12 best Nike trail running shoes

Based on reviews from 50 experts and 896 users. Learn how our rankings work or see our guide to Nike trail running shoes. Updated Apr 2020.

  • Trail
  • Nike
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  1. Any color
    Nike Air Zoom Wildhorse 5 - Bright Crimson/Black
    Nike Air Zoom Wildhorse 5 - BeecHeatheree / University Gold / Off Noir
    Nike Air Zoom Wildhorse 5 - Black / Barely Grey / Thunder Grey / Wolf Grey
    Nike Air Zoom Wildhorse 5 - Multi
    Nike Air Zoom Wildhorse 5 - Geode Teal Chrome Yellow Black
    $110 $63 Save 43%
  2. Any color
    Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 5 - Brown
    Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 5 - Red
    Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 5 - Black / Barely Grey / Gunsmoke / Wolf Grey
    Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 5 - Cargo Khaki/Team Gold-black-jade Stone
    Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 5 - Geode Teal/Aurora Green-black
    $130 $72 Save 45%
  3. Any color
    Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 4 - Dark Grey/Metallic Silver-blue Void
    $125 $104 Save 17%

The collection of trail running shoes from Nike might not be as extensive compared to what other brands have to offer, but runners can ensure that Nike trail running shoes for both men and women are able to give a fantastic performance, whether the user is a beginner or an expert trail runner.

The trail running shoes from Nike guarantee protection from the rugged terrain and are suitable for both professional runners and beginner joggers. With various models to choose from, trail runners can easily find a Nike trail running shoe that would cater to their specific needs.

What to expect from Nike trail running shoes

  • Nike trail running shoes go against the grain of traditional trail shoes that are heavy and clunky. Consumers would notice that Nike trail running shoes are able to provide protection and cushioning without the bulk, thus enabling an enjoyable outdoor experience.
  • Because trail runners need extra protection against the outdoor elements, Nike trail running shoes are focused on the protective features that ensure safety with each stride. Some of these details include rock plates and toe guards that shield the foot and give the runner a worry-free run.
  • Consumers who are loyal, or at least familiar, with the brand's running shoes would discover that Nike trail running shoes for both men and women are as comfortable and as trendy-looking as its road-running shoe counterparts. Beginner trail runners would have no problem adjusting to the outdoors with Nike trail shoes.
  • Meanwhile, veteran trail runners could also expect to find Nike trail running shoes that are aggressive and can easily tackle difficult and rugged terrains. Some of these trail shoes for men and women have particular designs that provide the runner with excellent grip on trail surfaces such as mud, rocks, and grass; while others are also capable of supporting sudden shifts in movement and direction.
  • Trail racers should also have no difficulty finding Nike trail running shoes that suit their chosen activity. There are pairs that are simultaneously lightweight and protective to enable the runner to concentrate on making fast time.
  • Lastly, casual runners would find a match with Nike trail running shoes that are nicely cushioned and responsive. These trail running shoes for men and women allow for long-distance running without the fatigue.

Nike trail running shoes versus Nike road running shoes

best nike trail running shoes
Best Nike trail running shoes- November 2019

Apart from the obvious difference of their intended purpose, there are other factors that set Nike trail running shoes from Nike road running shoes.

Weight. Although both types of running shoes are known for their lightness and flexibility, the weight of Nike trail running shoes is more substantial in comparison to its road counterpart. This quality, however, is understandable because the Nike trail running shoes pack more features that allow the runner to safely and comfortably traverse the outdoors.

Materials. In terms of the materials used in each type of shoe, the trail running shoes from Nike utilizes relatively heavier resources compared to the road-running varieties. This kind of structuring allows the trail running shoes to be more cushioned and more protective, thus suitable for the rugged terrains. In addition, some of the materials of Nike trail running shoes are designed to be more durable than the basic running shoe.

Fit. Nike’s trail running shoes and road running shoes both strive to give the wearer unbeatable comfort, but the way they fit on the runner is not identical. The trail running shoes from Nike provide a more snug fit at the midfoot area, which helps keep them in place when running on uneven terrain. In addition, Nike trail running shoes for both men and women have a wider forefoot, which allows more toe splay and better grip, especially on sloping surfaces.

Nike trail running shoes versus other brands

Based on opinions sourced from various reviewers, beginners, and experts alike, here are some of the differences that Nike trail running shoes have from the trail running shoes of other brands:

  • Traction. The trail running shoes that Nike offers for men and women are built with reliable outsoles that deliver impeccable traction, making fast-paced runs a worry-free activity. Compared to other trail running shoes, the ones offered by Nike have a certain, unmistakable grip that allows runners a steady ride on long distances.
  • Cushioning. Runners can expect to find a Nike trail running shoe that has both ample and minimal cushioning. Unlike some brands that only have one silhouette for trail shoes, Nike trail shoes come in varieties that allow the user to either log more miles or be exposed to more ground-feel.
  • Structure. Although it may be a given that trail running shoes are meant to be durable, most of Nike trail running were given reviews by users as excellent in withstanding abrasions and tears from various sources. Others have also claimed the best Nike trail running shoes have sturdy materials that effectively protects the feet from outdoor elements.
  • Features. In addition to the basic structural components, the trail running shoes from Nike offer external and internal features that enable an even more efficient run. The brand takes pride in having their trail shoes possess this quality, as both men and women runners could look forward to a running experience that fully utilizes their capabilities and energy.
  • Design. Nike trail running shoes for both men and women are specially designed to handle an assortment of surfaces; these shoes not only bring comfort but also promote optimum running form and pace. Compared to other brands, the trail running shoes from Nike encourage a stable foot placement that, coupled with its unique cushioning, allow a comfortable and seamless cruising.

