Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 7 Review
April 11, 2021
The GoodLightweight, breathable mesh upperSpringy midsole with Air Zoom pod in forefootGood ground feel underfootAttractive shoe with bold colors
The BadLacks security moving side to side Felt lace pressure when fully cinchedOutsole rubber lacks traction on wet surfaces
Name: David Garcia
Shoe Tested (Brand/Model): Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 7
PROS (What did you like about the shoe?)
The Nike Terra Kiger 7 (TK7) is a well designed shoe. Not only is it an attractive shoe with a bold color scheme but it is also functions well in a variety of settings from short, speedy runs to longer mountain runs. Its upper is lightweight and breathable for those hot summer runs and also drains well for crossing creeks. Nike shifted the air Zoom pod in the TK7 to the forefoot for smooth toe off on every step. That, along with the Nike React midsole, does a good job of providing springiness and agility to the TK7 while still maintaining great ground feel for confidence in your footing.
CONS (What didn’t you like about the shoe)
As I run the muddy spring trails here in Colorado, I am becoming painfully aware that the Nike TK7 has a few shortcomings that come to light. Although I like the upper design, it lacks strucutre and overlays for foot security. It is perfect to maintain its weight but it falters when the terrain requires side to side movement on off kilter rocks. I found this same issue with the new Hoka Zinal when it came to really technical trails. To combat this security issue, I cinched down the laces but quickly realized that the lace pressure would be too much for the thinner tongue and laces on the TK7. Thus, I haven't come up with a good solution for this problem yet. Lastly, it's worth mentioning that I've found the outsole rubber that Nike uses to be far inferior to the Vibram MegaGrip rubber, especially on wet rocks and muddy trails....which is what every spring is here in Colorado.
In true Nike form, the Terra Kiger 7 (TK7) is bold and beautiful. When I first opened the box to these, it was like a light was shining from within. The color scheme is fun and fancy and immediately makes you want to put them on and run. Honestly, whenever I wear the Terra Kiger 7 I get compliments on them. On the flip side to this, it makes me not want to get them dirty. Haha! The TK7 strays from past generations of the Terra Kiger family in that there is increased midsole cushion with the Air Zoom pod now located in the forefoot as opposed to the heel. Despite the thicker midsole, the TK7 feels springy and reactive with good ground feel. It does come in slightly heavier than previous iterations of the shoe at roughly 10 ounces. Don't let that weight fool you! The Terra Kiger 7 feels surprisingly light on runs, especially on toe off where most other shoes tend to feel clunky. The TK7 runs true to size and has a slightly wider forefoot that is relatively low volume, which could be bad as the foot swells on longer runs. Given the wider forefoot width, I don't think the TK7 would work well for narrower feet as it would bunch up whenever the laces are cinched. The Nike TK7 is comfortable out of the box and locks you in the moment you lace up. The tongue is padded but not enough to prevent lace pressure if youre cinching them down tightly. This was necessary to minimize the lateral movement within the shoe on technical terrain. Regardless, I think NIke has done a great job with the TK7 by making a midweight shoe that feels light and lively for everything from daily training to racing in the mountains.
I really appreciated how supple the upper felt especially with its flawlessly integrated Dynamic Fit system that hugs your foot. The forefoot on the TK7 is slightly wide which fits my foot well but may not work so well if your foot is narrow. I found the forefoot area to be lower volume and snug across the top of my toes which is normally not a problem but could turn into one with late day swelling. Under normal conditions, lace pressure is not an issuie, but I think the "padded" tongue combined with the thin laces could be uncomfortable when really cinched down. This was an issue when I tried reduce the internal movement in the shoe for technical running. Laslty, it's worth noting that despite having a lighter weight heel cup, Nike put a padded collar inside that is great at locking my heel in and keeping debris out. Overall, the TK7 is a super comfortable shoe to wear for running around the city or on the trails.
The Nike TK7 is a well balanced shoe offering decent cushion in the midsole without sacrificing the reactiveness or agility of the shoe. I've found this to be similar to some Hoka rides, but the difference there is that Hoka's balance sways more toward the softness and cushion whereas the Nike TK7 leans in the direction of being springy and firm. I like them both and would use both for different applications. You would have to decide which would be better for your type of running. Despite being slightly over 10oz per shoe, the TK7 surprisingly runs and feels a lot lighter. The React midsole has an Air Zoom pod that has been relocated to the forefoot which, in theory, helps with energy return but I really enjoyed how nimble and spry I felt running in them without that clunky feel on turnover. I was also surprised at how the TK7 maintained its sensitivity to ground feel despite the added cushion to the midsole. Regardless of being designed for longer distances, I could tell that I was more beat up from running in these on my long runs than other, more cushioned shoes. Even though the TK7 is intended for any terrain, I preferred them on less technical single track where turnover was easy and I could dial up the speed.
TRACTION/PROTECTION (For trail shoes only) 5/10
Spring conditions on the trails here in Colorado are less than optimal for the TK7. I was disappointed by the traction on wet rocks and the muddy trails, especially in comparison to other shoes sporting Vibram outsoles. I am more of a fan of the TK7 on flowy singletrack with packed dirt where traction is of less concern to allow the Terra Kiger to shine. The upper is lightweight and breathable for those hot summer runs and drains well if you're crossing multiple creeks on your next ultra, but I can't say that the upper is very protective. It does have a toe guard but its pretty flimsy if you're really flying some steep downhill in the mountains. The Dynamic Fit system integrates the tongue with an internal sleeve to hug your foot and keep debris out, but it wasn't enough to keep my foot from sliding around in the shoe as I moved side to side hopping on rocks. All this said, the TK7 is still a great shoe that will provide some traction and protection, but it does have its shortcomings as all shoes (and people) do.