The Rundown

Our review: Upholding the Nike Pegasus legacy of neutral shoes that blend cushioning and responsiveness, the 36th Pegasus provides a smooth, familiar, luxurious ride that keeps you reaching for them day after day.

Surface:
Road
Stack Height:
High

The latest model in a long line of reliable training shoes, the Nike Pegasus 36 has quickly become my go-to shoe. Don’t confuse it with the Nike Zoom Pegasus Turbo 2, a spendier option with more responsive (read, bouncy) foam designed for speed, or the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus Trail 36, a hybrid designed for off- and on-road running. It’s no ultra-light, pricey racer like ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT%, either.

But among Nike’s shiny, fast styles, the Pegasus 36 is an affordable, thoughtful evolution of a long-running model that’s proven to be dependable and, most importantly, comfortable—perhaps peaking, like many long-distance runners, after a few decades.

Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 36 worn
photo: Elizabeth Carey

The Specs

Weight
8.0 oz. (W) 8.9 oz. (M)
Offset
10 mm
Heel/Forefoot
26 mm/16 mm
Midsole
Full-length Zoom Air unit and Cushlon foam
Outsole
Blown carbon rubber waffle
Upper
FlyMesh engineered knit upper with Flywire cables
Price
$120

100 Miles In: The Review

Out of the box, the Peg 36 proffered comfort, with a welcoming step-in and seamless feel. The updated tongue and upper felt immediately flexible and socky. New colors, including high visibility neon, popped. Compared to the previous Pegasus 35, which I found to be a versatile everyday trainer, the 36 felt lighter and sleeker. As it turns out, I keep turning to the 36; I’m always happy to put them on.

With a slim last, the Pegasus feels neither too narrow nor tight, even as the arch sits high (and soft) underfoot. A tapered, beveled heel doesn’t compromise width or comfort. I found the length and width true to size.

Nike Pegasus 36_EC_afterIMG_3134
photo: Elizabeth Carey

Nike revamped the neutral Pegasus midsole construction in the 35, and retained that design in the 36. Consisting of a full-length Zoom Air unit combined with Nike’s traditional Cushlon foam, the midsole feels buoyant. It’s luxurious, actually, somewhere between bouncy and squishy. At 100 miles in, the shoe showed definite wear-and-tear, but it was predominantly aesthetic, with no loss in the responsive cushioning.

The upper is where the evolution of the Pegasus feels most like progress. With an updated engineered mesh, the material over foot feels like a thick but airy sock. Without sacrificing protection, it is certainly more breathable. The new asymmetrical tongue design, which is shorter, softer, and thinner than before, stays put without issues. Exposed Flywire, through which the shoe laces loop, helps dial in the fit and keeps my feet secure without cutting off circulation, plus end high enough on the foot to provide a roomy toe box. After 100 and even 200 miles, the upper construction has yet to bag out. Reflective hits have stayed put, too.

Nike_Pegasus 36_EC_afterIMG_3138
photo: Elizabeth Carey

The outsole, identical to the Peg 35, is a road-ready waffle constructed of blown carbon rubber. It’s held up, as well, at both 100 and 200 miles, and can tolerate some pea gravel and dirt in addition to typical city surfaces.

The Peg 36 provides a smooth heel-to-toe transition, likely thanks to the midsole as well as the rockered heel and overall flexibility. This lends the shoe to performance at any pace on hard surfaces. It’s bouncy enough for some faster pushes, cushioned enough for recovery jogs, and reliable at every pace in between.

There’s The Rub

Some Nikes are designed to run fast; all are designed to look cool. The Pegasus 36 fits the latter bill, equally speedy and stylish. That is, until I hit the dirt. While I loved the fresh, springy look of this style, the light colorway (technically called phantom/beige/volt) got dingey quickly. Generally, I don’t mind crusty shoes, but it was surprisingly exciting and refreshing to have an extra sharp-looking pair of sneakers, if only for a few miles, and rather disappointing to have them look like old faithfuls so quickly.

What’s more, when I pushed the limits of the Pegasus 36 onto trails, they felt sloppy in the forefoot—especially loose and too squishy while cornering. (That’s where Nike hopes the Pegasus Trail, with a lugged outsole, comes in.)

Nike_Pegasus 36_EC_before
photo: Elizabeth Carey

TL;DR

The Nike Pegasus 36 is a versatile, dependable, affordable steed that runs true to its deep roots. If you are looking for a go-to training and/or racing shoe, especially if you can’t afford a full quiver of specialty styles, this model is a durable (and dare I say cute) option. The 36 upholds the franchise’s “fast-cushioned” tradition of comfortable, neutral models that get the job done.