Thursday, July 3, 2014

Nike Zoom Terra Kiger Trail Shoe Review - First Thoughts & Second Thoughts

I recently picked up a pair of size 10.5 Nike Zoom Terra Kiger and offer my initial thoughts.  First off, I wasn't dying to buy these shoes.  I was given a gift certificate to Road Runner Sports.  I don't really like this store.  They seem to always have about twenty plus people working there, which would be great, except most of them stand around in little packs doing nothing, rather than actually getting people shoes.  The day I bought the shoes was no exception, as I had to ask for my shoes three times and wait 20 minutes before trying on my first pair.  

Therefore, once I entered this store, I was going to buy something, as I didn't want to come back.  I first tried on a pair of Hokas and ran a mile on a treadmill in them.  They just didn't work for me, as my foot moved around too much and the next size down was too small.  I then tried on the New Balance Fresh Foam 980. The sizing of these were off for my foot, so they weren't going to work either.  I was interested in trying on a pair of Altras, as these shoes look like a shoe that would work for me.  Except, they didn't have any.

Nike Zoom Terra Kiger 10 miles in
Reluctantly, I tried on a pair of the Nike Zoom Terra Kiger, which is Nike's high end trail shoe.  The Nike Zoom Wildhorse, which I also own, is a step down.  For review purposes, its beneficial to compare the two. Here are the stats:

Nike Zoom Terra Kiger  
8.6 0z
4mm heel to toe drop
Heel: 26.5mm
Toe: 22.5mm

Nike Zoom Wildhorse
9.6 0z
4mm heel to toe drop
Heel: 27.3mm
Toe: 23.3mm

First off, I don't get the name.  "Terra" means land and "Kiger" is a substrain of the Mustang horse located in southeastern Oregon.  Why add "Terra"?  Nike didn't stick Terra in front of Wildhorse, why do it for the Kiger?  I'm a fan of consistency, either do it for both or not at all.  Also, is "Terra" really necessary?  Is this to help avoid confusion with the Aqua Kiger, which is a strain of seahorse found off the coast of Oregon?  

Getting beyond the name, the Kiger fits me incredibly well.  It has a wrap around (burrito) tongue, which provides for a snug, sock-like fit.  I much prefer the fit of the Terra Kiger to the Wildhorse.  I'm not sure what the specifications are to be considered to have a narrow foot, but I'm a skinny guy and I think I have a narrow foot.  If you have a wider foot, the Wildhorse may provide a better fit.  You'll also notice, I don't untie my shoes at the end of the run.  In the running world, I'm what is known as a "Keep 'em tied" as opposed to an "Untier".

Wildhorse (top) and Kiger (bottom) 
While I have you looking down at the shoes, also notice the lace interface with the shoes.  The Wildhorse laces through a piece of shoe that is folded over and stitched back into the mesh rather than a traditional eyelet.  This adds some unnecessary weight and does not provide for the best cinching of the shoe.  My Wildhorses never feel quite tight enough.

The Kiger use the Nike Free method, which consists of normal eyelets reinforced with two loops.  I think the two loops help to pull the shoe around the foot.  Whatever they do, they seem to work.  However, if someone has enough energy to unlace their shoes, lace them back up without using the two loops and go for a run, let me know if they actually make any difference.

Two eyelets of uncertainty and confusion
The other difference between the shoes are the top eyelets. The Wildhorse actually does have two eyelets, at the very top of the shoe.  These are the two eyelets where you have to make a choice, as the shoelace is not long enough for both.  Do I go with the bottom eyelet?  Should I go with the top eyelet?  Is there some secret to which one I pick?  Was there an instruction manual in the box that I missed?  Will the bottom eyelet provide a better fit?  Why are there two f**king eyelets?!?  Why not design the shoe so I don't have to make a choice?

One eyelet of tranquility
The Kiger has only one eyelet.  I don't know if two eyelets would actually be better.  Quite honestly I don't care.  I prefer not having to wonder if I'm not tying my shoes in the most optimum manner every time I go for a run. 

The Kiger shoes have "Sticky Rubber", which in a technical sense translates into the rubber sticks to the "Terra" and not to the shoe.  This means the soles begin to wear away immediately.  After 10 miles, notice the rubber is already wearing off the blue traction pads of the two top sets of three on the left of the Kigers. The shoes are grippy, but for how long?  A hundred miles?      

Kiger "Sticky Rubber" soles
The Wildhorse soles are equally as bad.  They apparently don't come with "Sticky Rubber", but check out the wear on the shoes below.  I bought two pairs of the Wildhorse back in February 2014 and wear both.  I also wear other shoes on the road.  Only six months later and not that many miles, check out the wear.

Wildhorse soles
Since I have a worn pair of shoes, I checked my wear pattern.  Apparently, pursuant to, I have even wear, which means "[t]reads across the heel and under the ball of the foot are both worn, with additional wear marks underneath the big toe."  (If my reading of my wear pattern is wrong, let me know.)  This means I'm wearing the right shoes.  

Lastly, the jury is still out on comfort.  I haven't run more than 10 miles in the Kigers.  I don't know how my feet are going to feel when I go long.  Admittedly, I bought these shoes to race half-marathons in, so I didn't by them for comfort - that was why I was trying on the Hokas.That's all for now folks.  

Keep it dirty. 


At 300 miles, the Kigers had to be brought out back and shot.  As you can see from the photograph below, the sole looks like one of my dogs used it as a chew toy.  The pencil in the photo is pointing to an area that is especially worn away.  If I stepped on a rock in that area, a sharp pain would shoot through me, forcing me to retire the Tigers.  
Tigers 300 miles in

With my griping about the durability of the soles out of the way, I will say the Tigers are very comfortable.  I loved running in them.  I felt fast.  However, if you plan on running for more than two hours at a time, you might consider a beefier shoe.  If you wish to get more than 300 miles out of your shoe, buy a different one.

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