By Staff Contributor, Kyle Northrop
Even though I’ve been working at Marathon Sports for a couple of years, I always get excited when new shoes come out. Nike's new Zoom Terra Kiger is no different.
When you walk into one of our stores, it hits you. BOOM. Look at that wall of shoes. We pride ourselves in the vast selection and quality of options on our shoe wall. Over the past few years, we have carried several Nike trail models that have essentially been road shoes with a more aggressive trail tread. Nike's newest trail shoe, The Kiger, along with its little brother the Wildhorse, is a new direction for Nike. They aren’t re-engineered road shoes. These trail-specific shoes have been designed down to the smallest detail to be ready to conquer the trail.
The name Kiger comes from the Kiger mountain region of Oregon, which is home to a special breed of wild Mustang horses.
Even though the Terra Kiger is marketed as a trail shoe, it doesn't mean you have to keep yourself to just trails.
The Kiger is fast and quick, but it’s got some meat on it’s bones. It can tackle the road as easily as it can storm the trails. It’s a hybrid – a wild Mustang that will run anywhere you want to take it.
Here's the Run Down:
- 4mm Heel-Toe Drop: 14mm of cushion in the heel and 10mm in the forefoot.
- Beveled Heel: Allows the foot to come into a flatter position before bearing the bulk of your weight, encouraging a foot strike that is more focused beneath your center of gravity.
- Trail oriented design that uses diamond shaped lugs to provide traction up and down; also used on their new cross country spikes.
- Zoom Air Units: Nike's signature cushioning system in both the heel and the forefoot.
- Race Fit: Built off of Nike's track spike last.
Upon lacing these puppies up, my feet felt right at home. The shoe is built of the same last (foot mold) as their Free models and racing spikes, so the shoe just FEELS fast. The Kiger though has a bit more forgiving fit, especially in the forefoot, which will be especially helpful when racking up the miles on the trails.
Properly fitted running shoes should feel like they are just an extension of your feet and Nike does a good job of customizing the fit with its dynamic flywire system. Seen also in Nike's pro basketball line, the flywire consists of nylon wires that wrap around the eyelets and extend down into the midsole of the shoe. When the laces are pulled, so do the flywires; resulting in a custom fit for each wearer.
As a premier shoe, the Kiger boasts a Nike Zoom Air unit in both the forefoot and the heel. The Wildhorse has a Zoom Air unit only in the heel. This gives the Kiger an extra bounce when burning it up on the trail. The forefoot unit is especially helpful over rocky terrain. While most conventional trail shoes use a plastic plate in the forefoot to protect the feet, the Kiger's use of the air unit makes it much more flexible.
I was able to get myself up early enough one day to take these for an 11 mile run in the Blue Hills. While the shoes lack a hard rock plate to help dissipate shock, there was enough foam and air underfoot to work on even the rockier portions of the trail. I have also taken the shoe on about 25 miles or so on the road, where I think it performs just as well; which leads me to this:
Most of us are not lucky enough to have miles of trails right out our front door. For me, it’s a good 2 mile run before I can get to any significant trails. This is the reality of living in or around Boston. The Kiger handles itself well as a door-to-trail shoe. I can rely on it to handle wherever I run, no matter whether I'm hitting Comm. Ave or Blue Hills Skyline Trail.
Nike is always one of many leading the charge in innovation. Consider trying out the Kiger if you’ve had success in the Saucony Peregrine, Xodus, or Kinvara; New Balance Minimus Trail; Innov-8 TrailRoc.
I'm the kind of guy whose run evolves while I’m running. I may go out for 3, but I end up doing 5 or more. I may hit the road, only to turn on to the trails later. I enjoy my runs because I keep them spontaneous. Its nice to know that I can lace up this shoe, no matter of where I'm going that day.