Nike Air Zoom Wildhorse 4 And Air Zoom Terra Kiger 4 Reviews

The Nike Air Zoom Wildhorse and Terra Kiger have become mainstays on the trail-shoe market since they were released in 2013. While I have been a fan of every version of these shoes since their inception, I struggled initially with the bulking up of the Wildhorse in its third update, only to later relent after I realized how bombproof the shoe is. Remember, that initially the Wildhorse had a stack height of 14mm to 10mm versus today’s 28mm to 20mm stack height. Meanwhile, the Terra Kiger has been one of the best shoes on the market for mid-distance trail and ultrarunning, and really stayed true to its roots. With these updated models, Nike retains what made the last models great while improving the durability of the Wildhorse and racing-flat feel of the Terra Kiger.

Nike Air Zoom Wildhorse 4

The Nike Air Zoom Wildhorse 4. All photos: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 4

The Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 4.

Nike Air Zoom Wildhorse 4 Upper

The upper is where the greatest amount of changes take place on the Nike Air Zoom Wildhorse 4 ($110), a neutral varied trail shoe in the realm of the Saucony Peregrine, Montrail Bajada, Altra Lone Peak 3.0, and the Pearl Izumi Trail N2V2. Nike uses an asymmetrical lacing pattern incorporating their Dynamic Flywire, which removes pressure off of the big-toe metatarsal, which had been a problem for some runners. In this updated version, the big toe is unencumbered and this works well for runners who struggle with bunions. The Flywire is supported by a “Midfoot fit system,” which consists of mesh overlaid with a welded-on rubberized compound that reduces the pressure of the Flywire on the foot. You can think of this as an external version of Salomon’s Endofit technology, just not quite as locked down.

A gusseted tongue underlays all of this midfoot material, which, given the durability of the Wildhorse 3, seems somewhat unnecessary with the added weight (0.4 ounces). With the Wildhorse 3 being nearly indestructible and runners getting upward of 1,000 miles on the shoe, I think that the design principle was aimed at providing lateral stability rather than durability. Indeed, the asymmetrical lacing takes the pressure off of hot spots, the rubberized midfoot wrap first seemed unnecessary in my opinion. However, it seemed to lock the foot down on off-camber trails and it could make the Wildhorse 4 even more durable?

Another improvement, in my opinion, is that the forefoot gets even wider on the Wildhorse 4, providing a very stable platform on even the most technical trails. We now have an incredibly robust trail shoe that weighs 10.7 ounces and can tackle any terrain. Nike uses a breathable dual-density mesh and surprisingly minimal toecap throughout the rest of the shoe, choosing instead to place the majority of the Wildhorse 4’s rigidity in the midfoot area.

Nike Air Zoom Wildhorse 4 lateral upper

The Nike Air Zoom Wildhorse 4 lateral upper.

Nike Air Zoom Wildhorse 4 Midsole and Outsole

To my knowledge, nothing has changed with the midsole and outsole of this shoe, which features a 28mm heel and 20mm forefoot, netting an 8mm heel drop. Nike’s Phylon midsole material is very much on the firm end of the EVA foam spectrum. While it isn’t terribly forgiving on hard terrain, it is incredibly durable and does not easily compress. The Wildhorse 4 also possesses Zoom Air pods in the heel, which make this a great shoe for runners with a full foot strike.

Nike Air Zoom Wildhorse 4 medial upper

The Nike Air Zoom Wildhorse 4 medial upper.

Nike uses their durable Stoneshield throughout the forefoot and midfoot of the shoe, which provides more than enough protection. As stated before, this is one of the most durable trail running shoes I’ve ever worn and it works with a lot of different foot types. The outsole is an elegantly simple waffle pattern with durable rubber that seems to grab just about every surface other than glare ice. The dividing line on the Wildhorse 4 will really be whether or not you are a runner who can tolerate firmer cushioning. If you are a runner coming from a minimal shoe, or a Salomon type of durometer midsole, Nike’s Phylon midsole may work great for you. However, if you’re a runner who relies more pillowy cushioning of a Hoka or Altra, then this is a shoe that probably will leave your feet sore.

