Nike Air Zoom Wildhorse 3 GTX Review Facts
Just the name of the shoe, the Nike Air Zoom Wildhorse 3 GTX, implies great things will happen once you wear them like imagining yourself running on the plains, unrestrained and free. Sounds ideal, or is it the marketing team at Nike just doing their magic? Nike has ruled with their road shoes, and now it must be time for them to catch up on the trails. It seems that feedback on the Wildhorse 2 has been listened to, with the offerings from this version ticking many boxes on a trail runner wish list.
With an outsole of rubber waffle, the GTX version is made for durability
and multi-surface traction: capable of handling roads but with the fully lugged outsole. It prefers softer ground while proficiently shedding mud.
molded Phylon midsole, coupled with the Nike Zoom
Air unit in the heel, offers responsive cushioning and shock absorption, which is all important for protecting the foot from feeling hard or sharp objects. The midsole in the GTX model also provides adequate rebound properties for take-off, which can be lacking in other comparable trail shoes
One of the joys of the Wildhorse 3 GTX is that it has a waterproof
Goretex membrane over its mesh upper; the combination of these technologies allow your foot to breathe, even in the wettest of conditions. The mesh upper is also abrasion-resistant which adds to the durability of the shoe in what can be challenging environments.
Size 7.5 U.S ladies shoe weighs in at 9oz or 252g; while not the lightest shoe on the market, its weight is light if you consider the durability and protection that the shoe offers.
All Nike products are made with breathability in mind. The use of mesh is central to their designs and is fully demonstrated in the Wildhorse 3 GTX. Your feet will remain ventilated, cool and dry. While their road shoes are lauded for their breathability
, the harsher environment of trails
are a great test of Nike’s technologies with the potential for them not to translate well. The Wildhorse 3 GTX pass the test with flying colors!
Nike’s Dynamic fit technology use Flywire cables to enhance comfort as the mesh inner sleeve wraps the foot for a comfortable fit. However, it may not suit all runners. The wider toe box goes some way to alleviate this reported "tightness" and has made the Wildhorse 3 GTX a popular shoe beyond trail running
, as well as the go-to shoe for hikers. Nike has also amended the heel shape to support the natural range of motion. Again, this may not be comfortable for all runners and is something to be aware of when trying your shoes. The consensus among user reviews of the Wildhorse 3 GTX appears to be that they are incredibly comfortable.
They are not sexy trainers. They are not sleek. They do not come in a vast selection of colors that excite. Is that important to you? For road shoes, perhaps it is important. For trail shoes, the functionality outweighs the form. Besides, they are more than likely to be covered in mud within ten minutes of stepping outside. What is so good about these shoes is that unlike previous Nike trail shoes, they have not just added lugs to great trainers but have designed the shoes for their purpose: for the love of the trail.
Everything about this shoe design screams out durability: the Goretex membrane, the abrasion-resistant upper mesh, the rubber waffle outsole which is lug rich and the upper no-sew overlay mesh. The shoes are designed for all terrains and will handle whatever you throw at them. They are sturdy and designed to last.
The Wildhorse 3 GTX has rock plate technology in the forefoot, and high abrasion TPU bars in the toe box and heels to protect you from debris and uneven surfaces. The added weight and structure from previous versions of the Wildhorse certainly add a feeling of being more protected, but not at the expense of being less nimble.
The snugness of the fit from the inner sleeve, although not to everybody’s taste, provides a heightened sense of connection to your surroundings and the terrain that you are running through, which can only ever be a good thing. Internally the Wildhorse 3 GTX has been developed to increase responsiveness via the compression molded Phylon midsole
complementing the Zoom Air unit in the heel, and the anatomical heel design to support the natural flow of the foot. Externally, the rugged outsole provides a superior grip which adds to the responsiveness of the shoe.
The use of Dynamic Flywire technology is a great feature in the shoe for lockdown support and is enhanced by the inner sleeve to provide a bespoke level of support. However, despite this wonderful technology, Nike has made a rather basic error that temporarily quashes all the support. The provided laces on the Wildhorse 3 GTX cannot be double knotted. With all the designs, testing and trials, you would have thought that this would have been picked up before the Wildhorse hit the trails. It’s an easy problem to solve but frustrating, as you only discover this on your first run in them when you must stop every mile. Even with the anatomical heel design, the Wildhorse is best suited for runners with a neutral foot motion. Should you over or under pronate, it is recommended to visit a specialist run shop for gait analysis and specialized advice for selecting your trail shoes.
The Wildhorse 3 GTX is primarily an off-road trail shoe but unlike many styles, it is just as capable to be used on the road. Could it even claim to be a hybrid trainer? Perhaps yes, for shorter road distances. The rugged, rubber waffle and sticky rubber lugs ensure that a superior grip is achieved and all terrains can be enjoyed.
You do tend to pay a premium for the Nike brand
. Their development and sponsorship deals do not come cheap. However, you pay for what you get. Buy cheap and you buy twice. There are some great deals online for the Wildhorse 3 GTX and it is worth spending the time to find them.
Did I mention the rugged, rubber waffle and lugs? The Wildhorse 3 GTX cannot be oversold when it comes to the traction these shoes have offered. Articles have even used the word aggressive to describe the lugs, which is just what is needed for running wild on the trails in all weathers.
Thanks to the Dynamic Flywire technology and the inner mesh (once the laces have been replaced), and the over-sized lugs, the Wildhorse 3 GTX offer runners a secure and stable ride that can survive the unpredictable nature of trail runs. The Wildhorse offers a complete trail shoe that can cope in all conditions: rain, snow, sleet, and sun.
There is a school of thought that the lower the drop, the lower the risk of injury as it encourages the runner to land midfoot or forefoot. The Wildhorse 3 GTX comes in below average and is considered low profile with a drop of 8mm. The height of the heel is 28mm and the toe 20mm.
• Dynamic Flywire technology for a secure fit
• Zoom Air technology
• Goretex waterproofing
• Rock plate technology for protection
Has Nike’s marketing team magic worked with the Nike Air Zoom
Wildhorse 3 GTX? Yes, it has. It could easily be called the Workhorse 3. It is a steady, reliable, comfortable ride that can be relied upon in any conditions it is taken to. The fact that the Wildhorse 3 GTX is used by hikers on trails, as well as runners, is a testament to the great design and versatility of this trail shoe. This unassuming shoe successfully fulfills the trail runner’s needs with only minor and superficial moans.