Sunday, April 21, 2024

Nike ZoomX Zegama 2 Review: Vibram MegaGrip Traction! 7 Comparisons

Article by Mike Postaski

Nike ZoomX Zegama Trail 2 ($180)


Nike Trail takes a big leap forward with the addition of Vibram Megagrip to one of their signature trail shoes. Yes, the Ultrafly was the first Nike trail shoe to feature Vibram rubber. The Utrafty being more or less a carbon plated super shoe for the trails (with an associated super shoe price), I don’t think many trail runners got to test out this major long awaited feature from Nike.  

Enter the ZoomX Zegama Trail 2. Moderately priced at $160, this is a true workhorse trail shoe. It has the goods to bring trail runners who have been disenchanted by their lackluster outsoles for some time back to Nike. 


Vibram Megagrip - wet traction has arrived in a Nike Trail shoe

Seemingly unlimited cushion underfoot - ZoomX foam

Good stability for such a high stack

More rocker than V1 produces a smoother ride


Could use some more vertical space in the toebox

While unchanged, weight remains high

Upper materials could be stripped down - for weight savings

Most comparable shoes

Altra Experience Wild

Hoka Mafate Speed 4

ON Cloudsurfer Trail

Topo Ultraventure 3


Approx. Weight: men's 10.85 oz  / 307g (US9) 

  Samples: men’s  11.1 oz / 314g US 9.5,  oz / g US

          Zegama v1: 11 oz / 312g US9.5

Stack Height: men’s 36mm heel / 32mm forefoot (4mm drop spec) 

Platform Width: 95mm heel / 85mm midfoot / 115mm forefoot

$180 Available now.

First Impressions, Fit and Upper

Please check my YouTube First Impressions video here for my in-depth thoughts on the fit and sizing, as well as how they felt right out of the box. 

Mike's Zegama 2 Initial Video Review (12:09)

Fit is true to size, US 9.5 works perfectly for me with a full-thumbs width of space up front. 

The forefoot volume is similar to V1 - not overly spacious across the forefoot, and a bit on the shallower side (less vertical space above the foot). Runners with high volume feet may be squeezed up front, but narrow-footed runners will likely find a nice, secure fit.

 My feet are about average in terms of width and volume. I find that I if I  leave the lower lace rows less tensioned it works fine for me. Note- after running some tests through water crossings, the upper loosened up a bit and volume-wise it does feel better. I would also expect to gain a bit more space as the midsole beds in after some miles. 

The inside heel area of the shoe features well padded bolsters which wrap above the heel - working well to seat the foot. This is well done, and comfortable. As in V1, I find the ankle’s gaiter-type material to be mostly ineffective. 

[Maybe if you have a thicker ankle, you’ll get a better seal here]

It does stretch around the ankle but doesn’t give a complete seal to keep out debris, especially when flexing forward. It’s better than some pseudo-gaiter/collars, but not as good as a true knit collar such as in the recently released Catamount Agil.

In general the upper material is quite plush - I’d say it leans more toward the comfort side rather than the true performance realm. The tongue especially is thick and well padded (nice), but perhaps could be thinned out while leaving more strategic padding areas. The upper itself also has an interior liner layer inside of the outer mesh. 

Overall it just seems like a lot of material. For those wondering why the shoe is still on the heavier side (11.1 oz - US 9.5) and unchanged from v1, I would likely point to the upper as part of the cause.. 

Midsole & Platform

The Zegama 2 rides on a massive slab of ZoomX foam, seated within a thin, stiff outer carrier layer of firmer foam. Stack is listed at 36/32mm for a 4mm drop. Measurements can be a bit misleading across brands, but I’d say this is one of the thickest slabs of trail foam on the market right now. 

The inner ZoomX foam - under the middle of the foot - feels so very soft. I had to do a double-take and check if there was some kind of Air pod in the mix. It just felt like there was a moving “squish” as in one of the old Terra Kigers that I remember. But in fact it was just the softness of the ZoomX itself, and I have to say it feels really nice and cushy underfoot, with no sense of bottoming out. 

With such softness, the carrier foam really does a good job keeping things relatively stable. The midsole also wraps up a bit around the edges to give a sidewall effect for security. Check the 5:45 mark of my Zegama 2 YouTube First Impression video to see me articulating the midsole and getting a feel for lateral stability. 

