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Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 37 Review

   The original Nike Pegasus was released in 1983 and dubbed "the shoe for every runner." As one of the most recognizable running shoe names, the Pegasus 37 returns completely different. Although the soul of the shoe remains, the updates are a dramatic shift for such an iconic training shoe. The changes are mostly positive and certainly reflect the changes in the running market. Is it for "every runner"? Let's see....


Specifications (per Running Warehouse)
Weight: 9.6 oz
Stack Height: 28mm / 18 mm
Drop: 10m
Classification: Neutral Daily Trainer



HIGHLIGHTS


   The Nike Zoom Pegasus 37 returns with a complete redesign and upgrade. A full length react midsole combined with a double size Zoom Air bag in the forefoot provide a bouncy and responsive ride. A more anatomic but shallow and snug upper provide a secure fit through the foot. With enough outsole traction for a variety of surfaces, the Nike Zoom Pegasus 37 is a multi use, borderline lightweight trainer that has improved in almost every way.




FIT

    The Pegasus 37 fits slightly short in my normal size 10 due to the shallow upper in the forefoot. This feeling goes away on the run, but those that are sensitive to this may want a half size up. The upper of the Pegasus 37 has changed to a translucent mesh that feels thick at first but disappears once you start running. The forefoot fits average to slightly wide, but feels snug thanks to the shallow part mentioned previously. The midfoot is locked down extremely well thanks to hidden bands in the upper (hidden flywire?) and the laces lock the upper in well here. There is a split tongue that fits nicely around the ankle, but is short. The heel is odd as the heel collar is extremely low with a strongly elevated Achilles heel tab. This unfortunately does not lock the heel in well and I had to lace lock the shoe firmly. This also did not work well with the short tongue and I had more pressure across the front of my ankle (anterior talocrural joint) than I would have liked. Again, the forefoot fits slightly wide to average with average to narrow in the midfoot and heel. However despite this design, the heel is still not secure and I could feel my heel lifting. While the lace lock does help, it does take time to get use to what I would consider a sloppy rearfoot fit.



RIDE

   The sole of the Nike Zoom Pegasus 37 has been completely updated with full React and a double sized Zoom Air unit in the forefoot. The full React sole provides a bouncy ride no matter where you land. The "Vaporfly" esque heel provides a smooth transitions thanks to the new large bevel in the rearfoot.  The extra midsole height is immediately noticeable as there is far less ground feel than previous versions. Those who want a little more cushion will enjoy this new ride. The Zoom Air unit in the forefoot is very noticeable in a good way. Wherever you land, you will notice a nice "pop" off the forefoot. The large air bag provides a ton of extra cushion in the forefoot, so those that either land or toe off hard in this may appreciate the additional protection. This makes up for the stiffer ride in the forefoot from both the air bag and the thicker sole. There is enough toe spring to help with a smooth transition forward and overall the ride is very smooth. The heel bevel and toe spring make the 10mm drop not noticeable at all. Combined with the softer sole, the drop feels lower than this. The traction is very good on the outsole and I had no trouble turning or dealing with wet road. I have yet to use these on trail, partially because I wanted to keep the sole clean for the photographs. I will report on that later, however I expect the traction to be decent on well groomed trails (excited for the next Pegasus Trail though).



SPEED

   The full length React foam and Zoom Unit provide bouncy ride and fast transition. The React foam in particularly makes the Pegasus 37 feel lighter than it is. The Pegasus has always been a borderline lightweight trainer and although there are lighter trainers, the Pegasus 37 can handle speed. The feel of a lightweight trainer is certainly there as the Pegasus 37 will feel right at home with tempo runs, long runs, uptempo miles, intervals and more. Although there are lighter shoes, the foam and design make it feel great to get up on the toes and move. The large forefoot zoom air bag feels great during faster efforts and provides even more bounce than the React foam. With the increased stack height, there is plenty of protection for longer faster efforts. However for those that want a true workout shoe, something like the Pegasus Turbo 2 would be a better option as the Pegasus 37 is just a bit too heavy to be a trainer/racer.



STABILITY

   While the forefoot is fairly stable, the narrow midfoot and higher stack height make the Nike Pegasus 37 not the most stable shoe. The ride is not completely unstable, however this is certainly a neutral shoe. There are no traditional elements of stability. However, there is somewhat of a guidance line through the length of the shoe.  The strongly beveled heel does heel guide the foot forward. While this shoe will not work for all runners, those with neutral or very mild stability needs will do fine in the Pegasus 37.



DURABILITY

     The Nike Pegasus line has generally had good durability and the Pegasus 37 is no exception. It is actually a standout. After 41 miles, I see almost zero wear on the outsole and very little creasing in the midsole. The React foam and air bag feel just as good as they did when I first put them on. The upper has shown next to no signs of wear and is slowly breaking in to give me a little more room at the forefoot. Although I certainly need more miles to really test this out, I expect a far larger number of miles out of the Pegasus 37 than traditional shoes.




THOUGHTS AS A DPT

   The Pegasus 37 follows the recent trends of maximalism in the running shoe industry. Taking notes from the Zoom Fly and Vaporfly, the heel has adopted a more beveled look and the stack height has significantly increased. With that comes decreased flexibility in the forefoot, which requires more toe spring to ensure an appropriate toe off. While the extra React foam is feels great, the higher you are off the ground, the less stable you are. While other maximalist models like HOKA shoes make up for this by having an extremely wide base to maintain stability, the Pegasus 37 has not done this. Thus, keeping the same outsole surface area and increasing the height of the sole will make the shoe less stable. This unfortunately may make this shoe less accessible to certain subgroups of the population.

