Keller Sports as well as Keller X have been of great service to me in the last few years. A lot of selected attire easy and fast accessible. Particularly Keller X is a place where I hang out habitually. That has not changed much even though I moved from Germany to Sweden over 5 years ago as they offer their services with the same quality here and several other European countries. Keller Sports has been a great source to check and buy gear. Also, this time as Keller Sports gave me the chance to test and review the up-to-date and long-awaited trail hype, the Nike ZoomX Zegama. During the last 6 weeks I had the chance to put loads of miles on this shoe. Read on what I have to say.
If you’re enthusiastic about competitive and honest trail and mountain running the word “Zegama” will certainly spike your attention instantly. Located in the rugged self-governing region of the Basque Country, in the northern part of Spain, this 1.600 people town is the hallowed place for off road running. Just to simply get a slot into the Maratòn Alpina Zegama-Aizkorri is a dream for many. Tennis has Wimbledon, motor racing the Monaco Grand Prix and golf the Open Championship – mountain running has Zegama. To simply name a shoe after this competition is aiming for the uppermost and sets expectations as high as the Aizkorri peak.
Slowly but surely Nike has teased their newest footwear release via social media. At the end of last year, I had the first glimpse to what later would become the ZoomX Zegama. In the quest for the up-to-the-minute Kipchoge vaporfly Erlkönig, even road running focused hype accounts picked up a trail running shoe that contained the celebrated ZoomX foam. But don’t get trapped in the ZoomX hype on this one. The Zegama does not come with a full ZoomX midsole as you might know it from the road models. To simply have a full ZoomX midsole would be too unstable on the trails. It’s the classic Nike carrier system SR02 that’s build around the ZoomX foam.
After the Trail Version of the Pegasus, the Terra Kiger and the Wildhorse, the Zegama is the newest adding to the Nike trail running assortment. The Zegama improves into the arrangement with supplementary cushioning. The Wildhorse used to be the most cushioned shoe and that has changed now. Like the latest Terra Kiger version, the Zegama comes with a rock plate protection. The popular ZoomX foam is used for the very first time in a trail shoe and is placed across the midsole.
The rural town of Zegama is start as well as finish to the notorious Zegama-Aizkorri Maratoia. Over the classic marathon distance of 42.195 kilometers, competitors must attack 5,472 meters height difference across rough and technical exciting topography. The competition is known for a brutal course but generally for its crazy and dedicated crowds that line up along the climbs. I had the chance to tow the line twice. Since then, I have an idea how it must feel to climb Alpe d Huez during the Tour de France. Click the Links to read my 2013 & 2014 blog posts.
Throughout the last decade I had the chance to run in more than a few Nike trail models. The Pegasus Trail version used to be a reliable partner as it was a shoe that literally lasted forever. On a tight budget this was the model I ran almost entirely in training. Frequently Nike made efforts to extend their trail running actions and for me it was quite interesting to see that they now also release a completely new model to their collection. Something that hasn’t happened for a good while. In preceding Nike shoes, I have been in awe of the ZoomX foam, and it did not disappoint in the Zegama. Some people say that the carbon plate is the big game changer in running technology. But I cannot fully agree. To me the rapid progress of the foam performance is a real game changer and something that this shoe benefits a lot from. A bouncy yet direct feeling that was new to me in a Nike trail shoe.
A pleasant and well needed feature for trail running is the integrated Ankle Gator. It sits tight but does not irritate the ankle. Main aim for this feature is to stop rocks and dirt from entering the shoe. A pleasant and well needed feature for trail running is the integrated Ankle Gator. It sits tight but does not irritate the ankle. Main aim for this feature is to stop rocks and dirt from entering the shoe. Also aids the general stability that this shoe provides.
Its easy to see a merge of some of the other Nike trail shoes in the Zegama. The forefoot and midfoot sections are very similar to the Kiger, while the back section leads towards the design of the Wildhorse. Important in a trail shoe is stability and despite the proper stack height, this shoe provides a great safe feeling on the trail while still being very comfortable and sprightly.
A new-fangled off-road shoe does also mean an innovative sole design and lug pattern. With 4 mm deep, the pattern design works well on all sorts of terrain that I undertook here. I usually have a tiny commute to hit my local trails. Then I face an exciting mixture of roots, rocks, and technical single trails. Particularly the forefoot portion of the Zegama is something that I could trust a 100% on during all my outings. But just like older Nike trail models, the quality of the grip gets worse in wet circumstances. A problem that has been communicated before and still seems to be an issue with this shoe.
A closer look at the lugs and the pattern design
If you are used to run in Nike shoes on the road, the Zegama wont surprise you much. The feeling is practically the same and the ZoomX translates nicely towards secure off-road running without loosing the nice bounciness and the great direct cushion. It’s the base that makes this shoe the best distance model in Nike assortment. The ride in the Zegama is springy and the wide platform aids to even stabilize the general approach of this shoe. It appears that the platform is a bit wider than the Kiger which I liked a lot. It is a pretty high stacked shoe at 37mm at the heel and 33mm at the forefoot so the wider approach assists the general safe performance on the trail.
Subtle details can be found all around the Zegama. Overall Nike nailed the design on this one, in my opinion. Since a few years they seemed to have figured out how to market and brand the trail models in a nice inventive and inimitable way without loosing the general design approach in the footwear line.
As this shoe can handle a lot of diverse ground, it quickly has developed into a reliable partner to me in the last few weeks. It is a lot of fun on the road but clearly performs best when used on non-paved milieu. By any means it is not a shoe that would execute to its utter best during the iconic Zegama marathon, but I would undoubtedly race it on lengthier and flatter trail distances. The Zegama is a flawless fusion between a comfortable training and race shoe with loads of opportunities on hand. Only downfall is the performance in the wet. Something that I hope will be updated in the next version.
Tune of the day: Adagio! – Gather Round