Summary

We spent 7.7 hours reading reviews from experts and users. In summary, this is what runners think:

8 reasons to buy

  • The Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 26 Trail works excellently in packed dirt, rocky pavements, as well as mountain trails, as experienced by a number of runners.
  • A reviewer finds the shoe to be “surprisingly durable.”
  • Some users agree that the shoe is easy to clean, including the mud stains.
  • The Flywire cables of the shoe effectively allows flexibility in the midfoot area, according to a wearer.
  • A couple of runners have praised the heel cup’s adequate support, especially in the Achilles area.
  • Many buyers think the Air Zoom Pegasus 36 Trail is considerably lightweight for a trail shoe.
  • Several users rave about the Air Zoom’s exceptional cushioning.
  • The mesh upper of the shoe is comfortable and breathable, claimed numerous wearers.

2 reasons not to buy

  • Some wearers observe the forefoot area of the shoe to be too tight.
  • One reviewer experienced poor grip of the shoe on slippery trail surfaces.

Bottom line

The Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 36 Trail displays a strong and successful comeback as majority of its users expressed their satisfaction with the shoe. Positive comments include comfort, durability, functionality, and even support and flexibility. The shoe also showed lightness and breathability as its outstanding qualities. There were only very few negative feedback regarding fit and traction, but, overall, the Zoom Pegasus 36 Trail is a well-received trail shoe because of its reliable features.

Facts

Rankings

Among the better Trail running shoes
A top rated Nike running shoe
Top 2% most popular running shoes

Expert Reviews

88 / 100 based on 19 expert reviews

  • 94 / 100 |

    Trail hungry with Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 36 Trail

    More photos

    Nike’s mission is to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world. Nike is a household brand name, and I was ecstatic to see their new trail running line because let’s be honest…road running shoes just don’t cut it on gnarly terrain.

    Cue the dramatic entrance - let’s all welcome the Nike Zoom Pegasus 36 Trail running shoe!

     

    Overview

    Back in my colligate track days, I used to train in the Nike Zoom Pegasus regularly. Thus, no stranger to the Nike Pegasus line, I was elated to see that Nike released a trail shoe that can suit my training needs.

    Make no mistake, the Nike Zoom Pegasus 36 Trail running shoe is very unique from the Zoom Pegasus road running line because the Zoom Pegasus 36 Trail is specific for trail running.

    The cushion and responsiveness from the Zoom Pegasus 36 Trail were definitely notable and made for a comfortable ride.

     

    First impressions

    Upon unboxing, I absolutely love the design of the Zoom Pegasus 36 Trail running shoe. The solid color scheme is perfect for my taste, and I’m thrilled that Nike decided to opt for a dark color outsole.

    If you’re a trail runner, you know you’re bound to run in some mud eventually. When possible, I prefer dark outsole because I know the shoes are bound to become dirty and I always try to keep my things looking nice.

    Therefore, I honestly couldn’t be happier with the overall look of the shoe.

     

     

    When I first put the Nike Zoom Pegasus 36 Trail shoe on, it doesn’t have the feel of a rigid trail shoe. In fact, it feels a lot like a road running shoe with ample cushion.

    Nike nailed it with the overall comfort of the Zoom Pegasus 36 Trail.

     

    Specifications

    Here is a quick break down of the Nike Zoom Pegasus 36 Trail specifications:

         Pronation Control      Neutral
         Stack Height      Medium
         Shoe Type      Trail Running
         Heel-to-toe Offset      10mm
         Weight      233g (women's), 293g (men's)

     

     

    Sizing

    I am no stranger to Nike, but I wasn’t familiar with their sizing for their new trail line. Despite typically wearing a size 9, I opted for a half-size increase because I sometimes wear thicker socks when I am trail running.

    The half-size increase perhaps might have been too much? I had a few issues with the heel of the shoes not locking down enough.

    This happened with both thick and thin socks alike. It is not noticeable when simply walking around in the shoes, but became obvious during my runs.

     

     

    I had ample space for steep trail descents as my toes typically have a propensity to hit the front of my shoes sometimes.

    I did not have any issues with this in the Zoom Pegasus 36 Trail for steep descents.

     

     

    Unfortunately, the only noticeable issue I had was with the heels as I mentioned. I attempted to synch the laces down in an effort to lock my heel down, but my heels continued to lack the locked down feel I desired.

