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Trail Running Shoes • May 31, 2024

Nike Pegasus Trail 5 Review: Killer Comfort From Road to Trail

nike pegasus trail 5 - feature

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What You Need To Know

Weight

10.5 oz. (300 g) for a US M10

Stack Height / Drop

37 mm in heel, 27.5 mm in forefoot (9.5 mm drop)

Best For

Road to trail, light to moderate terrain

Key Features

ReactX midsole, all-direction traction, Flywire technology, engineered mesh upper with zonal reinforcements, 3.5 mm lugs

On The Run
Seriously one of the most comfortable shoes, period Outsole rubber is much improved (but still not perfect) A bit unstable thanks to the soft ReactX
Price / Availability

Available now for $150

nike pegasus trail 5 - hill

Introduction to the Nike Pegasus Trail 5

ROBBE: The only thing that’s more complicated than my feelings for Nike Trail are shirts from Dan Flashes, and hopefully you caught their latest Memorial Day sale while spending time at The Shops at Oak Creek.

The style of Nike Trail has always been stellar– the colorways, the details, the little Easter eggs hidden on the shoe. In my opinion, Nike Trail designers are the best on the planet. It’s almost as if they see things that are typically not viewable to the naked eye, then turn them into a shoe.  

The performance, on the other hand, has always been mixed. The fit is generally good, the midsole feels fine (sometimes great), but the outsole has perennially… sucked. For years, Nike’s rubber has been slick and slippery, a recipe for disaster over anything wet. It took a frustratingly long time to turn that ship around, but eventually the rudder began to move. 

Last year, we finally saw some Vibram on the Nike Ultrafly, which has also migrated over to the recently released Zegama 2. While the Nike Pegasus Trail 5 doesn’t have the gold standard of grip, it does have a reformulated rubber compound that Nike claims is its best yet.

nike pegasus trail 5 - lateral women

Women’s colorway of the Nike Pegasus Trail 5

We’ve absolutely loved the Pegasus Trail 4 (and the even-better Gore-Tex version) for its comfort and versatility from road to trail. I still recommend the Peg Trail 4 all the time for people looking for a travel shoe that looks good but can also be used for hiking, trail running, and road running. 

Many of the standout characteristics have been transferred from the Peg Trail 4 to the Peg Trail 5, but there are a few notable differences. We already mentioned the upgraded rubber outsole, but we also have a reformulated midsole. Instead of React foam, we have ReactX, a softer and more bouncy midsole material that’s found in everything from the InfinityRN 4 to the Pegasus 41.

A mesh upper with Flywire seeks to provide a solid lockdown with enhanced breathability.

Did Nike finally refine this shoe to meet the technical needs of trail runners everywhere? Or is it still just a West Coast-only pretty boy? Let’s find out.

MELISSA: Just like its previous iteration, Nike Pegasus Trail 5 is a beauty of a trail shoe that excels in hybrid road/trail conditions. It features a redesigned single layer mesh upper, ReactX foam midsole, and outsole featuring updated Nike All Terrain Compound (ATC). I was also pleased to see that Pegasus Trail 5 is made using recycled materials as part of Nike’s ‘Move to Zero’ program. 

I had the pleasure of reviewing Pegasus Trail 4 with mostly positive takeaways. Pegasus 5 performed well overall minus some stability and outsole grip issues that I’ll discuss in more detail- just swoosh over to the next sections to find out.    

nike peg trail 5 - vertical - heel
nike peg trail 5 - vertical - tongue

JON: Over the years, Nike Trail has always excelled at form but has fallen short on function for me. You get these beautiful looking shoes that have lots of bells and whistles. It’s love at first sight! Sadly, the honeymoon phase is short lived once you hit a trail with any minimal amount of obstacles on them. After you trip and fall your way through a few off-road runs, they get retired to your casual lineup.

I was cautiously optimistic, but excited nonetheless about the new version of Trail Pegasus. The shoe had a complete overhaul with a redesigned upper, ReactX, and a new outsole. Has the code finally been cracked?

MATT: What more can I say that my BITR compadres haven’t already expressed above? I’ll echo that the age old dilemma with Nike Trail shoes has been that they look amazing, in fact the designs and colorways are so good that you want the shoes to perform better than they actually do, because, well– they look cool!
Nike just doesn’t seem to miss with their trail shoe designs and colorways, and that streak will not end with the Pegasus Trail 5.

