First Look: The New Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 35 Running Shoe
Here's my take on the brand's latest sneaker.
I love sneakers. And the one thing I love more than sneakers is new sneakers. Which is why when Nike invited a group of editors to wear-test the new Air Zoom Pegasus 35 ($120; nike.com)— an iconic shoe that has been in the Nike family for 35 years—I jumped at the opportunity.
I was especially curious about the latest model, which dropped this week, because, well, I felt like Nike had something to prove—to me at least. You see, I was never a fan of its predecessor. Sorry Nike, but the Pegasus 34 irritated the heck out of my right forefoot every time I slipped it on, and thus spent more time in the back of my closet than it did on the road.
I learned from the good folks at Nike that I wasn't the only person who felt something was "off" with the forefoot of the previous version. In fact, that was one of the things the brand addressed when revamping the silhouette of the Pegasus, which happens to be one of Nike's best-selling running shoes of all time.
“When we look at the midsole of the shoe, in the past it had two thick air bags, a 'zoom bag' in the forefoot and in the heel. We've replaced those with one thin full-length bag that actually contours to the shape inside of the shoe to give you the same responsiveness throughout the entire shoe, rather than in just two places," a Nike spokesperson said to our group before we headed out for a 3- or 5-mile run. "The feedback [from various runners about the forefoot issues] is what led us to a full-length bag, because people with sensitive feet felt the edges of the [original] bag."
And the tweaks didn't stop there. The runner now has a partial bootie construction and a notched tongue, which make it easier to get on. It's lighter. The women's version has a slightly softer cushion foam. The heel collar takes it's cue from long-distance runner and four-time Olympic Gold medalist Mo Farah. His 2016 custom Pegasus sneakers were designed to help him with a bursitis issue he was having on the back of his heel at the time; a sort of peak extends out from the foot a bit to alleviate pressure on the Achilles.
The outsole has also been rejiggered. "You still have these flex grooves to make it nice and flexible, but we have lugs that give you more support and stability underneath the foot. Then up in the front of the shoe, you have smaller lugs that give you more flexibility," the Nike spokesperson said.
In my opinion, the changes have definitely made this a much better shoe—at least for me. They were extremely comfy during my rainy 3-miler. I felt like I was just zipping along (hello, responsiveness!) despite my body being fatigued from a run the previous day. And that all-over breathable mesh upper (which looks super sleek too), will probably be a godsend come summer.
My only complaint: I wish the sole was a bit more grippy. This could be a rain-specific issue, but as I glided over NYC grates, I felt like I was losing my footing a bit. (Full disclosure: I have this complaint about a lot of running shoes I sport in the rain.)
That said, I would definitely rock this shoe again on a run. Should you? That's a personal decision. But according to Nike, the Pegasus 35 is built for all runners and all miles.
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"We really want this to be a democratic shoe that fits a lot of different feet," the Nike spokesperson said. "And that is what the Pegasus has been known for for a very long time: being the go-to shoe no matter what distance you are going to do on a run."