Thursday, April 21, 2016

Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 3 Trail Running Shoe Review Women's


 The Basics



The Nike Terra Kiger 3 (link to men's)was the winner of Runner's World's Best Update of 2015 award. It has a more rugged version of Nike's "waffle" outsole, featuring sharp lugs that are strategically placed. The offset is 4mm and a women's size 8 weighs 7.9oz (Runner's World actually lists the shoe as a little lighter and a slightly lower offset of 3.6mm). The Flymesh upper and Dynamic Fit system let the shoe hug your foot while still being lightweight and breathable. There is no rock plate in this trail shoe, but as Nike's description states, it has "High-abrasion TPU bars in the toe box and heel help protect the foot from debris." It also has Zoom Air units that provide cushioning for the forefoot and heel along with a full length rubber outsole, cutting down on the need for a rock plate.

The Down and Dirty


Laces go into loops on each side, giving the shoe a very secure fit
Outside of their Free collection, the Terra Kiger 3 is the most flexible Nike running shoe that I have tried. What first drew me to this shoe is that it looks good; it actually looks like something that I wouldn't mind wearing casually. It comes in many different colors and I'm even thinking about getting a second pair in the "plum" color. You know what color trail shoes should come in though? Georgia clay, that would be the perfect trail shoe color around here 'cause they end up highlighted in it anyway. I chose this dark grey/black color (Cargo Khaki? Whatever Nike) even though I don't normally go for black shoes, I really like combination with the accent colors.

Enough about looks. I've put about 70 trail miles on these shoes so far, including a trail half this past January and will do another half in them next month. I've found them to have superior flexibility with just the right amount of cushioning that lets me feel the ground without being hurt by the ground.


The sharp-lugged rubber outsole has a sticky feel that gives it excellent grip on all kinds of terrain. Well, all kinds except tile floors. I don't know what it is but when I've been running some local trails and go to use one of the bathrooms at a city park, these shoes are slippery! Even when they are dry there is some slip, but trails in Florida are usually, at least, somewhat damp and the combination of damp soles of this shoe and tile floors and you better be careful. Don't get the wrong idea though, they have great traction on damp ground. I have never slipped on flat mud or clay in these. The only time I can picture slipping outside in these shoes involved mud, leaves, and a steep trail, I think any shoes would have had some slippage in that situation.

"Burrito tongue"

The only other trail shoe I've review on this blog was the Altra Superior 2.5, which as first looks seems like the optimal choice for someone serious about running trails. I've got to tell you though, I haven't ran in those Altras since getting the Terra Kiger. Sorry Altra, I love your road shoes, but this Nike has got you beat on the trail in so many ways. In fact, the only improvement I would make to the Terra Kiger is to give it the toe box shape/forefoot width of the Altra. After more than 8-10 miles in the Terra Kiger, once my foot gets hot and swells a little, I start to get some pain on the medial ball of my foot. This is a common hot spot for me, but a lot of recent shoe releases have widened their forefoot and it hasn't been an issue. I need Nike to get with that trend as this is my only issue with the Terra Kiger.

Attached side of tongue
The Terra Kiger 3 upper is less padded than previous versions, I appreciate this as too much upper padding is a beef I have with a lot of shoes. Speaking of beef, the Terra Kiger has what many call a "burrito tongue," or wrapped tongue, meaning it's attached on one side of the shoe, paired with the lacing system gives the upper a more glove-like fit. The tongue is also less likely to slip to one side as can happen with other shoes. I have not tried these without socks since I always wear socks on trail runs. The inside does feel pretty smooth though and they dry fairly quickly.

 

 

Summary


I LOVE THIS SHOE. The Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 3 has just the right amount of cushioning and never feels stiff. It flexes and moves with my foot. The molded sockliner hugs my foot and the upper breathes really well. The sticky rubber outsole with sharp lugs and Nike Air technology in the midsole give excellent traction and lets me connect with the trail while staying comfortable and protected. I've put about 70 miles on these shoes on various terrain including grass, gravel, dirt, clay, wet, dry, technical, multi-use, and even beach sand trails. I don't think about my shoes while wearing these and that's one of the best things I can say about a running shoe; they let me just run. While I do wish it had a slightly wider forefoot, so I could keep not thinking about them after mile 10, I see myself putting many more trail miles on these shoes.

You can find the Nike Terra Kiger 3 on Amazon for around $99, men's here.

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