The Best Nike Trail-Running Shoes

Buying Guide

Trail-running shoes help with trekking through muddy, rocky and root-laden paths. Here are some top trail-shoe recommendations suited to a range of terrain, performance and comfort needs.

Last updated: 21 September 2022
5 min read
The Best Nike Trail Running Shoes

Besides the runner's high and the rewards that come with lacing up your shoes and logging miles anywhere, trail running provides a soft surface for your feet. Exercising in natural environments may also come with all-round health benefits, such as reducing stress and improving mood. Trail running can feel like a welcome change of scenery and a peaceful reprieve for those runners accustomed to the noise, cars and busy pavements that come with running in cities and urban areas.

From snowy or slippery conditions to uneven surfaces, being outside on unpaved trails can pose challenges. Preparing with proper trail-running gear, such as trail shoes, can protect against the elements and provide the necessary traction. Whether you're a seasoned trail runner or a hiker in search of new footwear, a pair of trail-running shoes might be exactly what you need. Here are Nike's best trail-running shoes, plus key features to look for to be prepared for various types of trail and terrain.

What to Look for in a Trail-Running Shoe

  1. Trail terrain: Consider the route. Will the trails be smooth, flat, steep, muddy or rocky? The rougher the terrain, the more durable and grippy the trail shoes should be. For running or hiking on tough surfaces, look for high-abrasion rubber materials in the sole of the shoe and multi-directional traction for added grip.

  2. Waterproof vs non-waterproof: Will the terrain be damp and muddy? Are there rivers and streams to cross? Is a torrential downpour in the forecast? Bear in mind: Waterproof shoes may not be as breathable and lightweight as their non-waterproof counterparts, so they may not be necessary for all conditions. But if there's wet weather ahead, opt for waterproof trail shoes to keep your feet comfortable and dry.

  3. Comfort and fit: As with all running shoes, finding the right fit is critical for avoiding uncomfortable rubbing and blisters while out on a run.

What Is GORE-TEX?

GORE-TEX is a breathable, windproof and waterproof material that is used in some of the best-quality outdoor gear. It's made from polytetrafluoroethylene to repel water and provide protection from harsh conditions, while allowing moisture to escape from the inside. Several of Nike's trail-running shoes and outerwear styles are made from durable and innovative GORE-TEX fabric, so look out for the GORE-TEX label to brave tough conditions in the wild.

The Best Nike Trail Running Shoes

For the Harshest Conditions: Nike Pegasus Trail GORE-TEX

For tough trail-running shoes to get through the most intense conditions, consider the Nike Pegasus Trail GORE-TEX. These shoes provide the water resistance needed in rough terrain, and the gaiter at the collar adds another layer of defence to stop moisture and debris from getting into the shoes. Lugs and improved traction provide stability on rocky, wet terrain—so you don't have to let stormy conditions stop you from getting outside.

The Best Nike Trail Running Shoes

For Versatility and All-round Support: Nike Pegasus Trail

With the classic look and feel of the Nike Pegasus running shoe, the Nike Pegasus Trail is made for support with Nike React foam cushioning and a dynamic band system around the midfoot to keep feet securely in place. Mesh on the upper of the shoe makes it breathable, but it's equally durable with a shockwave-like pattern on the rubber sole that mimics mountain-bike tyres. The shoe's responsiveness and grippy traction help keep runs slip-free so trail runners can confidently move through dirt, mud, tree roots and rocky terrain.

The Best Nike Trail Running Shoes

For Tough and Durable Traction: Nike Wildhorse

The high-abrasion rubber on the Nike Wildhorse is probably its most distinguishing feature. Rugged yet nimble, the Nike Wildhorse offers multi-surface traction and durability while also offering a neutral feel. A gaiter collar around the ankle hugs the foot and helps keep dirt and debris out, and a segmented rock plate in the sole of the shoe helps shield the foot from rough and rocky terrain.

The Best Nike Trail Running Shoes

For a Lightweight Ride: Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger

Fast and exceptionally responsive, the Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger is lightweight, breathable and durable for racing over rocky paths. For lightweight and convenient packing, this shoe even comes with an S-hook connected to the laces so runners can easily latch them to a bag and take them on the go. Although they're lightweight, these shoes don't compromise on durability—the multi-directional traction lugs on the heel are made from high-abrasion rubber, and the shoes also feature a rock plate at the heel. For comfort, a padded tongue helps relieve any pressure caused by the feet swelling on long runs.

Words by: Claire Tak

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