The React Pegasus Trail 4 is one of the top road-to-trail options from Nike. Cushiony and responsive on the roads yet grippy and stable on the trails, the shoe makes a perfect hybrid. It also remains surprisingly light given all the features packed into it. Experienced runners are happy that it feels a lot like the original Pegasus Trail 36 but with an enhanced grip.
- Efficient road-to-trail
- Stable ride
- Excellent, secure fit
- Very breathable
- Great traction
- Unexpectedly light
- Reasonably priced
- Not for muddy areas
- Not for wide feet
- Could be more stylish
Who should buy the Nike React Pegasus Trail 4
You are sure to benefit from this edition of the Pegasus Trail series if you are after the following:
- a top-in-class running shoe for tackling various types of terrain (except mud)
- a cushioned road-to-trail shoe for going long distances
This trainer will suit both entry-level and advanced runners.
Who should not buy this running shoe
Despite a significant improvement of traction in the outsole, the Trail 4 is still not the shoe to go for if you run on loose or wet trails a lot. It is a big NO-NO for soggy muddy winter trails.
Nike Pegasus Trail 4 vs. Trail 3: a major overhaul
With all the changes introduced in the Trail 4, experts consider it almost a new shoe from the ground up. Here are the key upgrades:
- 8% lighter: (295 g vs 320 g)
- better grip from the new tread design
- more secure hold with added Flywire cables
- less spacious toebox, more like a glove
- $10 increase in the price
- more toned-down visual design
Your foot is well-hugged by the Trail 4
None of the runners had problems with the fit of this Nike trail shoe. It feels perfect straight from the box with no rubbing, hot spots, or irritation.
The biggest attention of the reviewers was given to the combination of the well-positioned gusseted tongue and the Flywire cables around the laces. These seem to keep the midfoot very well held. One expert is glad that the Flywire is also back on the road version of the shoe, the Pegasus 39.
The shoe’s interiors have just enough padding to make it feel nice and plush. For example, we have measured the tongue thickness at 5.3 mm which is just a little below the average 6.2 mm.
The sturdy and well-structured heel cup has also been praised. Checking it in our lab, we gave it 3 out of 5 in our heel stiffness test. No heel slippage in this one.
Roomy toebox but not enough for wide feet
As for the toebox, it’s “not the widest shoe in the world,” says one tester with wide feet. He warns that the Trail 4 has a shallower toebox compared to Trail 3 which is great for a regular fit but could cause problems to those with larger feet. The shoe has a medium-width forefoot of 100.4 mm compared to the average of 98.8 mm across the board.
Road, gravel, single track - the shoe rocks them all
A few avid runners claim that this is one of the most (if not the most) comfortable trail running shoes they’ve ever tried.
As one reviewer puts it, the shoe is “equally at home” on the asphalt and on the trails. This is what all runners who tested the shoe can subscribe to, as they enjoyed the best of both worlds. “Stable and consistent ride over lots of different trail surfaces,” says another reviewer.
Speaking more specifically about the shoe’s performance on different types of terrain:
On asphalt, bike path, and tarmac the ride is pretty energetic with lugs never getting in the way. For some, it felt like a “smooth normal road shoe.” One athlete even managed to speed up to a 3.45 per kilometer pace in the Trail 4. Another one went as far as calling it a “dreamy ride.”
It’s a real “gravel crusher.” If you happen to run a lot of gravel and similar terrain, the Pegasus Trail 4 really “really comes alive in that element,” as an advanced runner says. The reviewers reported that the forefoot lugs grabbed very well running both up and down the hill.
On single track, and more technical and rocky terrain, the opinions split. Some felt like they had to slow down and “tiptoe around some of those bigger rocks.” One tester explains that it's not like Speedgoat where tons of cushioning keeps you protected, nor there is a rock plate, so he had to pick his lines. Others were more satisfied with the shoe’s performance claiming that it's better than expected and also a lot better than any other Nike trail shoe.
React cushioning is very efficient
One tester notes that with Nike Pegasus Trail 4, “you don’t have to fight to kind of find that feel and that flow and that rhythm.” Many other runners also described it as quite brisk and responsive on the hard surfaces yet firm enough to feel planted on the trails.
