Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Nike ZoomX Zegama Trail Initial Review: ZoomX gets dirty!

Article by Jeremy Marie

NIke ZoomX Zegama Trail (160$/160€)

Jeremy's Zegama review has been updated after 100km plus of testing and is HERE

Nike has been teasing the Zegama for some time on social media, and now the shoe finally shows up officially in Europe, US soon. 

Going a step further in cushioning than the Wildhorse, the Zegama is a 4mm drop, high stack (37mm heel) with a full ZoomX midsole and a rock protection plate at the front similar to the Terra Kiger 8's.

After a first run with all kinds of paces in it, ups and downs in moderately technical terrain, and some flats, I’ve been able to develop some first impressions on this first ZoomX trail running shoe.


Weight: Men’s 10.22oz / 290g (US9.5), 

sample (left/right): 11.18/11.28oz, 320g/317g (10.5US, 44.5 EU)

Stack: 37mm heel, 33mm forefoot, 4mm drop

Catalog/Specs HERE via our partner Top4 Running Europe where Zegama is available now

First impressions, Fit

Despite looking heavy with its big midsole, the Zegama ends up weighing just a hair more than the Terra Kiger 8, with an acceptable ~317g for what offers a much more cushioned and protective ride.

The shoe looks like it has borrowed the rear part of the Wildhorse (which I never ran in) with the ankle collar bringing softness and annihilating any rubbing risk, as well as some protection from debris. It looks like a mini-gaiter, and can be reminiscent of the Salomon S/Lab Ultra 3.

There’s a heel counter at the base, and the heel hold seemed very secure during my first run.

I had the same feeling as in the Terra Kiger 8 for the midfoot: it can be quite snug and my recommendation would be not to tie the laces too tight. Considering the Zegama has the same multi-layered construction as the Kiger, with the external mesh, an internal “wing” coming from the laces loops, and then the gusset attached to the tongue, internal volume is drastically reduced, but foot hold is very secure.

I had to stop and untie the laces during the run after ~10kms, and even take them out of the last eyelet (they came laced this way) to feel the difference: I like it that way.Foot hold and precision did not suffer at all, and the fit was much less constricting. Plus, the laces being really short (as in…the Terra Kiger 8), doing this gives you some margin.

The toe box is really accommodating, and I feel it’s the same width-wise as the Kiger, but is probably a bit higher, resulting in more volume. Despite wearing mid-weight socks and running under the heat, I still had room at the front of the shoe.

First run initial thoughts

My first run consisted of a ~20 km trail run with some good chunks of ups, downs, hilly  tempo, flat tempo, road stretches…All on very moderately technical forest trails with some roots and rocks.

My biggest question was whether the ZoomX foam would be suitable for trail running, without any plate-based stabilization as in the Vaporfly.

And the good news is that it looks promising. The bouncy character of ZoomX is clearly felt, albeit in a more dense, slightly firmer flavor than in the Vaporfly.

The extensive outsole coverage (and front rock plate)  probably acts as a stabilizer for the foam also, taming it a little bit.

I like that the shoe is just moderately bouncy retaining s a very predictable character, something lost in the Asics Trabuco Max for instance, or the Saucony Endorphin Trail. So you can still bomb downhill thanks to the generous amount of cushioning, but you’re not gonna bounce around like crazy. This totally fits with the way Nike markets the Zegama : a cushioned shoe to handle technical terrain with incredible protection.

What the Zegama does better than those two shoes is retaining some flex upfront. Despite the high stack, the outsole and the yellow rock protection plate seen below, and I bet a segmented one as in the Kiger 8, the shoe remains a bit flexible which really helps when climbing.

For sure it’s not a nimble shoe, not comparable to a Pulsar SG or Scott Supertrac RC2, but the goal is different. From this first run, I would not hesitate to take the Zegama for a 80k trail which mixes technical terrain and easier trails.

I might not have had the most technical ground to test the Zegama - it’s scheduled for the next few weeks in Crete! - but the shoes handled the short steep downhills I’m used to with ease.

What it also handles admirably were those long flat sections, be it on trails or on road. Here the ZoomX foam really shines and gives an incredible boost to each stride, with energy return and bounce - qualities well known in Nike’s road offering featuring the same full ZoomX midsole foam.

The outsole is substantial and clearly helps in stabilizing the ride and taming the ZoomX without extinguishing it at all.

The pattern is multi-directional with 5mm lugs using two different compounds to maximize durability or grip…Something that was already seen on other Nike trail shoes with somewhat so-so results.

I’m looking forward to putting it through its paces on more technical terrain, hopefully wet ones, to see if Nike has managed to find an outsole compound that works well on wet and how it handles the miles from a durability standpoint. 

Full review is coming soon with comparisons so please stay tuned!

Zegama available now at our Europe and US partners below

Tester Profile
Jeremy MARIE, French, 40y/o. Running since 2013 and quickly transitioned to trails, focused on ultras since 2015 : TDS, Maxi-Race, “100 miles du Sud”, 90kms du Mt Blanc, GRP 120kms, Some shorter mellow races (Saintelyon 45kms, Ecotrail Paris 45kms…) with always in the mix road and flat running, but not many road races. Recovery/easy runs ~4’45/km - 4’30/km. He has an un-official marathon PR of  2h54 (solo)  and 10K of  36’25. He does few timed road races.

This free sample has been provided by Top4 running and Nike for review purposes.

RoadTrailRun has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased through affiliate links. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.

Nike Trail ZoomX Zegama available now in Europe


Men & Women SHOP HERE

Nike Trail ZoomX Zegama available now in the US

USA  Men's (for now) SHOP HERE
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guillet jean jacques said...

je les aient achetée des le premier jour de leur sortie , je ne les aient pas encore essayée , mais c etait avec la salomon genesis la chaussure que j attendais le plus cette année , enfin Nike vient chasser sur le terrain de Hoka .j ai hate de les essayée .

Bobcat said...

I'll just say it upfront: The wet grip is poor!

Also the Kiger 8 doesn't have a rockplate, but rather the plastic exterior of zoom airbag acts as one.

Reza said...

Judging from the pictures and other articles on the internet, I think the midsole is ZoomX core covered with another kind of foam, similar to Xodus Ultra. Additionally, I don't see creases like you find on ZoomX road shoes.

Jeremy said...

Thanks for reading the article.
@bobcat:the Terra Kiger 8 has a segmented rockplate at the forefoot, you can check our review, or Nike website. I think it has a dual purpose of protecting the foot and the Zoom air bags.
It is kept as is in the Zegama.

@reza: difficult to tell precisely. At the forefoot, it looks like a part of the outsole comes as a cover to the zoomX but it's really really thin. AT the rear it's only painting, and I cannot see any junction that would indicate a carrier around the ZoomX.
The lack of creases comes from, I think, a very specific ZoomX flavor used here.

Bobcat said...

Rockplate is only in the heel in the Kiger 8.