Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 39 Shoes Review
by iRUN Singapore on July 28, 2022
We live in a world where running shoes keep getting faster, midsoles keep getting thicker and rides keep getting softer. But what if that's not what you want? What if all you want is the same shoe that you've been using for the past year, and the year before that?
That's where the Nike Pegasus comes in. 39 years of consistent updates has made the Pegasus the legendary shoe that it is today. It's not by luck that it's the most popular running shoe in the world, it's 39 years of reliability, durability and great value.
Another thing that the Pegasus is great at is being versatile. It can handle most types of runs that you can throw at it. From easy runs, to steady-paced runs, to fartleks, to tempo runs, the Pegasus can do it all.
It's also widely available in most countries in the world and its price makes it accessible to a wide range of runners: from beginner runners, all the way to sub-elite runners who still have to buy their own shoes.
Every second year, the Pegasus gets a complete overhaul- a new upper, midsole and outsole. That happens to be this year. Now even though the Pegasus 39 has received significant upgrades, If you're a Pegasus fan you don't have to worry because the Pegasus will always ride like a Pegasus; that's the beauty of the shoe.
Updates to the Pegasus 39 include a more comfortable upper, a slightly softer-riding midsole and an additional Zoom Air unit in the heel. The most exciting thing about the Pegasus 39 is that it weighs 28 grams less than last year's model.
10 mm (33 mm heel, 23 mm forefoot)
Weight (US 9)
Men (261 g)
The Pegasus 39’s upper is more comfortable than last year's Pegasus 38, especially at the midfoot of the shoe because it conforms to the foot much better. It uses a similar engineered mesh to last year's version which is soft and of average breathability- this makes it suitable for both winter and summer running. The fit is true to size and should fit most runners with normal-sized feet. It's also available in a wide version.
Flywire makes a comeback on the Pegasus 39. This was absent on the Pegasus 37 and 38 where wider straps were used. Flywire works much better than the straps because it distributes the pressure more evenly so the Pegasus 39’s midfoot is more comfortable. It still has great midfoot lockdown.
The tongue of the Pegasus 39 is padded and it's attached to an inner sleep which prevents the tongue from sliding. The tongue is now asymmetrical, similar to the tongue of the Pegasus 36. The off-center notch in the tongue ensures that there's no uncomfortable rubbing at the front of your ankle.
The heel tab of the Pegasus 39 flares away from the back of your ankle also to prevent irritation. The collar is well-padded and the heel lockdown is excellent- you won't experience any heel slippage in the Peg 39. There are also extra eyelets for tying a runner's knot if you need a more secure fit.
The Pegasus has been using React foam in its midsole for a while now but the React that's used in the Pegasus 39 is different: it's slightly softer and it has a more airy feel to it. Just by pressing your fingers into the midsole, you can already feel that it's a different formulation to the React of old.
Zoom Air is the Pegasus’ signature cushioning technology and what makes it feel like a Pegasus. It consists of pressurized pockets of air embedded inside the midsole.
Nike has been tinkering with the setup of the Zoom Air in recent years. The Pegasus 32 had a heel only airbag, the Pegasus 33 and 34 had front and heel air bags, the Pegasus 35 and 36 switched to one full-length airbag and the Pegasus 37 and 38 had a forefoot only airbag. Now, the Pegasus 39 has gone back to dual airbags, one in the forefoot and one in the rearfoot.
The airbags in the midsole are firmer than the foam surrounding it so during footstrikes, it prevents your feet from sinking down into the foam. This makes it easier to pick up the pace when you want to go fast. When going fast, the harder you strike the ground, the more the airbags reward you by returning the energy.
The heel is no longer pointy but squared-off. It doesn't affect the ride in any way. This is a similar design to the new Alphafly Next% 2 and the Zoom Fly 5.
The rearfoot flares out at the base which you can see in the picture above. This creates a more stable base which makes footstrikes feel more planted.
Durability is one of the Pegasus’ biggest strengths. This is largely due to its super tough, thick rubber outsole. There's harder, carbon rubber ok the heel with softer, blown rubber on the midfoot and forefoot.
You should easily be able to reach 1000 km in the Pegasus. The rubber is hard-wearing and there's plenty of it. The Pegasus has the nickname, “workhorse with wings” because of how tough it is. It's built to withstand the rigours of every day training.
One of the big changes to the outsole of the Pegasus 39 is that the forefoot now has 2 horizontal flex grooves which stretch from end to end. This makes the forefoot more flexible than previous versions.
There are now small holes cut into the rubber on the forefoot and midfoot which expose the midsole foam. This is a smart way to reduce weight without sacrificing too much durability.
In the middle of the rearfoot is a channel which doesn't have any rubber coverage. This saves weight and makes the heel cushioning slightly softer because that area can compress downwards during heel strikes.
Traction is good because of how aggressive the lugs are. The protruding lugs have the ability to bite into the surface so the Pegasus 39 can handle roads as well as light trails.
One of the reasons why the Pegasus is so popular and has such a big following is because of how versatile it is. If you want one shoe that can do it all (long runs, tempo runs, easy runs, intervals) then the Pegasus can be your “Jack of all trades”.
Its high versatility stems from its cushioning: it's neither too soft, nor too firm. Its cushioning is balanced and “just right”. This year, the Pegasus 39 has a slightly softer ride due to the new formulation of React foam. This makes it feel more comfortable on easy runs and long runs- it's gentler on your feet and legs.
The Pegasus 39 has a 10 mm drop and this makes it perfect for beginner runners (who are usually heel strikers). You get 33 mm of foam in the heel to soften heel strikes and the steep 10 mm drop makes it easy to transition to your midfoot and forefoot.
Stability in the Pegasus 39 is above average for a neutral trainer. This is because its midsole is not overly soft so there isn't too much lean bias and it only has a medium thickness midsole so your foot doesn't sit very high off the ground. The Pegasus 39 can be used by neutral runners and slight overpronators.
The rearfoot airbag is covered by a thick, cellulose board so you don't feel the outline of the airbag under the heel. Transitions from heel to midfoot are smooth, and then as you transition from midfoot to forefoot, the top-loaded forefoot airbag becomes more prominent.
The forefoot airbag encourages you to forefoot strike. It provides a target area which feels more responsive and more springy when you land on it so if you're a heel striker and you'd like to change to a forefoot striker, the Pegasus 39 is a great option.
The Pegasus 39 is an all-round improvement over the Pegasus 38. It's more comfortable, it's more cushioned and it's also a lot lighter, 28 g to be exact. If you're a loyal Pegasus fan who buys it every year, you definitely won't be disappointed with the 39th version.
At $205, the Pegasus 39 represents excellent value because you're getting a durable, versatile trainer which can handle most types of runs. Its perfectly balanced ride makes it a textbook daily trainer.
The Pegasus 39 is a crowd-pleaser. In other words, it gets a lot of things right and it appeals to new runners just starting out, seasoned elites who do 200 km a week and everyone in between. The Pegasus 39 is built like a tank and can handle everything you throw at it.
In an all Nike rotation, the Pegasus 39 works as the daily trainer, with the Zoom Fly 5 or the Zoom Rival Fly 3 (if you prefer a more natural ride) for tempo runs/workouts, and the Vaporfly Next% 2 for racing.
Reviewed by Brandon Law
Check out Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 39 Here