I was thrilled when I tested the Kiger 5 in early 2019. The adjustments that Nike made in that edition elevated the shoe toward a “must try” and were thankfully kept in the newest version, the Kiger 6.
In version 6, the most notable change Nike made is that it reduced the width of the forefoot. This gives the runner a snugger fit, which works well for those looking for additional security.
For those who prefer a little more room for the foot — especially during longer events — this would be a negative.
Overall the shoe is just as good as the fifth version, which I rated a perfect 10. The Kiger 6 (9.3 ounces, 4 mm drop) performs superbly on trails, grassy sections and paved surfaces.
It can handle up to moderate terrain flawlessly. If and when you get into highly technical terrain or muddy areas, the Kiger is not the best option.
After all it is built for speed – and you won’t be going in top gear through those types of terrain anyway.
During my testing runs with the Kiger, I did a couple of long training runs which called for 20 minutes moderate-hard toward the middle of a long run (more than half marathon distance).
In both cases, the Kigers responded well and allowed me to hit speeds that I realistically thought I could only hit on roads.
Just like its predecessor, the Kiger 6’s midfoot and heel are secure and I found the fit to be accurate.
I used the Kiger 5s for training runs and would consider them for trail races on fast courses.
They would not be my choice for long ultras but would be ideal for races of half marathon, marathon and even 50K distance.
One of the few notable changes Nike made to the Kiger 6 is increasing the amount of durable mesh that protects against trail hazards.
It is built to better keep away mud, dirt and other nuisances with its durable mesh upper, providing a more pleasing running experience.
The Nike Kiger 6 has a rockplate in the forefront. While it offers solid protection it does not feel burdensome — or is even noticeable during runs.
Oftentimes rockplates can be irritating to runners, or even burdensome. I’m glad that Nike has figured out such a great alternative for the Kigers.
The shoe is very well ventilated and the toe bumper offers superior protection.
While it may not handle mud as good as other similar shoes, you need not worry about bounding through a puddle or criss-crossing a creek.
I still have my Kiger 5s and they have over 200 miles on them and have not shown signs of wear and tear.
That is to be somewhat expected since I do not take them on challenging terrain where they could encounter gnarly roots, sharp rocks and other hazards.
The lesson here is to understand your needs for trail running and then get a shoe that matches your planned training and racing.
For me, most of my nearby trails are up to moderate, with few technical sections. While my races have more variables, when it comes to race day on a fast course, the Kigers are an excellent choice.
And regardless of when that is, I know that my Kiger 6s will be ready to go and not beaten up from use on terrain they are not meant for.
Oh yeah, if you feel the need for (responsiveness) and speed, the Kigers are for you.
Since Nike did not make significant — or really even moderate — changes between the fifth and sixth versions, if you run in the Kiger 5, you should expect the same responsiveness in the newer model.
Each time I ask the Kigers to take it up a notch, they easily comply. They handle trails and dirt paths, even twisty ones, with ease. On paved sections, you can really crank up the volume.
The Kiger 6 has a comfortable feel and just needs a brief break-in period. (For me, I would say one or two runs, no more than 10 miles combined.)
The top of the shoe and toe area are very well suited to a comfortable fit throughout the run.
I have seen some other runners complain about the feel of the heels, meaning it is harder than they would like.
I’ll admit that after a long run that involved several miles of paved surfaces, in addition to the dirt trails, I did have some heel discomfort.
This would be a case of understanding one’s own limits and how the shoe can be a benefit or a detriment.
Was the heel soreness due to the one long run on multiple surfaces, the shoe itself or the pounding my feet have taken with regular 40- to 50-mile and longer weeks? Or a combination of any of those?
I have not changed my opinion of the Kigers in this very slight update in the version 6. Nike has assembled a perfectly solid shoe for running trails fast.
If that is your jam, this is an excellent shoe for your training and racing up to a 50K. The Kiger 6 is also good for midweek speedwork.
But if you aspire to get into the mountains, slog through muddy terrain or challenge yourself with multi-day races, there are better options available.
Competitors to the Kiger 6 include Salomon’s Sense 7, which is a good shoe but I find the Kiger to be faster and more complete.
Saucony’s overhauled Peregrine 10 is another competitor.
The Peregrine has some similarities to the Kiger 6 but is about an ounce and a half heavier — quite a bit if you are looking for speed on the trails.
The Peregrine also handles similar terrain well, while its lugs will help you traverse through mud more easily than the Kigers. For fast running though, it’s the Kiger 6 (or even the 5) for me all the way.
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