Nike Air Zoom Wildhorse 4 outsole

The Nike Air Zoom Wildhorse 4 outsole.

Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 4 Upper

The Terra Kiger has always been a simpler animal than the Wildhorse, which changed from a lighter-weight and flexible trail shoe to a more robust shoe capable of handling 100 miles. The Kiger has always aimed at fulfilling the 50k- to 50-mile realm, and it works best on non-technical trails due to the lack of rock plate. Nike really dials in the upper here, using lighter-weight and more breathable mesh throughout the upper, which is underlined by a high-abrasion nano-skin layer aimed at keeping debris out of the forefoot and heel of the shoe. This technology works great without making the foot overheat, and to my knowledge it is the first technology of its kind.

The Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 4 ($125) retains the same overall forefoot width of its predecessor, which is plenty wide to accommodate most runners despite not coming in widths. Nike gets rid of the previously used Flywire technology in favor of a gusseted tongue and a more hugging midfoot fit. Overall, the Kiger 4 has the feel of a road shoe such as the Nike LunarTempo, with a stretchy and locked-in upper, while still featuring a great trail midsole and outsole.

Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 4 lateral upper

The Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 4 lateral upper.

Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 4 Midsole and Outsole

Nike continues to employ the same effective waffle sole pattern used on the Wildhorse 4. I think this outsole pattern works great unless you’re faced with thick mud and clay. The Tiger 4 also keeps the same “clownpuke” rubber, which is both cool looking and environmentally friendly due to its recycled nature. I can also feel the rounded heel in the Terra Kiger 4, which seems to roll with the ground and contributes to faster and almost minimalist-type running.

Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 4 medial upper

The Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 4 medial upper.

The midsole is the same as it’s ever been, using two Zoom Air pods buffered by Phylon Midsole material. The result is firm but forgiving, and the Terra Kiger has always been favored by forefoot runners. With a lower 4mm drop the overall stack height of the Kiger 4 is 24mm in the heel to 20mm in the forefoot, and certainly has enough protection for most runners throughout a 50k- to 50-mile race.

Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 4 outsole

The Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 4 outsole.

Overall Impressions

Nike has created two classic trail shoes that I feel every runner should at least try on. Both shoes have a nimble feel and every version gets better than the last. It is hard to argue against the Wildhorse being the best value for price per mile on the market. Meanwhile, the Terra Kiger continues to have a great, go-fast, cushioning-to-weight ratio that makes it a joy to run in. The durability of the Wildhorse 4 is certainly something to experience, and if you’re a miser or a runner on a budget looking for a shoe that can do it all, look no further. If the Wildhorse 4 seems like too much shoe for you at 10.7 ounces, the Kiger 4 has the same feel with added flexibility and softer forefoot cushioning.

In an era where Nike posts quarterly fiscal gains between seven to 10%, it is puzzling why they would choose to continue to only make the same two trail running models. While their road-shoe catalog boasts around 13 different models (give or take), trail running has remained a very low priority for Nike despite boasting arguably the most competitive trail running team around from 2014 to 2016. Hopefully this will change in the future and we can see a larger and more versatile product line.

Call for Comments (from Meghan)

  • Do you run in the Nike Air Zoom Wildhorse or Terra Kiger? What features of these shoes do you particularly enjoy?
  • Have you gotten your hands on a pair of Wildhorse 4s or Terra Kiger 4s yet? If so, what are your thoughts on the updates to the models?

[Editor’s Note: If you’re affiliated (i.e., an employee, ambassador, etc.) with a shoe brand, please share your relation in each of your comments on this article. Thanks!]

Tom Caughlan

is iRunFar's Minimalist Gear Editor. Tom’s passion for trail running and specialty running retail experience shine through in all of his highly technical reviews, which do range outside minimalist shoes.

