The Nike Air Zoom Vomero and the Air Zoom Pegasus are among runners’ favorite running shoes – the most popular models from one of the most popular brands.
The Air Zoom Pegasus was first released in 1983 and was the first shoe to feature an Air Wedge. Over the last 38 years, the Air Zoom Pegasus has evolved quite a bit. It remains one of Nike’s best-selling shoes.
The Vomero is newer. First released in 2006, it’s designed for runners who rack up the miles. Over the last 15 years, this model has also evolved to provide runners with a smoother and more responsive ride.
Main Similarities and Differences
Both the Vomero 15 and Pegasus 38 are neutral running shoes that can be used for daily training. The Vomero is a stable shoe with firm and high-stack cushioning, which makes it comfortable for daily and recovery runs.
The Vomero 15 uses ZoomX foam in the heel with an Air Zoom unit in the forefoot to give runners more energy return and cushioning on every footstrike.
The Pegasus isn’t as plush as the Vomero 15, focusing instead on responsiveness. That’s not to say it is uncushioned – it has plenty of cushioning to keep your legs feeling fresh. The Pegasus 38 uses React foam, which is paired with the Air Zoom unit in the forefoot.
Nike increased the size of the forefoot Air Zoom unit for the Pegasus 38. The size varies a bit from men’s to women’s models. The Air Zoom unit in the women’s shoe is 15 psi, giving a softer feel, while the unit in the men’s shoe is a bit firmer at 20 psi. This also accounts for the fact that men on average are somewhat heavier.
Both the Vomero 15 and the Pegasus 38 have medium-to-high arch support. Being neutral, they are designed for runners who don’t overpronate. The Pegasus 38 has a reputation for being a fast shoe. And its bounce makes it a good choice for tempo runs.
The Vomero 15, on the other hand, has thicker cushioning and is slightly heavier than the Pegasus 38. It’s slower, but more comfortable. It’s a good choice for daily runs, mid-distance, and long-distance running alike. In other words, it’s a durable all-purpose running shoe.
The Vomero 15 upper has been re-designed and now has a double layer of engineered mesh.
The mesh has perforations in the forefoot to allow for maximum breathability. The fit eliminates hotspots. While the upper may have minimal stretch, runners will appreciate the soft wrap around the foot.
The gusseted tongue is thin, asymmetrical, and prevents pressure points on the bridge of the foot while providing a secure fit over the midfoot. There is a flat lacing system with flywire over the midfoot for additional support.
Runners won’t have to worry about heel slippage with the Vomero 15. One of the things you’ll notice is that the heel is built-up and the collar has quite a bit of padding.
This padding helps to hug your heel, even if you have narrow heels, locking your foot down securely. The heel features a firm plastic heel clip that goes about halfway up the back of the shoe, providing additional heel support.
The Pegasus 38 uses an engineered mesh that’s lightweight and very breathable. It’s so lightweight it looks almost translucent. This gives the Pegasus 38 the look and feel of a racing shoe.
The tongue is thin, shorter, and flat, which prevents pressure points on the bridge of the foot. A band at the midfoot adapts to the size of your foot and helps to provide a secure and locked-down feel.
The heel counter is lightly padded and the collar is still tapered away from the Achilles so runners won’t have to worry about chafing. However, the flare in the heel counter doesn’t provide that secure feeling, and some runners may experience heel slippage.
The Vomero 15 is a very plush shoe. It’s built on Nike’s new ZoomX cushioning foam in the heel. A tri-segmented Air Zoom unit in the forefoot and SR-02 foam complete the midsole. This is the same midsole foam that was used in the Nike Joyride.
This SR-02 foam acts as the stable carrier, as well as providing protection for the softer ZoomX foam.
The heel is great for heel strikers, and runners will find that it provides a smoother ride with more energy return. The Air Unit in the forefoot will propel you forwards, delivering more cushioning against foot strikes while remaining responsive with great energy return.
Runners will find that while this is a neutral shoe, the built-up arch and the raised midsole around the heel provide the stability elements of a stability shoe while cradling the foot.
The Pegasus 38 has also undergone some changes to the midsole and now features a larger Air Zoom unit in the forefoot.
The Air Zoom units are also gender-specific, with the women’s shoe having a softer feel at 15 psi and the men’s shoe having a firmer unit at 20 psi. This provides more energy return, giving the shoe a bounce that makes it very responsive while providing great cushioning with each foot strike.
The full-length React foam midsole—instead of the Cushlon ST foam of the Pegasus 36—has 2mm more foam than any of the previous Pegasus shoes.
This makes the Pegasus 38 more comfortable, springy, and responsive even on long runs, without feeling bottom-heavy.
The outsole of the Vomero 15 has been redesigned and has full rubber coverage. Nike has added more rubber than the previous iterations, and the outsole is now slightly thicker to improve durability.
There is plenty of rubber in high wear areas like the heel. This makes the forefoot and midsole feel softer, which allows for greater flexibility. Rubber nubs on the medial side of the outsoles provide excellent grip while allowing the foot to flex naturally.
The Pegasus also features an updated carbon rubber outsole. It has been split to create a large horizontal groove that lets your foot flex naturally and provides smooth transitions.
There are rectangular lugs on the medial side that provide excellent traction on both dry and wet surfaces.
The heel has a thicker layer of grooved rubber that provides smooth rearfoot landings. Heel strikers will appreciate the grippy design. There is also a shallow dip under the heel that helps for smoother transitions and better stability.
Both the Vomero 15 and Pegasus 38 offer excellent traction. Both absorb the impact of shock from foot strikes well. But runners will also find that the updated soles make both shoes better able to withstand the wear and tear of daily miles.
Both the Vomero 15 and Pegasus 38 have a heel-to-toe drop of 10 mm. However, the Vomero 15 does weigh more than the Pegasus.
This is due to the Vomero’s extra cushioning. With a stack height of 22 mm on the forefoot and 32 mm in the heel, it’s a bigger shoe than the Pegasus (18 mm/28 mm).
While the Vomero 15 is the more cushioned of the two shoes, runners may find that this makes the shoe slower and heavier.
That being said, the Vomero 15 does provide more stability. It has raised side rails, a wide midsole base, and a built-up arch.
The Pegasus is narrower in the forefoot and doesn’t have as much padding in the heel. Some runners may find this creates heel slippage. However, the Pegasus 38 is available in regular and extra wide versions to get the best fit.
Even though the Vomero 15 has more cushioning, some runners may find that it provides a stiffer ride than the Pegasus.
The Vomero 15 provides a very cushioned, plush, and responsive running shoe for just $140 dollars.
The Pegasus 38 comes packed with technology and cushioning for $120 dollars, and still remains one of Nike’s best-selling shoes.
The Vomero 15 is a great daily running shoe and runners who are looking for more cushioning and comfort on their long runs would benefit from wearing it. It is also a great shoe for recovery runs, half marathons, and long distances.
However, if you’re looking for a daily running shoe that will keep up with tempo runs, speed work, 10ks or marathons, then you will find that the Pegasus 38 will be the better shoe for you.