Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 7 Review

Refining a running shoe without losing the base audience that made the shoe so popular in the first place is difficult. We runners are a picky lot, and something as simple as a rubbing heel collar for some, or a sliding tongue for others, will send runners to the interwebs lambasting an otherwise fairly benign design change. Given the annual shoe-release cycle that designers, engineers, and wear testers go through, I can’t imagine the pressure they’re under. With resources far greater than most running-shoe companies, Nike could have chosen an array of options to completely overhaul the Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 7 ($140), but instead chose to stick mostly with what has worked on this tried and true model.

That’s not to say that the Terra Kiger 7 has become predictable with this update; quite the contrary. With a clever midsole change and a new outsole, Nike took what was once a trail shoe ideal for 50-kilometer or shorter events and made what we think is a great all-around trail running shoe, especially when it’s time to pick up the pace.

Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 7

The Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 7. All photos: iRunFar

Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 7 Upper

Personally, I struggled with the last two versions of the Terra Kiger, and I have spent a lot of time in every edition of this shoe and reviewed most of them here on iRunFar. See my reviews of the Terra Kiger 5, Terra Kiger 4Terra Kiger 3, Terra Kiger 2, and the original Terra Kiger—going back to 2014! While the toebox has always had decent width, Nike kept cinching down the profile of this shoe, which created a locked-down fit but fairly shallow toebox. I accommodated this by wearing the thinnest socks possible and keeping my forays in the shoes to under 10 miles. While I don’t have a high volume foot, the Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 7 allows more sock possibilities and also allows for some foot swelling.

However, Nike did keep in the Terra Kiger 7 what made the Terra Kiger 6 a great upper, namely the open mesh, protective toe rand, cushioned tongue, and lacing system that keeps the foot very secure.

Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 7 lateral view

A lateral view of the Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 7.

Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 7 Midsole

The biggest changes in the Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 7 take place in the midsole. For those familiar with Nike’s mainstay road shoe, the Pegasus, the same Zoom Air unit was moved from the heel to the forefoot in the Terra Kiger 7. Having long been a fan of this large Zoom Air pod, this change was welcomed. Combined with a larger, full-length dose of React foam, this shoe has a softer forefoot feel and cushioning that stays resilient and doesn’t compress with mileage. I’ve also noticed on rocky terrain that my forefeet don’t feel as beat up and I’m able to wear the Terra Kiger 7 for really any distance I choose. Of course this comes with a cost, and this version weighs in at 10 ounces for a men’s size 9, where the previous edition reportedly weighed in at 9.3 ounces. Honestly, I can’t feel the weight difference when I’m holding both shoes, and I prefer the additional cushioning and protection.

Additionally, Nike has extended the rock plate on the Terra Kiger 7 through the midfoot and heel with segmentation that allows for good flexibility. Again, I noticed this on rocky, technical terrain and ground feel is only slightly sacrificed.

Finally, the shoe has 4.5mm of heel-toe drop with a stack height of 16.5mm in the heel and 12mm in the forefoot.

Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 7 medial view

A medial view of the Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 7.

Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 7 Outsole

Almost every version of the Terra Kiger outsole has come under fire for basically turning into slick shoes in wet conditions. Salomon’s Contagrip outsole this is not, but I found the Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 7 to have great aptitude on rocky, technical terrain.

While I can’t speak to the outsole’s performance on wet rocks and roots as I live in Colorado and run mostly on clay when it’s wet here, I would encourage runners from other parts of the country to weigh in by commenting. It would seem odd that Nike hasn’t rectified this issue given years of gripes from runners and more than ample resources, so we’d love to know your experiences.

The new outsole pattern is a slight variation of the Terra Kiger 5 and 6’s outsole, but it does seem to dig in a bit more on steep uphill and downhill. I also think that the flared shape on the forefoot (slight) and heel (more pronounced) in these shoes make them feel more sure-footed on technical terrain than predecessors.

Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 7 outsole

The Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 7 outsole.

Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 7 Overall Impressions

I can confidently say that the Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 7 is the best iteration of the Terra Kiger that Nike has produced to date. The modest weight gain is mitigated by an improved ride and protection provided by Zoom Air in the forefoot, full-length React foam, and a full-length segmented rock plate. The feel of this version continues to be spry, and this is a trail shoe that loves to bomb downhill especially in dry terrain. The Terra Kiger 7 is really the first time in this model’s seven-year, seven-edition history that I’ve considered the shoe an all-arounder that I would wear for something like a high mountain 50 miler.

Other Versions of the Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 7

While we reviewed the men’s Terra Kiger 7 in this article, be sure to also check out the Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 7 women’s version.

Call for Comments

  • Are you running in the Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 7? If so, share your thoughts about the shoe overall.
  • Have you also run in past editions of the Terra Kiger 7? What do you think of the updates made to this version?

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

More Trail Running Shoe Options

To find more options for trail running shoes, check out our Best Trail Running Shoes article, our Best Trail Running Brands article, and our full collection of trail running shoe reviews.

Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 7 top view

A top view of the Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 7.

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 9 comments

  1. caper

    I have the opposite opinion. Nike has not addressed the frightening lack of traction on wet rock. Its still a shoe for only dry climates or very dry days. I’ve also take issue with the added weight. It’s starting to feel like a Cascadia. More of a tank than a nimble running shoe. I have owned the Kiger 1/2/5/7 and sadly its gotten heavier and less nimble as time progresses.

    The Kiger fits my foot perfectly, its as though Nike built it for my foot shape which I love, the cushion is/was great already, but if it wasn’t for the fact I was given demo pairs for next to no cost I’d never have this shoe in my quiver. Nike needs to treat the Kiger like a nimble fast trail racer and leave the beast shoe to the Wildhorse. Nike also needs to talk to vibram about fixing that dangerous thread.

    1. John K

      Absolutely. The tread on the Kiger has been genuinely awful, and ruins an otherwise very good shoe. I am not inclined to try this shoe because the vast majority of my trail running is on terrain where I can get injured if Nike didn’t correct this fault.

  2. Dan

    The Kiger peaked with version 3, maybe the second best running shoe ever (#MT110). Every version since is heavier, less flexible, and uglier.

  3. Zak

    I’ve only had a couple runs on this newest version, but I’ve put thousands of miles on Terra Kigers from version 2 on. I actually think they’ve gotten better in every version. I think the biggest improvement was from 4 to 5, where there was a huge improvement in the midsole, and the shoe got springier and more fun to run in- that made the shoe a lightweight shoe that I could run a 100 miler in, and one that lasted over 500 miles without feeling dead and harsh.

    It seems so far that the 7 is another improvement. I admit that it’s a less focused shoe than it used to be- it’s not as light or as minimal as it used to be. But it seems to be just extremely good at everything from short runs to long races, buff or technical trails. Hopefully the outsole will be better than previous versions. It’s slowly improving, but it’s never been great. For scrambly runs or wet slippery ones I’ll probably continue to wear La Sportivas.

    I do admit that I wish that the Kiger 7 had 6-8mm of drop and was called the Wildhorse 7, and that the Terra Kiger 7 weighed an ounce less and stayed a bit thinner and more flexible.

  4. guillet jean jacques

    I discovered the Terra Kiger with this version 7, and I must say that I bought 2 pairs in 2 weeks so I’m happy, this shoe is comfortable everywhere, the first time I wore them it was on the ground wet, wet rock and it was raining a lot, so yes, it is not the best grip on the market, but it is not the worst either, it is a shoe that does not give me any friction zone, with exceptional comfort ( thank you the air zoom unit under the forefoot) the react foam is very good, the look is superb, what to say, like everyone else, the only thing to improve would be the holding on wet ground, but this shoe has to replace Hoka Mafate Speed 2, altra olympus, brooks caldera 4 without problem.

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