The Nike Air Zoom Pegasus is a long-time favorite of OutdoorGearLab. We love its highly responsive sole and appreciate its lateral support. This shoe was once our go-to product for fast missions but lost this spot in 2019 to the Salomon Sonic RA Pro 2. The Pegasus has less upper cushioning than the Sonic and is one ounce heavier per shoe; that being said, there's a lot to like about this shoe, so keep reading!
Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 35 - Women's Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Highly responsive, supportive
Cons: Less comfortable upper, not as light
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Our Analysis and Test Results
Pegasus 36 vs. Pegasus 35
During our testing period, Nike released the Air Zoom Pegasus 36. This latest incarnation of the Pegasus includes more perforations strategically placed in high-heat areas in order to increase breathability. The 36 also drops a bit of bulk by slimming down the tongue and heel collar. See the Pegasus 36 in the first image followed by the Pegasus 35 we tested.
We're linking to the updated shoe above, but the review to follow tells our account of the Pegasus 35.
Hands-On Review of the Pegasus 35
One of our favorite shoes for speed workouts, sprints, and track days, we were instantly drawn to the Air Zoom Pegasus 35's snug fit and responsive step.
The Pegasus 35 is more comfortable than its previous iterations, but does not offer the comfort of some of our top-scoring award winners.
Running is tough on our bodies, from our feet to our knees and hips. Landing comfort is the term we used to describe how well each shoe protects us from the pounding that can cause injuries and discomfort. The highest scorers in this shoe were primarily designed for long distances where speed is less of a factor. We found that the majority of runners will want a shoe with a slightly above average score in this category.
The Pegasus was not the most cushioned or cozy shoe in this review, but the increased padding is an improvement. Compared to the HOKA Bondi, with its maximum cushioning and cloud-like sole, the Pegasus is on the minimal side of the spectrum, though it's still comfortable for short or medium distance runs (and even the occasional long-distance adventure).
With a 10mm offset, the Pegasus has a traditional running shoe design; this heel-toe offset lifts your heels and pushes you onto the balls of your feet. There is a wide range of opinions about whether this offset is useful to developing running form, harmful to joints, or neither.
The Pegasus has more padding than the last version that we tested, though it is still on the more minimal side of the products we tested. If this is the most important category to you, more than responsiveness or weight, we might recommend a cozier feel like the one found in the Brooks Adrenaline GTS.
During our testing process, our team found that responsiveness and landing comfort often came at the expense of one another. Naturally, if a shoe is heavily padded, it won't be able to provide the spring that is necessary to max out your speed. Similarly, a lighter, bouncier shoe won't be able to provide the thick cushioning needed to pack on the miles.
The Air Zoom Pegasus finds a nice balance between these two qualities but leans more heavily toward responsiveness. As a previous winner of the Top Pick for Speed, we felt a significant pep in our step. While the cushioning is increased in this new version, we didn't find this to impact the shoe's bounciness.
Compared to a maximally cushioned shoe, the Pegasus is a better choice for track or speed workouts and boasts a significant amount of lift. The only shoe that we found that was as responsive was the Salomon Sonic, with its comfortable, light design.
While the Air Zoom Pegasus isn't super 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 putting on the miles.
When we think of running comfort, we might be thinking primarily of the bottom of the shoe. After running dozens of miles in each product, our testing team concluded that upper comfort is just as critical to running success. If a shoe rubs uncomfortably or puts too much pressure on the top of the foot, your workout might be ending early.
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 good feature when we want to move fast. What that in mind, this is not the opinion of all runners.
With ample venting and a lightweight, mesh fabric, the Pegasus is even more comfortable than its previous version. One of the most significant changes to come to this version, according to the manufacturer, is the elimination of one eyelet. Nike aimed to remove a potential pressure spot, and the laces now extend a bit less down the front of the shoe. We think this fit is an excellent improvement and one that bolsters the Pegasus' already comfortable fit.
Stability and support are usually features aimed at runners who over-pronate; you may want a shoe with a lower score in this metric if this does not apply to you. We appreciate the support of Nike's Flywire cables, as it gave us extra confidence during our speed workouts.
The Pegasus features unique "Flywire" cables that can easily be felt in the interior of the shoe. Located along the exterior midfoot, these snug up the fit of the shoe which we loved during sprints or track workouts.
The Pegasus' heel is exceptionally 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.
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 pertinent metrics, like comfort and support. We're all for shaving ounces when we can, but also know that this might comes at the cost of other characteristics.
The Pegasus 35 shaves nearly half an ounce off its previous version, bringing it down to a new weight of 7.9 ounces. We bumped up its score due to this improvement, and this product now falls more toward the front of the pack. We think this weight decrease helps reiterate how great this shoe is for moving fast, as we now have even less shoe to move!
The 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. Others with similar weights are the HOKA Clifton, which is more comfortable and has less bounce, and the Brooks Adrenaline GTS, a happy middle ground between the two. Our review team agreed that this shoe gives one of the best bangs for your buck of any we tested, as its weight-to-performance ratio was one of the highest of any products in this review.
The Air Zoom Pegasus is 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 wouldn't recommend 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.
At $120, the Pegasus is very reasonably priced. You get a lot of bang for your buck here, especially if shorter distances and racing are your jam. If you're known for stacking on the miles, this may not be the best one-shoe quiver but would make an excellent addition to your quiver.
Their supportive structure, bouncy sole, and breathable upper make for an excellent training shoe, but they wouldn't be our first pick for everyday use. Runners who prefer short, fast runs will love how these complement their style; however, if you like to crank up the mileage, this might not be your best fit.
— Lauren DeLaunay