The 7 Best Nike Hiking Shoes to Help You Conquer Tough Terrain

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Nike has come far from its origins as a dedicated running shoe brand. The company, soon to celebrate its 60th anniversary, now has a wide lineup of footwear, gear and apparel spanning the full gamut of fitness, athletics and fashion. The very best Nike shoes undoubtedly stand near (or on) the top of the footwear pantheon, and the iconic Nike “Swoosh” logo is widely considered one of the most recognizable logos on the planet. Lucky for outdoor buffs, Nike’s footwear arsenal is no longer limited to walking, track and road running shoes, either. It has expanded to include a stellar lineup of hiking shoes that work for everything from short, casual hikes to day-long scrambles.

The best Nike hiking shoes differ from hiking boots in that they’re much more lightweight and breathable. Nike shoes in general are known for their supreme cushioning and flexibility, making them excellent for fast hiking. They’re also easier to pack than boots and don’t need to be broken in before wear. That said, hiking shoes offer less support and protection than boots. The cuff on a hiking shoe typically stops at or below the ankle, and the shoe itself is much less supportive, so ankle rolls and other similar injuries are something to watch out for.

Nike hiking shoes are perfect for day hikes, and many experienced hikers even prefer to use hiking shoes instead of boots on backpacking trips. Nike doesn’t make many dedicated hiking shoes, but they do have a large lineup of trail running shoes, which are extremely similar.

Can you hike in Nike trail running shoes?

The short answer is: Yes. Trail running shoes make great hiking shoes, but the reverse isn’t usually true. Runners hit the ground much harder than walkers, so trail running shoes have extra cushion. They also have more flex to accommodate the dynamic motion of running on trails and other rugged terrain.

Because of this, dedicated hiking shoes are typically too stiff and have too little cushion to perform as running shoes. However, Nike trail running shoes are wonderful hiking shoes, if you don’t mind the lack of support (and the increase in cushioning and flexion).

When selecting the best Nike hiking shoes for you, you want to take into account your foot shape and the difficulty of trails you plan to tackle. But most importantly, think about your fitness and experience level. As we mentioned above, hiking shoes are naturally going to be less supportive and protective than hiking boots, so you’ll need to think about the nature of the hike you’re heading on. If you plan to encounter mud, significant undergrowth or are carrying a heavy load, then looking at some of the best hiking boots might be a better choice. If you’re a beginner hiker, a burlier shoe like the Pegasus Trail 3 could be a great choice, or if you aren’t sure if a hiking shoe is the right choice for you, a budget option like the Juniper Trail may be a nice entry to the genre.

Now, let’s dive into the seven best Nike hiking shoes available today.

Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 7 Trail Running Shoes

Best All-Around

The phenomenal Air Zoom Terra Kiger 7 was rated one of the best trail running shoes this year (ranked “Best for Hard, Fast Trail Burns”), but for many of the same reasons, it’s a great hiking shoe, too. Sponsored ultrarunner Kevin Hadfield spoke of the Terra Kiger as “a standout shoe for short, hard efforts on trails,” and it’s known both for its next-level comfort and durability on rugged track. It also has a neutral arch that performs well for a variety of foot types.

It sports a wide toe box, low drop height (4.5 millimeter), updated traction lugs and an uber-lightweight upper. It’s fairly minimalistic as far as hiking shoes go, but stellar for fast hiking, if you can deal with the lack of support.

Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 7
CREDIT: Courtesy of Nike

Nike Pegasus 3 Gore-Tex Trail Running Shoes

Best Nike Hiking Shoes for Wet Weather

The burly Gore-Tex iteration of the Pegasus 3 is Nike’s answer to hiking (and trail running) in the elements. Featuring a reinforced toe-box and a full GTX upper for added durability, the Pegasus 3 Gore-Tex is one of Nike’s most rugged trail shoes, perfect for those who live in rainy climes or who like to hit the trail in wet weather. Most customers agree that they’re standout Nike shoes for hiking and running, with superb cushion and shock absorption  — though some noted that the updated toe box is a little tight, so half-sizing up is a good option.

