The Nike Wildhorse 3 has been my favorite trail shoe this year by a long shot. I purchased my first pair in September of 2015, and am now on my fourth pair. I put over 400 hiking miles on pair number one, and have logged over 100 trail running miles on pair number two. When people ask for shoe recommendations, I suggest this shoe quite often. I already have a full review of the Wildhorse 3 on this blog, but wanted to add an addendum on durability and longevity. The Wildhorse 3 has been an indestructible beast for me, hanging tough in every trail condition I’ve thrown at it.
The durability of the Wildhorse 3 has been pretty remarkable. I’ve submerged them in creeks, scraped them against harsh granite, and coated them in thick red clay from deep in the Grand Canyon. All it takes is a little water and wipedown, and the Wildhorse 3 is back in full force and ready to go again. When I first tried the Wildhorse I was a little worried about the strength of the Flywire used as eyelets, as they looked a bit delicate. I’ve had no problems thus far. The same can be said about the breathable mesh used on the upper, and the materials used on the inner lining. After 400 hiking miles on my first pair, I have no tears or rips to be seen.
The one issue I did have is the lack of a gusset on the tongue. On certain trails I’d get bits of gravel and sand finding it’s way into my shoe. When first trying on the Wildhorse, I found the toebox to be wide in width, but a bit narrow in volume. Having broken them in now, everything feels perfect. Keep this in mind when trying these on for the first time.
The Phylon midsole of the Wildhorse 3 has been a revelation for me. I usually wear out midsoles and leave them flat and uneven by about 250 miles. The Wildhorse is one of the only shoes I own that still feels great after this threshold. Even after a 48 miles Rim to Rim to Rim hike of the Grand Canyon, the Phylon midsole kept my feet feeling fresh. I could tell they were starting to compress at around 350 miles, but still offered enough cushion and protection to keep me from retiring them. Because of this, I still wear my first pair of Wildhorse 3’s with 400 miles on them when taking short hikes or venturing around the block with my dogs. The only reason I had to retire them from hiking, was due to the outsole lugs wearing down.
Nike uses an Air Zoom pocket in the heel of this shoe which provides nice cushion. I wasn’t sure how this would hold up after hitting steep downhills while running and backpacking, but so far I’ve had no breakdown. The rockplate in the forefoot has been equally tough. I will say, the forefoot protection of the Wildhorse wanes a bit with time. I’m able to bomb over just about anything in a new pair, but started to feel a little more of the sharp points underneath after about 250 miles. It wasn’t anything overly uncomfortable, but just a little softening of the Phylon or rockplate. I’m not sure which, but it hasn’t been a huge issue.
The outsole of the Wildhorse 3 is what really sold me on this shoe when I started wearing my first pair back in 2015. The combination of traction and grip was really nice. I also loved the initial durability of the rubber compounds used. It’s way too often I find myself with missing lugs on new trail running shoes after only a few wears. Luckily, this hasn’t been an issue at all with the Wildhorse 3.
The outsole on the Wildhorse 3 has held up incredibly well for both hiking and trail running. I’m a midfoot striker for running, so I tend to notice the lugs wearing down at an increased rate at that point on the outsole. For hiking, my outsoles tend to wear out pretty evenly.
The black high abrasion rubber along the circumference of the Wildhorse 3 looks really great considering the abuse I’ve put them through. It’s the stickier and softer interior rubber that you’ll be able to see the wear on. Still, my hiking version is more than usable after 400+ miles of use, which is pretty good if you ask me.
The Nike Wildhorse 3 is a very durable shoe, and at an MSRP of $110, might be the best value for miles to dollar breakdowns. I’m really hoping Nike doesn’t change much when version 4 of the Wildhorse comes out, as I have big plans in the future, and I’m counting on the Wildhorse to help me make them happen.