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Shoe Review: Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 36

The Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 36 running shoe

Peg is back, baby.

The Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 36 is the newest addition to Nike’s best-selling running shoe line ever—and we think it’s a worthy successor.

Nike made big changes from the Peg 34 to the Peg 35, but the new shoe didn’t get the same major updates. Instead, Nike made minor tweaks to the upper and tongue. The differences between last year’s model and this year’s didn’t significantly change the Peg’s performance, but they did improve the shoe’s fit.

Fleet Feet testers tried out the new Nike Pegasus 36 to get a feel for how it fits, how it performs and how it’s different than the previous model. Here’s what we found.

Tech specs

Nike Pegasus 36

Price

$120

Drop

10mm

Category

Neutral

Use

Everyday trainer, speed work

Nike Pegasus 36 Fit and Materials

A pair of the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 36 running shoes hanging from their laces

The Pegasus 36 is meant to be a fast, streamlined running shoe. And designers tailored the fit to meet that goal.

Nike wrapped the entire shoe in a seamless engineered mesh upper. The single piece of mesh not only gives the shoe a clean look, but it keeps weight down by foregoing any overlays or external supports.

Inside, designers sewed the tongue into a mesh bootie. That decision gives the shoe a snug feel around your midfoot, and it keeps the tongue from moving around when you're running.

Many popular running shoes employ six standard lacing holes up each side and an empty seventh hole at the top to give runners a way to tweak the fit if they need to. The Peg 36, though, only has five standard holes and an empty sixth at the top of the shoe.

Using only five lace holes frees up the forefoot, so the only thing that has to bend when you toe off is the supple mesh. A Fleet Feet tester says he likes the natural feel of the forefoot.

“Because it doesn’t lace that far down the shoe, it doesn’t squeeze the widest part of my foot,” he says. “Even with wider feet, this shoe feels really comfortable.”

To cinch the laces, Nike also used its Flywire cables around the midfoot. There are four sets of cables that reach up like fingers around your midfoot. Each cable loop anchors under the footbed, which lets you tighten the laces as much as you want without pulling on the mesh alone.

One feature our testers like is the new tongue. Nike slimmed down the tongue to trim a bit of weight from the shoe, and they gave it an asymmetrical shape at the top for more coverage on the outside of your ankle.

Another unique feature of the Pegasus is the heel collar. Beginning with the Pegasus 35, designers shaped the heel collar to flare away from a runner’s Achilles tendon, and that design carried over into the new Peg 36. Our testers say the flared collar keeps the shoe from rubbing on their heels.

One Fleet Feet tester says he noticed his heel slipping slightly when he walked around in the shoe but forgot about it when he started running. He says it didn’t cause any problems. Nike also included the extra eyelet at the top of the shoe so runners can try the marathon lacing technique if they need it.

The Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 36 running shoe stood up vertically on the toe

Nike Pegasus 36 Ride and Performance

The Nike Pegasus 36 is part of the performance-minded Zoom series of running shoes that also includes the bouncy Zoom Pegasus Turbo 2, fleet Nike Zoom Fly 3 and elite ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT%.

It’s no secret then that Nike primed the Peg for speed.

Nike packed a full-length Zoom Air unit into the Cushlon foam midsole, which gives the Peg a noticeable pop. Even just standing around in the shoe, one of our testers noticed the extra bounce.

“I can really feel myself compressing the air when I bounce on my toes, and it bounces back quickly,” he says. “A quick turnover and light step feels best to me in this shoe.”

While the Peg shines at higher speeds, it’s comfortable for cruising, too. The Cushlon foam is firmer than other running shoes in the same category, but it provides enough cushion so you won’t feel beat up on longer runs.

Because part of the cushion comes from the compressed air in the Zoom unit, it doesn’t add any unnecessary weight to the shoe: One tester weighed his men’s size 10.5 at 9.7 ounces.

Nike Pegasus 35 vs. Nike Pegasus 36

A side-by-side comparison of the Nike Pegasus 35 and the Nike Pegasus 36

As we mentioned, the big overhaul to the Pegasus line came from the 34 to the 35. This year, Nike settled into a groove.

Designers used engineered mesh to craft the uppers on both shoes. But they added more perforations to the 36’s upper in high-heat areas, like the toe box and midfoot, to keep things cool. But the two uppers are otherwise very similar.

The midsole didn’t change between 35 and 36, either. Nike kept the same Cushlon foam and full-length Zoom Air cushioning unit for that added pop off the forefoot.

Beneath it all, Nike used an identical outsole on both models. A hoard of waffle piston lugs congregate under the forefoot for optimal grip where you generate the most force, and a rail of rubber protects the lateral side of the shoe from excessive wear.

In our Nike Pegasus 35 review last year, every tester said they felt faster in the shoe. And this year’s model feels the same. It's nimble, comfortable and very fast.

Conclusion

The Nike Zoom Pegasus 36 is a light and fast everyday training shoe we love to lace up.

Nike didn’t make major changes from the Pegasus 35 to the Pegasus 36, but minor tweaks here and there improved the fit and breathability. We love the snappy ride created by the full-length Air Zoom unit and the firm Cushlon foam.

With a sub-10 ounce weight and a ride tuned for speed, we think the newest Peg is great for tempo runs, track workouts and any day when you need a little extra oomph.

Still not convinced? Don’t sweat it. Fleet Feet's return policy means you can test drive your shoes and gear without risk. If you’re not happy with the way your gear performs, looks or fits, we’ll take it back within 60 days. Plus, you’ll get free return shipping on all fleetfeet.com orders. That's our Happy Fit Guarantee.

By Evan Matsumoto. Evan played many sports growing up but didn’t go pro in any of them. Now, he’s the digital copywriter for fleetfeet.com and editor for the Fleet Feet blog where he writes about different foam densities and engineered mesh uppers.

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