Our verdict

The Nike Zegama 2 is a highly anticipated update that we feel completely outshines the original model. It finally features a Vibram Megagrip outsole, enhanced with more ZoomX plush foam, and an upgraded upper that offers excellent ventilation and durability. Despite its weight and the higher price tag of $180, we think it's definitely one of the best trail shoes in the market right now.

Pros

  • More ZoomX bouncy foam!
  • Vibram Megagrip outsole
  • Spacious upper
  • Exceptional durability
  • Superb wet condition traction
  • Ideal for midfoot and forefoot strikers
  • Ready for long-distance running
  • Suitable for hiking too

Cons

  • Could be lighter
  • Not ideal for heel strikers
  • Limited toebox vertical space

Audience verdict

90
Superb!

Who should buy

We consider the Zegama 2 an outstanding pick for runners who enjoy the plush comfort of ZoomX in Nike road shoes but are in the market for a trail-specific option. Therefore, we recommend it for:

  • Runners seeking a cushioned, premium experience on trails, mirroring the comfort of their favorite road shoes.
  • Those in need of a reliable trail workhorse capable of effortlessly tackling easy to moderate trails, providing excellent durability and grip.
  • Casual trail runners who prioritize comfort and support during their outdoor adventures and don't mind a high price tag.

Nike Zegama 2

Who should NOT buy

While the Zegama 2 boasts several upgrades, its weight is still a downside. We are convinced that those in search of a lighter trail shoe should consider alternatives like the Hoka Speedgoat 5 or the Saucony Peregrine 14.

Despite its inclusion of ZoomX foam, we've also concluded that the Zegama 2 falls short for competitive racing in the mountains. Fortunately, Nike's Ultrafly stands out as a superior choice for trail races—offering raw speed and a carbon plate. As an alternative to Nike, we suggest the Hoka Tecton X 2, which is a lighter and more agile option.

Nike Zegama 2 parts

Breathability

With dozens of ventilation holes, the Zegama 2 appeared to be highly breathable at first glance here in the lab. However, we often uncover discrepancies between initial appearances and actual performance—which is exactly why we rigorously test running shoes in our lab.

Using a smoke-pumping machine connected to our custom 3D foot model to simulate airflow in the toebox, the Zegama 2 simply delivered. We rated its breathability 4 out of 5, making it ideal for trail running in summer yet also suitable for cooler weather.

Our examination with the light revealed that Nike designed the Zegama 2’s upper with thin material in the toebox and midfoot to enhance airflow, which may raise some durability questions, but we'll address that later.

Nike Zegama 2 Microscope

First, we need to examine the engineered mesh upper under our microscope to observe its structure closely.

Nike Zegama 2 microscope close up

There, we discovered a robust mesh with numerous ventilation holes, paired with an underlayer for added durability and comfort. This material appears well-structured, and we anticipate it will hold up well.

Finally, exploring the upper with our hands, we found it exceptionally padded in the midfoot and heel for comfort, and the mesh is notably non-stretchy. We think this is a good upper!

Test results
Zegama 2 4
Average 3.3
Compared to 83 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Breathability
5

Durability

Toebox durability

The toebox truly justifies its premium price tag, offering exceptional comfort and ventilation. And we also found that its durability exceeded our expectations.

We discovered that Nike combined a robust upper with a thin TPU protective layer, enabling the Zegama 2 to score a fantastic 4/5 in our rigorous testing.

Nike Zegama 2 Toebox durability
Test results
Zegama 2 4
Average 3.1
Compared to 63 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Toebox durability
5

Heel padding durability

And things just keep getting better. After a solid performance in the toebox testing, we moved our Dremel to the heel padding and awarded a perfect 5-out-of-5 score. Outstanding!

We still need to evaluate the outsole, but given it's from Vibram, there's a strong likelihood that the Zegama 2 could excel in all our durability tests—a rare feat in our lab.

Nike Zegama 2 Heel padding durability
Test results
Zegama 2 5
Average 2.9
Compared to 61 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Heel padding durability
5

Outsole hardness

Now it's time for our third Dremel test. The outsole represents arguably the most significant upgrade from the previous Zegama, which lacked grip especially in wet conditions.

Nike Zegama 2 outsole

The Zegama 2 features a bit more exposed midsole than is typical for trail shoes. We also found some cutouts strategically placed to improve flexibility.

