TAYLOR: Yeehaw! Saddle up and grip that flowing mane (we’re talking horses here, not Joe Exotic’s mullet), because here comes the new Nike Wildhorse 6. With an aesthetic as unbound as a buckin’ bronco of the west, the new Wildhorse received a much-needed overhaul.
The Nike Wildhorse 6 is one of three shoes in the Nike Trail family (in addition to the Terra Kiger 6 and Pegasus Trail). Of the three, it offers the most comfort and aggressiveness in a combined package.
Midsole features that oh-so-wonderful React foam as well as a segmented rock plate. The durable mesh upper with sock-like collar and padded tongue rounds out an exceptional design, with no detail overlooked. Outsole features anti-clog lugs and a sticky midfoot pad.
Is this prized pony worth every penny you drop at the betting track? Let’s find out.
TAYLOR: My mom thinks they are cute, my first-grade students think they are cool, and my wife wants a pair. I usually don’t branch out beyond earth tones for my clothing, but man, these are knee-slapping spectacular design! I think all of us at BITR hesitated to get them dirty on the trails. Thankfully, the engineered mesh upper is durable enough to maintain style even with mud all over it.
Appearance aside, the new Wildhorse is wonderfully crafted. It is relatively simple and seamless in its performance as a well-cushioned trail runner.
The Nike React foam used throughout the midsole is as masterful as a professional cattle driver. Time and meticulous energy have created a plush and somehow responsive ride– perfect for those long-distances.
With an 8 mm (30 mm heel, 22 mm toe) drop and a modest amount of cushion, the ride is as smooth as a cantering mare. (By the end of this review there won’t be any horse metaphors left for the Wildhorse 7 review next year). It’s pretty obvious that there’s a ton of extra padding around the heel; Nike calls it a cushion ring and it does complement the ride with more protection.
I usually don’t pay attention too much to the tongue. This one popped up and got my attention like a curious prairie dog checking the crosswinds on the plains. It’s a thin and integrated tongue with a strategic layer of padding that overlays the top. It gives cushioning in specific places where laces run over the bridge of the foot.
The Wildhorse also has the trail shoe basics– solid protection and grip. Its segmented rock plate keeps the feeling of rocks and roots at bay and maintains a flowy ride. You get an ever-so-slight sense of ground feel but not much.
A soft sock-like heel collar brings comfort to the fit and helps keep the debris out. Immediately below the collar is a more structured and padded heel counter. So don’t worry about having a flimsy heel.
Underneath, the outsole has a classic Nike waffled lug pattern. The lugs are deeper than previous models. They proved adequate on a variety of surfaces. The outsole uses an Anti-Clog rubber to do exactly as the name implies. I didn’t have any issue with debris getting a free ride even through muddy and snowy sections.
MATT: Let’s just start with the look of these bad boys. In my opinion, these are the best-looking trail shoes I have ever laid eyes on. The colorway, the mid-top gaiter, the aggressive heel with sidewall lugs–these shoes are a head-turner.
I am a huge Nike React foam fan boi, so the swap out of the phylon and Zoom Air midsole from the previous version to the React foam in the Wildhorse 6, was a home run for me. Overall, the ride was a great blend of cush and stability for me.
The mid-ankle height of the upper with the integrated gaiter worked great. Not restrictive enough to impact ankle flex, but it kept out debris and actually seemed to contribute to an overall “locked-in “ fit.
On the heel, the rear pull tab loop looks cool and if it worked for a 1998 Mitsubishi Eclipse, then why not on a trail shoe? Everyone knows spoilers are cool.
Moving onto the outsole, it’s almost “sticky”. Making some cuts on winding single track, the shoe felt locked in and almost seemed to stick in a good way when making short quick turns.
ROBBE: It’s already been covered, but the design of the shoe is absolutely unreal. It’s one of the coolest looking shoes out there, period. Like Taylor, my wife also wants a pair, just for casual wear and hiking. If I’m going to be completely honest, I’ve worn these far more as daily wear than on the trails.