There are 44 comments

  1. Dylan Kissane

    I have been running in Terra Kiger 3’s for a while now and am both excited and a little apprehensive about the Terra Kiger 4’s. Excited because, well, new shoe. Apprehensive because a couple of the changes – the tongue, the flywire, the upper – might have an impact on how they feel…and then I’ll be scouring the internet for TK 3’s in my size instead of embracing the exciting new!

    It’s good to read that the upper seems to be pretty fantastic, and that the fit across the front is the same, too. I guess I’ll have to wait to see how the fit with the new tongue and sans flywire is, but I’ve still got a couple of pairs of TK 3’s in boxes that will get me through before I find out for myself.

    The TK 3’s are a great shoe and I’ve worn them out past 100K distance without issues. I hope the TK 4’s will continue in the same vein.

  2. JT

    I think you will be pleasantly surprised with the upper. I am very pleased with the upper on the TK4. While I liked the concept of the burrito tongue on the earlier version, I could never get a nice fit with it combined with the flywire. New upper is much better for me. Less heel slop and can cinch down if needed without pinching at the top. Some have said ride is softer than earlier versions, but I can’t tell.

    1. Tom Caughlan

      JT-

      I absolutely agree with you. While I didn’t mind the burrito tongue, this TK4 upper just fits better. I feel like I’m strapping on a racing shoe. I also can’t tell if the ride is softer as my TK3s are completely dead at this point.

  3. Inia

    Really enjoyed the original Terra Kiger was an awesome shoe with a very minimal feel, had 2 pairs and ran them till they fell apart. The 2nd model was quite disappointing compare to the first and I didn’t like the higher stack height and clunky feel. Have since got a pair of 3s which feel a bit better and I use them for shorter ultras up to 100km on fairly groomed trails. They even handle a bit of road if required. Still wish they would make the original again though as I tend to use Inov-8s instead now for more technical trails and a more responsive feel. I may give the 4’s a go but not high priority

    1. Tom Caughlan

      Inia-

      I feel like the Kiger 4s are a bit of a return back to their roots with more of a racing flat feel, especially the upper. They breathe great and work very well as a hybrid, road-to-trail shoe.

  4. ABM

    Thanks for reviewing these. I’ve been running in my current pair of WH3 for over a 1000K, and I’m happy to confirm that they’re indestructible. They’re also as comfortable as they were on day one. I’ve been using them on any type of terrain from gnarly, rocky trails to roads. The only things I dislike about them are their bad grip on wet rocks, and the lack of ground feel on technical descents. Overall, I wish they gave a tad more feedback on technical terrain. Still, they’re my go-to shoe for any distance and any type of trail, and I’m happy to hear that Nike didn’t mess up the updated version too much.

  5. Nathan

    Love the WH3 but have one concern with v4 upper. Has anyone experienced the flywire lace loops getting snagged on rocks or fallen branches? They just look like the could get caught easily and ripped.

    1. Ivo

      I have only logged 30K with Wildhorse 4 on rock surfaces, but don’t think that durability of upper is going to be a problem.

  6. Ben

    The Wildhorse 3 was my favorite trail shoe of 2016. It does everything well.

    The Kiger 3 was often my 50km race shoe of choice as well. It’s a solid, go-fast trail shoe.

    My only question – why do both the Wildhorse and the Kigers get heavier every year? The past two updates have seen both shoes increase in weight and I’d love for Nike to lean on all that design and manufacturing goodness they have at their disposal to keep the shoe the same weight or actually shed some weight to get back to the 8.X ounce range for the Kigers and 9.x range for the Wildhorse in a men’s size 9.

    1. Inia

      Your right Ben. Thats my point exactly, they had a great shoe but they keep making it heavier with a heavier running feel. Would love them to go back to the old design or at least put out a lighter racing version

  7. Brian

    Absolutely loved both of these shoes last year. Bought a second pair of WH3, not because my first ones were wearing down, but because I loved them that much. Almost no wear after 400+ miles on them. Have the TK3’s as well. The fit was great, but I ran into a problem that I have yet to see anyone else mention. On the first pair of TK3s I had the tread started peeling off in multiple spots. The first spot was on the back where the “clownpuke” rubber stopped. The second spot was on the medial side of the tread black tread met the “clownpuke”. It was so bad on my first pair I exchanged them. The second pair only started peeling on the medial side.

