There is a good strong debate on the need for trail running shoes. Lucho on Endurance Planet who lives at 9,000 feet in Colorado says he never uses a trail running shoe. At adidas it was my job to progress the trail running business. The real question is do you need a trail shoe? First and foremost whether you need one or not, do you want one? If your want is strong enough then you should go find one. Secondly if all of your running is done on trails, the only reason you wouldn’t use a trail shoe is comfort. You can’t find one that is comfortable. With that the first shoe review of 2017 is dedicated to a trail shoe, Nike Wildhorse 3.
Category: S2.2 – Some support and moderate cushioning or foot protection.
Weight Men’s: 10.3oz
Weight Women’s: 8.8oz
Stack Height: 28mm/20mm
Heel to Toe Offset: 8mm
Brooks Cascadia Buy from amazon
Asics Gel Fuji – Trabuco Buy from amazon
Overall the price/value of the Wildhorse is outstanding. Both the Asics and the Brooks are $120 with essentially the same feature/benefit package.
Heel – Medium
Midfoot – Medium to Low
Forefoot – Medium
Toe Box Height – Medium to Low
The moderate heel fit will fit most any foot. The Nike last has always started their shoes on the path for great heel fit. This shoe is no different. The cup created by the heel counter is so deep it’s hard to believe any runner would find any slip in this shoe.
The detailing on this $110 shoe is exceptional. All of the upper support and shape is done through welding with no stitching. The midfoot X welds do a nice job of keep the foot centered on the platform. This is really important since your foot rarely lands flat on the trail.
The midfoot although not deep will fit a wide variety of feet. The Flywire does it’s job of locking the foot in place.
In the forefoot there are no restrictive overlays. For those who say and there are many “Nike doesn’t fit my wide foot” give Nike a shot these days. They have taken upper design/contstuction to an industry leading level and you may find your foot fit’s nicely in the shoes.
The lace looks good but it’s not. Hoka used this same lace on their Challenger with the same results. If you don’t double knot the laces you will have to stop at some point during your run to tie the shoes again. Double knotting should be a choice not a requirement.
In the video I talk about the one point of pressure on my foot. It comes where the lace and the top collar juncture meet my foot. To get the right length I had to go up 1/2 size. I rarely have to do that with any running shoes. The change to get the right length may be the issue with the juncture at the top of the shoe. Only you will know this when you try the shoe on.
The internal environment is more road shoe than trail shoe. It’s quite nice and soft. The EVA strobel board is debatable in its need. In the store this will feel soft. On the dirt it will be of no use and a true slip last might feel better.
RUNEASY? Of all the tag lines or things to say about running, Run Easy (Note to Nike. I tried to go through your website to guess if an insole would say RUNEASY or RUNFAST. I got it wrong most of the time. Either I’m wrong or you need to work on the execution of your marketing) doesn’t seem appropriate. Aside from that the insole is a good basic EVA insole.
Many trail runners will attest to the need for silicon grippers on the bottom of the insole. One of the annoying things about many trail shoes out there is that the insole slides in the shoe. I’ve seen runners half way through the run with the insole sticking half way out the heel of their shoe. These simple grippers will keep your insole from sliding.
All of the rubber makes for a fairly heavy ride. This is not a shoe you’ll feel nimble in, it’s more shoe you’ll feel protected. Out of the gate it was disappointing the shoe sits at an 8mm offset. After lots of trail running in 4mm offset shoes I would never make a trail shoe 8mm. That said once I got that out of my head I really enjoyed the feel of the shoe on the trail. If you have to have a 4mm offset the Nike Terra Kiger is there.
On the road the shoe feels like a trail shoe. It’s firm and not very pliable. The weight of the shoe really shows up when there are no distractions like soft dirt, rocks etc. Once on a flat hard service the shoe feels heavier.
Let’s get this clear. You don’t need anything more than S2 support on the trail. Your foot never lands flat and therefore any constructed support in a shoe will simply be for not.
All of the function on a trail shoe comes down to four to five things.
- Grip on the trail – the Wildhorse does great on soft dirt and sand. It is not great on big rocks or wet rocks/roots. The outesole is hard and digs into the soft stuff. The hard outersole glances off the rocks.
- Protection – At $110 the shoe has a rock plate. That with the 2omm of forefoot foam and there is lots of protection from rocks.
- Keeping stuff out – The more stuff in your shoe the worse your run will get. With the standard tongue stuff will find its way into your shoes.
- Weight – As mentioned the shoes are not light. The thick full length rubber that provides lots of protection also weighs a bunch.
- Nimbleness – It’s ok.
Buy It – This shoe is packed with features for the price. The upper construction alone makes it worth the price. Add to it the rock plate and full rubber protection and you’ve got a great package for your first trail shoe.
Go Elsewhere – If you want lighter go elsewhere. You won’t like the hefty feel. The Terra Kiger is a better option in the Nike brand for that lighter more nimble feel.