I came across these shoes whilst in Barcelona to take part in the Montserrat Express Skyrace with a group of my friends.
On the first day, we were in the country, we went over to Montserrat to recce the area and stretch our legs after traveling over the night before.
When running in Montserrat, I quickly realised that the firm, unresponsive trail shoes I had with me would not withstand the technical terrain with tight corners and gravelly surfaces.
My current shoe wasn’t flexible or grippy enough to navigate the small amount of water covering rock in certain areas of the trail, so I decided to go on a Spanish trail shoe shopping adventure before the race.
After finding a sports shop near my accommodation, I ventured in and found these shoes. The next day was race day, so I put them on straight away in the hope to break them in as much as possible!
The next morning, we were up at the crack of dawn to make our way to the start of the race. The full race set off 30 minutes before the Express race and the sun slowly started rising, burning off the fog.
The race started in a small, quiet town and made its way up onto the trails of Montserrat. The shoes coped well on the hard trails and all muddy bits, maintaining traction and flexibility to allow for a seamless climb.
With around 5 km left of the 13 km race, my feet started getting very warm. Once reaching an aid station, I decided to pour the available water on my shoes to cool my feet down for the descent!
Finishing 3rd place with a brand new pair of shoes on, my feet were surprisingly unscathed, with slight hot spots on the soles of my heels.
Upon first inspection, the shoe looks somewhat fashionable. The shoe looks similar to the Nike Roshe that has been a common choice for gym-goers over the past couple of years.
When I tried these shoes on, I did wonder about the resilience of the upper and the lack of toe bumper that is usually seen on a trail shoe to protect one's toes from any sharp rocks.
This open-hole mesh is very breathable and flexible, allowing for many different foot types. I have very narrow feet, and these shoes catered for me, yet my friend with wide feet also found these shoes very comfortable.
I have walked in streams to cool off in these shoes during runs and have been able to continue with my run with no hindrance of any water retention as these shoes are very effective at shedding water.
There are reflective features on the back of the heel cups which mould the heel very comfortably with high Achilles cushioning that is flexible enough not to cause hot spots.
Nike Flywire cables stretch from the midsole, around the foot to the laces to allow for a locked in feel around the foot.
The laces are made with two different materials; they look and feel like they would stay with a single bow, but do not be fooled! These laces do need a double knot to stay secure over the duration of a run.
With the amount of movement any trail shoe is subjected to, the tongue can sometimes be displaced over to one side, causing hot spots. This did not happen with these shoes.
The tongue was very comfortable and had the perfect amount of cushioning. The toe box is relatively large, giving space for the toes to splay, and the mesh gives enough support to allow for narrower feet.
The midsole is made of full-length phylon foam. This material is an entry-level midsole foam that is relatively lightweight but heavier than Nike's Lunarlite foam.
The shoe weighs 215 grams (women's size 5.5), which is mid-range. The midsole has a 10 mm offset, which is not very noticeable to a more minimalist runner like myself.
The drop allows for comfortable recovery and long runs, but the responsive foam allows for movement, decreasing the sensation of a moderately large offset.
The responsive nature of the shoe also lends itself to tempo, and even race pace runs. This lightweight and soft cushioning gave the shoe a very responsive feel, allowing our feet to move effectively with the trail.
The lower density of the midsole has meant that the shoe favours responsiveness over support. This shoe would be suitable for a runner who is happy to compromise on stability for a light, responsive feel.
The shoe I tested had black specs in the midsole, which was quite visually appealing and gave the shoe a more trail-like appearance.
The outsole offers a standard rubber in a modified waffle pattern to aid with traction and a ‘crash rail’ on the outer edge to help with cornering and fast changes in direction.
I did find the shoe to have very good traction in a variety of situations. The shoe coped well with off-road hill reps both up and down the hills.
The shoe didn’t cope well with loose, gravelly, steep descents but coped as well as any trail shoe is expected to cope in mountainous situations. These situations were off-trail and very precarious, and the shoe did still perform well enough to prevent a full fall!
The yellow contrast of the outsole was a nice aesthetic effect, bringing a dash of colour to the otherwise understated shoe.
Performance & durability
I have been wearing these shoes for three months and can’t see any undue signs of wear. There are slight wrinkles on the midsole from excessive road use because of the need to run on roads to trails at the moment.
This shoe is an amazing all-rounder and can be worn very comfortably on road as well as trail. During the summer months in the UK, I can see this being the go-to shoe in my cupboard as it is a very versatile shoe with unrivaled levels of comfort.
This is the first shoe I have come across that caters for both narrow and wide feet, road and moderate trail, and can be worn on both recovery and race pace runs.
If you are looking for an all-terrain, responsive shoe at a reasonable price, then look no further!
Good to know
The Nike Quest SE is designed to be the road runner’s partner when tackling speed training sessions and regular urban adventures. The silhouette of this product is similar to many of the brand’s offerings, with a sporty look complementing a functional yet appealing design that makes the whole product versatile. Jacquard mesh upper works with printed overlays and Flywire cables to provide a secure yet accommodating hug.
The underfoot cushioning system that is featured in this product is straightforward in its purpose and form. A full-length foam handles the forces that are generated by the step. A fabric-topped insole is even added to emphasize a comfortable ride. A rubber outsole with non-prominent gripping nodes provides surface control.
The standard sizing schemes were used when the Nike Quest SE was made. Consumers are permitted to use the sizes that usually suit them because a true-to-size distinction is employed in this product. Still, it would be responsible to test this running shoe prior to purchase or even study user reviews that cover the sizing aspect; doing so can better the perception of comfort and foot-security.
A rubber layer is used for the outsole unit of this Nike running shoe. The job of this technology is to act as a barrier between the base of the midsole and the ground, offering protection against wear-and-tear. Also, it has piston-like nodes that offer additional grip and spring-back mechanics for the foot to enjoy.
A vertical groove isolates the medial and lateral portions of the external pad. The resulting split permits the foot to naturally go through the gait cycle without the risk of displacing impact forces to areas that aren’t in contact with the ground.
A full-length foam is used for the midsole unit of the Nike Quest SE. This feature is tasked with absorbing the landing forces while also energizing the foot for the toe-off. It has a slightly raised midfoot to support the arch.
A removable insole offers a softness that the underfoot can feel. It is thin, flexible, and it doesn’t overshadow the main cushioning unit.
The upper unit of the Nike Quest SE uses jacquard mesh. This cloth-like material aims to hug the foot securely without limiting flexibility. It has breathing holes for ventilation and seamless construction for an irritation-free coverage. Many running shoe series feature cloth-like uppers, including the well-known Saucony Kinvara line.
Printed overlays reinforce the sides and the instep of the upper unit. These synthetic prints are thin enough to maintain a sleek and uncluttered look for the shoe.
The Flywire cables on the sides of the silhouette act as the elements that encourage better fit adjustment. These wires link with the shoelaces on the bridge of this shoe, and they adapt to the manipulation of the tightness or looseness of the coverage.