Our durometer measurements show 34.0 HA, which is 16% softer than the average 40.5. It’s still within the range of moderately firm cushioning types but this balance makes it a perfect option for switching from road to trail.
The shoe has a significantly thicker midsole too. Its heel height of 36 mm is 11 mm more than the average across trail shoes (25 mm). The heel-to-toe drop of 10 mm is also above the average of 7 mm. Actually, our lab measurements show that it’s a 12.7 mm drop!
Added cushioning is provided by a well-padded insole. It is 4.2 mm thick compared to the average 4.6 mm. The insole is removable and can be easily replaced with custom orthotics is necessary.
Enjoy the stable ride of the Pegasus Trail 4
The majority of reviewers took note of how stable this Nike shoe is, especially compared to its predecessor. The Pegasus Trail 3 felt too soft and high for a trail shoe, whereas the Trail 4 feels closer and more connected to the ground. One reviewer also mentioned that it’s more stable than the Nike Terra Kiger 7. Other comments say the following:
- “much more stable platform to run off”
- “feel sunk down into the midsole”
- “there isn’t that much foot roll potential”
Runners attribute the shoe’s stability to several characteristics: the well-balanced React foam itself, extended edges of the foam that cradle the bottom of the upper, and the secure upper lockdown which doesn’t let the foot shift inside the shoe.
Got the grip on all sorts of terrain
The updated tread pattern on the Nike React Pegasus Trail 4 has 3.4 mm lugs which is right at the average of all our lab-tested shoes. It is considered quite optimal for a hybrid (road-to-trail shoe).
Even though it’s nearly identical to the 3.3 mm lugs on the Trail 3 version, the 4th iteration has a totally new approach. It now has three different types of lugs which are much sharper. Many runners agree that the Trail 3 really struggled with grip, as the “downhills were suicidal”, especially on wet surfaces. Our own tester also ended up slipping on a wet rock. But this is not the case with the Trail 4.
It is still NOT the shoe for crazy off-trail stretches or “ that UK wintery type sticky mud,” but it is fantastic for hard-packed, gravely, and rooty types of trails.
Impressively light for what it’s got!
As one tester says, the Trail 3 was a “beefy character” but the newer version manages to get lighter while also enhancing its overall performance.
The shoe weighs 10.4 oz (295 g) in a men’s US 9. This is noticeably lighter than the average weight of trail shoes of similar stack height (30 mm and thicker), which is 11.2 oz (318 g).
Running up those hills, runners appreciate the lightness of the Trail 4: “it’s nicer to have a little bit less shoe on the foot to pick up,” says one of them. Another one reports that it feels more like its “part of your whole body rather than a big weight at the end of your foot.” One more tester adds that the Pegasus’ lightweight nature “was a true blessing as [she] started rep number 8 and the fatigue started to set in.”
Overall, testers agree that not many trail shoes with this much cushion and such a reliable grip manage to keep their weight at that level.
Breathability makes it a true summer shoe
The upper of the Pegasus Trail 4 has plenty of perforations all throughout the upper and the tongue. These keep the interiors nice and cool even in the hotter and humid months.
One expert conducted a ventilation test on the shoe, pumping smoke from the inside of the shoe. He shows that the smoke released “in such large amounts and so quickly” which happens rarely in his breathability tests.
Testing the shoe on a warm day in June, we had a chance to check it for ourselves and it’s indeed very well-ventilated.
The price is right
Despite the slight $10 increase in its asking price compared to the Trail 3, the Pegasus Trail 4 is still considered a reasonably-priced one at $140.
For reference, the average price of Nike trail shoes and the average among all trail shoe brands is $129. But, if we are talking about the max-cushioned, super grippy road-to-trail hybrids, $140 is hitting the bull’s eye.
Style-wise, Nike could do better…
Unfortunately, this part of the shoe received a lot of criticism from the buyers. Some of them referred to it as “a shoe you could get from Walmart” and found the writing on the sole (“Just Run It. No Reason Required.”) “tacky, gimmicky, cringey.”
Many also noticed that it looks a lot like a golf shoe. Even an avid runner who absolutely loved the shoe for its comfort, lightness, and overall performance still thinks that the Trail 4 lacks in the looks department.
A few also hope for more appealing colorways to come, especially darker ones. Light grey gets dirty way too easily.