Would the upgraded outsole compound deliver? How would the ReactX foam translate to the trails?
If these two aspects came through in the shoe, we might have a big winner on hand. But if they fall short, well– at least I’ll have another pair of rad shoes to wear to the grocery store and my kids’ soccer games.

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nike pegasus trail 5 - mud side

What we like about the Nike Pegasus Trail 5

ROBBE: I don’t need to tell you, I’ll just let the photos speak for themselves– this shoe looks amazing. Against all odds, they’ve done it again. Not just the versions shown in this review– all of the initial colorways are incredible. I know that seems superficial, but it shouldn’t be discounted, because it means that you can wear this with anything and for anything and it’ll blend in seamlessly. One shoe to rule them all.

But what’s it matter if a shoe looks good but runs like trash? That’s me to a T, but let’s move on. Luckily this shoe looks great and feels great, a desirable tandem in any shoe. The ReactX foam is softer than the baseline React, so it’s a touch more comfortable but still has a nice bounce to it. Which is crazy, because the last version was one of the most comfortable trail shoes out there. Since it is a road-to-trail shoe, I straight up did two of my six-mile runs on sidewalks and pavement in the city and it just felt like a heavier road shoe, but with plenty of cushion underneath. 

I have to say, it really is one of the most comfortable shoes out there– road, trail, anything. I recommended the Pegasus Trail 4 to so many people who just wanted a good walking and hiking shoe and I’ll continue to do the same for this one.

nike peg trail 5 - vertical - flowers
nike peg trail 5 - vertical - medial

The upper on the shoe fits really well, and is similar to last year’s version in that way, with a nice lockdown through the midfoot thanks to the Flywire and no heel slippage at all. Toe box width is also nice, just enough to be accommodating without getting sloppy. Overall, the materials are improved and I prefer this year’s mesh over the last version. I found this version to be a bit more breathable and the drainage on it is pretty excellent. 

Everyone wants to know– how is the outsole grip? I’m happy to say that it’s much improved. It’s been raining every other day here in Maryland, so I only ran in this shoe on wet and muddy trails, once for a 5-mile race, and another for a 6-mile trail run (I also threw in a 4-mile run/hike with my kids). It’s not a shoe made for mud, but I did run on wet Pennsylvania trails which are full of ankle-breaker rocks, and I thought the grip was pretty great overall. Maybe not quite Vibram Megagrip level, but easily Vibram Ecostep level. I even did creek crossings and felt moderately okay (there was a little slippage, but I also get that with any shoe on slick creek rocks). I’m very content with the rubber on this shoe and certainly don’t think it’s any worse than any other trail shoe out there. 

At $150, it’s a bit more pricey, but I still think it’s a good value. And if it’s anything like past versions of the Peg Trail, you’ll be able to pick this up around Christmas time for around $100.

nike pegasus trail 5 - mud

MELISSA: Once again, Nike knocks it out of the park with the visuals. This is a gorgeous shoe, so much that I find myself slipping these on for work, walks around the neighborhood, and running errands. I receive many, many compliments. Enough about that- I’m sure you’re all wondering how Pegasus performs. 

The upper is updated with a single layer of mesh that is breathable yet nice and snug. I was slightly skeptical about the material’s ability to keep dust and dirt out, but was pleasantly surprised to find that it did. The upper also drains well and dries quickly. Like version 4, Pegasus Trail 5 features Flywire technology and a midfoot wrap to keep you secure.

The ReactX foam in the midsole is an absolute dream. This feature alone puts Peg Trail 5 in my top 10 most comfortable trail shoes. It’s nice and soft with just a bit of bounce. 

The outsole has been updated for abrasion resistance and better traction and uses Nike’s ATC rubber. It also features an updated lug pattern around the heel. This newer version also has slightly less rubber to facilitate its hybrid road/trail capabilities. Pegasus 5’s outsole performed noticeably better than version 4 on most terrains, but not all. More on this later.   

JON: When these came in the mail, I was excited that even if they didn’t perform well on the trail, I had a good looking pair of shoes to wear around. I still have my Peg Trail 3 and 4s that I wear casually so I knew these would have a place. 

The upper’s mesh felt light, breathable and formed to my foot nicely. This was a big step forward from the 4; as the material on my 4s ripped and tore after minimal use. The Flywire helped keep my foot locked in and not slide around and kept my heel in place. 

The pull tabs on the tongue and heel were an added bonus that helped me get it on and off with ease. Fit wise, it’s true to size and comfortable. I would go half a size up if you want something that is a little roomier. 

