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Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 35 - Women's Review

The Air Zoom Pegasus is a supportive shoe with a highly responsive sole made for speed.
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $120 List | $89.96 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Highly responsive, supportive
Cons:  Less comfortable than others
Manufacturer:   Nike
By Lauren DeLaunay ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Aug 7, 2018
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74
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#6 of 12
  • Landing Comfort - 25% 7
  • Responsiveness - 20% 9
  • Upper Comfort - 25% 7
  • Stability - 20% 7
  • Weight - 10% 7

The Skinny

You've heard the hype, and we've got the review. The Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 35 is the new and improved version of our Best Buy Award-winner from last year. With more cushioned sole yet an even lighter weight, how could we not be impressed? Our testers found this shoe to have excellent responsiveness, making it undeniably built for speed. We awarded this shoe our Top Pick for Speed as our first pick for days when every second counts.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

Our favorite shoe for speed workouts, sprints, and track days, we were instantly drawn to the Air Zoom Pegasus 35's snug fit and responsive step.

Performance Comparison


The newest iteration of this shoe, the Pegasus 35 jumped ahead of its previous version thanks to its increased cushioning and lighter weight. It was still the obvious choice for our Top Pick for Speed.

The Air Zoom Pegasus from Nike shines in the light.
The Air Zoom Pegasus from Nike shines in the light.

Landing Comfort


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 score of 6-8 in this category.


The Pegasus was not the most cushioned or cozy shoe in this review, but we found the increased padding in the new version to be a marked improvement. 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 and even the occasional long distance.

With a 10mm offset, the Pegasus has a very 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 or harmful to joints (or neither). If you're looking for a shoe that lets you find a more natural stride, you may want to check out the HOKA ONE ONE Mach, a lightweight shoe with half the offset.

The Pegasus' cushioning is supportive yet lightweight and bouncy.
The Pegasus' cushioning is supportive yet lightweight and bouncy.

The Pegasus 35 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.

Responsiveness


During our testing process, our team found that responsiveness and landing comfort often came at the expensive of one another. Naturally, if a shoe is heavily padded, it won't be able to provide the spring 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 definitely leans more heavily toward responsiveness. As our winner of the Top Pick for Speed, we felt a significant pep in our step in this product. While the cushioning was increased in this new version, we didn't think this impact the shoe's bounciness.

Can't slow us down: the Air Zoom Pegasus runs from the smoke of a nearby wildfire in Yosemite National Park
Can't slow us down: the Air Zoom Pegasus runs from the smoke of a nearby wildfire in Yosemite National Park

Compared to a maximally cushioned shoe like the HOKA Bondi or a middle-ground shoe like the Brooks Glycerin, the Pegasus is a better choice for track or speed workouts. And while the HOKA Clifton has a similar weight, the Pegasus has much more lift.

Upper Comfort


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


When you think of running comfort, you 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 could be just as critical to running success. If a shoe rubs uncomfortably or puts too much pressure on the top of the foot, your workout could 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, despite it not being ideal for every runner.

Tons of breathability in the Pegasus' mesh upper.
Tons of breathability in the Pegasus' mesh upper.

The breathability, however, was a key factor in awarding it our Top Pick for Speed Award. With ample venting and a lightweight mesh fabric, the Pegasus 35 is even more comfortable than its previous version. One of the biggest 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 a great improvement and one that bolsters the Pegasus' already comfortable fit.

Stability


Stability and support are usually features aimed at runners who over-pronate, so you may actually want a shoe with a lower score in this metric if this does not apply to you. Even if it doesn't, though, we really 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 really snug up the fit of the shoe which we loved for doing sprints or track workouts.

Checking out Yosemite's horse stables in the Pegasus
Checking out Yosemite's horse stables in the Pegasus

The Pegasus' heel is also extremely 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 pertinent 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 Pegasus 35 shave 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!

Comparing uppers of the new Pegasus 35 (left) and the previous 34 (right)
Comparing uppers of the new Pegasus 35 (left) and the previous 34 (right)

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. Other shoes with similar weights are the HOKA Clifton, which is more comfort and 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.

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 there are other models that are more cushioned and cozy, the Pegasus excels when you really want to kick things up a notch.

A close-up look at the comfortable but not overly cushioned upper of the Pegasus
A close-up look at the comfortable but not overly cushioned upper of the Pegasus

Value


At $120, 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 stacking on the mileage, this may not be the best one-shoe quiver for you; it will, however, make a great addition to your quiver.

Conclusion


Our testers award 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 an excellent workout and try-hard shoe.

One last lap in the Pegasus
One last lap in the Pegasus


Lauren DeLaunay