These stylish, ultra comfortable shoes provide plenty of cushion underfoot, though the uppers lack protection against hard rocks, so save them for long, easy runs
Supreme out-of-the-box comfort with roomy toe box
React Foam midsole with rock plate
Secure lacing system
Upper doesn’t protect feet against sharp rocks
Could be more breathable
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Nike Wildhorse 8 trail running shoes: first impressions
The Nike Wildhorse 8 are trail running shoes built for long days on the trail, when you want to prioritize comfort. The plush feeling of these shoes is delivered by a React Foam midsole and roomy toe box, which makes them comfortable enough out-of-the-box for wearing around town, while a rock plate adds protection and responsive stability when the trail gets a little rough. With an 8mm drop, these shoes are likely to be coveted by heel strikers first and foremost, while any runner will benefit from the secure lacing system that locks your foot in place.
• List price: $130 / £114.95
• Weight (per shoe): 250g / 8.8oz
• Drop: 8mm
• Colors: Obsidian, black/spring, black/cool gray
• Best use: Trail running, road running
Not only are these shoes lightweight, they are outstandingly stylish, so you might end up keeping them for casual use instead of tearing them up on the trail (though they aren’t the most breathable when things heat up).
If you are hitting the trail in them, you’ll benefit from the grippy soles on slick terrain, but be aware that the uppers won’t provide as much protection for your feet against sharp rocks than more rugged technical trail shoes. Save these for long days on mellow trails.
Nike Wildhorse 8 trail running shoes: in the field
I haven’t run in a pair of Nikes for about 15 years now, and I’ve never tried any of the company's trail running shoes, so I was excited to find out what advances they’ve made in their running footwear when I was offered a pair to test out from SportsShoes.com. I’ve been wearing these shoes for about a month now on the trails in Scotland and love their out-of-the-box comfort so much that I ended up wearing them for travel and hiking on a recent trip to Spain.
Here’s how they performed:
Sizing and fit
These shoes fit true to size (I wear a UK 4 and tested a 4) and they have a roomy toe box that feels great for me. My feet are neither wide nor narrow, so I’m not sure if they’d feel too roomy for a narrow foot, but a sock-like tongue construction and secure lacing system means you can comfortably lace them up to stay put when you’re in motion, and it helps keep out gravel, too.
Aside from the fact that these are a great-looking pair of shoes, the thing I love most about them is how comfortable they are. They feel like running in clouds and I went for 10k in them on the first day with not a hint of a hot spot. The sole is plush and bouncy, but there’s a decent degree of responsiveness in them too, plus they’re really light weight which makes them great for long runs. I’ve even tried them out on a few tarmac adventures and really like how they absorb the shock of the harder surface.
Nike claims these shoes are breathable, and the uppers are certainly mesh, but I must say when I wore them on a warm weather hike in Spain, I actually did notice my feet getting sweatier than I’d like. I don’t notice this when I’m running, partly because Scotland has had an extra cold spring, but for everyday wear I wish they were a bit more breathable. I did recently get a good soak in them when running on a grassy surface in the rain, and I was pleased to see how quickly they dried out, so I think they're great for wet weather as long as it's not too cold out.
Grip and protection
The soles on these shoes have deep lugs. I put their grip to the test on the Penon in Spain, which is steep, slick limestone rock that rises straight up out of the sea. I’ve hiked it dozens of times over the last 30 years and I know it’s as slippery as a dry trail can be, and these shoes stood up better than any I’ve tried before.
Julia Clarke is a staff writer for Advnture.com and the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners. She loves to explore mountains on foot, bike, skis and belay and then recover on the the yoga mat. Julia graduated with a degree in journalism in 2004 and spent eight years working as a radio presenter in Kansas City, Vermont, Boston and New York City before discovering the joys of the Rocky Mountains. She then detoured west to Colorado and enjoyed 11 years teaching yoga in Vail before returning to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 to focus on family and writing.