The ReactX midsole made it feel incredibly light on impact and lift off. It helped make the shoe feel evenly weighted and not bottom heavy like how React foam has had a tendency to do. It felt great on longer runs and I could hit a variety of terrain, grade, and paces.

I think Nike finally, finally nailed the outsole. The tread patterning is executed eloquently and handled great on nearly all surfaces. Sloppy, muddy trails are a given for Maryland trail running and it performed well. It didn’t feel awkward on the road either. I could easily run up a steep hill on the trail, hit a fire road, then a few miles on the road.

nike pegasus trail 5 - midsole

MATT:  I know I’m repeating what others have already said above, but I feel like I would be doing a disservice if I didn’t state just how good looking this shoe is. Seriously, Nike Trail just keeps cranking out hits with their designs. Bravo. The Pegasus Trail 3 and 4 were two of the most comfortable shoes just to wear around, and while they fell short in technical and wet terrain, there is something to be said that I still grab them off the shelves and wear them around town.

The Pegasus Trail 5 is even more comfortable, which is a big compliment. The ReactX midsole might be one of my favorite current midsole foams for the trails; it’s an amazing blend of cushion, comfort, and spring. On the trails, I felt cushioned while still having a connection to the ground, and on the roads, the shoe feels at home and you almost forget about the outsole lugs due to how smooth the ride is.

As Robbe mentioned, Maryland was blessed with an absurd amount of rainy days of late, so I was able to put the Pegasus Trail 5 to the test through mud, water, and the typical roots and rocks that infest our East Coast single track. The shoe held itss own across the board and I never felt unstable.

I admit I was disappointed when I saw that Nike opted for another new version of its own proprietary outsole rubber instead of using Vibram like it had finally done with the Ultrafly and Zegama 2. However, the new outsole does seem to be a big step up from previous versions, so what was previously the biggest knock on the shoe is no longer a glaring red flag.

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nike pegasus trail 5 - outsole

What we don’t like about the Nike Pegasus Trail 5

ROBBE: The ReactX midsole is super comfortable, for sure. That’s what it’s meant for. But because it’s so soft, and because there’s no rock plate, you can start to get banged up on anything technical. Definitely had some ouch moments on the rock-strewn trails of Pennsylvania. 

Again, softer midsole means more comfort, but it also means less stability. While this isn’t the most unstable trail shoe I’ve run in, there is a fair bit of lateral movement on uneven terrain. If you’re worried about busting your ankles, then proceed with caution. 

It’s not really meant for this, so it’s not a bad thing, but it’s just a thing to look out for– it’s not great in muddy conditions. I ran a trail race with my son in the shoe and he was straight bombing muddy downhills in the kid’s version of the Salomon Speedcross, while I was having to pick and choose my spots because the lugs on the Pegasus Trail 5 are somewhat shallow.

MELISSA: I’ve been hearing and reading about stability issues with Nike Trail shoes for years, and for years I believed that I was the exception. And I continued to be the exception until I found myself wearing this version of Pegasus on technical trails and felt this lateral instability that everyone talks about. I suffered far too many ankle rolls and decided that this shoe and Santa Barbara front country just don’t vibe. 

Also, while the new rubber outsole performed significantly better than version 4, I still experienced some slippage on both smooth and wet rock. However, it was much less extreme than what I’ve experienced with Nike trail shoes in the past. Use extra caution on smooth and wet surfaces.    

Finally, I am terrified of these heel loops catching on something and taking me right down. I know it’s irrational, but maybe someone out there agrees with me? 

nike peg trail 5 - vertical - women wood
nike peg trail 5 - vertical - women pull tab

JON: Some of the upper’s bells and whistles fell flat for me; like the waterproofing material. It only took one run for the glue on the  medial overlay to start tearing off,  the overlays on the flywire were starting to come loose at the end of testing. It felt like a durable shoe otherwise, but for $150 I would expect a little more durability.

Like Robbe mentioned, you are going to feel every sharp rock and root due the soft midsole and lack of a rockplate. Stability wise, it felt fine to me but there is a noticeable change from the last version. 

Lastly, this is a road to trail hybrid shoe. it’s not going to work phenomenally, but instead will perform adequately on all terrains. This isn’t a bad thing and I think Nike’s website does a great way of explaining this with their product description. Just don’t expect this to be something to tackle rock scrambles followed by mile repeats.

