Best Nike Trail Running Shoes Compared: How To Choose.

I created this guide to help make it easier to choose the right Nike Trail running shoes for you. Enjoy!

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The release of the latest Nike Trail running shoes has come with a bit of confusion surrounding which are the best Nike Trail running shoes for a particular type of terrain, and also for the ability level of the runner who plans to wear them.

In this Nike Trail Shoes buyer’s guide, I’m going to make it super easy for you to choose the perfect pair of Nike Trail running shoes for you, and how you plan to run with them.

MY FAVORITE: If you’re short on time – my favorite all-round Nike Trail running shoes right now are the Zegama 2. Visit our Nike running shoe reviews page next to read our in-depth reviews.

To discover the best trail running shoes and road running shoes right now, bookmark those two linked posts for later.

All the Nike Trail running shoes in this buyer’s guide offer neutral support, and are available in both men’s and women’s; the features are the same for both, the only difference is the colorways which Nike likes to update regularly. The currently available colorways can be explored using our links below.

Best Nike Trail Running Shoes Compared: How To Choose. 1 - Trail and Kale | Trail Running & Adventure

There are now 7 different Nike trail running shoes to choose from in the Nike Trail running shoe range, and you should be able to quickly identify the best Nike Trail running shoes for you by clicking our ‘jump links’ below. These links will scroll you down to the best Nike Trail shoes for the category you click – and this information is based on their performance in my in-depth reviews of each shoe.

So, all you have to do is prioritize what you need from your Nike Trail running shoes (by choosing 3 links to click below), then click those links, and whichever shoe pops up the most frequently is the trail running shoe for you!



Nike Kiger 9

Nike Terra Kiger 9 review

“Most versatile Nike Trail running shoes for technical trails”

To learn more, read my Nike Kiger 9 review – or watch the video review.

  • Weight: 9.9oz (280g) – for men’s size US 9
  • Cushioning: Medium
  • Drop: 4.5mm

The Nike Kiger 9 is a great option for trail runners seeking a blend of speed, lightness, and versatility. With its $160 price tag, the shoe offers true-to-size fit, medium cushioning with a React foam midsole, and an improved aggressive traction suitable for technical terrains.

Weighing in at 9.9 oz for a US Men’s size 9 and featuring a 4.5mm drop, it’s designed for intermediate to advanced runners. The Kiger 9 improves upon its predecessor with a more aggressive outsole and a comfortable, supportive fit, making it ideal for long trail runs and varied terrains.


Nike Pegasus Trail 5

Best Road/Trail Transition Nike Trail shoes

Best Nike Trail Running Shoes Compared: How To Choose. 2 - Trail and Kale | Trail Running & Adventure
  • Weight: 10.2oz (289g) – for men’s size US 9
  • Cushioning: Maximum
  • Drop: 9.5mm

For a more detailed look read my Nike Pegasus Trail 5 review – or watch the video review.

The Nike Pegasus Trail 5 is a high-performance trail running shoe for those who need a shoe that can run on the roads as well as it can run light trails to moderately challenging trails. The 9.5mm drop forces a more forward-leaning stance which is typical of a running shoe for runners who want to run fast and keep that forward momentum pushing them forward.

The Pegasus Trail 5 is well suited to running fast downhill and they also pack a punch while running uphill due to Nike’s all-new, aggressive ATC tread on the outsole and that new cushioned, yet responsive ReactX foam in the midsole. The ReactX foam midsole protects the bottom of your feet from spiky rocks extremely well too.

The Nike Pegasus Trail’s construction is very durable and you’ll be the envy of other trail runners due to how nice the design is.

Nike Pegasus Trail 4 GORE-TEX

Best road/light trail hybrid for wet weather

Nike Pegasus Trail 4 GORE TEX review
  • Weight: 9.8 oz (278g) for a size US(M)9
  • Cushioning: Maximum
  • Drop: 9.5mm

For a more detailed look read my Nike Pegasus Trail 4 GORE-TEX review – or watch the video review.

The Nike Pegasus Trail 4 GORE-TEX is a versatile, all-weather trail running shoe that combines waterproof protection with protective, soft React cushioning, making it suitable for various conditions.