Similar to V1, I do feel like the volume of foam is more oriented towards the rear of the shoe. This is plainly visible as the foam flares out laterally under the heel, and there’s also a big tail of foam extending out from the rear heel. 

This does make the shoe feel a bit back-weighted, which is not ideal for me. But given that there’s still so much foam under the middle of the shoe, and the fact that the foam itself feels so good, I can definitely work with this. Heel strikers especially will probably love the feel of this shoe - especially if cushion is what you’re looking for. 


FINALLY - Nike (well, Nike partner Vibram) delivers a performance outsole for the trails. No more risking your life out there when coming across a puddle, or if someone spit on a rock in front of you. Take it from me - I fully vetted the wet rock grip of the new Vibram Megagrip (with Traction Lugs). I took them up an early spring creek bed trail, gushing with many water crossings. I tested the previous Zegama 1 in the same spots and nearly fell on my face on the wet rocks. 

The Vibram Megagrip outsole on the Zegama 2 performed superbly - even better than many other well-performing outsoles. This is truly a huge win for Nike Trail shoes and should alleviate any concerns about wet traction - at least with this model. 

The setup of the outsole has been updated to a more standard chevron-lug, directionally oriented pattern. V1 had a strange multi-directionally oriented setup under the forefoot. 

Zegama v1 Outsole

I found that the v1 outsole actually worked well on dry terrain, but definitely less for wet traction.

I measure the lugs at 4mm, with each one being surrounded by those Traction Lug “nubs”. The reason that the outsole performs even better than I expected is I believe due to the fact that the shoe is still quite flexible underfoot. It feels a bit more flexy than V1 - part of that could be a softer ZoomX flavor (?), and more likely more flexibility of the Vibram rubber and pattern itself. 

The outsole flexes and contours really well - giving a confidence-inspiring “grabbing” feeling when landing on uneven or wet terrain.

In conclusion - no traction issues here. Wet rocks test - PASS!

Mike's Definitive Wet Rocks Zegama 2 Vibram Test (8:07)

Ride, Conclusions and Recommendations

Mike P: The ride of the Zegama 2 feels like buttery smooth softness on the trails. There is always a line somewhere where midsole softness pushes against the limits of stability. To me it feels like the Zegama 2 has pushed that line out a little further, and rides right up against that new line. The firmer carrier foam + raised sidewalls really do keep things reasonably under control given the high, soft stack.

There’s an enhanced rocker geometry that really smooths out the ride - especially up front. V1 had a distinctive flex point ahead of the toes which for me made it difficult to turn all of that ZoomX cushion over with each stride. 

The new softer midsole and rocker, seems to flow better from the midfoot through toe off, doing a much better job of making the high weight feel more dynamic. 

Zegama v1's flatter geometry

Note: V2 gained 0.1 oz over my V1 in my size US 9.5. Nike does mention in their specs that they added a bit more foam in this version.

I don’t quite find the Zegama 2 to be the all mountain terrain monster that Nike advertises. Once you get to moderate(+) / technical terrain, the softness underfoot starts to work against you. When the terrain is uneven underfoot, I can feel the carrier foam/sidewalls straining more to hold me stable. I have to focus on centering my foot placements and being careful to not angle my foot too much. This is really not avoidable, but I do think it can be managed for segments or by going a bit slower and taking a bit more care. It’s a tradeoff for the cushion you get the rest of the way.

The Zegama 2 is a clear upgrade across the board over  V1. The midsole foam has been improved - it feels softer, while at the same time the platform allows some flex and maintains a relatively stable feel. 

The upgraded upper is also more pliable and offers better, more flexible foothold than the previous version. I do still think the upper is an area that can be improved - in regards to trimming weight. 

Of course the main feature upgrade - the Vibram Megagrip outsole - is a hit. It provides all the traction that you’re looking for in a trail shoe. I say that, without the slightest hesitation. If you’ve been put off by Nike’s recent trail offerings, now may be the time to come back into the fold, and the Zegama 2 may be the shoe to bring the masses back. 

