The Nike Pegasus 36 Trail are light and peppy, built for comfort and speed. There may be durability concerns as the shoes age or the runner pushes them along technical terrain.
If you’ve run in Nike Pegasus road shoes before then you will already be familiar with the slipper-like comfort in these trail shoes.
There are several unique designs that all work well toward their intended purpose. For example, Nike’s unique Flywire lacing system, which is characterized by the loops connecting the laces to the upper. This means that your feet will stay comfortable and secure.
I recently tested and reviewed the Kiger 5s. I have found lots of similarities between the two models.
I prefer the Kigers as an option when I want to go fast.
Others may prefer the Pegasus, which I have no quibble about. Both are excellent shoes that will help runners perform their best on basic trails while providing comfort.
Here are some comparisons between the two:
- The Pegasus has a 10mm drop vs. 4mm for the Kiger. This gives the Kigers an edge on more challenging terrain while the Pegasus offers more cushioning. Overall, the Pegasus is 30.5mm heel and 20.5mm forefoot while the Kigers are 27mm/23mm.
- The Pegasus has Dual Zoom Air units, whereas the Kiger has a rear Zoom Air and a front rock plate for protection and stability.
- Both favor speed and milder trails, and have questions about their durability.
Let’s start out at the front of the shoe to assess its protection. Nike made a decision to go with a minimal toe bumper, which offers some protection but keeps the overall weight of the shoe in check.
While this is good in order to limit the shoe’s weight, it reinforces that there are some durability question marks regarding the Pegasus.
The integrated tongue helps shield the feet from trail debris. The heel collar has suitable padding and runs high in the back.
Some runners might not like this or feel that it will take some getting used to. Try it out at your local running store to see whether the heel collar works for you.
Underneath, the shoe’s 3mm lugs are adequate in handling the trail and keeping the runner’s feet safe. I had no trouble as they handled dirt trails, grassy sections, sandy areas and paved trails with ease.
But as rocks, roots and other technical obstacles accumulate, the shoe will be hard pressed to handle them as well as it does minimal trails.
The lightness of the shoe is a big question mark here. You may be able to run hundreds of miles on mild trails in the Pegasus.
But as someone who likes varied terrain, I don’t think the shoes can handle even moderate terrain without wear and tear.
If you are looking to take on mountains, push through rocky climbs and hit other technical trail areas, the lack of a real toe bumper, smallish lugs and lack of superior cushioning will lead to durability issues.
Responsiveness & Speed
The Pegasus’ response is reasonably quick while going uphills and through flat terrain.
Its flexibility comes into play when transitioning, for example, when going through rolling hills and trails that have varied sections where runners speed up and pull back.
Like the Kiger, the Pegasus is built for handling mild to moderate trails with speed.
Note that when I say moderate trails, I consider these to be trails that an average runner can run at a tempo or faster pace. If you are heading to the mountains, leave these at home.
Comfort and Fit
The Pegasus 36 Trail upper has two layers. Its interior layer is more cushioned, which gives the runner the feeling that his/her feet are set in place without feeling confined.
The perforated mesh upper creates an easy breathing environment, while allowing air and water to flow.
The Flywire lacing and integration of overlay around the eyelets do a fantastic job of securing the midfoot comfortably. Breathability is excellent and I find them airy on warm days.
I don’t often get a chance to test drainage, but on a recent run while crossing a swollen creek on slippery logs, dipped a foot completely and noted that I really had no sloshing and they dried quickly.
If it were not for the Nike Kiger, the Nike Pegasus would be my go-to shoe for when I want to zoom down trails.
While there are some key differences between the two models, they do seem to address the same type of shoe: fast, sleek and comfortable.
The preference for most runners may lie in whether the individual prefers a near-zero drop (Kiger) or a shoe that has a more maximalist feel (Pegasus).
But in either case, it would be hard to go wrong on smooth trails with either the Pegasus or the Kiger.
We purchased a pair of Nike Zoom Pegasus 36 Trail from running warehouse using our own money. This did not influence the outcome of this review, written after running more than 50 miles in them.
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