Its GORE-TEX upper ensures feet stay dry, while the shoe’s design offers a comfortable, secure fit for long trail adventures.


Nike Zegama 2

“A cushioned ride that’s optimized for technical trails and long distances”

Best Nike Trail Running Shoes Compared: How To Choose. 3 - Trail and Kale | Trail Running & Adventure

For a more detailed look read my Nike Zegama 2 review – or watch the video review.

  • Weight: 10.7 oz (303g) for a size US(M)9
  • Cushioning: Maximum
  • Drop: 4mm

The Nike Zegama is tailored for runners who face technical trails, emphasizing superior traction with the introduction of a Vibram Megagrip outsole, durability, and cushioning to navigate challenging terrains confidently over long distances.

With a focus on grip, cushioning, and protection, it suits those looking for a shoe that can handle diverse and demanding trail conditions – I’m looking at you ultra runners. Zegama 2 is much more stable than the original and can handle technical terrain far better than before.


Nike Ultrafly

“The race day trail shoe for the fastest Nike Trail experience yet”

Best Nike Trail Running Shoes Compared: How To Choose. 4 - Trail and Kale | Trail Running & Adventure

For a more detailed look read my Nike Ultrafly review – or watch the video review.

  • Weight: 10 oz (283g) for a size US(M)9
  • Cushioning: Medium
  • Drop: 8.5mm

The Nike Ultrafly is engineered for trail racers seeking peak performance, combining Nike’s best speed components with trail-specific features. It introduces a carbon fiber Flyplate for propulsive energy and ZoomX foam for a springy feel, enhancing endurance and speed throughout long distances.

The shoe features a Vibram exclusive Ultrafly outsole with Megagrip and chevron lugs for superior traction in various conditions, including wet weather.

Its design focuses on stability, with a flat bottom and minimal cross rocker, while Vaporweave mesh and a foam midsole offer breathability and cushioning, respectively. Durability is ensured through abrasion-resistant materials and a fabric-wrapped midsole to protect against trail elements.


Nike Juniper Trail 2

“Entry level trail shoes for beginners looking to explore light trails”

Nike juniper trail 2
  • Weight: 10.6 oz (301g) for a size US(M)9
  • Cushioning: Medium
  • Drop: 9.5mm

The Nike Juniper Trail 2 is crafted for runners navigating rough trails, offering a balance of stability, traction, and durability. It features a lightweight design, with a mesh upper for breathability and a tapered outsole to grip the ground, ensuring a secure run on diverse terrains.


Nike Wildhorse 8

nike wildhorse 8
  • Weight: 11.73 oz (333g) for a size US(M)9
  • Cushioning: Medium
  • Drop: 9mm

The Nike Wildhorse 8 is designed for challenging trail runs, offering rugged traction, responsive cushioning, and secure containment.

Inspired by the scenic trail #440 in the Pacific Northwest, its design features colors that reflect the area’s natural beauty. The shoe incorporates Nike React technology for a smooth ride, a rubber outsole with abrasion resistance for durability, and a midfoot saddle for foot containment.

It’s built to ensure comfort, stability, and breathability, making it suitable for diverse and demanding terrains and of course a wide range of trail runners who want a comfy durable ride.

Alastair
Alastairhttps://www.trailandkale.com
As the founder of Trail & Kale, and seasoned marathoner & ultrarunner, Alastair loves bringing our readers independent running shoe reviews and gear insights to help you run your best. Learn more about Trail & Kale here.

50 COMMENTS

  1. Hi Alistair! This is such a timely post as I have been eyeing up a Nike trail shoe for some time. I have one question though as I have found zero info on this but what is the width of the toe box in each model? I have struggled with the Pegasus in the past being too narrow so wondered how these stacked up? Thanks!

    • Hi Hayley,

      So glad this post helps! 🙂 The toe box for the ‘Pegasus 36 Trail’ has been widened specifically to help with toe splay on the trails, so it should fit better than the standard road Pegasus shoes.

