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The Best Trail Shoes: Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 36 Trail - Gear Hacker

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Best Cross Over Trail Shoe

  • Grip 70% 70%
  • Foot Protection 75% 75%
  • Durability 75% 75%
  • Stability 70% 70%
  • Comfort 95% 95%
  • Versatility 90% 90%
  • Value for Your Money 90% 90%

Best Application: Road/Trail Running

Upper: Perforated Mesh, Synthetic Upper

Midsole: Zoom Air Units

Outsole: Trail Lugs

Weight: M – 291g, W – 232g

What we like: Lightweight, Versatile – Can Be Worn on Trail and Roads, Comfortable, Breathable Upper, Designed for Speed

What we don’t like: Thin Toe Bumper, Not Suited for Technical Trail, Doesn’t Lock the Foot Down

Price: $130

Nike has always been highlighting versatility in their shoes, whether it is footwear mainly for fashion or for road running. The Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 36 Trail is no exception. It delivers adequate performance on the trail, but it comes second to none in the aspect of comfort and versatility.

Compare to Similar Products

See Our The Best Trail Shoes of 2020

The Best Trail Shoes: Salomon Speedcross 5 - Gear Hacker

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  • Grip 95% 95%
  • Foot Protection 80% 80%
  • Durability 85% 85%
  • Stability 85% 85%
  • Comfort 90% 90%
  • Versatility 75% 75%
  • Value for Your Money 80% 80%

Pros

Reliable Grip and Traction

Comfortable

Offers A Stable Ride

Has Performance-focused Features

Has Wide-width Option

Cons

Narrower Than Other Trail Shoes

Not Very Versatile

Doesn't Drain Well

Best Application: Running On Soft Ground, Slippery Running Conditions, Highly Technical Terrain

Upper: SensiFit™, Welded Upper, Anti-debris Mesh, Lace Pocket, Quicklace™

Midsole: EnergyCell™+, Molded OrthoLite®

Outsole: Contagrip® TA

Weight: M - 320g, W - 280g

The Best Trail Shoes: Asics GEL-Venture 7 - Gear Hacker

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  • Grip 70% 70%
  • Foot Protection 80% 80%
  • Durability 80% 80%
  • Stability 70% 70%
  • Comfort 80% 80%
  • Versatility 80% 80%
  • Value for Your Money 95% 95%

Pros

Sufficient Traction

Comfortable

Budget-friendly

Beginner-friendly

Delivers A Stable Ride

Well-cushioned

Has Wide-width Option

Versatile

Cons

Upper Not As Breathable

Not Suited For Highly Technical Terrain

Best Application:  Casual Hiking or Running

Upper: Mesh Upper

Midsole: GEL® Technology, EVA Midsole, ORTHOLITE™ Sockliner

Outsole: AHAR®

Weight: M - 303g, W - 252g

The Best Trail Shoes: Salomon Supercross - Gear Hacker

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  • Grip 90% 90%
  • Foot Protection 85% 85%
  • Durability 80% 80%
  • Stability 65% 65%
  • Comfort 85% 85%
  • Versatility 85% 85%
  • Value for Your Money 80% 80%

Pros

Speedcross-like Traction

Comfortable

Affordable

Wider Forefoot

Cons

Ride Is Not Very Stable

Best Application: Occasional Trail Running and Hiking

Upper: Ripstop Fabric, Protective Toecap, SensiFit™, Welded Upper, OrthoLite® Diecut

Midsole: EnergyCell

Outsole: Contagrip TD, Chevron Lugs

Weight: M - 310g, W - 260g

The Best Trail Shoes: Altra Lone Peak 4.5 - Gear Hacker

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  • Grip 70% 70%
  • Foot Protection 80% 80%
  • Durability 75% 75%
  • Stability 90% 90%
  • Comfort 75% 75%
  • Versatility 80% 80%
  • Value for Your Money 75% 75%

Pros

Comfortable

Delivers A Stable Ride

Above-average Protection

Responsive

Cons

Not Suited For Highly Technical Terrain

Clunky Shoe Shape

Best Application: Casual Hiking or Running

Upper: Quick-Dry Air Mesh, GaiterTrap, FootShape Toe Box

Midsole: Dual Layer EVA / A-Bound™, StoneGuard™

Outsole: MaxTrac™ Rubber, TrailClaw™

Weight: M - 298g, W - 247g

The Best Trail Shoes: Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 36 Trail - Gear Hacker

