Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 36 Trail review

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.

Trying the Pegasus Trail shoe

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.

The size and fit of Pegasus 36 Trail

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

Prepare to be impressed with the upper

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!

The underfoot experience in Nike Peg Trail 36

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.

No surprises with the lacing

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.

Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 36 Trail performs admirably

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!

Final thoughts

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!

Facts / Specs

Terrain: Trail
Weight: Men 9.5oz / Women 8.3oz
Drop: 10mm
Arch support: Neutral
Base model: Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 36
Forefoot height: 18mm
Heel height: 28mm

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