      Alastair

  2. Would you actually reccoment the Kiger 5 for ultramarathons? Does it compare with the Salomon S/lab ultra?

    • Hey Luke,
      Sorry for the really slow response here! The Terra Kiger 5 has a less cushioned ride out of all the Nike Trail shoes. I recommend the Pegasus 36 Trail for Ultras.
      Alastair

    • Hey Pat,

      This really depends on whether you’re ok with a trail running shoe that may have less ankle support than a traditional hiking boot. Personally if I were to go with any of these Nike Trail shoes for the PCT, I would go for the Nike Pegasus 36 Trail (or the Gore-tex waterproof version) – They’re both reviewed on the site. The comfort that you’ll get with the Peg 36 Trail over that distance will be much more than the other two shoes.

      Also, take a look at our lightweight waterproof hiking boots buyer’s guide (depending on when you’re doing the trail, a waterproof boot/shoe may be a good idea)incase the traditional boot is a better option: https://www.trailandkale.com/gear/best-hiking-boots-buyers-guide/

  3. Hi Alastair, thanks so much for this handy comparison! I ordered the Pegasus Trails, then a friend said “Oh, you should have gone for the Terra Kigers because you’ll always be twisting your ankles with the high stack on the Pegs’ sole. What do you think?

    • Hey Ross,

      The Pegasus Trails are awesome trail running shoes and you shouldn’t have any issues with rolling your ankles as the heel support is very good. The drop is 10mm but truly feels more like 6mm. As a comparison, the Terra Kiger’s are 4mm.

      -Alastair

  4. Can you please help. Need the best trail shoe for 100km but have only owned Nike and happy with nike. If you say another brand what do I look for?

  5. I see that the Pegasus Trail 37 is on store shelves. Had you had a chance to try them out yet? I’m curious what you think of them compared to the 36. I am new to trail and am looking to make my first tril shoe purchase. I have a long history with Pegasus as a road running shoe. I have a wide foot which makes the right fit a bit challenging though. Yesterday I brought home the Kiger, the Trail 2 and the Trail 37 all to try around the house to see which is most comfortable. Honestly for me, the Trail 2 is very narrow in the toe box. Anyway, just wondering what your thoughts are on the Peg Trail 37. Thanks for the reviews!

    • Please disregard my comment regarding a Peg Trail 37 shoe! I misspoke and obviously don’t know what I’m talking about. What I brought home IS the Trail 36. I got confused with the latest Peg running shoe which IS the 37. My mistake. Sorry!

        • I’m honestly leaning toward the Trail 36. Being new to the trail scene, I’m wondering how important you think a toe guard of some sort is (like on the Trail 2)?
          So far, the Trail 2 is a bit constricting around the widest part of my foot. I have plenty of length at the toe so really can’t size up. Right now the Kiger and the Trail 36 are fitting the best.

        • Thanks! I’ll check that out along with many other interesting and informative posts I’m finding 🙂
          I would say the trails I’ve been on are considered moderate in technicality. There are lots of tree roots to look out for and some to navigate over by walking along with a fair amount of elevation gain and loss. Heavily forested. I took a fall a few weeks ago catching my toe on one of those sneaker roots. Took me down hard and landed on a bigger root at my upper thigh/hip. No real damage to skin or bone, just a gigantic bruise. Hurt like hell at the time, of course, but I was able to finish my run (it was an out and back and this happened just before the turn around point!). As a result, I’m being even more aware of picking up my feet to clear those roots!

        • Oh no, thats so annoying, especially as you were at the furthest point from where you started! Hope you heal up soon – and keep enjoying those trails, I love forested routes! 🙂

  6. Alastair, sorry to keep bugging you but I have one more question. I’m wondering what makes the Trail 36 a “trail” shoe? Like I mentioned, I have been a loyal Peg fan for road running for years and the Trail 36 looks and feels a lot like my traditional running shoe. So, what makes it different? It’s hard to find a comparison between the two but I guess I just want to know I’m getting a true trail shoe and not just buying into a label. Does that make sense?