    As I said, I was shocked at how much I loved these shoes and will continue looking at these for the foreseeable future. If you haven’t already, and are skeptical of a Nike trail shoe, you need to take a look at these.

    1. Nelson

      Hi, Brian. I’ve seen several comments online of other Kiger 3 users who had the same problem with parts of the outsole peeling off. I think it’s a design flaw and not a matter of quality control. It’s common in other shoes with segmented outsoles (some Dynafit models, for instance). They could fix it by copying the outsole layout of the Wildhorse.

  8. Nelson

    This is by far the best and most informative review I’ve come across of the latest versions of both shoes. Thanks!

    I run in the Wildhorse 3 and I can’t praise them enough. I’m glad that version 4 doesn’t ruin a great shoe. I guess ground feel is a personal thing, but I get plenty of feedback underneath, while still being protected.

    And they are durable like nothing else. It may take a while until I get to try the new ones.

  9. Tanner

    I have a pair of Wildhorse 2’s. While I love that they feel like a real running shoe, the last thing I would call them is durable. Has Nike since improved the sole?

    1. Tom Caughlan

      Tanner-
      The change from the Wildhorse 2 to 3s was quite dramatic, and this is really where the improved durability happened. The lugging is much more robust as is the upper. If you haven’t tried a WH3 I would encourage you to do so. The current Kiger 4 is more similar to the WH2 in my opinion.

      1. DF

        Thanks for the feedback, Tom. My only experience with Nike trail shoes was also the WH2 and I found the fit just fine, but the durability in the outsole some of the worst I’ve experienced. Maybe I’ll throw Nike a bone and give one of these updated models a shot.

  10. Mathieu

    I’ve been running with the first Kiger and the 3rd !
    I loved how sensitive were the ones, and how grip the 3rd.
    I hope they try to keep responsivness on those shoes because the are well protecting and you can however go fast

  11. darkcloud

    I had a pair of the WH 3’s that easily lasted 600 miles. The only reason I retired them to lawn mowing duty is that the lugs in the forefoot were about done. The rest of the shoe was like new. My only concern was that they made the bottom of my foot in front sore after about four hours of running from the rock plate. It felt like the plate was on top of the mid sole as opposed to on the bottom where it is. Perhaps sandwich it in the middle? I agree that the shoe is bomb proof. In my opinion, a “steal” at $110. Best value in any running shoe I have ever come across.

    1. Tom Caughlan

      Darkcloud-
      I had this issue with the WH3s, of which I had two pair. It would come on runs longer than two hours, and I chalked it up to the fact that this is a semi-firm midsole. For whatever reason, I haven’t had this problem yet in the WH4. Could it be the new asymmetrical lacing not placing as much pressure on the metatarsal heads in addition to the deeper toebox? I’m not sure. But, I like this shoe better.

    1. Tom Caughlan

      Chris-
      Great question. The toebox in the WH4 is deeper with quite a bit more room from both a lateral and superior standpoint.

  12. Camille

    Thank you Tom for the great review!!! Spot on with the updates! I wore the new Kiger 4s at the Tarawera 100K. The updates are fantastic. It’s got more of a snug performance fit of the upper (while still retaining the nice wide toebox), feels slightly more cushioned/protective in the forefoot, and I feel like I get better grip in the forefoot. I actually wore a 1/2 size too big for racing, which feels grippier to me than my true size (larger lugs where I push off vs the smaller size?). I really like how the shoes torque going up and down technical terrain. I took my Kiger 3s out to Tarawera as well– after a test run on the technical terrain the Kiger 4s were the winner!

    I haven’t put the Wildhorse 4s to the test yet. I feel confident enough I could race any type of terrain or distance in the Kiger 4s.