Buy now at Backcountry.com

  • Grip 70% 70%
  • Foot Protection 75% 75%
  • Durability 75% 75%
  • Stability 70% 70%
  • Comfort 95% 95%
  • Versatility 90% 90%
  • Value for Your Money 90% 90%

Pros

Lightweight

Versatile - Can Be Worn on Trail and Roads

Comfortable

Breathable Upper

Designed for Speed

Cons

Thin Toe Bumper

Not Suited for Technical Trail

Doesn't Lock the Foot Down

Best Application: Road/Trail Running

Upper: Perforated Mesh, Synthetic Upper

Midsole: Zoom Air Units

Outsole: Trail Lugs

Weight: M - 291g, W - 232g

The Best Trail Shoes: Hoka One One Speedgoat 4 - Gear Hacker

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  • Grip 80% 80%
  • Foot Protection 90% 90%
  • Durability 85% 85%
  • Stability 70% 70%
  • Comfort 95% 95%
  • Versatility 70% 70%
  • Value for Your Money 80% 80%

Pros

Generous Cushioning

Improved Grip

Breathable

With Wide-Width Options

Enhanced Durability

Efficient Stride

Cons

Slightly Narrow

Heavier Compared To Other Trail Shoes

Best Application: Long-distance Trail Running/Hiking (50 miles and above), Ultra Distances

Upper: Open Engineered Mesh Construction

Midsole: Reinforced TPU midfoot overlays, Oversize EVA Midsole, CMEVA Foam

Outsole: Vibram® Megagrip

Weight: M - 306g, W - 261g

The Best Trail Shoes: Brooks Caldera 4 - Gear Hacker

Buy now at Backcountry.com

  • Grip 70% 70%
  • Foot Protection 80% 80%
  • Durability 85% 85%
  • Stability 75% 75%
  • Comfort 85% 85%
  • Versatility 80% 80%
  • Value for Your Money 70% 70%

Pros

Plush Cushioning

Breathable

Enhanced Durability

Door-to-trail Ready

Cons

A Bit Expensive

Can Only Handle Moderately Technical Terrain

Best Application: Daily Training/Hiking, Long-Distance Hiking/Running

Upper: Mesh Upper, Synthetic Overlays, Lace Catch

Midsole: BioMoGo DNA

Outsole: TrailTack Sticky Traction

Weight: M - 283g, W - 252g

The Best Trail Shoes: Altra Timp 1.5 - Gear Hacker

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  • Grip 70% 70%
  • Foot Protection 80% 80%
  • Durability 85% 85%
  • Stability 80% 80%
  • Comfort 85% 85%
  • Versatility 70% 70%
  • Value for Your Money 80% 80%

Pros

Plush Cushioning

Better Traction and Grip

Durable Outsole

Roomy Forefoot

Better Ground Feel

Cons

The Ride Can Be A Bit Unstable

Can Handle Moderately Technical Trail

Takes Awhile For Sweat to Dry After A Run

Best Application: Daily Runs or Hikes on Moderate Terrain

Upper: Footshape, Gaiter Trap

Midsole: Balanced Cushion

Outsole: Trail Claw, DuraTread

Weight: M - 312g, W - 266g

The Best Trail Shoes: Brooks Cascadia 14 - Gear Hacker

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  • Grip 70% 70%
  • Foot Protection 75% 75%
  • Durability 80% 80%
  • Stability 70% 70%
  • Comfort 90% 90%
  • Versatility 90% 90%
  • Value for Your Money 80% 80%

Pros

Comfortable

A Good Crossover Option

More Protective

Cons

Not Very Stable

Grip is Good for Moderate Terrain

Best Application: Daily Trail Running/Hiking

Upper: Internal Saddle System, Cordura Mud Guard

Midsole: BioMoGo DNA, Built-in Rock plate

Outsole: TrailTack Rubber

Weight: M - 303g, W - 269g

The Pegasus transitioned from pavement to trail with the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 36 Trail. New additions like the trail-specific lugs plus the reinforced toe bumper make the shoe ready to easily tackle dirt paths. Fans of the Pegasus, however, will be glad to know that most of its road shoe qualities were still retained, making it our top pick for the best crossover shoe on the list as the Air Zoom Pegasus 36 Trail is just as at home on the trail as it is on the road.

