You’ll probably not find better success stories of how a product line has survived, evolved, modified itself and remained relevant over the years, as Nike’s Pegasus line-up of shoes. Here and now, in 2018, the Pegasus shoes have now clocked 35 years of existence. It is quite remarkable that the new Pegasus 35 (the number signifies the years it has been around) has pretty much reinvented itself compared with last year’s excellent Pegasus 34, and yet retains the same amount of versatility. It is priced at Rs10,995 and in Nike’s product line-up, sits just below the frankly quite brilliant Epic React Flyknit (Rs15,995) which lives on with even more colorways than before.
But not to get sidetracked by the dwelling on the brilliance of the Epic React Flyknit, we set off with the Air Zoom Pegasus. The Pegasus 35 is a part of the four-pronged Zoom running shoe line-up that Nike has. The Pegasus 35, the Pegasus Turbo, the Zoom Fly (another shoe that we love) and the upcoming Zoom Vaporfly 4% make up the entire arsenal. The Pegasus 35 is available in ten colorway options for the women’s line-up and nine colorways for the men’s variants. Our favorite has to be the Thunder Grey/Phantom/Oil Grey/Bright Crimson combination, which is perhaps the perfect blend between retained looks, vibrant colours and is a combination that works brilliantly together. This is not to be confused with the other grey colorway option available (the one we have reviewed here) which is the more restrained Barely Grey/Geode Teal/Black/Hot Punch.
In many ways, the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 35 is a completely new shoe, when compared with its predecessor, the Pegasus 34. It is lighter than before—281 grams now compared with 295 grams before. This makes this one of the lighter fitness shoes that you can buy, without compromising on comfort, performance or looks. The seamless Flymesh Fabric upper not only looks great, but has a completely new construction too. It perhaps doesn’t feel as smooth on the outside as the upper on the Pegasus 34 when you run your fingers on it, but has been designed for even better support for your foot. The other advantage of the new materials and design is the extra breathability that is available—the Pegasus 34 offered a lot, and the Pegasus 35 takes that aspect up a notch.
There are Flywire cables too running down the sides of the shoe—you can’t see them as they are integrated within the mesh. Their purpose is simple. They work in tandem with the laces, and tighten accordingly, to provide your foot with even more support once you are on the move. Slip your foot in, and the soft inner of the mesh makes it extremely comfortable to wear. While we don’t go sockless, even if you did, the Pegasus 35 would be extremely comfortable and well-cushioned. One very fine design change is the redesigned collar, which now gives more room for your ankle joint. At the back, the outward curve of the collar means the Achilles muscle gets more room too. If we had one nitpick, it would be that this exact upper design doesn't really hug your feet in the 'sock-like' manner that we perhaps have become used to with previous Nike running shoes.
What is beneath your foot matters a lot. And this is the exact specific footwear tech that has shoe companies at each other’s throats, as they challenge the chemical equations, physical limitations and the challenges of maintaining a balance in getting the best cushioning comfort. What Nike have done with the Pegasus 35 is mixed two of its top technologies, to get what is close to the ideal result. This mid-sole holds a mix of the Zoom Air unit which runs the full length of the shoe as well as the Cushlon foam seen in the Zoom Fly. What this results in finally is a medley. The very soft and cushiony landing experience of the Cushlon and the comparatively stiffer response from the Zoom Air layer that aids in feedback and some energy return. This combination is ideal for daily running and jogging. At no point does your foot feel too isolated from the feedback from the running surface, or too exposed to the jarring transitions that sometimes are a part of running on hard surfaces. We feel this comes close to the ultimate mid-sole that you can buy in any running shoe right now, which is Nike’s Epic React foam.
The Air Zoom Pegasus 35 is a very neutral shoe. Anyone whose foot does pronate (inward roll of the foot during normal motion) or supinate (outward roll of the foot putting strain on the tendons) during runs will find the Pegasus 35 handle the load very well. the 10mm offset remains the same as the Pegasus 34, despite the Zoom Air unit now extending all the way through. One significant change you’ll notice once you wear this for a while is the extra upward curve of the outsole beneath your heel (when you look at the Pegasus 35 from side-on). This design makes a difference as your foot touches down on the ground, giving it a more natural angle and an unimpeded flow of motion.
The ‘waffle’ outsole on the Pegasus 35 is largely the same as the Pegasus 34, except for a different design. It is a mix of two materials—Duralon and Carbon rubber. The tread design and layout is now more intense, which should help with grip and also offer a tad more flexibility than before. On the outer half are rubber crash rails that absorb impact and help traction, as you run.
The longevity of the Pegasus shoe line-up is a testament to how Nike has been able to adapt this particular shoe every year to adopt new technologies as well as to deliver on the often changing performance and comfort demands of the runners. The Air Zoom Pegasus 35 is placed well as a shoe for serious runners and training situations. Nike clearly has done a lot of research over the past few years on the materials and usage scenarios, and that is clearly paying off with first the Epic React foam and now the mix of the Air Zoom and Cushlon. And since Nike has been able to do all this while making a shoe look this good, it is hard to not consider this as well to be your running shoe.