The best-selling running shoe model of all-time, the Air Zoom Pegasus has evolved considerably since initial launch in 1983. The updated Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 38 retains the familiar vibe of being a versatile, workhorse with a good balance of cushioning and performance for a wide range of runners.
While most Nike running shoes have a snug fit from heel to toe, the Pegasus 38 has been built on a new last and offers slightly more room in the toe box than last year’s Pegasus 37 and similar to the fit and feel of the Pegasus 36. The tongue is extra cushy but is not gusseted, while a new midfoot webbing system allows runners to lace up to a personalized fit.
The tuned, dual-function midsole carries over from the Air Zoom Pegasus 37 with a full-length layer of springy and durable Nike React foam that delivers cushioned responsiveness and smooth transition and a forefoot Zoom Air unit that provides a pop of responsive energy return. It’s soft but not squishy soft, allowing it to give a good amount of rebound “pop” as you head to the toe-off phase of a stride.
A wider forefoot means more space for your toes, while the shoe’s fit maintains the comfortable feel you expect from the Pegasus. The new engineered mesh upper feels breathable and plush while stretching with your foot for a comfortable shape and fit. If you thought the Pegasus 37 was too snug in the forefoot and slipped a little bit in the heel, you’ll appreciate the revised shape and fit of the Pegasus 38.
FIT, FEEL, RIDE
The fit of the Pegasus 38 has been considerably upgraded from the previous edition. In place of the gusseted tongue of Pegasus 37, a new midfoot webbing that connects the laces to a fit band that helps provide a snug, accommodating feel when you tighten the laces.
The Pegasus 38 fits true to size with a low- to medium-volume interior that provides a snug fit in the heel and midfoot but a slightly more relaxed feeling in the forefoot.
The step-in feel is comfortable but not excessively plush, offering a nice balance between soft cushioning and a good feel for the road.
There’s a cushy, shock-absorbing feeling in the heel and an energetic sensation in the forefoot, a combination that is key to the shoe’s versatility and the true vibe of the Pegasus 38.
The bottom line is that it fits a lot of foot shapes, provides a very fluid ride and serves up dependable and consistent performance.
WHO IT’S BEST FOR
Versatility has always been one of the best aspects of the Pegasus, both in terms of its range of performance and the range of runners who will enjoy it.
New runners will likely love it for the comfort, fit and ability to handle any kind of workout, while more experienced runner will appreciate its energetic performance ideal for tempo runs and progression runs.
It can be the only training shoe in your quiver or one you rely on for up-tempo running once a week. While it’s not as fast as other modern race shoes, our wear-testers think it could suffice for 5K to half marathon distances.
PROS: NIKE PEGASUS 38
Nike calls the Pegasus “your workhorse with wings,” and that’s a pretty good description for a shoe that is hard-working and robust but also moderately light and energetic. It’s a moderately priced shoe that offers considerable value with its versatility and durability.
The Pegasus 38 can be whatever you need it to be, depending on what your training schedule says. Although it’s not as soft as your favorite long run shoes or as energetic as your race-day shoes, it is soft and lively enough for 10- to 20-mile efforts. It can also handle fartlek runs, tempo runs and longer interval sessions like 800m or mile repeats.
The outsole has a similar dual-density rubber configuration with an array of small rubber knobs that provide traction and softness as needed. The outsole is both durable and flexible and doesn’t feel like it limits the otherwise smooth flex of the shoe.
CONS: NIKE PEGASUS 38
There’s really no negative aspects to the Pegasus 38, except perhaps that it’s firmly in the middle of everything. There are other shoes that are softer, cushier and more energetic. The Pegasus has all of those things, but not at a premium level.