Who should buy Nike Wildhorse 7

This shoe is great if you always wanted: 

  • Extra protection (think lugs, semi-gaiters, overlays, rock plate), 
  • A cushioned trail shoe that is not so high-off-the-ground so you still have a sense of the ground. 

Trail uphill run in Wildhorse 7

Who should not buy it

Look another way if you want a: 

Nike Wildhorse 7 works best on moderate runs

Moderate is like the middle name of the Wildhorse 7. Not for anything too technical, or too long, or too fast. 

Wildhorse 7 cut in pieces

It shines on runs that are 5-15 miles long. It can take you further, but you will feel the weight. Regarding the terrain, experts agree it's great for soft ground or, as one very experienced runner has said, "smooth rolling dirt trails or bridle paths."

Nike Wildhorse 7 has a good grip in dry conditions

As long as you don't take the Wildhorse 7 over the technical terrain, you are good.

Nike Wildhorse 7 outsole closeup

No wonder, given that the lugs are 4.2mm long! The average depth of lugs in our lab is 3.4mm.

Depth of lugs on Wildhorse 7

This all applies to the dry conditions. When it comes to the wet surfaces, a runner commented "hard and wet conditions are a different story." Experts agree that Nike should "throw on a Vibram outsole." 

Wildhorse's performance in the mud is a completely polarizing topic. Comments go from "a really good mudder" to "the biggest problem I found was with mud and the shoe's inability to clear it and grip." So, keep that in the back of your mind. 

Grip first, protection next 

What you can also notice just by looking at the shoe is that it will keep your feet safe. 

Trail run in Wildhorse 7

There are lugs and dots and dimples all over it. It screams trail and it screams it can do it. It can!! 

It’s high-stacked, it has protective overlays on the upper. On the inside, there’s a rock plate so your feet don’t feel beaten up after the run. It offers a "very cushy and plush ride" as a trail runner has said.

Fact check

Talking about high-stacked, the lab numbers confirm it is a bit higher than the average: 

  • 26.2mm at the forefoot, while the average is 24.1mm
  • 33.5mm at the heel, while the average is 32.9mm

Heel stack height measurement on Wildhorse 7

A cherry on top? "You still have ground feel", as an avid trail-running-shoes tester has said. 

Perfect lockdown

No reports of heel slipping or sliding within the shoe. As one almost-professional runner said, "the lockdown is ah-may-zing." 

  • The tongue is perfectly padded, there’s a glossy overlay that seems to offer extra protection, 
  • Laces have a perfect length and don’t untie during running, 
  • Upper in the midfoot area is really good, nothing is lacking, nothing is out of place. 

Not for technical terrain

3 reasons:

  1. The grip will fail you on wet sections.
  2. Rock plates don't offer enough protection. An expert perfectly summarized this: "Nike claims that there still is a segmented plate in there but the sharp rocks on the trail have proven otherwise." 
  3. It's not stable enough on such terrain. According to reviews, the shoe feels unstable and sloppy when running over rocks and obstacles. One expert even said, "I find my foot really wanting to roll around." The shoes simply do not offer a lot of confidence in that regard. 

Lab view of the Nike Wildhorse 7

Fact check

Our lab numbers have confirmed the non-stability claims by looking at the base of the shoe: the width of the midsole at the forefoot is 105.7mm (the average: 111.8mm), while the width of the heel is 88.5mm (the average: 89.1). Even though it looks bulky with all the lugs on the sides and the heel, the Wildhorse 7 does not have such a wide base after all. 

True to size but not for wider feet

Getting the right size is a no-brainer. What also works is fitting a bit wider forefoot in there.  

Forefoot width of Wildhorse 7

For reference, the width of the Wildhorse's forefoot is 98.2mm which is very similar to the average width of 98.8mm. It goes on to say that the upper does have a bit of a give. 

However, wide-footed runners might not be able to do longer (15km+) runs in this shoe due to swelling. 

Might need some (very short) breaking in

There’s a first time for everything? Even for the heel and tongue that are too stiff. Padding on the inside of a heel is big and stiff. It literally feels like pinching but only at the beginning. 

Thickness of the tongue on Nike Wildhorse 7

The tongue looks great and is so thick (5.8mm, while the average in our lab is 6.2mm) it prevents the lace bite but the shiny part is a bit stiff and might cause cutting into the skin. Advice: don't wear low-cut socks on the first run.

