Verdict: The Nike Terra Kiger 7 is a trail shoe that's light, fast, and exceptionally versatile. It's anything but a long-distance shoe. Our feet just felt fatigued right after. But if you want a peppy ride with loads of ground feel, it's wise to consider the Terra Kiger 7! More notably, it's got solid durability too, so expect to clock lots of miles in this shoe!
This is a lightweight neutral trail running shoe capable of taking on just about any trail terrain one may come across.
This latest expression of the Terra Kiger model is a bit of a transition from its previous iterations of the model; the 7 has more stack height, more tread, and more cushion. While some may decry the departure from previous minimalist-inspired specs, make no bones about it, this shoe is still plenty versatile for some great running adventures.
Who the shoe is (not) for
Recommended for runners who:
Enjoy feeling the terrain below their feet,
Are mid- or forefoot strikers,
Want a light, fast and breathable running shoe.
Look away if you prefer extra cushion or support (if you rather have that “running on clouds” experience).
Nike Terra Kiger 7 fits true to size
Nike running shoes tend to run narrower than the average bear, and because of that, I usually wear a half size larger than other brands. The Terra Kiger 7, however, seems to run pretty true to size, although the toe box remains narrower than other running shoes, especially notable when trail running.
The tongue and upper are minimal in design, so the laces secure the foot quite well for the duration of the run without any discomfort
Terra Kiger 7 offers moderate cushioning
I was happy to feel more cushion in the midsole than I was first anticipating with the Terra Kiger. By no means is this a maximalist cushion, but moderate enough to let you know you’re not alone out there!
My feet did start to feel the brunt of the trail beyond the 10k mark on day 1, but overall I have been impressed with the cushion, lack of blisters, and breathability.
The stack height for the 7s now boasts 30mm, with a 4mm heel to toe drop. This is more cushion than previous generations of the Terra Kiger, but plenty of agility as well.
One of the first things I noticed after lacing these bad boys up for the first time was just how light my feet felt. Weighing in at 10oz, the shoes dare you to run faster, so make sure you are ready for that new pace!
Any unneeded mass was cut out of the upper. The tongue is more akin to a racing shoe and the synthetic mesh throughout the rest of the upper allows for plenty of breathability and a light feel.
My first run with the Terra Kiger 7s was ten miles and they felt pretty great.
The upper material composed of mesh and synthetic material does take some getting used to, but otherwise, I found these shoes to be ready for the trail right out of the box.
Caution at long distances
Beyond ten miles, I started to feel my feet fatiguing a bit more, but subsequent runs have proven that the shoes continue to show up day in and day out.
Extra rock protection
The segmented rock plate helps to ensure comfort even over the rockiest of terrain, and the added lugs throughout the outsole ensure more grip on just about any surface.
Designed to last
The other surprise on my first run with these shoes was just how durable the midsole and outsole felt. This is not a flimsy minimalist shoe; it’s designed for miles ahead.
This being more of a lightly constructed shoe feel than a traditional training shoe, I wonder about the durability, but there have been no warning signs thus far. How will these shoes handle the rain, mud, and muck of winter running? Will they feel as light and bouncy in mile 30 as they do in mile 5? Only time will tell, but given the added cushion, I’m hopeful for positive results ahead!
I was able to field test the Terra Kigers in their homeland of the Pacific Northwest, just miles away from Nike’s World Headquarters. Overall, most of the miles were on dry trails with a mixture of mud, dirt, tree roots, and rocks.
I’m excited to continue to push these shoes onto new terrain in the days to come. As previously noted, Nike added more lugs throughout the outsole for increased traction, which has resulted in only more grip on the trail. I’m also excited to see how they do in the water. They splash around puddles just fine, with lots of ventilation and drainage.
How will they do with river crossings and downpours?
These shoes will excel in warmer temperatures when breathability is a premium.
There is plenty of breathability with the Terra Kiger.
One may have their reservations from some of the harder synthetic upper material, but these shoes will do great in the hotter temperatures and will be quick to drain and dry out when getting wet.
Superb heel lock
What I really enjoy about the Terra Kiger 7 is an additional placement of cushion in the heel area of the upper, but placed below the heel collar like most other shoes.
This allows for the heel to remain locked in place, while also avoiding any unnecessary chafing that might lead to blisters, or worse yet, injury.
Out of the box Nike’s hallmark design and energetic color scheme comes through; the limelight, laser blue, off-noir colors pictured here.
Overall, I’m really impressed with the latest iteration of the Terra Kiger 7. The critics may decry the straying from minimalist aspirations compared with its previous generations, but these changes have helped present this shoe to a much larger fan base--and if they aren’t fans of the Terra Kiger yet, they will be!
The shoe is moderately priced ($140US retail) in an ever-increasing shoe pricing market, and the buyer will be pleased to be able to take these out on just about any trail surface that may come along. There certainly are more cushioned shoes out there, but if you are looking to run free, to put the pedal to the metal, then look no further than the Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 7.
I am a runner, pastor, writer, and lover of all things outdoors, living in Portland, Oregon, with my wife, Julie; our dog, George; and our cat, Annie. I can be found on the trails of Forest Park, hiking along the coast, on Mount Hood, or running the bridges of the Willamette River.