Nike Pegasus 3 Gore-Tex
CREDIT: Courtesy of Nike

Nike Pegasus Trail 3 Trail Running Shoes

Best for New Hikers

An emphasis on support and traction make the Pegasus Trail 3 a top choice for newer hikers or trail runners. This is perhaps the best beginner Nike hiking shoe on the market, with more than enough style and tech to go head-to-head with the very best hiking shoes.

Customers praise Nike Pegasus Trail 3’s for its wide heel, which offers excellent stability and control for maintaining balance and speed on uneven terrain. A new dynamic band system around the midfoot adds to the shoe’s support, while the rubber sole includes a “shockwave” traction pattern mimicking the design of mountain bike tires, with added traction at the heel and toe.

Nike Pegasus Trail 3
CREDIT: Courtesy of Nike

Nike Juniper Trail Trail Running Shoes

Best Budget Shoes

At a mere $70, the Juniper Trail is a fraction of the price of most Nike hiking shoes. Still, it offers incredible traction and a lightweight build that will appeal to both entry-level hikers looking for a low-cost starter shoe and experts looking for a burner shoe to handle rugged trails.

Designed with an internal bootie that secures the foot and is supported by Nike’s famous “Flywire” cables for added stability, this shoe is a standout performer on uneven terrain. Meanwhile, the tapered lugs on the outsole provide high-quality traction, especially given the bargain price.

Nike Juniper Trail
CREDIT: Courtesy of DSW

 Nike Wildhorse 7 Trail Running Shoes

Best for Technical Terrain

The Juniper Trail performs well on uneven trails, particularly when you consider its low price, but if you’re looking for a Nike hiking shoe that can really tackle technical terrain and help maintain balance, look no further than the Wildhorse 7. The high-abrasion rubber outsole with multi-directional lugs offers lasting, reliable traction on the nastiest trails, and skins at the toe boost durability. The shoe also has a neutral foam midsole suitable for all foot types and a snug gaiter collar that prevents any rocks, sand, dirt or other muck from sliding down into your shoe and obstructing your performance.

All in all, customers noted the “spot-on” sizing and were impressed with the shoe’s immediate comfort right out of the box.

CREDIT: Courtesy of Nike

Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 38 Shield Trail Running Shoes

Best Road-to-Trail Hybrid

Many folks want a do-it-all hiking shoe that can perform on trails in the cold or during inclement weather, but can also hit the road if need be. The Air Zoom Pegasus 38 Shield takes first prize in this category, with a warm, weatherproof and waterproof build that makes it a customer favorite for winter running. One reviewer notes the “warm, dry, and grippy” build, in addition to the classic Nike comfort. Others also mention how the Pegasus 38 Shield is noticeably more spacious than the previous iteration, the Pegasus 37.

The minimal treads won’t perform as well on messy, uneven trails, but do a fine job if you’re hiking at a moderate clip. If you’re looking for a comfortable Nike hiking shoe that can go from the trail to the road and back, even in foul weather, these are your best bet.

Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 38 Shield
CREDIT: Courtesy of Nordstrom

Nike Sandal Canyon Hiking Sandals

Best Open Hiking Shoes

Not all hiking shoes need to be shoes! Many experienced hikers prefer to hike in hiking sandals, due to their extra breathability and lightweight nature, not to mention the fact that they’re generally much cheaper than a full-fledged shoe. The Sandal Canyon is one of Nike’s best hiking sandals, with a thick, comfortable layer of dual-density foam underfoot and a three-point adjustment system to fine-tune your fit. A comfortable backstrap secures your Achilles, while added rubber on the toe and heel provide stout traction alongside the outsole’s deep grooves and lugs.

Nike Sandal Canyon
CREDIT: Courtesy of Nike

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