The Terra Kiger 9 is an update to Nike’s sleek and nimble model designed for moving quickly over smooth trails while preserving ground feel. It is one of the lightest weight models from the Nike Trail lineup, coming in just heavier than the Pegasus Trail, and lower and lighter than the Wildhorse and newly released ZoomX Zegama models.
The midsole is built with React Foam, Nike’s “one material does it all” compound of blended thermoplastic and EVA polymers that is lightweight, soft, responsive and durable over high mileage. From a performance standpoint, it’s one notch below the company’s ZoomX compound, but React is most commonly used across road and trail models. This compound is noticeably flexible and stretchy; you can literally twist the midsole with your hands and watch it move and bend with ease.
The midsole and outsole combination moved and flexed with our foot as we ran across numerous technical trails on the “Beast Coast.” A modification to this edition is a new midfoot saddle support system that provides a bit of stability on irregular terrain. Usually, when running in a shoe that allows more ground feel, it’s easy to notice all the rocks and roots with each step. We only felt an occasional small sharp rock with the Kiger 9. At the end of runs ranging up to 4 hours on technical terrain, our feet felt strong thanks in large part to the use of a flexible rock plate which allowed for more confidence while moving fast across difficult trail.
Uppers are made from newly revamped engineered mesh materials which not only help keep the weight of the shoe down but are also soft and breathable. The padded heel cup, new midfoot saddle support system and stretchy upper locked in our foot completely and we didn’t have any side-to-side movement while running downhill on technical sections. We didn’t even notice the rock plate which is another big win from a minimal shoe, along with the Kiger 9’s wide toe box which was very forgiving with plenty of room.
The shoe has multi-directional lugs on the shallow side, and we found them to be less effective across clay mud and slick rocks. There has been a noticeable improvement from the previous model though, and you will find that the lugs are deeper and handle wet surfaces much better as well as shed mud quicker while running through wet weather. Overall, we found this shoe to be most enjoyable on dry dirt trails, providing a fun and fast ride in mild to moderate trail conditions. The Kiger 9 is responsive and agile, best suited for tempo runs or fast efforts. With a heel-to-toe drop of 4.5mm, the shoe is a nice balance between just enough cushion to protect your foot while also preserving the ground feel. For those who aren’t minimalist trail runners, we found this shoe best suited for distances 50k and under.
The Nike Terra Kiger 9 is available in men’s and women’s models at www.nike.com.
Features and Specs
- Weight (oz): 10.3 men’s / 8.3 women’s
- Stack heights (heel/forefoot in mm): 29.6/25.6 women’s; 32/25.7 men’s
- Heel-toe drop: 4mm women’s / 4.5mm men’s
- Upper Material: Engineered mesh
- Midsole: Nike React Foam
- Outsole: High abrasion rubber with multidirectional traction lugs
- Rock plate made from an unexpanded EVA foam
- MSRP: $150