Today we take a closer look at one of Nike budget runners, the Juniper Trail and review its features. Nike has always been looking to expand its reach to all athletes by creating specific styles that offer the best performance and support for their activities. The Pegasus trail and the Wildhorse are two of these styles that are considered some of the best for trail running. Another thing that Nike is into is reaching out to all budgets and since the two mentioned above run well over $100 the brand has come up with a cheaper version under $100 that nevertheless offers a great value, the Juniper trail. In this regard this series is similar to ASICS Venture or the New Balance Nitrel sneakers. These have come out a few years back and new colorways are being released every year since due to steady demand for such a shoe.

How They Fit

We got our hands (and feet) on a colorway released in 2022 in gray, black, purple and orange. Out of the box the shoes feel very lightweight and fit true to size. They have a nice look that would make them good for casual wear as well as for trail running, something that is not quite surprising for a pair of Nike sneakers. Check out this Nike size chart if unsure what size you need. 

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The upper of the Nike Juniper Trail is made of a mix of mesh and synthetic materials which offer breathability but it makes them vulnerable to wet conditions as they are not waterproof. As you try them on you cannot not notice the wider than normal toe box area which makes them a great choice for those that need a bit of extra room. However, for trail runs you may feel that the forefront of your feet may slide slightly from side to side; nothing unbearable but for seriously rough terrains this may be a problem. You don’t have to worry about the tongue doing that as it’s pretty much sewn in for an upper bootie construction meant to keep the foot in place. The lacing system also does a good job in this regard. 

Sole Unit 

The sole unit has a cool look that reminds us of the older Lunarlon running shoes but the comparison pretty much ends here, in terms of aesthetics. Nike does not mention what material they used for the midsole but from the looks and feel it’s probably a mix of EVA with Phylon layers which is pretty basic for a Nike shoe. The outsole features several patterns that are meant to enhance traction. They do a decent job but for easier off road terrains. On wet ground or where bigger obstacles are present they lack support and good traction. The shoes also feature the classic removable EVA insole for some extra cushioning.  The sole unit overall over some decent support with some bounce back energy but overall is quite basic. What we quickly realized during our Nike Juniper Trail review is that these are more for the casual runner and more for urban areas where off road conditions are not that rough. Certainly serious off trail runners will be drawn to the more expensive models mentioned previously that offer much more support.

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Bottom Line

All in all, to conclude our Nike Juniper Trail review, this is certainly a good choice for off road running for those looking for a budget shoe in this department. It even does a great job as a hiking shoe and of course as a casual shoe. At a retail price of $70, these are some of the most affordable Nikes for trail running, a versatile pair of shoes that surely offer a great value for your money. If you want a more casual look on your trail shoe a good one to check out is the Columbia Fairbanks low. Or, if you are willing to dig deeper into your pockets however, the Salomon Speedcross 3 is surely worth checking out.