Trail Tested: Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 7
With one eye for function and another for form, Nike refined the Terra Kiger for the trail shoe’s best fit, ride, and grip to date.
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Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 7 Review
Nike meticulously chiseled midsole curves, lasered edges, perforated mesh and welded no-sew seams as they revamped the Terra Kiger, raising the shoe to its highest form. From the great fit to the improved traction and cushioned, low-profile responsiveness, the shoe shines when running fast on singletrack, where its nimble qualities come out and play.
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The most notable difference between the Terra Kiger version 6 and 7 is that Nike tweaked the outsole, providing fuller coverage and a better lug pattern, to make much-needed traction and durability improvements. But, once on the run, the more noteworthy upgrade comes from the proprioceptive feedback in the forefoot, which was improved by moving the Zoom Air Unit to the toes where it provides a soft and responsive ride at the point of greatest foot force when attacking the trail. Complementing this move, the segmented rock plate was redesigned to cover more of the rear of the shoe, helping to protect hard heel landings. The upper fit was also altered to better hold low-volume feet.
This Is the Shoe for You If …
You are an aggressive trail runner, letting it go without holding back on a variety of off-road surfaces. This version of the Terra Kiger revs its engine and tilts more forward so that it is better able to pounce on rather than react to trail features. The responsive underfoot feel is complemented by low-profile cushioning, making for a balanced approach that encourages confidence — which, in turn, begets speed and fun!
One tester described the much-improved Terra Kiger as running “like a soft, quick moccasin — but providing ample cushioning and protection.” The underfoot sensation, while more cushioned in this seventh version of the Terra Kiger, is still about being quick and agile. Nike paid attention to details when it revamped the shoe. The thicker layer of lightweight and durable React foam delivers a smooth, responsive ride and the forefoot Zoom Air unit aids with energy return.
While the Kiger is relatively heavy for today’s standards, it rides fast and nimble. The heel and midfoot are contoured and supportive, and, as one tester described it, “as your weight moves to the toes, you fall (nicely) into the Zoom Air under the forefoot, giving you a close-to-the-ground feel for speed and agility. They felt better the faster I went, and didn’t get in the way even when doing all-out strides.” Another tester described the shoe as “providing a platform for quick turns, inviting you to pick up the pace for great ground feel that doesn’t pierce through or cause any pain.”
The new outsole design makes the Terra Kiger more gnarly and durable. The tread, one tester said, was “more aggressive than expected on this nimble a shoe — which provided welcome grip on the trail even if it does add weight.” Unfortunately, while the high-abrasion rubber outsole was improved, the rubber is still slick on wet surfaces. The rock plate in the heel provided ample rear foot protection while the forefoot Zoom Air adequately cushioned and protected up front.
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The upper is durable, comfortable, breathable, and lightweight. Testers reported that the forefoot stretch mesh allowed for just enough movement to accommodate normal splay and flex while keeping the foot over the midsole, even on technical terrain. The dynamic fit system that combines a gusseted tongue with a midfoot wrap that ties into the laces moves nicely with the foot and holds securely, although it often required adjusting after settling into testers’ foot shape early in runs. The pad over the center of the tongue was appreciated under the narrow laces. The heel, with its internal foam pads, looks deceptively open but seals nicely around the ankle with no observed slippage.
In sum, Nike added protection and cushioning without messing up the trail dancing qualities in an update that should please all but die-hard fans of the lighter, firmer early versions of the Terra Kiger.
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