    I doubt that the half size increase caused the inadequate heel lockdown because the heel issue wasn’t obvious until I was actively running.

     

     

    Otherwise, here are various shoe brands that I run in and my size chart to be used as a comparison in choosing the right size for yourself:

         New Balance      9
         Reebok      9
         Asics      9
         Brooks      9
         Altra      9
         Saucony      9.5
         Mizuno      9.5
         Inov-8      9.5
         Salomon      9.5
         On-Running      9.5
         Topo Athletic      9.5

     

     

    Upper/shoe shape

    I am totally a fan of the breathable mesh uppers of the Zoom Pegasus 36 Trail! I was very pleased with how breathable the shoes were in this hot late spring weather.

    The uppers have zero overlays, so I never had any issues with hotspots as they have a sock-like feel.

     

     

    In addition, I was impressed with the forefoot of the Zoom Pegasus 36 Trail as it is much roomier than I anticipated.

    Nike has a tendency to be a touch on the narrow side for some of their road running shoes and track spikes, but this certainly is not the case with the Zoom Pegasus 36 Trail.

     

     

    I think roomier toe boxes are all the rave right now. This trail shoe fits in perfectly, allowing for ample toe splay and propulsion off of your great toe.

    I am beyond impressed with the overall comfort of the upper and forefoot shape of these shoes.

     

     

    I am aware that the Pegasus line had some issues with the long tongue in the past, but the tongue on the Zoom Pegasus 36 Trail is very thin and light and I didn’t have any issues with it whatsoever.

    In fact, it was comfortable and never caused any irritation.

     

     

    Furthermore, I did appreciate the minimal overlays on the toe box to keep water out of the front of the shoe.

    It is important to be mindful that the shoe lacks a toe bumper, so there is limited protection for your toes. So, on that technical terrain, watch your step!

     

    Midsole & outsole

    The Zoom Pegasus 36 Trail has very resilient cushioning as it is constructed with a full-length midsole lightweight foam. In the heel and forefoot, there are Zoom Air units to help facilitate a smoother ride.

    The heel-to-toe offset sits at 10mm, which is a bit higher than my preferred offset. I understand that not all runners are seeking a zero-drop or minimal drop shoe, but I personally prefer an offset anywhere from 0-6mm.

     

     

    The Zoom Air units definitely make for a very comfortable ride on the trails in this shoe. There isn’t a stiff rock plate, so on extremely rocky/rooty terrain, you will not have much protection.

    Otherwise, on light gravel and on dirt roads, the shoes perform like a dream.

     

     

    The outsole is comprised of a few different types of rubber. In the forefoot, you’ll find a duralon blown rubber, as well as a carbon rubber to help with traction.

    The lateral aspects of the shoe have additional outsole cushioning as well to help with the overall comfortability of the shoe.

     

     

    The lugs on the outsole are not overly aggressive, measuring in at about 2mm. Thus, the lugs are about half the size of what I normally would prefer for a trail shoe.

    These lugs are small enough that they aren’t even noticeable when running on asphalt! One of the trail loops I frequently run has a quarter-mile stretch of asphalt road, and I didn’t notice the lugs beneath my feet each time I ran it.

     

     

    Moreover, I found them to be ample enough for your average trail, but not quite sticky enough for wet, slick, and rugged terrains.

    In my opinion, the Zoom Pegasus 36 Trail is best suited for less technical dirt trails, light gravel trails, and well-maintained trails.

     

     

    In addition, I tested the Zoom Pegasus 36 Trail shoes on highly technical terrain, and they performed decently.

    On slick rocks, I had some trouble with grip, so I desired for the lugs to be just a tad more aggressive for those gnarly trails. Otherwise, I loved them on well-groomed trails.

     

    Eyelets & shoelaces

    I’ve had some issues with shoelace lengths and eyelets on other models of shoes I’ve tested recently. No issues here. In fact, I love the bungee-cord style eyelets known as flywire cables on the Zoom Pegasus 36 Trail shoe.

     

     

    I think this helps to alleviate and evenly distribute some of the pressure off of your feet if you’re synching your shoes pretty tightly for your runs. The Zoom Pegasus 36 Trail encompasses a flat lace which also assists in evenly distributing pressure across the foot.

    I neither had any issues with shoelace length nor had any issues with untied shoes during my runs. In addition, the eyelets have an overlay to assist with locking down the shoe to the foot.

