This is the third consecutive version of the shoe that I have had the opportunity to review. The changes in this edition are minor and keep the Kigers as a mainstay in my rotation.
Right out of the box, the Kigers present themselves as a colorful update to the runner.
Not particularly stable
The beauty of the seventh version in seven years for the Nike Terra Kiger is that it continues the tradition of a fast shoe but with added weight and protection.
In theory, this would allow runners to wear the shoes during more challenging runs. However, for me, I will stick to wearing them on less technical terrain.
The weight is up to 10.4 ounces, a tad heavier than the 6 but a significant increase from the 9.75 in the fifth version. Still, the fit, grip and ride are all great.
Beyond the weight increase, the biggest changes for the Kigers ($140) are in the midsole. Nike took the same Zoom Air unit from its road Pegasus shoe and used it in the forefoot of the Terra Kiger 7.
This addition plus the full-length React foam gives the shoe a softer forefoot feel and cushioning that allows the runner to go longer.
The shoe’s 4.5-mm heel-toe drop fits right into my sweet spot. For those preferring a zero drop or something in the 10mm range, this shoe may not be the best for you.
Once again, the changes in the Terra Kigers are mostly incremental. It’s clear Nike is for the most part taking a “if it aint broke, don’t fix it” approach.
As such, I have not changed my overall opinion of the Kigers. When I am looking to run easy-to-moderate trails fast, the Kigers will be among my top choices.
As mentioned, Nike bolstered the protection in this model with the addition of Zoom Air in the forefoot, full-length React foam and the longer rock plate.
During my testing runs, I focused largely on a nearby cross-country course and a mild-to-moderate trail.
I kicked a few small rocks and bounded over downed branches and logs. The Kigers reacted fairly well, handling these minor challenges.
At the same time, I could tell that more significant challenges would pose an issue with the Kigers whereas a sturdier shoe would offer more protection, at a cost of being as fleet as the Kigers.
Also of note: Nike also extended the rock plate (new in the fifth version) through the midfoot and heel with segmentation that allows for good flexibility.
As with the previous versions of the Terra Kigers, I have found they have about the same lifespan as others in their category. Getting 400 to 500 miles on easy terrain fits right into their wheelhouse.
With the expanded protection and cushioning in the seventh version, that expectation for lifetime miles could increase.
Although there could be a tradeoff if the runner chooses to tackle more challenging trails.
Overall, the shoes should be able to keep their form, protect the runner’s feet and lead to many fast — and fun — trail miles before they start to break down.
After being immensely pleased with the speed that the Kigers 5 and 6 provided, I wasn’t sure how the extra weight and cushioning would affect the seventh version.
Verdict: No discernible impact.
The Kigers remain among the speediest and most responsive trail shoes that I have worn. I was able to cruise around the cross-country course and other trails, pushing the pace as I went.
The Kigers responded well, and I could tell only a minor difference from the previous versions. Maybe just a tick slower.
However, I would say the longer the race, the less likely I will be wearing these Kigers. While they are built for speed, the added weight could take a toll when getting into the ultra categories.
But for a flat and fast half marathon or marathon, the Kigers would likely be found on my feet.
The Terra Kigers continue to offer a flowy, smooth and comfortable ride.
In terms of fit, the seventh edition is very similar to the fifth. The sixth had a snugger fit so that is a notable improvement.
For the 7s, Nike kept a lot of what worked well in the previous edition: the open mesh, toe protection and cushioned tongue.
Nike updated the unusual lace arrangement of the previous two versions, which was extra eyelets anchored on the forefoot.
The seventh version reverted to a more conventional approach, which allows the lace collar to extend forward.
The heel collar has changed from a regular padded version to a foam-based one. The new heel is slightly softer than previous versions, but can still be considered somewhat stiff.
Still, as someone who has dealt with a heel injury, I did not sense any increased discomfort when wearing the Kigers.
Buy size smaller
Buy size bigger
When I reviewed the fifth installment two years, ago, I pointed out that “the more technical the terrain, the less effective the Kigers can be.”
Nike’s improvements to date have to some degree alleviated those concerns. However, I would still opt for shoes built with more technical terrain in mind for those types of situations.
The new version comes with the notable increase in weight. It seems that Nike is trying to move the Kigers into a class of shoes that can handle tougher terrain.
That seems to stray from what makes the Kigers worth a spot in my shoe rotation: a fast, sleek shoe that can propel me down a moderate trail.
Still I continue to be overall pleased with the Kigers. They are designed for speed, pure and simple. Nike has made gradual improvements so they can better handle obstacles such as mud and rocky sections.
Still, the Kigers know what class they are in — fast shoes that runners can use in trail marathons, 50Ks and other ultras where the trail conditions allow for speed.
Here are some comparisons:
Hoka Speedgoat 4: The Speedgoats have a more narrow fit, superior cushioning overall and are a tad heavier. The Kigers are faster.
These are perhaps my two favorite trail shoes, and to me, they are meant for two different styles of trail. Kigers for shorter and faster; Speedgoats for longer and more challenging.
Hoka Torrent 2: The Torrents are lighter and more nimble, but not as well cushioned or protected as the new Kigers.
This is a tough call for me because both shoes are very similar and I really like them both.
If you have had success in Hokas or Nikes, then you will probably prefer the Torrents or Kigers, respectively.
Brooks Caldera 5: This Caldera is more cushioned, designed for rougher terrain and a good option for door-to-trail transitions. The Kigers are built for speed, more agile and performance oriented.