    • Hey Steffanie,
      No worries at all! 🙂 So the difference between the road version and the Peg 36 Trail is that the outsole is more rugged and durable, with better grip on trail surfaces. The upper materials also have more durability in areas where you need it, for example you can see there’s a rubberised front bumper and a stiffer material around the heels which helps lock feet in place when running on trails (reduces the chances of lateral ankle roll) – something that’s not considered as important on road surfaces.

      I personally love the Peg 36 Trial because it feels like a road shoe yet performs excellently as a trail running shoe. You can’t go wrong choosing the peg 36 trail for trail running, it’s still my favorite trail shoe for a reason. 🙂 If you haven’t read it already, my full review goes into more detail on them: https://www.trailandkale.com/gear/nike-pegasus-36-trail-review/

      • Thank you, Alastair! I really appreciate your honesty and quick responses to my questions. I did read your other review. I love how comfortable the Peg 36 Trail is… so much like my beloved Peg running shoe (which is probably why I had my doubts for it being a “real” trail shoe). I have a feeling they will win out. The Trail 2 is just too right around my forefoot and feels very long and stiff. The other one still in contention is the Terra Kiger. Planning to try them both on my treadmill tomorrow. Can’t go outside… Oregon is on fire and the air quality is awful! Not to mention my favorite park for trails is closed due to the fire danger 🙁

    • Hey Jack, I’d say the Wildhorse 6 or Terra Kiger 6 will give you the best ride for those trail situations. TK is more minimal but a great shoe while the Wildhorse 6 has more cushioning underfoot – so the choice there would be how much of a minimal ride you’re happy with. The lugs seem ever so slightly deeper on the WH6.
      -Alastair

  7. I have the Peg 36 trail and love them (on my fourth pair!) – thanks for all the feedback Steffanie & Alastair as I was wondering if I should stick with them for my first ultra / trail race as I currently use them primarily on the road and in limited trail capacity. Positive thoughts to you both re: the fires all the way from VA.

    • Hey Sarah! So glad you’re enjoying the Peg 36 Trails – and thanks for thinking of us both and the current fire situation. The air quality is much better where I am right now thank goodness! 🙂
      -Alastair

  8. (Also posted in Wildhorse review, but thought it might be helpful to others in this column.)
    I can really relate to your comment about the new ridge of extra padding at the heel not being a plus for the shoe! I had the shoe mailed to me from Nike and the Wildhorse was the most comfortable of the three I received (Trail 2, Terra Kiger 6 and the Wildhorse 6–still waiting for the Peg 36 Trail to arrive). Yes, very comfortable if only I could rip out that extra heel padding! So disappointed that Nike chose to design the heel that way. I went through a few years of intense heel pain if ANY shoe pressed on that Achilles heel area. I had to wear all backless shoes for quite a while and only boots (that didn’t “grab” my heel) in the winter. Not due to running, but a drug that I was on inflamed the Achilles area of my heel! Have not had that problem for several years now, but trying on those shoes brought that pain back immediately so they are going back!! So sad because they are so good looking and fit perfectly in all other areas of my foot! Rejected the Terra Kigers because there is not nearly enough padding in the forefoot for me and the Trail 2s had the same heel problem and were weirdly tight near the toes. I have two pairs of regular Pegasus 37 runners and one pair of regular Peg 36s that are heavenly, so I’m thinking that the Peg 36 Trails might be perfect! They are hard to find! I took a 6 (Women’s) in the regular Pegs so not sure if that translates into a 6 in the 36 Trail, so ordered both 6 and 6.5. Not crazy about what was available—Echo Pink (to use in the dirt??!) and also found Khaki/Blue which might be much better! Can’t wait to find out if those will work! Thanks for all of your information on the trail shoes—very helpful!!

    • You’re very welcome – I’m glad you’ve found all the information useful 🙂

      p.s. by the sound of everything you mentioned, you’re going to love the Peg 36 trail! Enjoy! 🙂

      -Alastair

  9. Hey Alistair, I’ve been leaning towards the peg 36 trail for a while and particularly because they’re on sale at the moment. The trails I run are mostly through soft sandy dunes and some hard compact dirt. I’m also looking at the Salomon Sense Ride 3s. Have you tried those and if so how would they compare? Also would you recommend a lower drop for sandy conditions?