Grip & Foot Protection

The Best Trail Shoes: Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 36 Trail - Gear Hacker

When you’re running or hiking on dirt, you may come across terrain that’s uneven or inclined. Because the lugs of the Air Zoom Pegasus 36 Trail are not as deep as the lugs on most of the trail shoes on our list, you might not get as superior a grip or traction. Unlike the Salomon Speedcross 5 which has 6mm lugs, the Air Zoom Pegasus 36 Trail  has 3mm lugs that work best on dry, less rocky, and flat terrain.

The outsole is slightly more aggressive than the outsole of a typical road running shoe but less robust than the outsole of a mountain running shoe. If your priority is comfort and speed over superior traction and protection, the Air Zoom Pegasus 36 Trail will likely be the trail shoe that you reach for.

Although there is a toe guard to spare your foot from the pain of running over objects, the thickness of the material is questionable. It may give a bit of structure to the upper, but it likely won’t give you enough protection from impact because of its thinness.

Durability

The Air Zoom Pegasus 36 Trail weighs only 291g (for the men’s version). It’s not the lightest trail shoe on the market, but it is considered to be lightweight. In fact, it’s one of the most lightweight trail shoes on our list. If you’re running up a hill or running in an ultramarathon, you will undoubtedly appreciate the lightness of this shoe. 

 

One the other hand, you should balance out your expectations in terms of the shoe’s lifespan. Its construction is not flimsy at all, but the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 36 Trail may show some signs of wear and tear earlier compared to other trail shoes on our list because it is not as equipped. For example, the Hoka One One Speedgoat 4 has a stack height of 32mm plus outsole lugs that measure 5mm. Compare that to the Pegasus 36 Trail’s 23mm stack height and 3mm lugs, and you’ll see: there is just simply less material to wear through.

Stability

The upper of the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 36 Trail has been reinforced with synthetic overlays in areas that are more prone to tearing, but these reinforcements don’t lock the foot down in place completely. They do give the upper some structure but not a stable fit.

 

The toe box has enough room for your toes to splay, encouraging steady toe-off and landing. But, if you’re going to hike or run on a trail that’s a bit more challenging, you might not feel sure-footed and confident because of how roomy the toe box is. The Air Zoom Pegasus 36 Trail definitely doesn’t deliver a snug fit like the Salomon Speedcross 5, but it makes up for it in the level of comfort it provides.

The midsole feels springy which may result in a less stable ride on uneven terrain. Although it may give you that close-to-the-ground feel in spite of its moderate stack height, it would be most suitable on leveled and more manicured paths.

Comfort & Fit

The Best Trail Shoes: Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 36 Trail - Gear Hacker

The Pegasus has been a well-received series, primarily, because of how comfortable the shoe feels. Most fans describe the comfort as slipper-like, and they even say that it is hard to take the shoe off because their feet feel right at home. It’s mainly because of the two-layer upper of the Air Zoom Pegasus 36 Trail. The inner layer is plush, ensuring that your foot is set in place without feeling too restricted.

Because the outer layer of the upper is made of light mesh, it can breathe well even under hot conditions. It’s not the best choice for cold weather, but you will breeze over roads or trails on warm summer days.

Versatility & Value for Your Money

The Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 36 Trail is a mid-priced trail shoe at $130 MSRP. It’s up there when it comes to the prices of the trail shoe on our list, so it’s best if you purchase this pair of shoes for the right reasons. If you don’t want to switch your road shoes for trail shoes when you’re changing from running to hiking, then this is a great option. Bear in mind, however, that this may not be the best shoe to handle rugged terrain. You will find better performing shoes on this list with the same price tag.

Additional Features

On the back of the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 36 Trail there is a decorative detail that glows in the dark. It is the strip on the heel that has slanted stripes. It may help with visibility during low light conditions.

The Bottom Line

While the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 36 Trail attempts to be the trail shoe that has the best of both worlds, it comes out as a decent trail shoe for running and hiking as well as an acceptable road shoe. As they say, you can’t have your cake and eat it too.

 

It’s similarly-priced with the Salomon Supercross 5 and just a few bucks less than the Hoka One One Speedgoat 4 and Brooks Caldera 4. If you want a high-performing shoe, it’s best to look at other options on our list. On the other hand, if it’s a comfortable trail running or hiking experience you’re seeking, then this is the shoe to consider.

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