     

    Performance & comfort

    These kicks are certainly comfortable from the moment you put them on your feet. I’m a neutral runner, so I didn’t mind the fact that there wasn’t any added arch support.

    Most notably, I loved the cushioned feel of the Zoom Pegasus 36 trail shoes. As mentioned, I believe these shoes are best suited for light trails.

    The Zoom Pegasus 36 trail shoe would be a great addition for both experienced and new trail runners because of how comfortable and well-cushioned the ride is. I’ve become accustomed to firm trail running shoes, so it was nice to switch it up with a shoe that was less rigid for trail running.

     

     

    I wish there were more lockdown in the heels, but that is my only complaint. Notably, there was quite a bit of debris that would accumulate in my shoes in comparison to other trail shoes.

    It is possible that this is due to the loosely fitted heel cup which allowed debris to be kicked up into the shoes. Otherwise, I enjoyed the Zoom Pegasus 36 trail for my trail escapades!

    Pros

    • Zero break-in period required
    • Comfortable and feels a lot like a road running shoe
    • Breathable mesh upper
    • Wider forefoot for toe splay
    • Lightweight for a trail shoe   
    • Awesome cushioning
    • Great for both short and long distances

    Cons

    • Small, non-aggressive lugs
    • Not ideal for technical terrain
    • Heel lockdown issues
    • Lack of toe bumper
    • Higher offset than I prefer
    • Frequently accumulated debris inside the shoe

     

    Final thoughts

    The Zoom Pegasus 36 trail shoes are incredibly comfortable trail running shoes that feel a lot like road running shoes. I love that there was zero break-in period required for these trail shoes.

    Overall, Zoom Pegasus 36 trail shoes perform great on well-groomed trails. The only issue I had was with inadequate heel lockdown; otherwise, I didn’t experience any hotspots or blistering.

     

     

    I would accumulate debris in the shoes while running on gravel trails, which I believe is due to the loosely fitted heel. I loved the breathable mesh upper, which kept my feet cool on all of my trail escapades!

    I never felt weighed down during any of my runs because of how lightweight the Zoom Pegasus 36 trail shoes are. Even on my long distance runs of 10+ miles, the Zoom Pegasus 36 Trail remained comfortable.

    Definitely impressed! Bravo, Nike!

  • 91 / 100 |

    Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 36 Trail - Built for trails

    More photos

    The Nike brand has long been an American household name. As a short, basketball-skill-deficient 6th grader I remember pining after a shiny pair of Air Jordans that my family was too poor to buy.

    From its humble beginnings on an Oregon track to its global presence these days Nike has always been one of those companies associated with a variety of sports and has been at the forefront of shoe design and innovation.

    Whether it's through Jordan, Prefontaine, Kipchoge, or one of the numerous other athletic icons that the Nike brand supports, we all know the product name.

     

    Specs

                  Type                  Trail
                  Drop                  10mm
                  Weight                  9.5oz

     

    More recently, Nike has made a bigger push to move into the ever-expanding trail running scene. Nike sponsored athletes like Zach Miller, Sally McRay and Dave Laney all have been putting up impressive times at big races like UTMB and Western States.

    Being primarily a trail runner, I was excited to give the Air Zoom Pegasus 36 Trail a go and see what they have to offer.

    Fit

    Having run in Nike road shoes before I was a touch concerned going in because I've always experienced the toe box as being a little too snug for my liking.

    However, the Air Zoom Pegasus 36 Trail shoe is designed with the needs of the trail runner in mind and has a well-designed toe box with just enough room for the toes to spread out.

    This toe splay is enough to help with forefoot stability and enhances that responsive feel on the trail that we all want, but not so liberal that the shoe feels sloppy or loose. With that said, the toe box is roomy for a Nike but still on the snug side compared to brands like Altra or Hoka.

    The Pegasus 36 Trail has a super light feel when you slip it on. The airy mesh of the upper cocoons your foot nicely and its supple fabric makes for a comfortable fit.

    The shoe has a nice arch support, and the insert is very easy on the foot.

     

     

    The heel cup has a very solid fit. I didn't experience any slippage, even when climbing.

    The outer portion of the heel has a funky design with almost a ¨dorsal ridge¨ on it. The reflective patch is a nice safety touch (but this colorway sort of glows in the dark anyhow).