Tongue closeup on the Nike Wildhorse 7

The heel did break in and didn’t cause pain afterward. The tongue softened after 15 minutes of hiking and became REALLY good. 

Great for cold temperatures

First, because it's not the most breathable shoe out there. Second, after spending some time in the freezer, the difference in flexibility (at room temperature vs freezer), the Wildhorse 7 scored at 22.5% which is less than the average change of 31.3%.

Wildhorse 7 in the freezer

This means you won't have to "break it in" at the beginning of the winter run if the shoe was stored in a cold place. 

Feels a bit stiff

There was one report of the Wildhorse 7 not being flexible enough due to the insane amount of rubber at the bottom and the sides. 

Fact check

To check this, we looked at the lab numbers. The flexibility of the shoe at room temperature was 31.1N, while the average is 30.8N, which makes it almost averagely flexible. However, both of the manual tests scored 4 out of 5, meaning that the shoe is rather stiff - both torsionally and longitudinally. This confirms the experience of runners, we are used to trail shoes being a bit more flexible after all. 

The ride is average in a good way

This is not a boring shoe. This is not a super-responsive shoe. But people enjoyed it a lot. 

Hit-or-miss gaiters 

50% of the reviews praise them, 50% hate them. Of course they can’t replace the regular gaiters but they keep the debris, at least most of it, out. So one expert would say that on his long-slow-distance run there were "no rocks getting into the shoes," while the other one said that the gaiter "collects dirt as opposed to repels dirt and keeps it out of the shoe."

Back side of the Nike Wildhorse 7

On the very plus side, the gaiters, along with the great lockdown, allowed an avid runner to comment that the shoes "feel kinda like slippers." 

Wildhorse 7 feels heavier than it is 

Not trying to compare it to its versatile (Pegasus) or race (Terra Kiger) buddy, but to get the sense of the weight, check out the weight overview: 

Wildhorse 7  on trails

Fact check

Given that the Wildhorse 7 weighs really close to the average (299g compared to 298g), it might be that it feels heavy due to its looks and balance, rather than it being actually heavy. 

Also, it's a consensus: nobody likes the heel bulk and the weight that the extra foam and lugs add to the shoe. Experts wish these were removed so that the weight of the shoe could go down. 

Wildhorse 7 is not a summer shoe

While the Wildhorse 7 does breathe, it’s only up to a certain level. A runner tested it in spring, with temperatures up to 61F (16C) and her feet always felt warm. Her socks were far from soaking wet after the run, but she did say she will not run in the Wildhorse during summer. Plus, they are black which is not going to help with the direct sunlight. 

Mid stance trail run in Nike Wildhorse 7

  Nike Wildhorse 7 Average
Whole shoe
Weight (g)

299

277
Drop (mm)

7.3

8.9
Flexibility of the shoe (N)

31.1

30.8
Flexibility of the shoe (Freezer 20 min) (N) 38.1 40.5
Flexibility of the shoe (% of change) 22.5 31.3
Lace slip test with the knot (N)   24.6
Longitudinal flexibility (1-5 scale, 5 being the stiffest)

4

3.3
Torsional flexibility (1-5 scale, 5 being the stiffest)

4

3.5
Upper
Thickness - Tongue (mm) 5.8 6.2
Width Upper - Forefoot (mm) 98.2 98.8
Width Upper - Heel (mm) 69.4 76.5
Lace Stretch (1-5 scale, 5 being the most stretchy) 2 2.6
Flexibility of the heel counter (1-5 scale, 5 being the stiffest) 2 3.1
Tongue: gusset type Gusseted -
Heel: pull tab Finger loop -
Midsole
Width Midsole - Forefoot (mm) 105.7 111.8
Width Midsole - Heel (mm) 88.5 89.1
Stack - Forefoot with insole (mm) 26.2 24.1
Stack - Heel with insole (mm) 33.5 32.9
Durometer Midsole Heel (Room temperature) (HA) 36.0 40.5
Outsole
Outsole thickness (Heel) (mm) 2.0 3.7
Lugs Depth (mm) 4.2 3.4
Durometer Outsole Heel (Room temperature) (HC) 83.0 82.2
Insole
Insole Heel Thickness (mm) 3.9 4.6
Insole: removable yes -

Facts / Specs

Terrain: Trail
Weight: Men 11oz / Women 9.4oz
Drop: 8mm
Arch support: Neutral
Forefoot height: 22mm
Heel height: 30mm

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Nike Wildhorse 7 video reviews

Author
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.