Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Nike Wildhorse 3 Review-Runs Like a Road Shoe, Works Like a Trail Shoe

Article by Coby Jacobus

Nike Zoom Wildhorse 3
Stats according to Running Warehouse 
10.3 oz/ (men size 9), 8.8 oz/ (women size 8)
Stack Height 28mm (Heel), 20mm (Forefoot), 8mm drop
$110. Available Now.

A few years back I ran in the first version of the Nike Wildhorse.  At the time, I thought, finally a trail shoe that feels like a road shoe; however, after several runs my calves felt pretty beat up.  The forefoot was way too thin for me and the toe box was too small. Overall, the fit just seemed to be off and the shoe felt like a 90’s version of the Zoom Waffle racing flat verses a shoe made for rugged terrain.  I stopped running in them and never looked back.  
That was until two weeks ago when I was given a pair of the Wildhorse 3 to review for Road Trail Run.  I put them on to walk around the house and again, felt like they were “another miss” by Nike.  The forefoot still seemed too thin for me and the toe box seemed too big.  The toe box has been enhanced to allow for “splay comfort” and that was noticeable from the earlier versions. 
I took them out later that day for a run on the local trails.  Within in a mile or two I was blown away – they felt very smooth and provided excellent cushioning.  This shoe is a VAST improvement by Nike. My advice is to take these out for a test spin outside because the shoe runs better than it walks.  I did notice a little “sloshing” in the toe box, but other than that they were great.  The Dynamic Fit system (Nike’s lace system) really does provide a great fit and better lock down.  It does take some care when lacing up your shoes. I really feel that if running a muddy trail race, or a muddy obstacle course these shoes will stay on in extreme conditions.  
I am a big believer that there is a difference between trail running and mountain running.  To put the Wildhorse though the ultimate test, I took them out on several mountain runs though the New Hampshire’s White Mountains.  One of the runs in particular was a rugged and ROCKY 10 mile run up and down Mount Chocorua
The rock plate in the forefoot provided excellent protection.  At the same time, Nike claims that the “rubber forefoot is sticky for optimal wet surface traction” -- I found this to be untrue.  In fact, I found the Wildhorse to be a bit slippery on wet rock and I even fell after slipping on a rock while heading downhill.  However, the rubber waffle outsole did provide me with the confidence to aggressively tackle up and down hills on dry terrain.  

Perhaps my favorite part of the Wildhorse 3 was the Phylon midsole combined with the Nike Zoom Air unit in the heel.  It provided me with a smooth, comfortable, and very responsive ride. 
While the Nike Wildhorse 3 might be a bit heavy to be used as a trail racing shoe, they could easily be worn for longer races (over 10 miles) with minimal technical and wet rock sections.  If you are looking for a shoe that will not beat up your legs over a long trail run or race, the Wildhorse 3 is a serious contender.  However, if you’re looking for a shoe to handle VERY wet and rocky terrain I would look for something else.

Coby's Score 4.8 out of 5
-   0.1 for poor handling of wet rock
-   0.1 for fit of the toe box (a bit too big)

Photos Credit: Lisa Jacobus

Read our review of the Nike Zoom Terra Kiger 3 here
Lighter with FlyWire upper and Air Zoom front rock protection instead of a plate. 

The Wildhorse 3 was provided at no charge to RoadTrailRun by Running Warehouse and Nike. The opinions herein are entirely the author's.

Coby Jacobus Run Bio
Road Trail Run is thrilled to welcome Coby, and wonder dog Gracie! as Road Trail Run tester reviewers. While a rising college distance star Coby had a kidney transplant and has come back stronger than ever with a 2:40 marathon, an epic 9 hour winter FKT run and snow shoe traverse of the White Mountains Presidential Range(NH) and many mountaineering exploits, including guiding on Mount Rainer. He coached Manchester Central High School to a New England Championship and one of his former students recently ran the recent Olympic Trials in the steeplechase.






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Men's here 
Women's here
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