Popular Nike trail running shoe models

Nike Air Zoom Wildhorse

The Nike Air Zoom Wildhorse is one of Nike’s long-standing trail running shoes for men and women. As its name implies, the Air Zoom Wildhorse is designed for trail runners who desire a carefree and worry-free run, as it provides the perfect combination of protection, grip, and durability, especially on rugged trails.

The running shoe model’s fourth iteration finds itself offering more functionality than ever before. This Nike trail running shoe received reviews that praised its comfort, accurate fit, and adequate cushioning, which allowed users to stay ventilated and protected during extended periods of wear. The excellent support and affordable price of the Air Zoom Wildhorse 4 are few of the reasons why it continues to be one of the most popular trail running shoes for men and women.

Nike Terra Kiger

Marketed as a versatile trail running shoe from Nike, the Terra Kiger is built to handle a variety of running conditions, from long-distance trails to fast-paced trail races. This shoe uses Zoom Air in the sole unit, which delivers a nimble and responsive step, and Phylon foam, which helps create a lightweight cushioning.

Now released as the Terra Kiger 4, this Nike trail running shoe has impressed reviewers with its plush and agile underfoot, as well as its supportive and comfortable upper. The shoe has also received positive feedback on the speed it delivers and the lightweight cushioning that gives an enjoyable ride.

Nike Dual Fusion Trail

The Nike Dual Fusion Trail describes itself as a lightweight and agile trail running shoe that both men and women could wear without the complications of too many features. Best worn by neutral pronators, the Dual Fusion Trail delivers optimum performance on light trails and dry surfaces.

Its latest iteration, the Dual Fusion Trail 2, has been favorably regarded as a trail running shoe that allows high-mileage running sessions while also providing good ground perception and seamless mobility. Consumers have also praised the shoe for its stylish design and affordable price.

Factors to consider when getting Nike trail running shoes

Weight. The user’s intended purpose and running frequency would determine the kind of Nike trail running shoe that is suitable for them. Runners who are after quick paces or trail races would want to pick up a lightweight trail running shoe, as it would easily go along with the foot with each step. Meanwhile, runners who do long miles are more suitable with a well-cushioned trail running shoe. Both categories of runners would certainly find a Nike trail running shoe that will fit their needs.

Tread. A trail running shoe’s lug size and pattern contributes to the performance it delivers. Runners who frequent hard-packed trails or rocky surfaces would do well with short and shallow lugs on their Nike trail running shoes. This type of trail runner would also do well when transitioning from roads to trails. On the other hand, wet and muddy surfaces are best tackled with a trail running shoe with a sticky outsole and deep lugs.

Cushioning. The type of trail you would be undertaking should take part in determining the kind of Nike trail running shoe to get. Smooth, soft, and even trails would be a match with less-cushioned shoes. In contrast, trail running shoes with more cushioning in the sole unit would be best suited for technical trails. Maximalist trail shoes would also do better in long-distance runs as it provides the necessary comfort and impact-reduction in the underfoot.

Stack Height. The heel-to-toe drop of your preferred Nike trail running shoe also plays a significant factor in your trail running activity. Selecting the suitable trail running shoe depends on the type of runner that you are. For heel strikers, a high heel-to-toe drop would be most beneficial as it provides the most cushioning in the rearfoot. Midfoot strikers run best in a medium drop. Lastly, forefoot strikers—like racers—benefit from a low-drop shoe, as it enables a more efficient stride and reduces the impact caused by heel strike.

Frequently asked questions

Can you use Nike trail running shoes on the road?

Although you can use your Nike trail running shoes on the road, it is not recommended, considering the various differences of a trail shoe from a road running shoe. Trail shoes are relatively heavier than road shoes as they pack more material, which is necessary to tackle the elements of the outdoors. A trail running shoe on the road might negatively affect your stride, speed, and pace. Your best bet is to own a separate pair of running shoes for the road aside from your Nike trail running shoe.

Can you use Nike trail running shoes for gym workouts?

Your Nike trail running shoes are structured with lugs on the outsole, which permit it to grip on uneven and rugged surfaces. With such a construction, trail shoes are not suitable for indoor workouts, and they could potentially hamper your workout routine. Fortunately, Nike also offers training shoes, so you can easily find a pair that you like for working out.

Does Nike produce waterproof shoes? Is it important in trail running?

As of this writing, Nike has only released one waterproof trail shoe, which is the Nike Air Zoom Wildhorse 3 GTX (on low stock). The importance of a waterproof running shoe depends on the running condition you frequent; rainy days and muddy puddles warrant the use of a waterproof running shoe. Otherwise, you would still do well with an ordinary trail running shoe.

Meanwhile, an alternative to waterproof shoes would be water-repellent running shoes. These provide minimal protection against wetness and are more appropriate if you only encounter light rain showers. You can view some of the water-repellent trail shoes currently available in the market here.

Are Nike trail running shoes usable as hiking footwear?

Trail running shoes and hiking shoes have a similar structure that allows them to tackle outdoor conditions with ease and efficiency. Both shoes possess the grip and protection that is necessary for traversing the urban jungle. In this way, your Nike trail running shoes could be used for hiking; however, they may not be as sturdy or have as much coverage as legitimate hiking footwear do. If you only do light treks, or if you are after comfort, you may use Nike trail shoes for hiking. If you want to consider getting another pair specifically for hiking, see the list for hiking shoes here.

3 best Nike trail running shoes

  1. Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 36 Trail
  2. Nike Air Zoom Wildhorse 5
  3. Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 5
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.

This shoe has recently been added to RunRepeat. There are still not enough reviews for us to assign it a CoreScore.
A score from 1 to 100 that summarizes opinions from users and experts. The average CoreScore is 78. More...