This is an outstanding trail running shoe with the ideal blend of comfort, protection, traction and durability. If you run a mix of mild to rugged trails on a weekly basis, the Wildhorse could become your new workhorse.
Soft, energetic cushioning
Runners with narrow feet may find the Wildhorse wide and hard to cinch down
Traction isn't as good on wet terrain
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The Nike Wildhorse 6 is a shoe designed to run wild on gnarly trails.. Thickly cushioned, it combines a protective rock plate and an aggressively lugged outsole with a subtly reinforced upper and a padded tongue that secure a runner’s feet with a wrap-like fit. It feels durable, secure and protective on rugged terrain, but it serves up a soft, springy ride on smooth surfaces.
This edition of the Wildhorse features an interior bootie construction with a gusseted tongue that, combined with the FlyWire lacing system, creates a snug, performance-oriented fit for every foot size and shape. It’s finished off with a lightweight and very breathable durable mesh upper, a sock-like collar and a lacing system that effectively locks down the midfoot. Although it’s built for technical terrain, it runs well on smooth surfaces, too, thanks to the responsive React Foam midsole. Bottom line: It fits well, looks cool and runs great.
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• RRP: $130 (US)/£ 110 (UK)
• Weight (per shoe): 298g/10.5oz
• Materials: React Foam midsole, Segmented Rock Plate, Dynamic Flywire lacing system
• Drop: 8mm drop (30mm to 22mm)
• Compatibility: 3-season trail running shoe for moderate to rugged, low-alpine, high-alpine and fell terrain; available for men and women
On the trails
Designed to provide maximum grip on challenging terrain, the Nike Wildhorse 6 has been updated with a better fit, more breathability and greater stability. We put it to the test on a wide variety of trails in Colorado, including semi-technical singletrack routes in Boulder, Colorado, wet, sloppy spring terrain in the nearby Indian Peaks Wilderness Area and the rugged, rocky route up Mt Bierstadt, a 14,065-foot peak west of Denver.
First things first: Our wear-testers loved the enhanced traction from the sticky rubber outsole and array of knobby lugs that wraps around the heel, especially while running over soft dirt, slick rocks, loose gravel, sloppy mud and bits of remaining snow. We also appreciated the protection from the flexible rock plate embedded in the midsole while running on trails with jagged rocks.
On smooth dirt trails, we noted how the Wildhorse put a pep in our step with the lively feel of a road running shoe. The new full-length React Foam midsole and cushion insert in the heel provide exceptional impact cushioning and responsive energy return in every stride and contribute to the high level of comfort this shoe delivers.
Because it’s built for rugged terrain, the Wildhorse isn’t quite as light or nimble as some of the other trail running shoes on the market. But it can still move efficiently on a lot of different types of terrain because of the springy midsole, secure fit and consistent interaction with the ground.
Brian is an award-winning journalist, photographer and podcaster who has written for Runner’s World, The Times, Outside, Men’s Journal, Trail Runner, Triathlete and Red Bulletin. He's also the author of several books, including Kicksology: The Hype, Science, Culture and Cool of Running Shoes. He lives in Boulder, Colorado, and loves to run, bike, hike, camp, ski and climb mountains. He has wear-tested more than 1,500 pairs of running shoes, completed four Ironman triathlons, as well as numerous marathons and ultra-distance running races.