I really do appreciate the larger Zoom Air unit in the forefoot. I have often felt that forefoot cushioning is neglected among running shoes. Thanks to the traditional 8-12mm drops in most (not all) shoes in the industry, many cushioning technologies have been limited to the forefoot. While it is true that a larger proportion of the running population land farther back on the heel compared to the forefoot (Kasmer et al., 2013; Larson et al., 2011), it is still nice to have an option for those wanting more forefoot cushioning outside of companies like Newton or the low drop high EVA stack HOKAs.  So for those with more sensitive metatarsals, the Pegasus 37 may be a shoe to look at. Although remember that more cushion does not always equal more protection.

Editor's Note: As I have said many times, the current evidence suggests there is no difference in injury rates between rearfoot and forefoot landing patterns (Janoušek & Stejskal, 2019). There are however differences in which tissues are loaded and thus the types of injuries are different. The evidence has also suggested that neither one is superior. Each has different positives and negatives. Since every body is different, you will have to find whichever works better for you. At this time in my clinical career, I think there are far bigger things to worry about, like proximal stability, lower extremity strength, appropriate coordination and correct training.



RECOMMENDATIONS

     I am really enjoying the React sole and forefoot Zoom unit. While I am aware this is a neutral shoe, I would like to see a little more stability in the rearfoot. The upper at the rearfoot does not feel as secure as it could and the rear/midfoot is a little more narrow than I would like. While the wonderful heel bevel does a great job of promoting a nice transition forward, however right after that things are a bit unstable. With a larger stack height comes a great need for stability, so that does need to be addressed to truly make this a shoe for everyone.



CONCLUSION

     The Nike Pegasus 37 is one of the most unique Pegasus I have tried to date. Those looking for a bouncy, fast and protective ride should definitely check this shoe out. With a complete redesign that features a higher stack height, bouncier/faster ride, and smoother transitions, the Pegasus 37 should work for a large variety of runners for a variety of needs. The Pegasus continues to be a multi use trainer that should work for those looking to get steady and fast miles in. Those needing a bit more stability will need to stay farther forward as the heel and midfoot are not the most stable.  The forefoot really shines over a slightly sloppy heel fit. A little lace lock will do fine for most people and will keep you going for miles.

GRADING

Fit/Upper        8 /10 (secure forefoot. -2 for shallow forefoot and lack of heel security)
Ride/Midsole  10 /10 (Bouncy fun ride. React and forefoot zoom unit work well with new bevel)
Stability          7.5 /10 (Stable forefoot, but -2.5 for narrow midfoot, lack of heel security
Speed              9 /10 (Excellent speed for a trainer, could be lighter though)
Durability       10 /10 (Zero noticeable wear, no creasing of midsole)

TOTAL: 89%

TESTER PROFILES

Dr. Klein is a 140 lb male with notable PRs of 14:45 for 5k and 2:32:44 for the full marathon.  He typically runs 70-100 miles per week and trains at a variety of paces from 8min per mile recovery runs to 4:40 per mile 1k repeats.  He prefers firmer and responsive shoes with snug heels and medium to wide toe boxes.  He is particular to less cushioned shoes and close to the ground shoes, but can handle a little cushion when he gets beat up.  IG handle: @kleinrunsdpt

Thanks for reading!

Editor's Note: As always, the views presented on this website belong to myself or the selected few who contribute to these posts. This website should not and does not serve as a replacement for seeking medical care. If you are currently injured or concerned about an injury, please see your local running physical therapist. If you are in the Los Angeles area, I am currently taking clients for running evaluations.

Matthew Klein, PT DPT OCS FAAOMPT
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist
Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists

Nathan Brown PT DPT MS
Doctor of Physical Therapy 
Masters in Anatomy and Clinical Health Science
Movement Performance Institute Certified in Advanced Functional Biomechanics 

David Salas PT DPT CSCS
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist

***Disclaimer: These shoes were purchased with a medical discount from Nike.com. This in no way affected the honesty of this review. We put at least 35-75 miles on trainers and 10-25 miles on racing flats prior to reviewing them. Currently I have 41 miles on my pair. Our views are based on my extensive history in the footwear industry and years testing and developing footwear. If you are a footwear rep looking for footwear reviews or consultations on development, we are currently looking to partner with companies to assist, discuss and promote footwear models. Partnership will not affect the honesty of our reviews.

References

Janoušek, D., & Stejskal, P. (2019). Forefoot strike, rear foot strike or running shoes. Does it matter? Studia Sportiva, 13(1), 49-54.

Kasmer, M. E., Liu, X. C., Roberts, K. G., & Valadao, J. M. (2013). Foot-strike pattern and performance in a marathon. International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, 8(3), 286-292.

Larson, P., Higgins, E., Kaminski, J., Decker, T., Preble, J., Lyons, D., ... & Normile, A. (2011). Foot strike patterns of recreational and sub-elite runners in a long-distance road race. Journal of Sports Sciences, 29(15), 1665-1673.

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