Our verdict

The React Pegasus Trail 4 is one of the top road-to-trail options from Nike that we have ever worn and scrutinized. 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. We are happy that it feels a lot like the original Pegasus Trail 36 but with an enhanced grip.

Pros

  • Efficient road-to-trail
  • Well-cushioned
  • Stable ride
  • Excellent, secure fit
  • Very breathable
  • Great traction
  • Unexpectedly light
  • Reasonably priced

Cons

  • Not for muddy areas
  • Not for wide feet
  • Could be more stylish

Audience verdict

88
Great!

Who should buy

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.

nike-pegasus-trail-4-outdoor_011.JPG

Who should NOT buy

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.

For that purpose, we deem shoes like Altra Lone Peak 7, Salomon Speedcross 6, or Saucony Peregrine 13 better for you.

Breathability

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.

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.

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Weight

The newer version manages to get lighter while also enhancing its overall performance.

The Pegasus Trail 4 weighs 9.6 oz (272g) in a men’s US 9. This is noticeably lighter than the average weight of trail shoes of similar stack height (35 mm and thicker), which is 10.3 oz (291g).

nike-pegasus-trail-4_020.JPG

Running up those hills, we highly appreciated the lightness of the Trail 4. The shoe felt a lot like an extension of your foot. Not many trail shoes with this much cushion and such a reliable grip manage to keep their weight as low as this Nike Pegasus did.

Test results
Pegasus Trail 4 9.59 oz (272g)
Average 10.30 oz (292g)
Compared to 106 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
7.51 oz (213g)
Weight
13.37 oz (379g)

Cushioning

Heel stack

The shoe has a significantly thicker midsole too. Based on the official stats, its heel height of 36 mm is a few millimeters taller than the average across trail shoes.

Nike React Pegasus Trail 4 heel stack

Our own caliper measurement showed just a tiny (0.5 mm) deviation from that stack height at 35.5 mm.

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Test results
Pegasus Trail 4 35.5 mm
Average 32.2 mm
Compared to 106 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
16.1 mm
Heel stack
42.4 mm

Forefoot stack

In the forefoot, however, we found a much bigger discrepancy between the official stack (26 mm) and our measured one (22.8 mm).

Nike React Pegasus Trail 4 forefoot stack

Test results
Pegasus Trail 4 22.8 mm
Average 24.5 mm
Compared to 106 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
15.2 mm
Forefoot stack
33.9 mm

Drop

Because of the deviation we discovered in the shoe's stack height measurements, the Pegasus Trail 4's actual drop ended up being 12.7 mm! Not the claimed 10 mm.

Nike React Pegasus Trail 4 drop

Some runners may find the higher heel drop problematic as it activates leg and foot muscles in a different way. Watch out!

If you are not even sure what drop is and which one is right for your body, see our in-depth guide on the drop.

Test results
Pegasus Trail 4 12.7 mm
Average 7.8 mm
Compared to 105 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
-0.1 mm
Drop
17.3 mm

Insole thickness

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 if necessary.

Nike React Pegasus Trail 4 insole

Test results
Pegasus Trail 4 4.2 mm
Average 4.7 mm
Compared to 106 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
2.7 mm
Insole thickness
9.8 mm

Midsole softness

Note: a low durometer measurement equals a soft material, whereas a high measurement means it's firm.

The Nike Pegasus Trail 4 felt 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 20% firmer than the average trail shoe. It belongs to the moderately firm cushioning types but there is still some softness present to make it a perfect option for switching from road to trail.

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Ride

Based on our run tests, in the Pegasus Trail 4, the shoe is equally at home on the asphalt and on the trails. It's got the best of both worlds!

Speaking more specifically about the shoe’s performance on different types of terrain:

1. On asphalt, bike paths, and tarmac the ride is pretty energetic with lugs never getting in the way. It even felt almost like a dedicated road shoe!

2. If you happen to run on gravel and similar terrain, the Pegasus Trail 4 really really comes alive on these! The shoe's forefoot lugs grabbed very well running both up and down the hill.

3. On a single track, and more technical and rocky terrain, it's a mixed bag. Because the shoe's cushioning is nothing like the Speedgoat where tons of cushioning keeps you protected, we had to pick our lines and tiptoe the way at times. But on the other hand, the Pegasus Trail 4 still performed a lot better than any other Nike trail shoe.

Stability

Lateral stability test

We couldn't help but notice 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.

We attribute the shoe’s stability to several characteristics: the well-balanced React foam itself, the 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.

