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Shoe Review: Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 5

A pair of Nike Terra Kiger 5 trail running shoes on a leafy trail

The Nike Terra Kiger 5 trail running shoe is back and bolder than ever.

Nike wrapped the new Terra Kiger in a just-off-white engineered mesh upper and accented it with a blue toe cap, pink React foam and yellow outsole, making it look like a party on the trail (though it does come in more subdued colors). But it’s not just for show: the Kiger has bonafide trail cred.

The sticky rubber outsole is studded with a host of lugs to dig into soft earth, and a wide toe box makes the shoe comfortable for any distance.

Fleet Feet runners took the Terra Kiger 5 through long trail runs and muddy workouts to test how it fits and feels. Here’s what they thought about the new Nike running shoes.

Tech specs

  • Price: $130
  • Drop: 4 mm
  • Use: Everyday trainer, race day
  • Surface: Trail
Shop Nike Terra Kiger 5
A person holds a pair of the Nike Terra Kiger 5 trail running shoes

Nike Terra Kiger 5 Fit

The Nike Terra Kiger 5 fits differently than many Nike running shoes, which our testers loved.

Designers built the Kiger with a wider toe box to give your foot more room to splay when it hits the ground. It didn’t go unnoticed.

“These shoes really surprised me,” says one male tester with wider feet. “I put these on, and they immediately felt comfortable. The midfoot through the toe box was spacious. My foot never felt like it was being squeezed or forced into an unnatural shape.”

The lacing system works with the roomy toe box to enhance the Terra Kiger’s fit. Nike used a simple overlay on top of the mesh to anchor the laces, which tighten snugly around the midfoot. All of our testers liked how the shoe hugged their foot, and no one had problems with their shoes coming untied or getting too loose during a run.

Nike’s mesh upper is soft and breathable, but it’s woven tightly enough to keep dirt and debris from sneaking through, and the fabric around the collar is easy on your ankle to avoid unnecessary rubbing.

The shoe fit all of our testers well, but the unsung hero here is a simple loop of fabric. Nike sewed a perfect heel tab to the back of the Terra Kiger 5. The loop of burly webbing is big enough to hook with a finger, and it has enough structure to stay open enough so you don’t have to fuss with it to get it to work right. The small detail gave the shoe a high-quality feel.

All of our testers wondered how the white mesh on the sample shoe they received would look after a few good coatings of mud, but trail shoes are made to get dirty. So, wear that mud like a badge of honor.

Nike Terra Kiger 5 Ride

Nike’s React foam stars in the Terra Kiger 5.

React is the same foam used in the Nike Epic React Flyknit 2, and it feels just as soft and bouncy in the Kiger. Designers also packed a Zoom Air bag into the heel, which our testers say enhances the bouncy feel of the shoe.

Beneath the shoe, Nike used sticky and durable outsole rubber covered in multidirectional lugs to give the shoe better traction. The lugs only cover the forefoot and heel, though, leaving the midfoot open. In place of more lugs in the middle, there’s a pad of rubber that protects the foam—and your foot—from sharp rocks on the trail.

Nike also increased protection by adding a segmented rock plate in the forefoot. The plate shields your foot from jagged rocks and roots, but it doesn’t sacrifice flexibility. Our testers say the shoe initially felt a little stiffer than last year’s model, but it was still smooth and flexible on the run.

“I was pleasantly surprised with how light and nimble the shoe felt,” says one Fleet Feet runner. “It made me feel like I was running faster than I really was.”

The lugs aren’t as deep as other trail running shoes on the market, but none of our testers had any problems with their footing on pavement, hard packed trails, gravel, mud or loose dirt.

The outsole of the Nike Terra Kiger 5 trail running shoe

Nike Terra Kiger 4 vs. Nike Terra Kiger 5

Colors aside, one of the biggest updates to the Terra Kiger is a change to the Zoom Air cushioning.

The Nike Terra Kiger 4 squeezed Zoom Air units into the heel and forefoot, which gave the former model its springy feel. But the Terra Kiger 5 only uses a Zoom Air unit in the heel.

To go along with a revamped cushioning system, the Terra Kiger 5 got a new midsole shape. The 5’s midsole flares out in the back, mimicking the look of some of Nike’s road running shoes.

The 4 also employed Nike’s Flywire cables on the highest two lace holes to lock down the midfoot. This year’s shoe did away with the Flywire, opting instead for a simpler overlay and an extra lace hole, though our testers didn’t need to use the extra hole to keep their foot in place.

Nike also changed up the pattern of the lugs on the outsole.

Conclusion

The new Nike Terra Kiger 5 is a lightweight and nimble trail running shoe that matches cushy React foam with a burly, high-traction rubber outsole for a confident ride.

We love how Nike widened the toe box to make it more comfortable for more runners and redesigned the lugs to give it sure-footed traction. The Terra Kiger 5 consistently made every run feel faster and the hardest trail runs feel (a little) easier.

Painted with the freshest colors we’ve seen so far this year, the Nike Terra Kiger 5 is the trail running shoe we want to lace up this spring for all our long training days and goal races.


Still not convinced? Don’t sweat it. Fleet Feet's return policy means you can test drive your shoes and gear without risk. If you’re not happy with the way your gear performs, looks or fits, we’ll take it back within 60 days. Plus, you’ll get free return shipping on all fleetfeet.com orders. That's our Happy Fit Guarantee.

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