Nike Terra Kiger 8 review

8 expert score
0 user's score
As editorial policy, we do not accept free samples. We purchased this pair at Running Warehouse with our own money.
Review written on 09th November by Henry Howard Ultra runner and certified running coach.
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Nike Terra Kiger 8 Verdict

The Nike Terra Kiger 8 follows up the overhauled seventh edition with minor updates. The new Terra Kigers still provide trail runners with a pep in their step as they navigate flat and fast trails. Just like in past versions, as the difficulty of the terrain increases, the effectiveness of the Kigers decreases.

The pros

  • Built for speed.
  • Solid protection.
  • Above-average toe box.
  • Durable

The cons

  • Heavier than comparable shoes.
  • Not intended for technical, muddy or similarly challenging conditions.
  • Can be stiff and needs time to break in.

Rating breakdown

Comfort
7.0
Build quality
8.0
Upper
8.0
Sole unit
6.0
Landing
7.0
Transition
9.0
Toe-off
8.0
Traction
5.0
Durability
1.0
Value / Price
8.0

Facts / Specs

Brand
Model
Terra Kiger 8
Previous model
Type
Weight
9.9 oz (281 g)
MSRP
$140.00

Heel
mm.
Toe
mm.
Heel drop
6 mm.
Carbon plate
No plate

Size/Fit

Sizing
True to size
Heel fit
Tight
Midfoot fit
Normal
Toebox fit
Wide

Cushioning & ride

Type of cushioning
Responsive/balanced
Amount of cushioning
Little cushioning
Stability
Some stability
Flexibility
Rigid

Trail specs

Rockplate
Average protection
Traction
Lack Traction
Water resitance
Adequate

Best for these distances

Regular training
Long, slow training runs
Speedwork on flat surfaces  
Short trail races (up to half marathons)  
Marathon and 50k trail races
Ultra distances, 50 miles and greater

Best for these terrains

Moderate trails
Technical trails
Rocky areas
Muddy areas  
Through creeks and streams  
Through snowy or icy sections  
Dirt trails
Paved trails
Through grassy sections

Who should buy the Nike Terra Kiger 8 ?

These shoes are for trail runners who want to go fast and prefer less-technical terrain. Ideally, the runner sticks to a half marathon distance and below, but under the right conditions the Kigers might be able to handle a trail marathon.

Who should not buy the Nike Terra Kiger 8 ?

If you are a trail runner who regularly enjoys exploring the mountains or favors longer, technical trails, this is not the shoe for you. For runners who live in areas where trails can get muddy from time to time, it would be best to use the Kigers when trails are dry, and other options for when mud is present.

Nike Terra Kiger 8 Introduction

Picture of Nike Zoom Terra Kiger 8

The Nike Terra Kiger 8 boasts all the improvements from the revamped Kiger 7.

For example, its midsole maintains a thick React foam layer, an Air Zoom unit at the front is protected by a rock plate while another safeguards the heel.

On the downside, the Kiger 8 (10.9 ounces for men’s size 10) is just about as heavy as it predecessor, continuing a trend for the model.

Nike Terra Kiger 8 Impressions

I last reviewed the fifth version of the Kigers, which were a full ounce lighter. An ounce may not seem like a big deal on the surface. However, when you consider how many thousands of steps are being taken over hours, the increase is notable.

Picture of Nike Zoom Terra Kiger 8

Nike did make some changes to the Kigers (30mm heel, 24mm front) including to the upper mesh. The upper now has an airy mesh with an underneath layer to keep debris away.

The new Kigers are an improvement over the fifth edition that I am most familiar with.

However, those who have and use the Kiger 7 will see limited changes. For those who loved the 7, the 8 will work well for you. For those who aren’t fans of the previous version, there are not enough changes here to change your mind.

Nike Terra Kiger 8 Protection

Let’s start with the uppers. There is a thin mesh that works well with the lacing system to secure the runner’s feet. Think of the mesh as a safety net, securing the foot in place.