Anyway, I have a Nike-shaped foot through-and-through (narrow as an airplane aisle), and these fit exactly how I liked them. Supportive and secure, and with a luxurious tongue padding that allows a snug cinch without pressure. I will say, it’s a more accommodating fit than the Kiger 6, which has a soccer-cleat like feel with a low-ceiling toe box.
I didn’t get in as many miles as the other boys and my trails were somehow bone dry, but the shoe felt great in terms of comfort and grip. Like Matt, I have a “React 4 Lyfe” tattoo on my lower back, so I was stoked to have that cushion underneath. Much more comfortable ride than the Kiger, which I find to be a bit harsh on anything that isn’t packed dirt (and I’m a fan of firm shoes).Shop Nike Wildhorse 6 – US
TAYLOR: Somewhere in this review, I’m sure you could have guessed that the word “narrow” would pop up. Yes, the Wildhorse also succumbs to the Nike narrow forefoot. I could feel it on technical terrain and runs that were approaching an hour or more. Widen that toebox up just a tad bit to make a great trail shoe for the general public… even for those ultra nerds. I did enjoy the fit through the midfoot and heel though.
In general, I thought my midfoot and heel were locked down. However, riding the Wildhorse on technical terrain became more like a rodeo. It was a little shifty on speedy descents, off-trail, or mostly-technical terrain. I needed to lace strategically to avoid heel slippage on ascents (which was done comfortably). Again, on moderate or smooth trails, I didn’t have any issues.
MATT: For starters, this isn’t the lightest shoe out there; if you’re looking for a weight weenie, this ain’t it.
Both a good and a bad– the shoes are so pretty that I almost was afraid to get them dirty. The light and bright colorway will be sure to not stay that way.
I did not experience it in any overt way, but with the tread material similar to what Nike uses on the rest of its trail line, I would have concerns over it being slippery with wet rocks and roots ( see my review of the Kiger 6 to understand where that concern is coming from)
ROBBE: Okay, so yes, I love the heel design. But seriously, that’s a shit ton of rubber and I question its usefulness on the trail. Do I want to look cooler than everyone else? Yes, always. Do I want to sacrifice a half-ounce to an ounce to do so? Also, probably yes. But most people don’t want to. If this shoe had the same cushion at an ounce lighter it’d be a real thoroughbred. Instead, it comes off as more of a Clydesdale at times.
Again with the heel, I felt that the rounded sides of it caused me to roll my ankles a bit. Maybe this was my imagination but I don’t see how that rounded design makes it more stable. Relative to this, Nike’s outsole material isn’t the greatest in terms of stickiness. It just isn’t Vibram MegaGrip, no matter how much you want to tell me there’s a sticky pad in the middle.
The upper is super comfortable, but I felt that it was a tad warm, even in 50-degree temperatures. Lastly, the pull tab, while aesthetically dope-looking, is functionally useless. I have baby squirrel-sized fingers and couldn’t get them in the loop to pull on.Shop Nike Wildhorse 6 – US
TAYLOR: I’m not sure if I’ve been just against the whole Nike brand for so long that I’ve been ignorant to their trail offerings, or that the Wildhorse is a big step up, but I really enjoyed this shoe. This shoe can be compared to some of my favorites like the Altra Timp, Salomon Sense Ride 2 or Inov-8 Trailroc in terms of feel and performance on gentle to moderate trails. Where it lacks is its ability to get onto technical trails with confidence. I also wish this shoe was slightly wider… Aside from those two points, the Nike Wildhorse 6 is thoroughbred quality.
MATT: If you’re looking for a fire-looking trail shoe that provides comfort (and you don’t mind a bit of heft), then go for the Nike Wildhorse 6.
ROBBE: While I don’t think it’s the best trail shoe out there for hardcore trail enthusiasts, it for sure looks better than any other shoe, and with the nice slab of Reach cushion, it’s more than adequate for some long hauls. If you’re a Nike fan boi and looking for a solid shoe to get some dirt miles in (with a lack of wet surfaces), you should definitely get at this. More fresh colorways are on the way too. Check them out at Running Warehouse using the link below.
You can pick up the Nike Wildhorse 6 for $130 at Running Warehouse (featuring free 2-day shipping and 90-day returns) by using the shop link below.Shop Nike Wildhorse 6 – US