By Shelby Johnson
Although the Nike Pegasus 36 Trail isn’t a brand new release (it debuted in summer 2019), it’s new for our testers. The shoe also represents a new design approach for a model that has been around since before some of you were born.
On previous versions, Nike basically slapped a lugged outsole on the normal Pegasus road shoe and called it a trail version. Changes to the Pegasus 36 include a different mesh upper with added durability, a slightly firmer midsole platform, and a different configuration of Zoom Air units in the heel and forefoot for improved stability and agility. The shoe maintains the fit and comfort that longtime users expect from this model, and we found it to be an excellent crossover shoe between road and trail, but still fully adequate for long trail runs.
At first look, the Pegasus 36 Trail appears narrow. Once it’s on the foot, it makes for a comfortable ride for a variety of foot shapes thanks to flexible material construction of the upper which still allows some natural foot splay. The double layer upper includes extra padding on the inside and a more breathable mesh on the outside, allowing for both comfort and good ventilation and drainage. The inner sock and Flywire lacing system provides the famous Pegasus slipper feel while maintaining a snug fit. A notable feature is the pointed Achilles support in the back of the shoe which provides extra support and less movement in the heel. There is minimal protection on the front of this shoe, so rocky terrain can be tough on the toes.
The midsole platform is neutral without much in the way of arch support, and there is no rock plate underneath, but we found the Pegasus 36 Trail gives enough cushioning to provide comfort on mild to moderate trails. Whereas the road version of the Pegasus uses a thin sheet of its Zoom Air unit, the trail version has dual pockets in the heel and forefoot for enhanced stability – think of it as a four-point suspension system to help keep your foot in place on irregular terrain.
The outsole has 3mm lugs which makes it a good choice for less technical terrain; they are angled strategically to enhance your grip on climbs and braking on descents. Rubber coverage on the outsole extends from heel to toe and across the full width of the shoe, aside from a longitudinal groove that provides flexibility. We found the shoe to be grippy on many types of terrain including buffed out trail, mud and snow.
Overall, the Pegasus trail is a great shoe for anyone who likes to hit both the roads and trails, especially on the same run. While it may struggle to hold up on more technical terrain or longer distances, it’s great for moving fast and light.
The Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 36 Trail is available in men’s and women’s versions at www.nike.com as well as numerous online retailers.
Features and Specs
- Recommended use: mild to moderate trails, mixed road/trail days
- Weight: 10.3oz (M), 8.2oz (W)
- Stack heights (heel/toe): 23.5mm/13.5mm
- Drop: 10mm
- Uppers: Lightweight mesh with minimal TPU overlays and thin toe bumper
- Flywire lacing system
- Midsole: Lightweight EVA with embedded Zoom air pockets in heel and forefoot
- Outsole: Full-coverage rubber with longitudinal flex groove and 3mm multi-directional lugs