What we discovered is a perfectly balanced compound in terms of hardness at 85.5 HC, exactly what we anticipated from the renowned Vibram Megagrip.

Nike Zegama 2 Outsole hardness
Test results
Zegama 2 85.5 HC
Average 85.4 HC
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 106 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
72.5 HC
Outsole hardness
95.0 HC

Outsole durability

We all recognize that Vibram Megagrip is among the top outsole compounds on the market for grip—hence its name—but how does it fare in terms of durability? Once again, our Dremel came into play to test this.

After completing our rigorous testing, we observed only a minor 0.8 mm dent, a very encouraging result that clears up any concerns about the wear and tear on the Zegama 2. We are extremely pleased with this result!

Nike Zegama 2 Outsole durability
Test results
Zegama 2 0.8 mm
Average 0.9 mm
Compared to 56 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
0.0 mm
Outsole wear
2.0 mm

Outsole thickness

We also looked into the thickness of the Vibram rubber (we'll check the lugs later,) finding it to be an average 2.0 mm—quite typical for versatile trail shoes.

Nike Zegama 2 Outsole thickness
Test results
Zegama 2 2.0 mm
Average 2.4 mm
Compared to 106 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
0.9 mm
Outsole thickness
6.5 mm

Weight

The Nike Zegama 2 is certainly not built for speed, nor does it fit the bill as a lightweight trail running shoe. Weighing in at a hefty 10.7 oz or 302g, it's considerably heavier than many competitors, making it less ideal for quick runs and better suited for easy or long runs.

In fact, we believe Nike needs to streamline the design of the next upper—it appears overly complex with excessive materials. Simplifying it could help reduce the weight to under 10 ounces.

However, it's worth mentioning that it could occassionally handle faster paces and random surges thanks to its responsive ZoomX foam, a feature we will explore in a minute.

Nike Zegama 2 Weight
Test results
Zegama 2 10.65 oz (302g)
Average 10.30 oz (292g)
Compared to 106 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
7.51 oz (213g)
Weight
13.37 oz (379g)

Cushioning

Heel stack

The Zegama 2 features a heel stack height of 30.3 mm, which is less than stated by the brand. This perception also arises because the shoe has prominent midsole sidewalls that create an illusion of greater height, and the midfoot is slightly elevated compared to the heel—a design trend also seen in recent models like the New Balance FuelCell Rebel v4.

Does this shoe need more cushioning? It varies by runner, but for most trail enthusiasts, just over 30 mm should suffice, particularly given the leg-saving properties of the ZoomX foam. And for those who want a towering trail shoe we recommend the maximalist New Balance Fresh Foam X More Trail v3 (38.6 mm).

Nike Zegama 2 Heel stack
Test results
Zegama 2 30.3 mm
Average 32.2 mm
Compared to 106 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
16.1 mm
Heel stack
42.4 mm

Forefoot stack

Our digital calipers clocked the forefoot of the Zegama 2 at 26.3 mm.

While this figure doesn't place it in the maximalist category for us, we acknowledge that it's definitely more cushioned than many other trail shoes, making it a good pick for both forefoot and midfoot strikers.

Nike Zegama 2 Forefoot stack
Test results
Zegama 2 26.3 mm
Average 24.5 mm
Compared to 106 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
15.2 mm
Forefoot stack
33.9 mm

Drop

Nike claims the Zegama 2 has a 4.0 mm offset, and our measurements confirmed exactly that. This accuracy is quite exceptional, as often brand claims don't align with our findings, so credit to Nike for their precision on this aspect.

While a 4-mm drop might appear on the lower end, it's actually optimal for most trail shoes. Lower drops enhance control on downhill sections and boost stability, making them ideal for varied terrain.

Nike Zegama 2 Drop
Test results
Zegama 2 4.0 mm
Average 7.8 mm
Compared to 105 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
-0.1 mm
Drop
17.3 mm

Insole thickness

We discovered the insole to be slightly thinner than usual in other Nike shoes at just 3.9 mm.

Do we like this? Absolutely, especially if it means that for the same stack height, there's more ZoomX foam and less EVA insole—a definite plus in our books.

Nike Zegama 2 Insole thickness
Test results
Zegama 2 3.9 mm
Average 4.7 mm
Compared to 106 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
2.7 mm
Insole thickness
9.8 mm

Midsole softness

Note: a low durometer measurement equals a soft material, whereas a high measurement means it's firm.