MATT: I do feel that the outsole is vastly improved from the rubber that Nike was using on past trail models like the Pegasus, Wildhorse, and Terra Kiger; however, I still feel like it is the one component holding back the shoe from being the complete package. Nike showed willingness to use the gold-standard Vibram Megagrip with the Ultrafly, and again this year with the Zegama 2, so it just frustrates me that they wouldn’t do the same with the Pegasus Trail.

As Melissa experienced, the outsole still feels slippery and dangerous on any slick, wet rocks or roots. Once you feel that “almost go down” sensation, it sticks in your head and gives you pause the rest of your run.

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nike pegasus trail 5 - heel

Final thoughts on the Nike Pegasus Trail 5

ROBBE: I think Nike did a respectable job of morphing the Peg Trail 3 and Peg Trail 4 into one shoe. It’s not as nimble as the last version, but it offers more cushion and softer comfort underneath while improving the outsole rubber. As far as road to trail shoes go, this one has to be at the top. Plus, once it’s retired, you can still rock it for casual wear because it looks that good.

I’m excited to see the Gore-Tex version coming later this year, but for now, this will certainly do just fine.

MELISSA: Nike Pegasus Trail 5 has my approval, and so does Pegasus Trail 5. It’s stylish, comfortable and the perfect hybrid shoe to throw on if you’re running any combination of road and not-so technical trails.

nike peg trail 5 - vertical - in grass
nike peg trail 5 - vertical - outsole

JON: Nike has produced a solid road to trail shoe that feels light, has great grip (FINALLY), and excels on the trail and on the road. These will remain in my rotation for quite some time. Kudos to Nike for finally nailing the outsole and making another beautiful shoe.

MATT: I have a feeling the Pegasus Trail 5 is going to be included in a bunch of “Best Of” lists in 2024, because it is a really great overall shoe. I have tested a bunch of hybrid models of late and I would put the Pegasus Trail 5 right up there with the best ones, such as the Craft Xplor Hybrid and Craft Nordlite Ultra.
It also would be a great travel shoe choice, as you could easily hit some trails, join a local group run, and then wear them out to dinner while looking stylish the entire time.

You can pick up the Nike Pegasus Trail 5 for $150 by using the shop buttons below.

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Authors

Robbe Reddinger
Senior Editor
  • Strava
  • Instagram

Robbe is the senior editor of Believe in the Run. He loves going on weird routes through Baltimore, finding trash on the ground, and running with the Faster Bastards. At home in the city, but country at heart. Loves his two boys more than anything. Has the weakest ankles in the game.

More from Robbe
Shoe Size

7.5

Fav. Distance

13.1

PRs
  • 3:27

    Marathon
  • 1:30

    Half-Marathon
  • 40:36

    10k
  • 19:17

    5K
woman running
Melissa Guillen
West Coast Trail Reviewer
  • Instagram

East Coast raised and West Coast trained, Melissa truly enjoys running, especially ultra distances. She currently lives on the Southern California coast and can be found exploring Santa Barbara front country on the weekends.

All-time favorite shoes: HOKA Clifton, Nike Vaporfly NEXT %, Altra Lone Peak

More from Melissa
Shoe Size

6.5

Fav. Distance

100 Miles

PRs
  • 20:28

    100 Mile
  • 8:51

    50 Mile
  • 4:58

    50K
Matt Kucharski
Mid-Atlantic Trail Reviewer
  • Strava
  • Instagram

Matt is a recovering triathlete who fell in love with running and left the dark side behind. Trail and ultra running are where he is most in his element, but he can still be found routinely running the streets in and around Baltimore with the Faster Bastards. Aside from running, he is a lover of coffee, mezcal, beer, and 90s country music.

More from Matt
Shoe Size

10

Fav. Distance

50K

PRs
  • 15:45

    100K
  • 9:19

    50M
  • 4:50

    50K
  • 3:07

    Marathon
jon ober bio photo
Jon Ober
Big Guy Reviewer
  • Instagram
  • strava - logo

Jon accidentally got into running after impulsively committing to run a marathon in 2010. After losing 100 pounds and having a hell of a debut, he decided to stick around. He runs with the Faster Bastards and his happy place is Patapsco Valley State Park where he leads the Thursday night Ober Hills run. When he isn’t running he’s looking for cats to pet.

More from Jon
Shoe Size

13

Fav. Distance

26.2

PRs
  • 2:56

    Marathon
  • 1:25

    Half Marathon
  • 38:48

    10K
  • 18:47

    5K
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