Picture of Nike Zoom Terra Kiger 8

The gusseted tongue is easy to wedge into place, where it will stay throughout your run. At the front of the shoe, the toe bumper offers protection from rocks and other trail hazards. At the rear of the shoe, the heel and ankle collar have been updated since the 7s.

I found this to be rather rigid. While designed to protect the back part of one’s foot, Nike’s design added to the harsh feel of the shoe. Some runners may embrace the idea of protection over comfort, but I would prefer to have more comfort in my trail shoes.

Nike Terra Kiger 8 Durability

Just like my experience with the Kiger 5s, I would expect the 8th iteration to be durable throughout the course of its lifetime.

Its durability won’t be seen in longer runs (20+ miles). But I see it more in the sense that the shoe will hold up, as long as the runner keeps it to low-grade to moderate trail experiences. If half marathon trails that are easy to moderate are your jam, the Kigers could very well prove to be a good option for years to come.

Nike Terra Kiger 8 Responsiveness & speed

The Kiger 8s continue their tradition of being among the speediest and most responsive trail shoes.

Picture of Nike Zoom Terra Kiger 8

The shoes offer good energy return and can respond quickly when darting around obstacles in the trail or turning a corner.

The Kigers are at their best on flat and fast dirt and grass trails. However, for runs on crushed stone or paved surfaces, there are better options.

Nike Terra Kiger 8 Comfort and fit

For a shoe that is built for being nimble and speed, I found the lack of comfort to be offsetting initially. It took longer to break in the Kigers than I usually find with Nike and other trail shoes.

Picture of Nike Zoom Terra Kiger 8

Once I was able to get them broken in, everything else fell into place. I was able to push my paces with the shoes, navigate windy paths with ease and bound through easy trail sections. I do really like the mesh for comfort. It is pained with an inner sleeve that provides even more comfort and even protection against rubbing against another part of the shoe.

However, runners who wear the Kigers in hot conditions may find that these could create a hotter sensation for the foot.

It is a bit of a tradeoff after all. Nike chose to provide a more comfortable shoe that protects against debris, loose pebbles and dust settling in the shoe. I will gladly take those traits over the potentially negative aspect of a shoe that gets too hot to quickly.

Nike Terra Kiger 8 Conclusions

Since the Nike Terra Kiger 8 is remarkably similar to the 7, it should be no surprise that its fans will still embrace the new version.

Picture of Nike Zoom Terra Kiger 8

While the improvements are subtle, Nike was starting out from a good place with the Kiger. It’s a fast shoe that is roomy yet offers a secure fit and improved traction. Its responsive performance, underfoot protection and trail feel are also what make it a great option for fast and flat runs.

In comparison with some of its competitors, the Terra Kigers do have a foothold on a niche,

The Hoka Speedgoat 5s beat the Kigers for durability, protection and the ability to traverse challenging trails. However, the Kiger has the ability to be a faster shoe than the Speedgoats. Another Hoka model, the Torrent 2, is lighter than the Kigers and an excellent choice for a speed adventure. However, it is not quite as advanced as the Kigers when it comes to durability and protection.

The Brooks Caldera 6 shares some similarities with the new Kigers. The Caldera has more cushioning while the Kigers have more get-up-and-go.

All in all, Nike knew what it was doing with this version. A barely revised update maintained all the qualities Terra Kiger fans came to expect while making a few minor but positive adjustments. For those looking for a fast trail shoe, the Kigers remain a good option. Just don’t expect them to help you traverse highly rocky, rooty and muddy areas with the same grace that they do on a smooth dirt trail or grassy area.

Why you can trust us

As editorial policy, we do not accept free samples from companies.
We purchased this pair of Nike at Running Warehouse  with our own money.

This page contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. Read more about our policy.

Reviewed by Henry

This review was written by Henry Howard on 09th November.
Henry Howard has come a long way since a teacher called him "molasses" during a fifth-grade track and field event. Now living and running in Indiana, he has completed more than a dozen marathons and is a regular age-grouper in shorter distances.

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