We've finally reached the highlight of the Zegama 2—the reason it was created: the ZoomX foam. Even though "ZoomX" is no longer in the name, this shoe now contains even more of this superb, bouncy Pebax-based foam.

Using a Shore A durometer, we determined it falls on the plush end of the spectrum at just 14.5 HA. This translates into a soft ride, though there is a small caveat to consider...

Nike Zegama 2 Midsole softness
Test results
Zegama 2 14.5 HA
Average 22.7 HA
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 82 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
9.1 HA
Midsole softness (soft to firm)
39.0 HA

Secondary foam softness

Note: a low durometer measurement equals a soft material, whereas a high measurement means it's firm.

Like its predecessor, the Zegama 2 features a dual-foam midsole with a main layer of ZoomX superfoam topped by a thin EVA carrier foam (SR-02). The purpose of SR-02 is mainly to enhance durability by shielding the more delicate ZoomX from the ground.

Nike Zegama 2 foams

To really get into the details of the Zegama 2's midsole design, there's no choice but to cut in half the shoe like we do—Nike wraps the ZoomX (white) completely in SR-02 (cream).

Nike has refined the SR-02 (14.0 HA) to closely match the softness of ZoomX, providing a similarly plush feel, albeit with way less energy return. Thankfully, it's far from the rock-hard carrier foams found in some other shoes.

Nike Zegama 2 Secondary foam softness
Test results
Zegama 2 14.0 HA
Average 24.7 HA
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.

Difference in midsole softness in cold

The Zegama 2 is a trail shoe designed for year-round use, and we're sure many trail runners likely aim to wear it throughout all seasons. Impressively, after freezing it for 20 minutes, we discovered that the midsole only became 9.5% firmer. This performance is truly remarkable!

Nike Zegama 2 Difference in midsole softness in cold
Test results
Zegama 2 9.5%
Average 26.4%
Compared to 82 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
0%
Difference in midsole softness in cold
100%

Rocker

The updated rocker geometry significantly enhances the ride, making it much more dynamic. Combined with the softer ZoomX-based midsole, we found the rocker optimizes the transition from midfoot to forefoot, which is much needed in a shoe that's well over 10 ounces.

Stability

Lateral stability test

The Zegama 2, with its plush foam and relatively high stack height, is not ideal for those needing extra stability. We believe it's best suited for neutral runners.

Yet, this doesn’t imply it lacks stability entirely. Thanks to its raised sidewalls and lateral reinforcements, the supportive carrier foam, and the effective rocker design, we found it provides sufficient stability for easy to moderate trails.

Torsional rigidity

One feature that indicates Nike's focus on improving stability is the torsional rigidity of the shoe. In our manual testing here in the lab, we rated it a solid 4 out of 5, which is high for a shoe with just over 30 mm of stack height and no plate.

Test results
Zegama 2 4
Average 3.5
Compared to 100 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Torsional rigidity
5

Heel counter stiffness

On the downside, the heel counter is notably flexible (2/5), which is extremely comfortable but might not offer the best support for heel strikers. Combined with the 4-mm drop, this might make the shoe less suitable for those who primarily land on their rearfoot.

If that describes you, a shoe like the Brooks Caldera 7 could be a better choice.

Test results
Zegama 2 2
Average 3.2
Compared to 98 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Heel counter stiffness
5

Midsole width in the forefoot

Despite its behemoth-like large appearance at first sight, the Zegama 2 actually has an average width. We measured 114.9 mm in the forefoot, which is quite close to the average for trail shoes.

Why not opt for a wider design like many similar shoes? We believe it boils down to weight considerations. The Zegama 2 is already on the heavier side, and increasing its width could potentially add too much weight.

Nike Zegama 2 Midsole width in the forefoot
Test results
Zegama 2 114.9 mm
Average 112.1 mm
Compared to 106 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
102.1 mm
Midsole width in the forefoot
126.0 mm

Midsole width in the heel

The heel measures 94.4 mm in width. With its plush foam and soft heel counter, this design at least offers some of the much-needed stability!

Nike Zegama 2 Midsole width in the heel
Test results
Zegama 2 94.4 mm
Average 89.7 mm
Compared to 106 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
77.2 mm
Midsole width in the heel
109.3 mm

Flexibility

Stiffness

Despite its significant torsional rigidity, the Zegama 2 displayed remarkable flexibility lengthwise in our 90-degree bend test, requiring just 21.0N of force. This flexibility enhances comfort significantly, making it an excellent choice for hiking as well, even with its ample cushioning.

