Hands-on Gear Review

Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 34 - Women's Review

Top Pick Award
Price:  $110 List | $71.47 at Backcountry
Pros:  Highly responsive, supportive
Cons:  Less comfortable than others
Bottom line:  The Air Zoom Pegasus is a supportive shoe with a highly responsive sole made for speed.
Editors' Rating:   
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Weight per shoe (ounces):  8.3
Sizes Available:  5 - 11.5
Upper Material:  Mono mesh
Manufacturer:   Nike

Our Verdict

Our reviewers had heard some hype about this shoe from friends, so we couldn't wait to try it out. The Nike Air Zoom Pegasus did not disappoint, providing excellent responsiveness, good support, and solid comfort in a lightweight shoe that is built for speed. With solid marks across the board, standing out for its bouncy step and solid frame, we've awarded this product our Top Pick for Speed Award. We found it to be a nice compromise of some contrasting qualities; comfort was hardly compromised for responsiveness, and it was both stable yet enjoyable for every runner. While it may not be our go-to for long runs, we'd be happy to put these on for our next track workouts or 5k race.


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Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Lauren DeLaunay

Last Updated:
Tuesday
January 30, 2018

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Our favorite shoe for speed workouts, sprints, and track days, we were instantly drawn to the Air Zoom Pegasus' snug fit and responsive step. It's not as comfortable as some of our other favorite models, but we were impressed with their support despite their position as our favorite speed shoe.

Performance Comparison


Despite coming in at the bottom half of all the shoes we tested, the Air Zoom Pegasus had stiff competition, and its responsive outer sole and comfortable design made it a great choice for our Top Pick for Speed.

Loving the bright design of the Air Zoom Pegasus
Loving the bright design of the Air Zoom Pegasus

Landing Comfort


The Pegasus was not the most cushioned or cozy shoe in this review, and we probably wouldn't pick it out of this quiver for our longer runs. Compared to the HOKA Bondi, with its maximum cushioning and cloud-like sole, the Nike is on the more minimal side of the spectrum, though we still found it comfortable for short- to middle-distance runs.


With a 10mm offset, the Pegasus has a very traditional running shoe design. This helps push you onto the balls of your feet, and while there is competing research about whether this is healthy or harmful, it is useful to think about when picking a shoe. Our Editors' Choice Award winner, the Brooks Adrenaline GTS, by contrast, has an even more significant 12mm offset.

The cushioning in this shoe is on the more minimal side of products we tested, but we found it to be decently comfortable and soft upon landing even for this smaller width. This shoe performed similarly to the Zante in this way as well.

No shoe motivated us to run faster than the Air Zoom Pegasus.
No shoe motivated us to run faster than the Air Zoom Pegasus.

Responsiveness


The best features we noticed about the Pegasus right away was its serious responsiveness. Compared to bulkier, cushier models like the Brooks Glycerin or HOKA Clifton, the Pegasus feels incredibly fast. This was a huge factor in our awarding it the Top Pick for Speed Award.


We like a shoe to spring us up, not fall flat, and even slow-speed, long-distance runners appreciate a little pep in their step. Responsiveness is often compromised for landing comfort, as evidenced in the HOKA Bondi that is maximally cushioned but barely responsive. The Air Zoom Pegasus is both comfortable and responsive, and we loved its stiff, sturdy sole.

Ready  set  go! We put the Pegasus to the test.
Ready, set, go! We put the Pegasus to the test.

Upper Comfort


While the Air Zoom Pegasus isn't particularly cushioned, we did award this shoe extra points for breathability. The front of the shoe is covered with extra venting, and we noticed this feature during warm days when running fast.


Compared to the ultra-plush tongue of the Brooks Ghost or Editors' Choice Award-winning Brooks Adrenaline GTS, the Air Zoom Pegasus is significantly less cushioned. The heel, tongue, and sides are minimally padded, but we find this to be a useful feature when we want to move fast, despite it not being ideal for every runner. The breathability, however, was a critical factor in awarding it our Top Pick for Speed Award as well. With its score of 7/10, the Pegasus is similarly ranked to both HOKA models we tested.

We loved the breathable upper of the Pegasus.
We loved the breathable upper of the Pegasus.

Stability


Stability and support are usually features aimed at runners who over-pronate, so you may want a shoe with a lower score in this metric if this does not apply to you. Even if it doesn't, though, we did appreciate the support of Nike's Flywire cables, and we found it gave us extra confidence during our speed workouts.


Unlike the printed overlay of the Glycerin, the Pegasus features unique "Flywire" cables that can easily be felt in the interior of the shoe. Located all along the exterior midfoot, these snug up the fit of the shoe which we loved for doing sprints or track workouts.

A stiff heel and internal support beams make the Pegasus a great  stable shoe.
A stiff heel and internal support beams make the Pegasus a great, stable shoe.

The Pegasus' heel is also incredibly stiff and snug, making us feel secure when running. We appreciated the no-slip heel fit and felt that it boosted our confidence when it was time to race the clock. These features contributed to our decision to award this shoe the Top Pick for Speed Award.

Weight


We've said it once, and we'll say it again: for the majority of runners, the weight of a shoe should be a secondary factor, taken into account after the appraisal of more relevant metrics like comfort and support. We always like shaving ounces when we can, but we also know that this comes at a price of other characteristics. The Air Zoom Pegasus falls right near the center of the pack for this metric.


Clocking in at 8.3 ounces per shoe, the Pegasus is right in the middle of the lineup and is the same weight as our Editors' Choice, the Brooks Adrenaline GTS. We found that this mid-to-low 8-ounce range is the sweet spot for most runners. It allows the shoe some wiggle room in extra features like cushioning or support beams but does not feel heavy or take away from the responsiveness of the shoe.

Best Applications


Winner of our Top Pick for Speed Award, the Air Zoom Pegasus would be a great fit for runners who like to go fast. Whether this is one of many shoes in your quiver or the singular one, we probably wouldn't recommend this for long distances, though it would have no problem carrying you that far. While other models are more cushioned and cozy, the Pegasus excels when you want to kick things up a notch.

Nothing says fun like race day in the Air Zoom Pegasus!
Nothing says fun like race day in the Air Zoom Pegasus!

Value


At $110, the Pegasus is very reasonably priced. It is below-average for this review, and we feel that you get a lot of bang for your buck here, especially if shorter distances and racing are your thing. If you're prone to piling on the mileage, this may not be the best one-shoe quiver for you; it will, however, make a great addition to your quiver. It is only $10 more expensive than our Best Buy winner, the New Balance Zante which is a slightly more well-rounded shoe but not quite as great for a bouncy, quick step.

Conclusion


Our testers awarded the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus our Top Pick for Speed Award. In an ideal world, we'd love to keep the Brooks Adrenaline GTS on hand for slower, distance days and break these puppies out for speed workouts and race days. Their supportive structure, bouncy sole, and breathable upper make for excellent workout and try-hard shoes. We couldn't wait to slip these on for our quicker exercises, and they were comfortable enough to keep on long after our workout ended.

Built for speed!
Built for speed!
Lauren DeLaunay

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Most recent review: January 30, 2018
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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 (4.0)
Average Customer Rating:  
 (0.0)
Rating Distribution
1 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 100%  (1)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)


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