Nike Zegama 2 Review: Miles Better Than The Original

Alastair pushes the Zegama 2 to the limit, demonstrating how Nike's latest trail shoe delivers responsive cushioning, unbeatable traction, and improved stability.


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Hey everyone! Alastair here from Trail and Kale and today, I’m excited to share my thoughts on the Nike Zegama 2 trail running shoes after pushing them to their limits on our local mountain trails. Stress testing running shoes in the environment they’re designed to be used in, is the only real way to determine whether a shoe is going to be worth you buying.

Now I’ve completed my real world trail testing, I’m can share with you my review, including where they perform best and how they fit, which is all actionable data that you can then use to decide whether the Zegama 2 trail running shoes are going to work for you.

Never a dull moment on the trails testing out the Nike Zegama 2
Never a dull moment on the trails testing out the Nike Zegama 2

If you’re into trail running, and you’re looking for all-terrain shoes capable of running technical terrain, and ultra distances, you’ll want to stick around because the Zegama 2 have some serious upgrades from the original version. Read to the end, and you’ll learn how they perform in the real world, and ultimately whether they’re worth the $180 price tag.

Key specifications

  • Price: $180 at Nike / £164.99 at (UK)
  • Weight: 10.7oz (303g) for a US Men’s 9 – my pair.
  • Drop: 4mm from heel to toe
  • Upper: Engineered mesh with a built-in gaiter, finger loop, a cushioned tongue, and reflective detailing
  • Midsole: ZoomX midsole which is very cushioned and has great response
  • Outsole: Vibram Megagrip with aggressive chevron lugs
  • Fit: True to size, medium width, adaptable for slightly wider feet

👋🏼 Please consider supporting Trail & Kale Running Co by purchasing through our links, we may earn a small commission if you do so. It won’t cost you anything, and you’ll be helping to support our small business so we can continue providing content like this review. We appreciate you, and your support!

Performance review

When it comes to trail running shoes, performance is critical, I took the Nike Zegama 2 out on various terrains with a route that includes steep climbs, descents, and also flat sections where I can test all our speed from the midsole, to push them to their limits and see how they hold up in different conditions. To make sure this review is in-depth and so you know we actually run in the shoes we review, you can also watch my performance video review on youtube by tapping the image below – Don’t forget to subscribe to our Channel :).

Nike Zegama 2 Review: Miles Better Than The Original 1 - Trail and Kale | Trail Running & Adventure

Here’s a detailed look at how these shoes perform across different aspects of trail running:

Climbing in the Zegama 2 is very nice experience, thanks to the cushioning provided by the ZoomX midsole foam. This foam, known for its responsiveness (also used in the premium Ultrafly, Alphafly 3, and Vaporfly 3 running shoes), is just as fast as it is cushioned – it strikes the perfect balance between cushioning and energy return, making uphill runs less taxing on your legs.

The cushioning ensures that your feet are comfortable, even on long climbs, without compromising the responsiveness needed for a good push-off.

Nike Zegama 2 ZoomX midsole

However, I did notice a bit of heel slip initially when climbing hills. This can be easily fixed by using the Racer’s Loop heel lock method, which secures the heel better and prevents slipping.

On flat terrain surfaces (with no inclines or declines), the Zegama 2 also impressed me. By the way, it’s important to note that I did enjoy trail running in the original Zegama, however, it wasn’t perfect – my joy with this new version is how Nike has done such a great job at not only fixing the features that didn’t work that well, but actually making them better than expected

The high stack (thick) midsole provides excellent protection from rough surfaces, ensuring a smooth ride, and the 4mm drop from heel to toe feels natural and encourages a midfoot strike, which is beneficial for maintaining a good running form over changing terrain – your feet adapt to the trails much better than if the drop is higher.

These shoes are surprisingly fast on flat sections, thanks to the responsive ZoomX foam. They’re not just cushioned; they’re also speedy, making them versatile for various types of runs, including faster paced trail races up to half marathon, and long, steady-state runs on mixed terrain.

