I've been running since the fifth grade, so it's safe to say that I've made the rounds with basically every running shoe on the market. But the one brand that I always gravitate back to and train in again and again is Nike—and for good reason.
I started out my running career back in 2006 in a pair of Nike sneakers (it's been so long, I don't remember the exact style anymore), and continued running varsity high-school cross country and track and field in my Free Runs. While I stopped running competitively before reaching college, I continued pounding the pavement for fun, and it wasn't long before I picked up a pair of Nike's Pegasus—which has been the brand's best-selling shoe for the past 40 years, and has been seen on world class athletes and Olympic gold medalists (case in point: Athing Mu).
I find the Pegasus to be stylish, breathable, lightweight, and supportive, which is why these are my go-to shoes whenever I run indoors or outdoors. So far, I've tested the 35 and 37s, so when I was invited to test the Nike Pegasus 40, I was really excited to try out its latest iteration.
What's new with the Pegasus 40
Now in its 40th iteration, the Pegasus 40 delivers some new and exciting upgrades. Launched on April 6, the Pegasus 40 offers the same springy ride and responsive midsole, but this time, with more comfort and support in the arch and toes.
My experience wearing Nike Pegasus 40
I'm no Allyson Felix or Carmelita Jeter, but this shoe makes me run and feel fast. While part of my speed comes from my forefoot strikes, a form of running that allows me to run quicker by making less contact with the ground, I owe it to the rocker bottom—which enhances my runs by propelling me forward into my next step. It's super easy to transition from one foot to the next, especially during treadmill jogs and trail runs.
Having flat feet means that my running shoes need to be supportive, so I was happy to find that the Pegasus 40 had arch support. Compared to previous models that I've tested, the arch support in the 40 is unparalleled when compared to former iterations. The foam is intentionally placed to give me oomph under my non-existent arches, so I never feel like my foot is collapsing during walks, runs, and sprints. Even more, the cushioning absorbs shock upon impact during high-impact activities, and my knees don't ache every time I jump. So far, I've done one-mile jogs, sprints, and even played basketball in them. In short, these kicks held up to all of my sports tests.
In terms of comfort, I'm rating it a 10 out of 10. Although I've never literally walked on clouds, the foam midsole and padded tongue collar sure does make you feel like it. Constructed out of a single layer of mesh, these rocker shoes wick away moisture and doesn't trap hot air, so I never had an issue with extremely sweaty feet. I also find that mesh doesn't irritate my bunion, as it's stretchy and roomy.
Another notable feature that I loved is the waffle sole. So far, I've tested these shoes on pavement, a treadmill, trail, and grass, and can confirm that this shoe offers ultimate traction. I didn't slip or slide during my trail and treadmill runs and found that the shoe easily gripped the ground during my walks on pavement and grass. In terms of foam cushioning, this shoe has a medium layer of foam; it's not too soft—nor too firm—so it's got that perfect Goldilocks fit for jogs or long runs without agitating the sole of my feet. Even after three-hour workouts on my feet, my soles didn't ache. Another bonus of the responsive foam is that the shoe requires little to no break-in time, which is great for people who want to get the show on the road.
I also lift weights four times a week, so these shoes get some airtime during my upper body days. They give me the support, comfort, and stability I need to perform chest presses, dumbbell flys, military-style presses, and more. The Pegasus 40s really can do it all.
If you have sensitive shins or are shin splint-prone...
Twice a week, or whatever my shins will allow, I'll jump rope and or sprint between six and eight times for 30 seconds with a short rest. However, years of running, competing in cross country and track and field meets, as well as weightlifting have done a number on my knees and shins, so I always look for forefront cushioning. As someone who has battled on-and-off shin splint pain, I found the forefront cushioning to be not as supportive during HIIT workouts. Compared to other Pegasus shoes I tested, the forefront cushioning was on the thinner side. The day after my first time sprinting in the Pegasus 40, I noticed slightly sore knees and shins, so if you experience more sensitivity in those areas, I wouldn't recommend repetitive high-impact activities like sprints or jump rope with these shoes.
What activities are the Nike Pegasus 40 best for?
According to Nike, the brand recommends this shoe for road running, and I can attest that these shoes run great on pavement, trail, and short grass. During one-mile runs, I did not experience issues with support, stability, or traction. For this reason, I also recommend them for walks, whether you're on a treadmill or outdoors.
I've been running in Nike since the fifth grade and can attest to how far the brand has come. The Pegasus 40 is lightweight, offers more arch support and breathability, doesn't irritate my bunion, and is an extremely versatile shoe. Whether I'm hitting the trails or doing upper body days at the gym, the Pegasus 40 is a solid shoe that will continue to be in my regimen for workouts to come. I don't foresee myself training without them.
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