Equally at home on both the road and light trails, the Nike Pegasus Trail 3 is a comfortable cruiser for relaxed running. The Pegasus Trail’s weight can hold it back at times, and the grip is not fantastic on anything wet, but it’s a great option for those who split their run between the road and park paths.
- Equally good on roads and light trails
- Comfortable midsole foam
- Outsole struggled on wet ground
This shoe knows how to make a first impression. It’s one of the best-looking road or trail shoes I’ve come across, especially in the teal colourway, and the sizeable stack of React cushioning in the midsole makes it feel comfortable from your first steps.
Nike uses the same React foam in the Pegasus road shoe, and it is durable and reasonably bouncy, while still firm enough not to create an unstable platform. In the road Pegasus there is also a firmer Air Zoom unit in the forefoot, but this is missing on the Pegasus Trail, which has a full React midsole.
There are, of course, other differences to the road shoe, especially on the outsole of the Pegasus Trail, which has lugs to provide more traction on uneven ground. That said, the wide, shallow lugs are designed to handle road running too. The Pegasus Trail 3 is built as a road-to-trail shoe that should be used on lighter, harder off-road tracks rather than in deep mud or on highly technical mountain paths.
There’s also a toe-bumper to fend off stray rocks and roots, and extra support around the midfoot to increase the lateral stability of the shoe.
I’ve used the Pegasus Trail 3 for runs on a variety of surfaces, from roads and canal towpaths, to forest trails and even a couple of trips into the fells of the Forest of Bowden in Lancashire, though admittedly this was during a heatwave so the terrain was mostly dry and hard.
Overall I’ve enjoyed running in the shoe. It’s very comfortable and transitions between road and light trail as well as any other shoe I’ve used. In fact it feels like a road shoe on the road, thanks to the plentiful cushioning and shallow-lugged outsole.
That outsole coped well with most of the terrains I ran on, too. In the summer, it is pretty versatile, reliably finding grip on climbs and descents when the ground is dry, and it can even plough through the odd muddy patch.
However, it did struggle with wet and slippery rocks, to the point that I’d approach even slightly slick inclines with great caution after nearly slipping over on a couple of occasions. On the flat this was less of a concern, but this isn’t a shoe to take up mountains.
That’s not its purpose though, and I was actually a little surprised by how well it did handle the forest after some of the freakishly heavy downpours the UK has experienced this summer. If you mostly stick to flat ground or hard sun-baked trails where the rare puddle is easily avoided, the outsole of the Pegasus Trail 3 will suffice.
It’s undoubtedly at its best on easy and long efforts. It’s not very heavy for a trail shoe at 326g in my UK 9, but it’s not nimble enough for fast running even on flat and hard trails. Comfort is its key attribute and it’s a lovely shoe to cruise around in, and one that might work for long trail-running events on relatively tame terrain.
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The upper of the shoe felt breathable and it didn’t get hot even when running for 90 minutes in 30°C heat. The toe box is roomy and although I had no problems in my usual size I could have probably gone half a size down. That said, the roomier toe box is good for ensuring your toes don’t get beaten up when running downhill.
Stick to roads and light trails, and the Pegasus Trail 3 is a really enjoyable shoe to run in, and a versatile option for taking on trips where you need a shoe to cover both bases. However, there are other versatile shoes that do have more grip on slick ground, like the Saucony Peregrine 11 or Salomon Sense Ride 4. Lighter shoes like the Hoka Torrent 2 also offer grip across a range of terrains while being faster and still comfortable. None of those shoes look as good as the Pegasus Trail 3, but looks aren’t everything.
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.
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