Mike P’s Score:  9.5 / 10

Ride: 9.5 - Excellent cushion with stability for long miles

Fit:  - Some vertical space in the toe box would be welcomed - across the board for Nike Trail models

Value: 9.5 - Maybe not as versatile, but great and durable for big mileage

Style: 10 - Sleek and modern, I expect to see these around town a lot

Traction: 10 - Vibram. Megagrip. Nike. Trail.

Rock Protection: 10 - Too high/soft for rocky terrain, but plenty of stack to soak up anything that’s runnable in these

Smiles 😊😊😊😊😊

7 Comparisons

Index to all RTR reviews: HERE 

Nike ZoomX Ultrafly (RTR Review)

Mike P (9.5): Ultrafly is lighter (but not lightweight) and a faster shoe than the Zegama 2. 10.4 oz / 295g  vs 11.1 oz / 315g  in my US 9.5 of both. The Ultrafly is much, much stiffer given its carbon plate. Its ZoomX foam is tighter and more responsive- it’s built for speed whereas the Zegama is built for cushion. 

I find the rigidity of the Ultrafly difficult to contain on uneven terrain. The Zegama is also difficult to contain, but due to its softness and high platform. The Ultrafly toebox is very wide, almost Altra-esque compared to the narrower Zegama. But both are shallow over the top. I think Nike would do well to split the difference in width between the two, and also add a touch of vertical space.

 I’d go with the Ultrafly for smoother, faster runnable terrain, and the Zegama for slightly more rough terrain where you might like more comfort underfoot. There is some overlap between the two ultra-distance shoes, so picking one or the other would be based on preference and other factors.

Altra Experience Wild (RTR Review soon)

Mike P (9.5): i just happened to be testing this one concurrently and it does surprisingly share some similarities in terms of when I would use both shoes. But also some key differences. The Wild has Altra’s new 4mm drop - same as the Zegama, and also a smooth ride, focused on comfortable cushion (although one not as soft as ZoomX). 

Major difference in fit as the Wild is quite voluminous in the toebox with plenty of vertical space. 

The Wild is also naturally oriented more towards midfoot strikers with a more balanced feel, and less heft under the heel. The Wild doesn’t quite have the level of foothold as the Zegama though. 

Both are great cruiser options for light through moderate terrain. The Zegama has more range to go a bit beyond if you’re careful.

Hoka Mafate Speed 4 (RTR Review)

Mike P (9.5): Very close comparison with both featuring a dual-foam midsole setup. The MS4 uses a softer Profly layer on top, with a firmer layer below. MS4 is not quite as soft as the Zegama, but is more stable. The MS4’s wider base also helps with stability, but it can feel a bit sluggish compared to the smoother ride of the Zegama. It may end up being a wash although as the MS4 is somewhat lighter at 10.7 oz / 303g in my size . 

The Hoka’s upper is more performance oriented - with less layers, is likely lighter, with a better foot shape and foot hold. Both use Vibram Megagrip with Traction Lugs, so wet grip is on par, but the Hoka’s deeper lugs give it some extra bite. I prefer the Mafate Speed for long distances when technicality is higher. But the smooth softness of the Zegama is a nice and fun ride for lighter duty.

Hoka Tecton X 2 (RTR Review)

Mike P (10.0): The Tecton X 2 is a cut above the Zegama 2 as a pure ultra racing shoe. With a little bit less stack, it packs a dual carbon plate setup that adds speed as well as support and protection underfoot. Its wide platform can handle any terrain and maintains more stability in rough terrain than the Zegama. All those advantages and it weight in at 9.5 oz in my equivalently sized US 10.0. The Matryx upper is way more dialed in for performance than the more comfort oriented Zegama. The Zegama is a really nice shoe for long miles, but can’t touch the Tecton on race day.

Merrell Agility Peak 5 (RTR Review)

Mike P (9.5): The Agility Peak uses a similar type of rocker design, with a smooth rocker up front. The AP5 though, uses a denser firmer foam - it’s noticeably firmer underfoot. The AP5 is also a bit narrow in the upper, and I do think it tapers a little too much at the toes for my liking. The Zegama upper is more comfortable. The AP5 again comes in almost a full ounce lighter too - notice a pattern here? The AP5 outsole is also great, providing just as much grip and traction as the Zegama. I like the AP5, but for me it sits in the same range as the other comp shoes above (which are better). I’ll likely put more long miles into the Zegama since it offers a level of cushion which is somewhat unique.