    Look forward to hearing what others think of the updated models! Cheers, :) Camille (#NikeTrail)

    1. Camille

      Sally M could offer feedback on the Wildhorse 3s vs 4s. I know she recently raced in the Kiger 4s on trail and at a road relay.
      :) Camille

  13. Sam

    Started my Kiger relationship with the 3 and wore it almost exclusively for the last 1.5yrs for runs <3hrs. Love. No problems other than delamination of "clownpuke". Was excited to try on v4. Surprised at how prominent, raised, potentially bothersome the front Zoom Air pod was under the metatarsals. A:B comparison w/my 3s seems silly given 300 miles+ on 3s, but feel very different. Haven't run in them, considering swapping for another pair. Anyone else have this feeling? Am I just forgetting what these shoes feel like prior to break-in period?

    1. DaveW

      I had the same feeling when I went to try on the new V4, I put it down to the fact that my old V3s are so beat up and figured I’d just worn down the cushion in that spot but good to hear someone else thought the same. It almost felt like there were 2 separate air pods under there that needed a little less air in them. I ended up holding off on the V4 figuring I could get another 150-200m out of my old 3s but still need to find some replacement for an upcoming 100k I had planned for the new 4s.

  14. Dominick Layfield

    Weight of Wildhorse is given, but not that of TK4. Why not? Also: is TK4 heavier than TK3? Description suggests weight reduction (lighter upper, removal of flywire) but Nike specs say opposite. Can you give us real numbers? (I.e. not manufacturer specs)

  15. Hooker

    Terra Kiger 3 for me, was a very fun shoe, but the soles get destroyed far too quickly on our rocky trails (NC). I attribute this to the rubber being separated by Eva gaps. My wildhorse 3 have a ton of miles and have been used in the same environment. They are still looking new. So far, the 4 is showing the same durability. If the terra kiger used the same sole, it’d be my primary shoe.

    1. Ivo

      I had the sam problem with TK3 outsole and had them replaced but not going to use them for trail running because I also think it’s a design flaw.

  16. Todd Segraves

    I owned a pair of Wildhorse 3’s and they felt amazing except for one major problem. My heel, even though it felt locked down, had just enough lift that the back of my heel would rub and get major blisters. I’ve heard of one other person having this problem. Is the heelcup on the 4’s any different looking than the 3’s?

    1. Chris

      I also had issues with heel blisters in the v3s. I experimented with different lacing techniques and even applied lubrication before every run, but still struggled with the blisters. I’m not sure if the cause was a looser fit in the heel cup or maybe something in the heel counter design itself (angle being too steep? coming up too high up?). The blisters seemed to get worse with more technical terrain and longer distances, so it’s probably a combination of the two. Foot variability is obviously a factor too as I know many didn’t have heel blister issues. I’m probably going to wait for a review from someone who also had heel blisters in the v3s before trying the v4s. A nike rep that I talked to online does not think that the heel cup/counter was included in the re-design of the upper. From his runs in the v4s, he said the heel cup feels unchanged from v3s. I loved the midsole/outsole combination on the v3s (and assume I would with the v4s), but still miss the overall fit (including the heel cup) from the v1s.

      1. Filip

        I was trying TK4 when buying the WH (which turned out to be my all round shoes except muddy conditions), but I felt the front Zoom module too prominent. Also the fit was not that precise like WH. I am courious about both new generations, but I’m disappointed that there is no change on outsole design and material. Some more grippy materials would be nice :)

  17. Michael

    Does anyone wear the TK4 without socks? If so, is it comfy? I’m currently running in the NB minimus v4 and am looking for something to take me past 4 hours with a bit more comfort. I haven’t run in socks for years, so a comfy inside is a must. I can’t find these locally but can try on some of their road shoes if one has a similar upper.