    • Hi Gene – where are you based? It sounds dreamy with the dunes! 🙂

      Yes I think a lower drop shoe would be especially good for sandy conditions, and perhaps a shoe with a wide outsole to help distribute your weight and reduce the effect of sinking into the sand – this should help you ‘float’ on top while running. I haven’t run in the Sense Ride 3 but my experience with the original shoe is that it is quite similar to the Peg 36 Trail but don’t take my word on that as it was a long time ago. I always recommend going for the Peg 36 Trail right now, they’re my current favorite trail shoes. You may need gaiters with them for your sandy runs though.

      -Alastair

  10. Hey Alistair, great post and really helped me in my choice of next shoe. I run in the UK on wet muddy trails, have also had issues with rolling my ankle, but i do like a cushioned shoe. Should i go for the Terra Kiger? What do you think? I run Nike road salomon speedcross trail.

    • Hey David, glad I could help! The Terra Kiger is a great shoe but it does have a bit more of a minimal feel than the Speedcross, which I personally like but if you’re planning long distances you may want a bit more cushioning, like in the Wildhorse for example.

  11. Alistair, this is a great and really useful comparison. I currently have P36trail and love everything about them except there is too much room in the toe box. I have a narrow foot. Any recommendations of which would be more narrow?
    Any experience with the Juniper trail? Looks like the Wild Trail from a few years ago that fit me well.

    • Thanks Mike, glad it helped you out! I’d say the Terra Kiger feels the most narrow of all of them. I don’t have any experience with the Juniper Trail, unfortunately!

      -Alastair

  12. Hi Alastair,

    This post has been super helpful! Now that spring is around the corner, I wanted to invest in a new pair of running shoes. I typically stick to road running, with occasional trails and muddy terrains. I find that with my regular running shoes, the treads wear off fast and the shoe becomes useless. This year, I decided to explore trail shoes. I’m currently debating between my road running shoes, or the Pegasus 36 Trail and the Terra Kiger 6 trail. Would love your opinion!

    Thank you!
    Ria

    • Hey Ria,

      If you can get hold of the Pegasus 36 Trail still then definitely try to get a pair as they are very good on road surfaces too! You’ll find the Terra Kiger 6 a little less cushioned ,with a more minimal feel – not something that’s desirable when running on roads. An alternative shoe thats worth looking at if you plan to run 70% or more on roads is the On Cloudultra – it works very well on hard road surfaces as well as light trails.

      -Alastair

  13. Hi Alastair,

    Any recommendation for a trail shoe that will work well in cold winter temps too (i.e. warm and good traction on packed snow type trails, slippery-ish asphalt, as well as regular trails year round)?

    Not as worried about water proofing necessarily, as I tend to run in the winter when it’s cold and dry.

    But water proofing would be nice if it would let me run through shallow creeks (I.e. quick 10-20 second crossings – would be cool to do, unless the waterproof shoes totally aren’t intended for that …haha, figure it doesn’t hurt to ask)?

    Thanks for your help!
    Jason

  14. Hi Alastair,

    I’m thinking of using a pair of these Nike trail shoes for a swimrun event. The shoe will be wet and there will be slippery rocks. Which shoe would you recommend from this list? It seems like Juniper is good with good traction and it allows water to leak out, but at the same time it is quite lightweight.

    Or are there other range of Nike shoes you feel might be suitable (e.g. Nike Free)?

    Thank you so much for your time!

      • Appreciate the reply, Alastair! I’m planning to join next year’s Otillo SwimRun in Engardin – it’s my first SwimRun! From what I see in online videos, Engardin is more forgivable as it does not have as much wet rocks entry/exit compared to Otillo Uto. I’ll also have a look into purpose built swimrun shoes in your list.

      • Hey Alastair, looking forward to hear your thoughts on the new Nike Ultrafly Trail when you get ahold of one! With the Vibram outsole, I think it might be the most suitable shoes for swimrun from Nike’s offering of trail shoes.

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