ON Cloudsurfer Trail (RTR Review)

Mike P (9.5): The Cloudsurfer Trail surprised me in how well the new cloudtec pods performed, and how much I liked the feel of its cushion underfoot. It’s a fun shoe to run in, but I did note that it can be a bit unstable. Plus the outsole is really designed for very easy trails. The Zegama is even softer underfoot, and also gets the edge in stability. Again, the weight is a win for the CS Trail at 9.7 oz. I’d easily pick the ON for a short-ish to mid distance easy run in easy terrain, due to the lighter weight. But if I wanted more protection or for longer runs where I want the stability, I’d go with the Nike.

Topo Ultraventure 3 (RTR Review)

Mike P (9.5): Ultraventure is another clear comp, and easily the better pick if you need the Topo toebox space. Topo’s Zipfoam is definitely not in the same league as ZoomX though, and the feel underfoot of the Topo is somewhat dull in comparison to the smooth and soft Zegama. Of course the Topo is lighter again, at 10.3 oz. The Topo does have a Vibram outsole, but not Megagrip. It’s not as performant as the Zegama’s new Megagrip setup, but I do think the Ultraventure can manage moderate terrain just as well as the Zegama due to its very secure Topo fit. Nike gets the midsole edge, but Topo has the fit if you need it, more secure fit, and weight advantage. Pick based on personal preference.

Mike's Zegama 2 Initial Video Review (12:09)

More testers will be joining the Zegama 2 review soon.

The Zegama 2 will be available May 2024

Tester Profile

Mike Postaski currently focuses on long mountainous ultras - anywhere from 50K up to his favorite - 100M. 5'10", 138 lbs, midfoot/forefoot striker - he typically averages 70 mpw (mostly on trails), ramping up to 100+ mpw during race buildups. A recent 2:39 road marathoner, his easy running pace ranges from 7:30 - 9:00/mi. From 2022-23 Mike has won the Standhope 100M, IMTUF 100M, and Scout Mountain 100M trail ultras. He also set a CR of 123.74M at the Pulse Endurance Runs 24H and completed the Boise Trails Challenge on foot in 3 days 13 hours, besting the previous record by 7 hours. Mike's shoe preferences lean towards firmer, dense cushioning, and shoes with narrower profiles. He prefers extra forefoot space, especially for long ultras, and he strongly dislikes pointy toe boxes.

Samples were provided at no charge for review purposes. RoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased via shopping links in this article. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.

Comments and Questions Welcome Below! Please let us know mileage, paces, race distances, and current preferred shoes

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Anonymous said...

Glad to see Nike actually improving their trail lineup, but disappointed that a company with that much tech/R&D $$$ can't drop at least half an ounce (must have been a part of the cuts). Collar gaiter ineffective? Get rid of it. How about the overly structure lace loops/lacing overlay? Simplify and reduce. There's at least a half an ounce with that. Thanks for the review RTR!

Mike P said...

I didn't specifically mention this in the review - but for example - that thick piece of material for the lacing is a bit overbuilt. If you look at the sections below the stitching, there's actually pieces of somewhat thick fabric which are dangling, really serving no purpose. You would never see something like this in Nike's top of the line marathon shoes where every gram counts.

There's definitely some concessions being made for broader market appeal here (materials, comfort, looks). It is what it is. Nike is a big company. The trail shoe market is smaller, and they do want to sell a lot of shoes.

Anonymous said...

Any chance of a comparison with the Salomon Thundercross? Doesn't look as if you ran in it for the RTR review, so maybe you could pass your Zegamas to Jeff V so he can compare??

Anonymous said...

As always, thanks for picking out and mentioning details. I'll probably try this shoe, but I wish the fluff was stripped away. I hope the tongue is longer too. If the forefoot flexes, if the general ride is fun, and if my feet stay on top of the midsole during offhamber/ tech running, I'll be stoked.

Anonymous said...

Bought them. These feel very confortable... so much that i don't like them. Feels like running in moon boots or like you bought 2 sizes too big and compensated with wearing 3 pairs of socks.