Our verdict


Coming off the back of the Pegasus Trail 4’s release, the Wildhorse 8 has had its work cut out to match its road-to-trail counterpart’s phenomenal acclaim. Fortunately for fans of the Nike Trail line, the remodeled v8 delivers in every aspect that matters—getting top marks in comfort, protection, and performance. It’s a no-fuss, wear-it-and-forget-it runner that can confidently traverse long distances even in the roughest of terrains.


  • Superior upper comfort
  • Durable
  • No need to break it in
  • Superb lockdown
  • Ample toe box space
  • Great traction on muddy, boggy, snowy trails
  • Also comfortable on hard surfaces
  • Sheds mud easily
  • Stable and protective midsole
  • Smooth, enjoyable ride
  • Best for daily training and trail LSDs


  • Not as protective for the toes
  • Does not like to go fast
  • Not very breathable
  • Can be unstable at fast paces

Who should buy the Wildhorse 8

The Wildhorse 8 is an ideal choice for:

  • Runners who are looking for something more protective for long days on the trails.
  • Experienced trail junkies who need a pair that can cruise through technical terrain.
  • Anyone looking for a comfortable, beginner-friendly trail shoe.


Who should not buy it

For runners looking for a more summer-friendly trail option, check out the ZoomX Zegama Trail. If it’s a speedy ride you’re after, try the Zoom Terra Kiger 8.

You won’t need to tame the Wildhorse 8

After taking his pair out for an 8+ mile test run on various terrain, one expert expressed that he “enjoyed every element of the upper” as he had an extremely comfortable experience throughout, without needing to break it in. 


Other testaments to the Wildhorse 8’s comfort included:

  • “No irritation, no rubbing, just a really nice place to be”
  • “The comfort is something to write home about”
  • “Feels like I’m running in a really comfortable pair of old slippers.”

Sweaty feet worst nightmare

The Wildhorse is an incredibly comfortable shoe, and it's evident that Nike went all-in on that aspect. However, there is a trade-off: breathability.

According to Nike, the upper is supposed to be "lightweight and breathable," but that's simply not the case.

Fact check
Our state-of-the-art breathability test confirmed that there's really poor airflow through the shoe, making it hard to recommend for your summer runs. That's a 3/5 for us, being 5 the most breathable.

The truth is that Nike really nailed it in terms of comfort by going the extra mile. They ditched the standard single layer and opted for not one, but two layers of mesh. 

If Nike had chosen to put airflow as a priority, we wouldn't have the internal mesh layer inside the shoe.

To try that, we put it to the test under our bright light, and let me tell you, if they went that route, airflow would be absolutely mind-blowing. If you're feeling adventurous, maybe you could get a little wild and try tweaking the Wildhorse by cutting that internal layer... just saying!


Now, let's dig deeper and get a closer look under the microscope to see how it looks and why airflow is so poor in this shoe.


The blue external mesh it's great, sporting plenty of ventilation holes. However, behind that it's the beige layer, which is the culprit for the fantastic comfort but at the same time, lack of breathability. 

Durability takes a hit in the v8

In the world of trail running shoes, there's an unwritten law: the more comfortable the shoe, the lower its durability tends to be. This correlation usually holds true in our lab, and the Wildhorse 8 is no exception.

Take a look at the video above. We conducted our intense Dremel test—subjecting every shoe to a relentless 3.4N force. And the results are jaw-dropping. The upper ends up looking like it took a direct hit from a bullet. The damage is just crazy!


It gets even worse when you compare it with another Nike shoe like the Terra Kiger 9.

Now, let's shift our focus to the heel, and honestly, the results are no surprise at this point. Yep, you guessed it—more crazy damage. So, if you're someone who tends to wear out the heel counter of your trail shoes, I'm afraid that the 8th-edition Wildhorse won't hold up as well.


A full React midsole that’s been reined in


Complementing the shoe’s technical trail proficiency is its full React foam midsole. Runners shared that it was “tremendously comfortable” and “ready for seriously long-distance outings.” 

Fact check
Nike made some tweaks to the React formulation to make it incredibly plush. We're talking so plush that when we used our durometer on the foam, it measured at 16.0 HA—125% softer than the previous Wildhorse.


Disclaimer: We average four measurements and eliminate any outliers. This image depicts only one.


We measured the stack height at 25.0/34.2 mm, resulting in a 9.2-mm heel-to-toe drop. Both measurements are higher than the average trail shoe, providing ample cushioning for your long runs in the mountains.


It's pretty clear that you're in front of a soft and tall trail shoe, so critics who aren’t fans of React’s wobbliness on uneven ground were pleased to see the guide railing—which Nike calls a ‘midfoot saddle’—around the shoe.

This helped the shoe “feel very stable and very connected” on more technical sections, stated one reviewer.

And despite the presence of a rock plate in the heel, the shoe still had “a luxurious feeling underfoot” even on hard surfaces.

React is renowned for its exceptional flexibility, and even though the WH8 is a trail shoe with more rubber than a typical road running shoe, it manages to maintain a good balance of flexibility.

In our tests, the WH8 scored 2 out of 3 in longitudinal flexibility and 3 out of 5 in torsional flexibility. Additionally, in our 90º bend challenge, we found that it required only 21.7 N of force to reach that point, which is 53% less than the average shoe. This makes the Wildhorse 8 a good all-rounder.

A stallion on the outside but a pony on the inside

“Supremely comfortable” is how one reviewer described the Wildhorse 8’s upper. Its dual-mesh construction consists of a soft, plush-feeling internal layer, and a tougher, more durable outer layer.


