Plow Through All Terrain With The Nike Air Zoom Wildhorse 5!
The RW Takeaway:
The Nike Air Zoom Wildhorse 5 gracefully hauls runners over any obstacle in all conditions.
- Sleek upper protects in slick environments.
- Outsole grip comparable to your favorite singletrack companion.
- Stable over roots, rocks, and debris.
Price: R1799.99 (Sportsmans Warehouse)
Weight: 280g (M), 226g (W)
Fans of tracks longer than 400 metres love a reliable mudder – a horse with a knack for laying down a great time despite mud, puddles, and downpours. True to its name, the Nike Air Zoom Wildhorse 5 is what to reach for when it’s about to get sloppy.
Whether you consider yourself an Arabian or an Appaloosa, no run will be too rugged. Water stays out of the upper, sticks and stones don’t penetrate the outsole, and there’s just enough cushioning for a day-long expedition without destroying your calves.
I jokingly told a co-worker at the beginning of the testing process that this is the shoe I would wear if I were ever a contestant on Survivor; after logging triple-digit mileage in them, that statement isn’t hyperbole. You’ll have perfect grip no matter your arena, from the technical trails of the Cape or the sandy beach surfaces of the Wild Coast.
Grippy Lug Pattern
Testers couldn’t get enough of the lug pattern underfoot, which protrudes at different angles for maximum grip for uphill, downhill, and flat surfaces. The Wildhorse stuck the landing, allowing runners to shed accumulated mud without sacrificing traction.
Zoom Air Cushioning in the Heel
The sensation underfoot on the first run isn’t unlike that of the Adidas Terrex Agravic XT GTX – firm yet familiar, protective but breathable. A rock plate keeps jagged edges and twisted roots from jutting through to your foot. This makes the ride feel firm at times, but our testers preferred safety to softness.
There’s a Zoom Air pod underneath the heel to soften your landing. For some testers, it was all they needed for hours on the trail; others wanted that responsive cushioning to extend to the forefoot.
A multi-layer upper keeps your foot dry and locked in. The external layer protects your toes from abrasions, while an internal bootie keeps your feet comfortable and on top of the platform even running on slanted terrain. Overlays are printed onto a synthetic layer around the arch and the outer bridge – areas at the highest risk of getting wet.
The heel is locked in place with a densely-woven knit layer with some cushioned pads along the collar, similar to what Nike has done with recent models of the Pegasus and Vomero. Without having to worry about your heel slipping, runners are able to keep their minds off their feet and focus on the path ahead.
The shoe is offered in either a sleek all-black design or a hip, four-coloured option – yes, men can wear pink. So you’ll get style points – at least while waiting for your GPS to get a signal in the parking lot.
Wear Tester Feedback
Cory G., tester since 2018
Arch: Medium | Gait: Overpronator | Footstrike: Heel
“The lugs on this shoe did great. My footing and traction were never lost on any runs, and I went through mud, thick snow, and even some ice. I was very pleased with the outsole. Overall, Nike missed the mark by not combining the Shield technology on a trail shoe. A few updates and she could be a 9.5 (out of 10).”