When Nike asked me to review the Nike Pegasus 36 Trail (the newest addition to their trail running shoes lineup), I jumped at the opportunity. Not only was I curious to see how Nike trail running shoes performed, but many of our readers and Instagram followers have also been asking for my opinions on Nike Trail running products. With that said, thank you to Nike for sponsoring this in-depth review of the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 36 Trail. All opinions in this review are my own.
RELATED READING: Best Trail Running Shoes of 2019 (so far…) – Yes, The Nike Pegasus 36 Trail has just taken the throne! 😲
Pegasus 36 Trail Fit & Design
The Nike Pegasus 36 Trail shoes fit true to size, relative to other popular running brands. Drop a comment down below with the brand you normally run in and I’ll let you know how they fit relative to them.
Comfort while wearing the Pegasus 36 Trail is nothing short of dreamy. If you’ve run in Nike Pegasus road shoes before then you will already be familiar with this feeling, and although many trail running shoes are very comfortable nowadays, I believe these are the most comfortable I have worn to date. They are very much neutral running shoes which means you won’t get any added arch support inside the shoe, which for me is a very good thing!
Pegasus 36 Trail Upper Construction
The breathable, perforated mesh upper is very breathable allowing air and water to flow through the shoe as conditions change. You can see how breathable it is by looking at the material above the toebox area. The Pegasus 36 Trail upper has two layers, with the interior layer being more cushioned/padded, giving the sensation that your feet are being hugged and locked in place as you run over technical trails.
There’s also an inner sock that attaches the padded tongue to the forefoot area adding to that slipper-like fit. This design keeps the tongue in place, stops chafe and prevents debris from coming between your foot and the shoe walls.
There’s no finger loop on the rear of these shoes but you can easily grab onto the curved heel-support to slip them on.
The interesting curved achilles heel support, similar to that of the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 36, works very well for me as it allows for a little bit of over-striding when running fast downhill, without agitating my achilles. In fact, this design feature works so well, that I was able to run a 1 mile PB (5min 37seconds) using these shoes, in complete comfort.
Interestingly, the heel walls, in general, feel lower than many other trail shoes, allowing your feet to maneuver and adapt to the trail beneath it. At first, I thought this design may not provide a secure fit for my feet, but after I threaded the laces up to the top holes (as seen in pictures), I ended up with a very secure fit.
The toe cap is not reinforced and exists more to protect the durability of the shoes, rather than your toes, so take care towards the end of a long run if you’re getting tired and risk kicking a rock by accident, it happens! However, the plastic coated toe cap will stop water from shallow puddles entering the shoes, and the dark rubber frontage (seen in the picture above) will protect your toes somewhat. A more minimal toe cap design like this reduces overall weight in a shoe, which is obviously a good thing!
Pegasus 36 Trail Tongue & Laces
Briefly mentioned earlier, the tongue is well padded yet lightweight and slim. The lacing system is excellent, and it’s a design I’m seeing more and more on trail running shoes. Nike calls it their Flywire cables system, and if you look in some of my photos you can see these elasticated loops that connect the laces to the upper. Having this extra layer of ‘stretch’ means that your feet will stay comfortable when they expand or contract due to body/environmental temperature fluctuations.
Pegasus 36 Trail Midsole
Zoom Air units and midsole cushioning in the Pegasus 36 Trail offer responsive comfort that’s pretty unique to the Nike brand. It’s so nice to feel this on the trails (not just the roads). The midsole is also very flexible toward the forefoot, which is essential for a trail shoe that needs to conform to the ground beneath it. A shoe that can flex also means your feet and use their joints and muscles in a more natural manner. The Zoom Air midsole cushioning, along with good breathability and lightweight construction makes this shoe a great choice for ultrarunning too.
Pegasus 36 Trail Outsole
The outsole stretches wide in the forefoot giving you more surface area to spread your weight across. This makes running further or faster, feel more comfortable and effortless.
The outsole also features a flex groove down the center that gives a smooth and stable ride, while letting your feet roll and flex on uneven surfaces, which is what our feet were designed to do. I found the grip to be very good on buffed, rocky and dirt trails.
Drop & Weight
Weighing in at 9.17oz (260g) for a size US (M) 9 the Nike Pegasus 36 Trail is a very lightweight trail shoe, especially considering all the cushioning in the midsole. More size/weight specs:
- US (M) 10: 292.8g, 10.3oz
- US (W) 8: 233.3g, 8.2oz
The toe box is roomy enough to allow your toes to splay out for a more natural stride and greater control on the trails. The width of the shoe, in general, is medium and will fit slightly wider than average feet nicely too. It is not a narrow shoe like La Sportiva and Salomon.
My current favorite all-round trail shoe, the Nike Pegasus 36 Trail is a high-performance trail running shoe that’s so comfortable it feels like a road running shoe. The Pegasus 36 Trail could actually be labeled as a road/trail hybrid, or a door-to-trail running shoe because quite honestly it performs very well on both surfaces. Contributing to the comfort is the Nike Air Zoom midsole that provides plenty of protection from sharp rocks. The Pegasus 36 Trail is also very lightweight at 9.17oz (260g), breathable, responsive, and very grippy.
I love the curved achilles heel support, it works very well for me as it allows for a little bit of over-striding when running fast downhills, without agitating my achilles. In fact, it works so well, that my second run in the Nike Pegasus 36 Trail resulted in me earning a 1 mile PB, albeit on a fire road with a downhill gradient. 😃
If you were to ask me which all-round trail running shoes I would recommend, my current answer is these. As such, I have awarded the Nike Pegasus 36 Trail shoes an Editor’s Choice Award, and they currently sit in FIRST PLACE on my list of the Best Trail Shoes in 2019.