Test results
Zegama 2 21.0N
Average 28.1N
We use an average of four tests. The video shows one of those tests.
Compared to 106 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
10.5N
Stiffness
54.5N

Difference in stiffness in cold

Following a second 20-minute exposure to freezing conditions, we reevaluated the flexibility of the Zegama 2 and were impressed with the results. It exhibited only a 28.1% increase in stiffness, demonstrating its robust performance in cold weather!

Test results
Zegama 2 28.1%
Average 35.1%
Compared to 103 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
0%
Difference in stiffness in cold
102%

Grip / Traction

Lug depth

Returning to the outsole, we discovered that Nike partnered with Italian-based Vibram to equip the Zegama 2 with a Megagrip outsole featuring 4.0-mm deep lugs.

This design is quite standard, performing well across various conditions without specializing in any one area.

Nike Zegama 2 Vibram

Vibram Megagrip with Traction Lugs technology.

We discovered that the traction is excellent in both wet and dry conditions, a significant improvement over the first-generation model. The improvement even more crucial because, after all, the shoe is named for Zegama in Spain, a trail-running paradise known for its frequent rain and typical muddy conditions.

Nike Zegama 2 Lug depth
Test results
Zegama 2 4.0 mm
Average 3.6 mm
Compared to 106 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
1.7 mm
Lug depth
5.8 mm

Size and fit

Toebox width at the widest part

We're incredibly pleased because, just as with the Pegasus 41, Nike continues to produce roomier shoes in 2024, a delightful change from the traditionally snug toeboxes. And the Zegama 2 is no exception.

Nike Zegama 2 roomy

In our measurements of the widest part of the forefoot—101.4 mm—we found that it's wider than most trail shoes, so we confirmed that Nike has clearly designed this shoe for multi-hour runs where toe space is critical.

Nike Zegama 2 Toebox width at the widest part
Test results
Zegama 2 101.4 mm
Average 98.8 mm
Compared to 106 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
92.0 mm
Toebox width at the widest part
104.9 mm

Toebox width at the big toe

Our second measurement, taken in the big toe area, confirmed the toebox's generous width at 81.6 mm.

However, we also discovered that the vertical space in the toebox is somewhat limited like in the first-gen Zegama, which might feel restrictive for runners who point their toes upward while running or those with particularly large feet overall. We believe this won't pose an issue for most, though.

Nike Zegama 2 Toebox width at the big toe
Test results
Zegama 2 81.6 mm
Average 79.0 mm
Compared to 68 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
70.5 mm
Toebox width at the big toe
92.1 mm

Tongue: gusset type

A gusseted tongue is highly desirable in every trail shoe, but unfortunately, some models like the NB Fresh Foam X Hierro v8 lack this feature, which is disappointing. However, the Zegama 2 includes a fully gusseted tongue, and it's a fantastic addition because it effectively prevents debris from entering the toebox.

Nike Zegama 2 Tongue: gusset type
Test results
Zegama 2 Both sides (full)

Comfort

Tongue padding

We really liked the tongue on this shoe—it strikes a perfect balance with enough cushioning (6.0 mm featuring a single slab of foam) for comfort during long hours of wear, yet it remains lightweight and doesn't add much bulk to the shoe.

Nike Zegama 2 tongue

On the contrary, the lacing system features only a few punched eyelets, and could make achieving the perfect fit slightly challenging in our view. On the other hand, while the laces are good enough, they aren't premium by any means—unlike the shoe's $180 price tag.

Nike Zegama 2 Tongue padding
Test results
Zegama 2 6.0 mm
Average 6.4 mm
Compared to 106 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
1.5 mm
Tongue padding
12.2 mm

Heel tab

The Zegama 2 once again features a handy finger-loop heel tab—a feature carried over from its predecessor that we truly appreciate and hope will continue in future versions.

Nike Zegama 2 Heel tab
Test results
Zegama 2 Finger loop

Removable insole

We like that Nike accommodates those who opt for other insoles with their design. Our tests showed that you can easily remove the original footbed without any issues.

Nike Zegama 2 Removable insole
Test results
Zegama 2 Yes

Misc

Reflective elements

A proper trail running shoe should have reflective features for safety, and we found that the Zegama 2 includes them. However, they are quite basic—just two small dots!

Test results
Zegama 2 Yes