THE RUNDOWN: The Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 35’s don’t just look cool, they’re a well-balanced daily trainer that runners will love for any workout.
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It has been nearly 10 years since a pair of Nikes has made my regular shoe rotation; but when you hear the brand made big updates to one of its staple shoes, you can’t help but want to give the updated version a chance.
Going into my runs with the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 35s, I heard that Nike had taken some of the design features from the VaporFly and worked them into the Peg. In particular, the full-length Zoom Air unit modeled after the carbon plate in the VaporFly 4%.
The style of the Peg 35’s stands out. It’s hard to say anything negative about the slick, simple design, pop of color and streamlined, pointy heel. These shoes just look cool. But it’s not its appearance that makes it different from its predecessors. The redesigned upper allows for more room and flexibility in the toe box, while the stitched-in tongue and heel counter keep your foot locked in and secure.
While I’m confident any Peg lover will feel right at home in the 35s, these updates bring a fresh perspective right out of the box, and instantly make the shoe more attractive to a non-Pegasus fanboy like myself.
Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 35 Specs
- 22mm; 12mm
- Cushlon foam and Nike Zoom Air
- Compression mesh Energy Web
100 Miles In: The Review
After slipping my foot in for the first time, two words popped into my head: comfortable yet stiff. The foam midsole was downright cozy, but as I walked around, they felt stiff on the foot. Thankfully, after just a handful of runs, the firmness gave way.
One issue I’ve had with several of the mesh shoes on the market these days is that over time, the mesh stretches to a point where it’s difficult to lock your foot in place. Nike solves this in the Pegasus 35s by running the eyelets all the way down the side of the shoe to the sole, cinching your midfoot in place. Even while the mesh did stretch a bit as I put in more miles, my foot never suffered from unwanted movement.
Now, let’s talk about this heel design. As an update over previous versions, they’ve lowered the counter to the middle of your heel, but made up for it by extending and beveling the heel collar away from the Achilles. What you end up with is a locked-in heel with no rubbing against the Achilles tendon. This feels a little funky when you’re just standing around, but as you open up your stride you don’t notice the heel at all. And most of the time, not noticing something is the best result.
Most of all, what stands out about this shoe is its versatility. I tested these shoes in rain and mud on both road and trails. They were worn on long runs, speed workouts and everyday grinds, and held up remarkably well at every pace and in every condition.
As someone who often runs on trails for a portion of their workouts, I found the transition from road to trail to be seamless. The tread pattern on the outsole provided confident grip on moderate trail, and just the right amount of traction on the road. And that full-length Zoom Air unit Nike promotes? It really does provide a noticeable flow and extra spring through your stride.
After 100 miles on mixed surfaces, the Pegasus 35s have held up even better than expected. The mesh has stretched over time, but that has only made the shoe more comfortable, and the stiffness eased away over time. The outsole shows little sign of wear, other than a bit of breakdown on the foam, which for the beating I’ve put them through, is pretty remarkable.
There’s the Rub
Or should I say, “the squeak…” Hands down, my biggest frustration with the Pegasus 35s has been the terribly-loud squeak-squish noise that screams out with each stride when they get wet. They were so loud that it was embarrassing when running with others.
For me, this cringe-worthy sound wasn’t limited to soggy miles in a thunderstorm when you might expect it, but would start up after running through a dew-covered field or a quick splash in a puddle. Now, I should say that after searching other reviews for this problem, it doesn’t appear to be a common complaint. But I can only speak from my own experience, and it’s hard to give a shoe two thumbs up when you can’t stand wearing them on non-dry conditions.
Another funky design feature (and one you’ll notice right away), is the massive tongue. After a little research, I’ve found no clear purpose for why it’s so large. While I worried it would cause irritation, the extended tongue turned into nothing more than a little design quirk. One that actually grew on me from an aesthetic standpoint the more I wore the shoe.
The Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 35‘s don’t just look cool, they’re a well-balanced daily trainer that runners will love for just about any workout. The soft, responsive ride, comfortable mesh upper and durable outsole make it a welcomed addition to your rotation (on dry days).
If you’ve loved previous versions of the Pegasus, you’ll no-doubt love the 35s, but the updates found in this version should peak all runner’s curiosity. This is a great choice for anyone looking for a trusty workhorse with the versatility to handle road, moderate trail and even race day.