Descending is often a challenge in trail running, but the Zegama 2 makes it enjoyable. The improved stability over the original Zegama is immediately noticeable – and to be honest I’m not sure how Nike has made these changes as it’s not immediately obvious from looking at the shoes but the fact is, they are definitely more stable.

The high stack height and ZoomX foam do an excellent job of protecting your feet from sharp rocks and roots on the trails. This protection doesn’t come at the expense of ground feel, though which is important. You can still feel the trail beneath your feet, which helps with balance and agility on technical descents. The aggressive chevron lugs on the outsole provide fantastic grip, preventing any slipping even on loose or wet surfaces.

Nike Zegama 2 now features a Vibram Megagrip outsole! YES!
Nike Zegama 2 now features a Vibram Megagrip outsole! YES!

Technical terrain is what the Zegama 2 chomps down for breakfast – the Vibram Megagrip outsole is a hugely welcome update to the Zegama 2.

It offers incredible traction on all surfaces, from wet rocks to dry, dusty trails. The deep, aggressive lugs dig into soft ground, providing stability, control, and of course plenty of traction.

Built-in gaiter, and racers loop lacing method
Built-in gaiter, and racers loop lacing method

The built-in gaiter on the upper does a great job of keeping out debris, so you don’t have to worry about small rocks or dirt getting into your shoes. This is especially useful when running on trails with loose gravel or dusty, sandy sections.

Comfort is a major selling point for the Zegama 2, and a lot of this comes down to the engineered mesh upper being very soft, and wrapping around your foot like a glove. The lacing system is efficient, allowing you to get a snug fit without any pressure points. However, to get a fully secure fit you’ll need to use the Racers Loop Heel Lock lacing method that I mentioned earlier.

Zegama 2 on my feet
Zegama 2 on my feet

With that said, if you have wider than average feet, these shoes should fit you ok but you’ll likely run out of laces if you use this lacing method – so think about sourcing longer laces if that sounds like you. You can see in the image above what I mean there.

The updated tongue, which is longer and more padded than in the previous model, enhances the overall comfort too. There’s also a handy finger loop at the rear, making it easy to slip the shoes on and off, and reflective detailing adds a touch of safety for low-light conditions.

The Zegama 2 is not the most breathable shoe out there, so if you frequently run in very hot conditions, you might find your feet getting a bit warm. However, for most trail running conditions, the breathability is adequate.

Best alternatives right now

If you’re considering the Nike Zegama 2 but want to explore other options, here are some great alternatives:

  • Arc’teryx Sylan: Best suited for daily trail runs and races under marathon distance, offering a blend of comfort, durability, responsiveness, and reliable performance across various terrains​.
  • HOKA Speedgoat 6: Offers excellent cushioning and is also great for ultra running.

Both of these shoes provide similar benefits to the Zegama 2, with slight variations in fit and performance.

Are they worth buying, in my opinion?

So, are the Nike Zegama 2 worth the $180 price tag? Absolutely! They are a significant improvement over the original Zegama, addressing key issues like tongue padding and stability. The addition of Vibram Megagrip outsole and ZoomX midsole foam makes them a top contender for all-terrain trail running.

They’re ideal for runners who tackle various terrains and need a shoe that can handle everything from rocky paths to soft ground. The Zegama 2 is also a great choice for ultra running, thanks to its comfort and durability over long distances.

🙏🏼 Please consider supporting Trail & Kale Running Co by purchasing through our links. We may earn a small commission if you do so, but it won’t cost you anything, and you’ll be helping to support our small business so we can continue providing content like this review – we appreciate you, and your support.

If you have any questions about the Nike Zegama 2 or any other shoes I’ve reviewed, drop a comment below. I’m here to help you find the perfect trail running shoes for your needs.

Thanks for reading, and happy trails! – Alastair

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.


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