     

    Performance

    The Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 36 Trail impressed me straight out of the box. It’s lightweight, stylish, bright and fits with comfort that ́s expected of a much more seasoned and broken-in shoe.

    My first run was a solid 8 miles of single-track rolling dirt trails, and the Pegasus 36 Trail did not disappoint. The upper mesh is extremely breathable and keeps your foot very aerated.

    It also shed water with ease and doesn't have a bunch of unnecessary foam that might sop up water and weigh you down.

     

     

    The tread pattern on these shoes is just right. Truth be told, I would regard this shoe as an All-Terrain shoe.

    The 3mm lugs handled the dedicated trail nicely, and the transition miles on the pavement on the way to the trailhead were spot on. Never did I have a moment where I felt like I was running pavement in a trail shoe.

    I give this shoe high praise for finding its home in both worlds. It’s light and responsive like a road shoe, yet gritty enough to handle a hardcore trail.

    One innovative feature on this shoe is the lacing system. The string loops that augment the rugged eyelets are more than just extra pieces of nylon cord.

    They extend all the way back down both sides of the shoe and anchor themselves on the foot-bed. This combined with the gusseted tongue that ties into the upper and forms a one piece, cohesive sock-like liner for the foot.

    These features together help to eliminate the use of heavy, more rigid plastics that would detract from the comfort of the shoes and add weight.

     

     

    The tongue is super thin. This worried me at first, but once the shoe was laced up tight, my fears were quickly relieved. In fact, the tongue design itself appears to be a small stroke of genius.

     

     

    I suffer from tongue float. Almost every shoe I run in has this problem. After a few miles, the tongue floats to the outer edge of my foot.

    The Pegasus 36 Trail has an asymmetrical tongue that extends high on the outer edge. My working assumption is that this extra fabric helps catch an edge and keeps the tongue from sliding down into the nether regions of the shoe.

     

     

    The Zoom Air midsole offers an excellent level of cushion. I would call this shoe moderately cushioned. On the 43 miles I've run so far in these, I have experienced a high level of comfort.

    There's enough cushion to save your sole from the unfortunate rock or root but not so much that you feel like you're running on pillows.

    For trail running I find the 10mm drop to be just a little too much, however, when considering this shoe sizes up as an all-terrain shoe the 10mm drop is welcome when transitioning to road or fat pedestrian trails.

    Durability

    I've put these shoes through the ringer over their first 40+ miles on my feet, and I can say that they are no worse for the wear. The uppers, despite how light and supple the fabric is, are holding up very well.

    One downside of the uppers is that they don't really offer a whole lot in the way of sidewall protection. With that in mind, this shoe is probably not the best choice for super rugged trail or alpine talus running.

    The sole is in fantastic shape after some moderate use, and the Nike compound is holding up well. I expect that these shoes will easily surpass the 450-mile limit that I impose on most of my shoes.

    It should be noted that the stylish day-glow colorway will not last long if you're really running trails!

     

    Pros

    • Unique lacing stability system
    • Lightweight
    • Responsive

    Cons

    • Upper fabric offers little side protection
    • 10mm drop

    Overall

    The Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 36 Trail is a solid shoe. With a sole that's built for the trail and an upper that rides like a lightweight road running shoe, the Pegasus 36 Trail achieves the best of both worlds.

    Light and responsive on the trail the Pegasus 36 Trail handles a variety of terrain, drains water with ease and keeps your feet cool and dry. The cushioning is right where it should be for a trail shoe.

    It is priced appropriately at $130.00.  Overall, I really like this shoe and plan to use it on most of my mid-distance trail races this summer. 

  • 90 / 100 | The Ginger Runner | | Level 5 expert

    This is the type of shoe that I love in summer months when you're balancing those road speed days and short trail days.

  • 95 / 100 | Sarah Simoni | | Level 1 expert

    I'm a big fan, so far. I think if you're transitioning from road running to trail running and you like the Nike Pegasus series, this is a really good shoe.

Become an expert
Author
Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen

Jens Jakob is a fan of short distances with a 5K PR at 15:58 minutes. Based on 35 million race results, he's among the fastest 0.2% runners. Jens Jakob previously owned a running store, when he was also a competitive runner. His work is regularly featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC and the likes as well as peer-reviewed journals. Finally, he has been a guest on +30 podcasts on running.

jens@runrepeat.com