Nike’s classic neutral trainer keeps it consistent in its 36th version
The Air Zoom Pegasus 36 retains its place as Nike’s most reliable everyday trainer. Made for neutral runners, this shoe is cushioned with a little bit of pop for longer races. Combined with great styling, it’s a shoe that runners have been coming back to for over 3 decades.
- Classic running shoe, 36 years strong
- Great color options
- Stylish look
- Good value
- Not ideal for races or tempo runs
- Could be better cushioned
Nike is the reigning champ of athletic shoes. Their line up offers a wide variety of options in the running department. From durable, high-mileage training shoes to the ultra-light and controversial high-performance VaporFly, Nike probably makes a shoe you want. And for decades, one shoe that runners have never stopped wanting in the Pegasus. This year sees the Air Zoom Pegasus in its 36th (!) version, a testament to its staying power as a popular running classic. There aren’t any major changes – just a handful of smart upgrades from the Zoom Pegasus 35.
The Air Zoom Pegasus 36 is fairly affordable for a good, quality running shoe. It it is not a high-end shoe with the newest technology. But it is a great shoe designed for all levels of runners, and considered one of Nike’s best-selling running shoes.
The unique feature in the Pegasus 36, however, is an air pouch within the shoe. Its neutral design makes it perfect for normal pronators, but the shoe offers plenty of support for under pronators as well. Bottom line: good design and mass appeal makes it a shoe with staying power. If you haven’t owned a pair of Pegasus yet, this year may be the time.
Engineered mesh is used on the upper unit of the Air Zoom Pegasus 36. This type of fabric makes the shoe rather flexible, and is nearly seamless, front-to-back. It also allows the upper to more naturally form around your foot, as it bends and swells during heel-to-toe transition.
The upper mesh is also very breathable as it has extra perforations added to the high heat areas, which helps keep your feet dry and cool. The low profile of this upper provides extra support and minimizes foot movement within the foot, securing the tongue of the shoe from sliding during your run and giving you more responsiveness.
The mesh upper also results in a clean, sleek look. Mesh makes the shoe lighter, as well. This is not to say it’s not durable. The mesh is thicker in areas that see more wear and tear, like the edges around the toe box.
With only 5 lace up holes instead of 6 on most shoes, the shoe flexes better with your foot. To secure the laces, the Pegasus 36 has Flywire cable loops around the midfoot. This creates extra security without pulling too tight on the mesh. The tongue has been subtly modified as well, reducing thickness and length to reduce possible irritation.
Inside the Pegasus 36, a sockliner adjusts to the shape of your foot, giving extra support and stability. This will definitely help you feel better on your run, like you have more foot control. The cushioning is made of Cushlon ST foam, which is nice and responsive, without excess give.
The Zoom Air, an air pouch that is the full length of the shoe, gives your run a smooth feel, and allows for extra bounce and agility. The Pegasus 36 is the only shoe with this type of air pouch, which helps offset the impact of the foot strike against the road with extra shock absorption. Just walking around in the shoe you can feel the extra spring in your step.
The forefoot of the Pegasus 36 outsole is constructed of Duralon, a spongy blown rubber compound ready for high-impact traction. It also gives the foot some extra cushion. Waffle-shaped grooves on the bottom of the shoe provide extra grip and control as your foot strikes the road.
The heel portion, however, is made of a carbon rubber called BRS 1000. The Pegasus 36 is built with this material to protect the foot against high impact and provide extra shock absorption. The material is grippy, too. The improved performance is noticeable, and will help give runners more confidence in their stride.
The lateral sides of the outsole feature a special tread pattern called the Crash Rail. This design creates more horizontal lines and grooves on the outsole, helping your gait cycle glides transition more smoothly. This also gives the shoe extra durability against wear and tear.
Known by runners as The Nike Peg, the Air Pegasus 36 is the 36th version of the Pegasus. Each time Nike upgrades this classic, it gets a little bit better. And in its 36th iteration, it is a wonderful shoe. Nike strives to make this shoe comfortable on an average foot, cost-effective for all runners, and durable for even the hardest and longest runs.
The design is stylish and thoughtful, as Nike is known for. A favorite feature of many runners is the Flywire cable loops, as they make adjusting the shoe’s fit easy in separate areas of the shoe.
All around, the Pegasus 36 gets great reviews. The majority of runners feel that the shoe shapes well to the foot, leaving your foot to move naturally and your running efforts to be fluid. The only minor comments indicating any cons to the shoes, are possibly of the interior of the shoe feeling too tight. But the majority of truly avid runners might say the Pegasus 36 is great for long runs and every day running.
Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 36 vs Air Zoom Pegasus 35
The new upgrades in the Pegasus 36 are minimal, as the Pegasus 35 was already a great shoe. The Pegasus 36 was made to be less bulky when Nike designed the upper to be slimmer and gave the heel collar and tongue unit less padding.
The breathability of the shoe was also improved by giving the entire shoe extra micro-perforations. The upper is now constructed with a stronger overlay system, so that laces can be as tight as necessary and without digging into the fabric mesh. This helps keep the shoes from getting too tight on top of your foot.
Many runners already loved the Air Pegasus shoes, and the Pegasus 36 holds up that reputation. There were a lot of changes from the Pegasus 34 to the Pegasus 35. Nike prefers to do really big updates every other year, so with the 36 model, there were just a few slight improvements.