Nike Zoom Terra Kiger 5 Review

Despite Nike's worldwide dominance in the running shoe market, one area where they are a smaller player is the trail running scene. They actually have had 2 solid models for a number of years providing a lighterweight and nimble offering along with a more durable longer distance offering. The former is what I review today.

What Is It?

Nike released the first Terra Kiger in 2013 as a low profile almost track-like trail shoe. It sported a unique design that took advantage of some of Nike's best current technologies such as a Phylon and Cushlon foam midsole, dynamic Flywire lacing system, Zoom Air units in both the heel and forefoot, and a burrito style tongue. I loved that shoe. For the past 5 years Nike made modest iterative improvements but the shoe remained largely the same.With thefifth generation, the shoe maintains its low profile but is completely redesigned from top to bottom.

Probably the most striking thing about the Terra Kiger 5 are the looks. It's a sleek looking trail shoe and the initial wild launch colors are outstanding.


The upper is a combination of engineered mesh along with some light overlays to provide some toe and heel protection. The forefoot overlay offers some minor water resistance and provides extra durability.

The lacing pattern is updated and gives a very snug fit with out the use of flywire.

The midsole now sports Nike React Foam with 23mm up front and 27mm in the heel for a 4mm drop. Within the heel resides a Nike Zoom Air unit. A segmented rock plate in the forefoot provides some protection along with some flexibility. At my normal US Men's size 10, the weight is 9.9 oz (280.66g) per shoe.

The outsole is a combination of 4mm depth multidirectional high abrasion rubber lugs in the forefoot and heel and a new sticky pad in the mid-foot that's supposed to provide better wet conditions traction.

Why Did I Get It?

I had a lot of success and compatibility with Nike React foam-based shoes on the road and became very interested when I heard it was being used in a new trail shoe. Previously, I was wearing trail shoes that used EVA for the midsole. In those types of shoes, I tend to crush the EVA pretty quickly and unevenly which would eventually lead to blister issues relatively early into the shoe's lifecycle.

I also wanted a trail shoe with a slightly wider forefoot and that weighed less than what I was using.

The heel image

200+ miles of wear on the heel.

The forefoot lugs. image

200+ miles of wear on the forefoot.


How Have They Worked Out?

I used the Kiger 5s for both training and racing over a variety of distances (4 to 33 miles), terrain (buffed out trails, rocky trails, and muddy conditions), and weather (sun and rain).

The Good

    • Snug step-in feel with comfortable collar, thin but padded tongue, and bootie-like construction.
    • They feel like a road shoe and they're fast and nimble on the right terrain.
    • The traction is low enough to be a decent road to trail shoe and work great on relatively smooth buffed out trails.
    • The toe box is slightly wider than your typical Nike and worked well for me.
    • These worked really well for training and races under 50K.
    • The upper breathes very well and was more durable that I thought it would be.
    • They drain pretty well and dried pretty fast during runs.
    • The heel tab is great and makes it easier to get the shoe on.
    • The React foam kept its shape throughout its lifecycle (~300 miles)
    • The low profile gives good stability and ground feel. I never felt like I was going to trip in these.

    The Less Good

    • The traction is still not great on very technical trails or in wet conditions. It's better than previous models but I found myself slipping and sliding A LOT.
    • The toe box has very little vertical volume.
    • Not great for over 50K unless you're super efficient. My legs and feet started to feel beat up once I got past 30 miles.
    • The collar can be a touch high as I had some chafing on one ankle in a pair of Kiger 5s.

    The Best Memory

    • In the Malibu Xterra 22K, I finally broke an 8-year old PR by over 8 minutes.

      Is It Worth It?

      At $130, the Nike Terra Kiger 5 is reasonably priced in the market place and is a great choice for anyone looking for a less clunky trail shoe that feels more like road shoe and isn't looking to put heavy mileage on them. I found them to be a great shorter distance race day shoe.

      It's safe to say that I liked them as I picked up a second pair during the season because I was having success with them.

      If you have a high volume foot then I would avoid these as they're probably going to fit too snugly and feel very constricting in the toe

        Product Info
        Does it just work?
        Is it well-made?
        Does it deliver?
        Is it worth it?
        Final Score

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