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Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 38 Running Shoe Review

The 38th edition of this line is a reliable workhorse that offers good value

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(Image: © Unknown)

For

  • Comfortable ride for easy runs
  • Outsole provides great grip
  • Good value

Against

  • Less versatile than past Pegasus shoes
  • Not the most exciting ride

Nike made considerable changes to its Pegasus line of shoes with last year’s 37th edition so the smart money was on the 38th seeing relatively modest changes. The smart money was right, because the Pegasus 38 updates the upper while keeping the midsole and outsole the same.

Fortunately, the Pegasus 37 was and still is a great-value running shoe. It offers a solid, reasonably versatile ride for £105 and lasts forever. The several hundred miles I put into the shoe barely made an impression on the outsole or midsole.

The changes made with the Pegasus 38 haven’t really harmed any of that, although it is a heavier shoe as a result of the extra padding in the upper. My UK size 9 weighs 310g, compared with the 287g of the 37, but this was an increase I didn’t really feel on the run.

The toe box has been made a little roomier, along with more padding around the tongue and collar and a thicker all-round feel. It makes the Pegasus 38 feel a little more comfortable and more in line with more expensive cruisers like the Brooks Glycerin line, but also means your feet can get a little hot when running in the summer.

I don’t dislike the changes to the upper, but they certainly aren’t enough to convince me that the 38 is a major upgrade on the 37, which had a perfectly fine mesh upper.

The underfoot feel is the same, with the sizeable stack of Nike’s React foam providing a comfortable but not excessively soft ride, with enough responsiveness to make the Pegasus a solid shoe for faster training runs as well as all your easy efforts.

It’s still not an out-and-out quick shoe, and older editions of the Pegasus were a touch more suitable for speedwork, but the 37 and 38 are more comfortable for cruising through your base training and they still have the chops for tempo runs. Beginner runners will also find the shoe a great all-rounder, especially when training for first stabs at long-distance events like half marathons and marathons.

Another aspect of the shoe I really like is the outsole, which provides enough grip for trail running in anything other than very muddy conditions. I was able to use the Pegasus 37 for most of spring, summer and autumn on forest trails, whereas most road shoes struggle to handle the trails in anything other than summer. The Pegasus 38 retains the same outsole, which is durable as well as providing that impressive traction.

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(Image credit: Unknown)

Like its predecessor, the Pegasus 38 is a very accomplished all-round running shoe. It’s a great-value option for experienced runners looking for a workhorse to handle their base training and beginners looking for an all-rounder. However, because of the limited changes, I’d strongly suggest looking for a deal on the lighter 37 rather than paying full whack for the 38, unless you’re really keen on the extra comfort of the redesigned upper.

However, the biggest change between the launch of the Pegasus 37 and 38 is in the competition. Most notably, Puma has launched a range of great running shoes in 2021 and the Puma Velocity Nitro is the pick of the bunch. It’s £100 and does pretty much everything the Pegasus does, but slightly better. The shoe is lighter, the midsole is a little softer and springier so the shoe performs better when running at speed, and the PUMAGRIP outsole grips like a vice.

The Velocity Nitro is my top pick around the £100 mark, but there is also the Brooks Launch 8 for £100, which is lighter still and has a firmer ride than both the Puma and the Pegasus. The Launch is a bit of a throwback, with no fancy tech or exciting foams used, but it gets the job done and can often be found well below £100 price in sales.

While the Pegasus 38 is a very good shoe, the changes means it’s not drastically better than its predecessor, especially with the 37 likely to be reduced in price, and unless you’re all-in on the swoosh I recommend the Puma Velocity Nitro over both.

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Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.