Torsional rigidity

What does NOT help the Nike Pegasus Trail 4 feel stable is its lack of torsional rigidity (which is totally expected from a neutral shoe by the way!).

Twisting the shoe in our hands, we found that it yielded quite easily and was very pliable. Thus, we gave it a score of only 2 out of 5, where 5 is the stiffest.

Test results
Pegasus Trail 4 2
Average 3.5
Compared to 100 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Torsional rigidity
5

Heel counter stiffness

We really appreciated the shoe's sturdy and well-structured heel cup. Checking it in our lab, we gave it 3 out of 5 in our heel stiffness test. No heel slippage in this one.

Test results
Pegasus Trail 4 3
Average 3.2
Compared to 98 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Heel counter stiffness
5

Midsole width in the forefoot

The Nike Pegasus Trail 4's platform is not so wide... While it was a huge benefit for the shoe's lightness and agility, it felt very different from the broad trail shoe bases we've come to expect.

In the widest part of the forefoot, our caliper showed 107.1 mm. That is 4 mm narrower than average.

Nike React Pegasus Trail 4 midsole width forefoot

Test results
Pegasus Trail 4 107.1 mm
Average 112.1 mm
Compared to 106 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
102.1 mm
Midsole width in the forefoot
126.0 mm

Midsole width in the heel

Back in the heel, we got 85.4 mm in the widest part of the sole. This is, again, about 4 mm narrower than average.

Nike React Pegasus Trail 4 midsole width heel

Test results
Pegasus Trail 4 85.4 mm
Average 89.7 mm
Compared to 106 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
77.2 mm
Midsole width in the heel
109.3 mm

Flexibility

Stiffness

When it comes to heel-to-toe transitions, we found the Pegasus Trail 4 to be pleasantly flexible.

Having performed our force gauge test, we found that it took 26.8N of force to bend this Nike shoe to a 90-degree angle. That is 15% less than it takes a trail shoe on average!

Nike React Pegasus Trail 4 flexibility

Test results
Pegasus Trail 4 26.8N
Average 28.1N
We use an average of four tests. The video shows one of those tests.
Compared to 106 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
10.5N
Stiffness
54.5N

Grip / Traction

Lug depth

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. Such lug depth is considered quite optimal for a hybrid (road-to-trail shoe).

nike-pegasus-trail-4-outdoor_002.JPG

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.

We found that the Trail 3 really struggled with grip, especially on wet surfaces. We ended up slipping and falling on a wet rock! But this is not the case with the Trail 4.

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It is still NOT the shoe for crazy off-trail stretches but it is fantastic for hard-packed, gravely, and rooty types of trails.

Test results
Pegasus Trail 4 3.4 mm
Average 3.6 mm
Compared to 106 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
1.7 mm
Lug depth
5.8 mm

Size and fit

We've had absolutely no problems with the fit of this Nike trail shoe. It feels perfect straight from the box with no rubbing, hot spots, or irritation.

We were especially intrigued by the combination of the well-positioned gusseted tongue and the Flywire cables around the laces. These have kept the midfoot very well-held.

nike-pegasus-trail-4-outdoor_004.JPG

Toebox width at the widest part

As for the toebox, it’s not the widest shoe in the world but it never felt constricting either. The Trail 4 does have a slightly shallower toebox compared to Trail 3 but it never caused problems to our medium-width feet.

Measuring the shoe's toebox in the widest part, our caliper showed 100.4 mm which is even a couple of millimeters wider than average.

nike-pegasus-trail-4-outdoor_010.JPG

Test results
Pegasus Trail 4 100.4 mm
Average 98.8 mm
Compared to 106 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
92.0 mm
Toebox width at the widest part
104.9 mm

Comfort

Tongue padding

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 mm.

nike-pegasus-trail-4_015.JPG

Test results
Pegasus Trail 4 5.3 mm
Average 6.4 mm
Compared to 106 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
1.5 mm
Tongue padding
12.2 mm

Nike Pegasus Trail 4 vs. Trail 3: a major overhaul

With all the changes introduced in the Trail 4, it is almost a new shoe from the ground up. Here are the key upgrades:

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  • 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

nike-pegasus-trail-4_001.JPG

Despite the slight $10 increase in its asking price compared to the Trail 3, we still consider the Pegasus Trail 4 a reasonably priced one at $140.

For reference, the average price of trail shoes is $147. But, if we are talking about the max-cushioned, super grippy ones ($170 on average), then $140 is hitting the bull’s eye.