along the trail. 

The outsole on the Terra Kiger 8 is grippy on most terrains and we were able to cruise smoothly on rocks, loose ground, light mud, and trails. The 3.9 mm lug depth is actually 11.42% more than the average, giving it superior flexibility for running on more technical terrain.

Although it has an excellent grip on dry surfaces, its grip on wet terrain is slightly amiss. It is recommended for runners to look elsewhere if grippier shoes are a priority.


  • Energetic and responsive ride
  • Grippy on light mud, dry rocks & loose trails
  • Protective cushion
  • Amazing heel hold
  • Upper doesn't need break-in
  • Airy even during hot days
  • Cheaper price
  • Stunning looks


  • Poor grip on wet surfaces
  • Might hurt feet on hard surfaces
Full review of Nike Zoom Terra Kiger 8

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Any color
Black/Laser Blue-Vivid Purple (DH0649003)
Red (DH0649600)
Orange (DH0649801)
002 football grey/kumquat-volt-bar (DH0649002)
Black (DH0649001)
Deep Royal Blue/White/Yellow Strike (DH0649400)

Best Nike trail running shoes for long distance

What makes it the best?

The arduous yet fulfilling adventure of long-distance trail running requires top-quality levels of traction, cushion, and comfort. As the Nike Wildhorse 8 excels in all these, it is undoubtedly the cream of the crop in Nike's range for long-distance trail running. 

We have absolutely no complaints about the traction on the Wildhorse 8. It performed valiantly on a mix of terrains even though the rubber outsole is only 2% softer than average. The lugs, on par with the 3.5 mm average of trail running shoes, are spaced accordingly to allow mud to disperse and maintain traction. On our day hikes and trail runs, we rode the Wildhorse 8 with confidence. 

The ‘React’ midsole in the Wildhorse 8 is both chunky and squishy—with the heel stack measuring 34.2 mm (thicker than the average of trail running shoes at 31.7 mm). Meanwhile, our durometer test found the midsole to be 42% softer than average. This stack height and midsole softness protected us throughout all our longer runs. 

A soft inner layer, padded heel, and padded tongue make the Wildhorse 8's upper very comfortable, which is a must for frolicking along the trails for hours. The tongue, 30.65% thicker than the average for trail running shoes, provided us with comfort for every step.

Sad to say, ventilation in the Wildhorse 8 is very poor. Runners looking for trail shoes for the summer may want to look somewhere else.


  • Superior upper comfort
  • Durable
  • No need to break it in
  • Superb lockdown
  • Ample toe box space
  • Great traction on muddy, boggy, snowy trails
  • Also comfortable on hard surfaces
  • Sheds mud easily
  • Stable and protective midsole
  • Smooth, enjoyable ride
  • Best for daily training and trail LSDs


  • Not as protective for the toes
  • Does not like to go fast
  • Not very breathable
  • Can be unstable at fast paces
Full review of Nike Wildhorse 8

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Any color
Black/White/Green/Olive (DR2686002)
Red (DR2689600)
Blue (DR2686400)
Black Wolf Grey Cool Grey White (DR2689001)
Grey (DR2689003)

Best value Nike trail running shoes

What makes it the best?

The Nike Pegasus Trail 3 is a rare and beautiful gem. Its plush midsole comfort and superb durability make it a great shoe for comfortably running trails, roads, and somewhere in between. Definitely worth more than its retail price, the Nike Pegasus Trail 3 is hailed as the best value out of all the Nike trail running shoes.

The Pegasus Trail 3 is priced reasonably with an MSRP of $130. However, considering that the average price of trail running shoes is $136, this is quite the hot bargain with all that it offers.

The “React” midsole in the Pegasus Trail 3 is a magnificent blend of plushness, softness, and bounciness—all without compromising much-needed stability for navigating trails. In the lab, we crunched the numbers to verify what we felt outdoors. The heel stands at 35.3 mm, much more than the average of trail shoes (31.7 mm). It is also 47.46% softer than the average, according to our durometer test. 

Also adding to this shoe's value is its thick outsole that’s also durable. It is almost twice as thick as the average of trail running shoes (5.5 mm vs 2.8 mm). A toe bumper extended from the outsole also helps protect the front of the shoe.

However, having scored a lowly 2/5 in our breathability lab test, the Nike Pegasus Trail 3 is not the best shoe to run in warm weather.


  • Soft, bouncy ride
  • Very comfortable
  • True to size
  • Wide for a Nike
  • Wide loop on heel
  • Durable construction
  • Reflective swoosh
  • Killer grip on dry trails


  • Not grippy in wet
  • Runs warm
Full review of Nike Pegasus Trail 3

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Any color
Mystic Teal Dk Smoke Grey (DA8697300)
Laser Blue/Habanero Red (DA8697400)
Dark Beetroot/Black/Bright (DA8697600)
Black (DA8697001)
004 black/ashen slate/celery/green (DA8697004)
Black/khaki-game royal-iron gr (DM6161010)
Total Orange/Signal Blue (DA8697800)

Nike trail running shoes with best grip

What makes it the best?

The Nike Zoom Wildhorse 6 is a highly durable running shoe that is suitable for off-road adventures. Many runners have reported that it provides long-lasting comfort and protection. It incorporates an aggressive outsole, cushioned midsole, and breathable top for a comfortable and efficient ride. This trail running shoe is ideal for runners and athletes with neutral gaits or those who do not overpronate.


  • Comfortable to wear
  • Reliable gripping performance
  • Offers better cushioning
  • Great woven material
  • Excellent in both wet and dry conditions
  • Responsive midsole
  • Durable
  • Great looking


  • Heavy
  • Lacks padding around the Achilles
  • Lacks protection
  • Feels a bit narrow
Full review of Nike Air Zoom Wildhorse 6

Today's best price

Any color
Green (BV7106700)
Orange (BV7106800)
Blue (BV7099400)
Black (BV7106001)
Green (BV7106300)

Best Nike trail running shoes with low drop

What makes it the best?

With the release of a ZoomX-designed trail shoe, "the hype train is immediately at full steam," says one expert. And with the Zegama Trail from Nike, it's definitely worth the hype. It's an ultra-distance running shoe that provides all the protection you need when cruising through friendly and moderately technical trails. And if you want surefooted strides, the Nike Zegama Trail musters up all the confidence you need.


  • Dampens impact
  • Comfy for long distances
  • Stable when bombing downhills
  • Breathable on hot days
  • Built like a tank
  • Form-fitting fit
  • Toe protection is awesome!


  • Not for wet trails
  • Toe box is not ultra-ready
Full review of Nike ZoomX Zegama Trail

Today's best price

Any color
Green (DH0623302)
Grå (DH0623002)
Gold (DH0625700)
Green (DH0623301)
Brown (DH0625200)
Blue (DH0623400)
Black (DH0625003)
Black (DH0625001)
More colors

Comparison of the 6 best Nike trail running shoes

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How we test trail running shoes

We have our independent shoe testing lab to help us identify which shoes are good and bad. And with the data we’ve gathered, we can definitely help you. To do so, we strictly execute the following during our tests: 

  • We buy all shoes with our own money to prevent bias-filled reviews. This prevents us from being corrupted while giving our feedback.
  • Run in them for 30-50 miles. We test the shoes on trails, wet and dry, uphill and downhill, rocky and muddy, and other more varied environments.
  • Slice each shoe into pieces. We do this to spot all the techs and details inside the shoes. Also, we measure them in 30 different parameters like breathability, sturdiness, cushion, etc.
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.