Testers also noticed the v8’s lack of a protective toe bumper. Despite the overlays, its toe box is still quite soft—leading one to speculate that the designers “have never stubbed their toe on a rock when they’ve been running on the trails.”


Finally, let's talk about slipping your feet into this shoe. It's not the most challenging shoe to put on, but Nike went the extra mile and added finger loop pull tabs, which is a nice bonus.


Will keep you saddled up all the way

The v8’s lockdown was just as impressive, thanks to its rigid but moderately padded heel. Though its stiffness caused some initial concerns among testers, they soon found that it was actually quite comfortable and held the heel really well.

Fact check
With a score of 3/5 in our heel stiffness test, there's no way we can categorize the WH8 as "stiff." It strikes the perfect balance of rigidity, effectively preventing heel slippage while maintaining a comfortable feel. Well done, Nike!


The laces also played a big part in providing a solid midfoot hold. One runner shared that he has “not had to stop and readjust the laces,” yet he still felt “as well locked in at the end of the run.” On the contrary, other trail runner stated that he is "not a huge fan of the lace holes. It doesn’t allow for a more lockdown fit."


Now, let's talk about the tongue, as we have some good news for you. It's fully gusseted, which is fantastic for keeping rocks and debris out of the shoe. But that's not all—it's also 35% thicker than your average tongue, showing that Nike went all-in on comfort here. So, no worries about lace bite, fellas.

Fact check
The tongue in the v8 outperforms the v7 in both metrics, as the v7 was only semi-gusseted and 40% thinner. That's a lot!


The Wildhorse 8 has wide hooves

The Wildhorse 8 provides “enough space for your feet to expand over time” because of its toe box roominess. Taking inspiration from recent Nike trail shoes such as the Zegama, the Wildhorse now boasts an improved fit, offering just the right amount of space in the toebox. Those with wide feet will find ample room to move comfortably within this shoe.


According to one shoe expert, it has “a bit more volume but definitely more width” than its Peg Trail 4 cousin, and is most similar in fit to the Saucony Xodus Ultra—a shoe that has garnered plenty of praise for its long-distance comfort.


Fact check
Naturally, we compared the WH8 and the Pegasus Trail 4 directly in the lab. To our surprise, we discovered that the Pegasus Trail 4 is wider than the Wildhorse 8, even though the Pegasus was a half size smaller.

Is it winter ready?

If you remember correctly, we've praised the comfort of this shoe at the start of the review, but we also said that it's like an oven in summer. This suggests that it would provide warmth and coziness during winter, trapping heat inside the shoe. However, there's a catch.


While all of that it's true, we should also consider how the midsole performs in cold temperatures. And it's not the best one.

Fact check
After being in our freezer for 20 minutes, the WH8 became 41.3% firmer and 37.2% stiffer. Unfortunately, this isn't great news if you often run in extremely cold temperatures.

Since React is made of TPE, it's not surprising that it tends to underperform in colder weather. In fact, we've categorized it as a non-resistant foam in our temperature and foam guide.

A Wildhorse, but not a racehorse

“Best first run I’ve ever had in a Nike shoe to date.” That’s how one expert—who initially did not have high hopes for the shoe—summarized his experience in the v8 Wildhorse. 

It’s not lightweight—it’s actually smack-dab on the average for trail running shoes at 319g—but it runs lighter than its weight suggests thanks to its cushioning. Testers also reported that it has a well-balanced, nimble, and “really enjoyable” ride overall.


So it's clear that, despite its name may evoke the need for speed, but the Wildhorse 8 is not a fast trail shoe. “Comfort and plushness are prioritized here,” explained one reviewer, making it a shoe best used for daily training and steady, relaxed runs over long distances.


The shoe's dimensions don't bring anything extraordinary to the table. They're pretty much average for both the forefoot and heel, which accommodate a wide range of runners. And it worked!


Additionally, the 8th-edition of the Wildhorse has a slightly rockered ride, but nothing crazy.

Not just for galloping on wide open plains

Nike markets the Wildhorse as their rough terrain-ready runner primarily due to its high-abrasion rubber. Runners agree—the v8’s outsole actually performed very well on difficult trails, and was also comfortable on hard trails and tarmac.

A user reported: "Ride is nice, cushioning is ideal, traction is really good in a wide array of terrains."


Disclaimer: We calculate an average of 4 measurements and disregard any outliers. This image portrays just one of those.

Fact check
The American brand often faces criticism for its trail shoes' subpar grip. So this time Nike stepped up its game by using a softer compound. The rubber in the Wildhorse 8 is a whopping 6% softer compared to the New Balance Fresh Foam Hierro v7, and it's also softer than the median.


Its chunky and aggressive tread “passes with flying colors” on thick mud, boggy forests, and even some snow patches (though one user experienced a bit of sliding on ice).

The lug spacing also “allows the mud to clear quickly so the traction stays.” There's no Vibram in here, but it's good enough for most trail runners.


Fact check
The lugs in this shoe are 26% shorter compared to those in the Terra Kiger 9, making the Wildhorse more appropriate for non-technical trails.

Be careful, runs a little bit short

If you typically find yourself in between sizes, it's important to note that the Wildhorse 8 runs slightly shorter than expected.


Fact check
We measured it at 262.2 mm for a US size 8.5, which is 0.3 mm shorter compared to a true-to-size shoe like the Salomon Sense Ride 5... in US size 8.