Nike Pegasus Trail 2 Performance Review
BEN: Nike Trail. A lineup that saw very little attention until last year. In 2019, Nike decided to revamp their trail shoes. Starting with a complete redo on the Terra Kiger, as well as a new addition to the family– the Pegasus 36 Trail. This was (obviously) based on their current model of the Pegasus, but beefed up a bit to allow for Trail use. It was made on the same last, with largely the same design, but had bigger lugs and different upper materials. The end result was a great all-around shoe. It could work on moderate trails, but felt great on the road as well. The added weight was minimal and the larger lugs actually provided a slightly more comfortable (cushioned) ride on longer road runs.
Before we get any deeper, let’s clear up the confusing naming convention. While last year’s model paralleled the road Pegasus numbering (i.e. Pegasus 36 and Pegasus 36 Trail), this year’s model jumped straight to “Pegasus Trail 2.” Okay, back to the review.
For 2020, the standard Pegasus 37 road shoe saw a significant update. Gone was Cushlon foam, now replaced with full React with front Zoom Air bags. The setup is not quite the same with the Pegasus Trail 2. While the full React midsole remains, the Zoom Air bags are removed. An odd decision since the Pegasus was always synonymous with Air, but it wasn’t the right choice now that React foam is being used, and the stack height is so large (it’s even higher in the Trail version than the normal Pegasus). To add stability to this high stack height, the midsole geometry was altered to create a wide, flared base. Add in full rubber coverage on the outsole and you have a very solid platform to run on.
The shoe is still intended to be a “road-to-trail” commuter shoe. This can be seen by the design on the outsole lugs. They’re large and omni-directional enough for trail use, but they’re also a flat-topped design to keep a natural feel on the road. The designers say they’re based on a “bike tire” concept. The upper also sees some significant updates from the standard Pegasus. It’s a ventilated mesh with a neoprene tongue. Up front there is a rubber toe bumper with a “fang” shape. In the rear you’ll find a “faux gaiter” around the ankle and a pull tab incorporated into the design. All of these functional tweaks add up to a more capable off-road shoe and create a larger differentiation from the standard Pegasus.
BEN: Personally, I think it looks cool. Nike has been really going for it with the trail shoe designs and color choices, and I’m a fan. The Pegasus Trail 2 is a unique and functional design, and still looks good. The green/blue/tan color combo stands out like many of their other recent trail shoes, but the black/gray (seen in this review) really works for me. After you stop staring at it and put it on, the functional tweaks start to become noticeable. The heel pull tab and the gaiter are the first to stand out, and both work well. I’m a big fan of the small gaiter that Nike is using (here and on the Wildhorse) as I think it’s unobtrusive, but does the job of keeping rocks and dirt out of your shoes.
The next noticeable part of the fit is the added room in the toe box. The Pegasus has normally had a pretty low volume forefoot, and the normal Pegasus 37 is no different; however, with the trail version, Nike is taking a more spacious approach. The width is greater, as well as the overall height. The rubber “toe fangs” help to give structure and result in a taller forefoot space (in addition to some added protection). This really fits well for me.
The rear of the upper features a wraparound “heel pad” sewn into the neoprene gaiter. It’s similar to the design of the Vaporfly NEXT% and Alphafly, but it’s internalized into the material. I think this works great to hold the heel in place without causing any rubbing or hot spots.
On foot, the shoe provides a wide and stable base. The thick React foam is well cushioned but provides enough stiffness and protection that the shoe doesn’t present any immediate concerns due to lack of a rock plate on mild to moderate trails. I was impressed with the traction from the large lugs, and I thought the design helped to minimize mud accumulation (although some does occur in really sticky situations).
The outsole and lug pattern, in addition to the wider base, all add up to a more trail focused shoe than the prior model. The wide base helps to provide a relatively stable ride, even on moderately uneven terrain. On the road, the shoe feels like a relaxed cruiser. It’s likely not going to be a preferred speed shoe, but it feels fine for an easy day, and still fits into the “commuter shoe” category (despite being a bit more capable on the trails than last year).Shop Nike Pegasus Trail 2 – Men Shop Nike Pegasus Trail 2 – Women
BEN: The downside of making a bit more serious trail shoe is that it’s a less likely candidate for a “daily trainer” (if you’re primarily on the roads). Last year’s model worked as well (or better) on the road as the standard Pegasus model. This year, the shoes have become more specialized and it’s taken away some of the versatility. It’s better as a trail shoe, but it comes at the cost of being a less likely road shoe choice (which makes sense, since¬, you know… it’s a trail shoe). It still works well, but the biggest detractor is the added weight. The standard Pegasus 37 got heavier, and the Trail 2 added another ounce. Now it’s in the over 11 oz. category for a US M9.0 and loses its luster as a “do-it-all” shoe.
The other challenge it faces is due to the market that it’s targeting. By trying to straddle the road and trail crowds it is somewhat doomed to do neither perfectly. While the last model found a good “Goldilocks” balance between the two use cases, this one has shifted its focus. But even with the updates to make it more trail-ready, it will still be at a disadvantage compared to a completely dedicated trail shoe. The lack of a rock plate and the relatively massive stack height will limit its use to some extent. While the wide and thick platform allows for generally good stability on mild to medium trail surfaces, it still won’t compare to a hardcore trail shoe on a super technical course.Shop Nike Pegasus Trail 2 – Men Shop Nike Pegasus Trail 2 – Women
BEN: The Nike Pegasus Trail is back. Along with the name change, it got a complete overhaul. New foam, new midsole shape, new outsole, no Zoom Air, and a new upper. This shoe was redone. It’s hard to say if it’s better or worse, and that will likely come down to your intended use case. I don’t think I’ll use it as a road shoe nearly as much as the original Pegasus Trail, but it’s still very comfortable as a casual shoe (and looks great).
To be completely transparent, I only occasionally run off the pavement, and unfortunately we couldn’t get the shoe in the hands of our more hardcore trail reviewers. So take this review from the perspective of someone who runs road-to-trail, and on generally very mild surfaces. For me, the shoe is just what I need to fill the role of a “commuter shoe” and also allows for me to be a little more adventurous once in a while.
You can pick up limited sizes of the Nike Pegasus Trail 2 for $130 at Running Warehouse (featuring free 2-day shipping and 90-day returns) by using the shop link below.Shop Nike Pegasus Trail 2 – Men Shop Nike Pegasus Trail 2 – Women
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Interesting that they made the sole taller. Last year, I thought I was going to love the trail Peg (I was LOVING my Peg 35s and I run a lot of trails) but the sole was too tall for me. It felt precarious for running rocky trails. I went with the Terra Kiger instead, preferring the thinner, wider sole. It’s worked great for me and I’m due for a replacement.
No serious runner would wear Nike.
Buy shoes from companies that make RUNNING shoes.
Saucony. Brooks. Asics. Altra.
Will keep in mind for future running shoe reviews on our running shoe review website!
I always knew the likes of Kipchoge, Camille Herron, and Sally McRae weren’t serious runners.
Hi Ben, what was your longest road run so far in the Trail 2 and how did you find it?
Thanks Ben. I really appreciate your honesty and quality in your reviews. I have to admit, I’ve followed your IG profile and I have seen your milage and time put into running. I look forward to more reviews.
How do they compare to the pegasus 37? Since the pegasus 37 is versatile and the trail 2 is not that “trail”, why chose one over the other?