  18. Doug

    Love my WH3’s – maybe 500K in them. My street running shoes were stolen when I left them out in the gym, and I’ve cycled through 5 pairs of try-out shoes for road racing and several of them have given me a symptom something like Morton’s Neuroma – but the WH give me no issues. I didn’t want to wear them out on flat road training miles, but the lost shoes and snowy winter training in Canada for a Marathon had me street running in the WH3 all winter – they fit like slippers, and have worked great, and after reading this article I am feeling like I should just ditch all my other shoes and use them for everything. My recent experience with shoes makes me want to maybe stock up on a couple of WH4 if the shoe works for me. Pleased to hear that the fundamentals of the shoe have stayed the same.

  19. Chris

    I’m on my 4th pair of TK’s and I love them mostly because of how they fit. My only issue is that the last 2 pairs have torn between the upper and midsole on my right anterior side, along where the WH4 has the rubberized overlay. I’m tempted to try a pair of WH this year because of the durability but I tend to prefer a lower drop.

  20. Matt

    I have the WH3 and once I get 8-10 miles into a run the comfort is gone, they just feel hard when my foot strikes. Anyone else have this issue? Would the TK be worth until a shot? My trails are not very aggressive and it is pancake flat where I live. I run the Pegasus on the road and theater are perfect.

  21. beau bledsoe

    has anyone running with the WH4 experienced an issue with the fly wire on the lateral side of the shoe digging into the pinky toe? This is potentially the only issue I can see with the new WH4 versus the WH3.

  22. RC

    “In an era where Nike posts quarterly fiscal gains between seven to 10%, it is puzzling why they would choose to continue to only make the same two trail running models. While their road-shoe catalog boasts around 13 different models (give or take), trail running has remained a very low priority for Nike despite boasting arguably the most competitive trail running team around from 2014 to 2016. Hopefully this will change in the future and we can see a larger and more versatile product line.”
    Nailed it on the head. Trail and Ultra running are growing and Nike definitely have the means to break into the market and make a lot of money from selling shoes and apparel but it seems that they don’t care too much about being invested in the sport which is why we saw a huge exodus from the really awesome Nike Trail team. The majority of them to Hoka…. which is definitely a brand that is jumping on this growing niche sport and make a name for itself internationally.

  23. Brian A

    I loved the TK3 last summer and when those wore out, I got the WH to get me thru the winter while waiting for the TK4. I was anxious that too much would change and was sceptical when I read that the tongue changed and some flywire removed.
    Ive now got the TK4s and after one short dog run, I agree that the shoe has improved. It feels somehow less minimalist than the TK3 but firmer upper and more secure lockdown. The remaining flywires are angled back towards the heel and really lock your foot in. That, for me, was the biggest difference in fit from the 3 to the 4. Im now optimistic but I’ll have to put a few kms on them first.
    Regarding marketting, I went to the Nike store here (Vancouver) and was told that they weren’t authorized to sell those this season (I had bought the 3s there) and guided me to the local outdoor co-op (where I got them). And retailers wonder why they’re losing customers to online shoppers …

  24. Dave G

    I had about 4 pairs of the Wildhorse 3’s and used them from everything from standing all day in a bike shop to trail running and overall the shoe fit well, but I was always hesitant to run far in them as I got a fair amount of heel slip. I bought a pair of Wildhorse 4’s and have done a few runs in them and experienced heel pain at the end of an 8 miler which I don’t experience in any of the road shoes I have done longer runs in. I do experience this same heel pain in low drop (4mm) shoes, but didn’t experience it in the La Sportiva Akasha (which has 6mm of drop). I typically use the additional eyelets on all of my shoes, but I don’t do the heel lock method, but with the fixed tongue of the new Wildhorse 4 I can’t make use of those eyelets otherwise the laces sneak behind the tongue. In other words, the tongue is a little short. Interestingly, the shoes are really water resistant, as I spend a half hour each morning with my dogs running around a park that typically soaks my shoes and socks within minutes, but the moisture doesn’t get through the Wildhorse 4’s. Thanks for your time.

  25. Nadine

    I love the TKs, and have am on my 4th pair. Would try the WH except I hate a drop higher than 6 mm. Just wondering why Nike cannot make a TK-ish shoe with superb mud claws/grip. Would be great for technical, muddy, woody trails like we have here in Squamish.

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