The Nike Pegasus 41 Gets Softer, Bouncier

Small improvements make this do-it-all trainer even more fun for daily running.


Thomas Hengge

In an age of squishy soft running shoes, the Nike Pegasus is getting a little cushier, too. But, fear not. I’ve already had the Pegasus 41 in for testing for a few weeks. In a limited amount of time, I’ve found it to be a reliable, snappy, do-it-all daily trainer. In other words, it’s still a Peg.

And that’s reassuring because the Nike Pegasus has always been a starting point that I recommend for new runners. It, along with shoes like the Brooks Ghost and New Balance 880, are top picks for those runners who aren’t sure what they want from a shoe. The Peg just works well most of the time for most people. It’s a safe option. Is it perfect? No. But it’s never bad, either.

Key Specs

Type: Road
Weight: 12.0 oz, 340g (men’s 12)
Drop: 10 mm
Stack Height: 34 mm (heel), 24 mm (forefoot)
Price: $200
Availability: June 5, 2024
Similar Shoes: Brooks Ghost 15New Balance Fresh Foam X 880 v14, Saucony Ride 17, Hoka Clifton 9

What’s New?

The biggest story you’re going to hear about the Peg 41 is that it now uses ReactX foam for the midsole. What does that mean? Well, ReactX is one of Nike’s high performance foams that delivers excellent cushioning, higher levels of rebound, and is still extremely durable. It provides 13 percent more energy return than the React foam previously used in the Pegasus 40. I’ll admit, it’s barely perceptible underfoot. In wearing the two shoes on consecutive runs, they felt largely the same—the heel of the Peg 41 seemed a smidge softer, which I appreciated as I recovered after running a marathon. But you certainly won’t mistake the shoe for the max-cushioned models or the “illegal” super trainers that are flooding store shelves these days. Nor is it as light and springy as the speedy racers like the Vaporfly 3, which use Nike’s ZoomX foam.

Thomas Hengge

ReactX foam delivers 13 percent more energy return than React.

But, the biggest reason for the switch is that ReactX is far better for the environment, Nike claims.

“We sell a lot of Pegasus around the world,” said Tony Bignell, VP of footwear innovation at Nike. “So that’s a blessing and a curse because, when you’re making a lot of anything, you’re pumping more stuff into the environment.”

Nike found that by using ReactX, it releases 43 percent less greenhouse gas than with React.

“So, that’s a lot, when you times 43 percent by millions of pairs,” Bignell continued. “It just means you’re doing a better job for the environment.”

There are a lot of brands touting their sustainability measures. And we’re all for anybody who’s trying to make a difference. But none are operating on the same scale as Nike, so moves like this have a much larger impact.

Don’t Mess It Up

Beyond the foam change, very little has been altered. And that’s intentional, says Bignell, because Pegasus lovers don’t want it to change much. “But, we’re also trying to improve things because we don’t want to stay back in the ’80s,” he added.

Thomas Hengge

The Peg 41 has a padded tongue and collar lining that are soft and comfortable.

The shoe’s last and stack heights remain unchanged. So, Peg fans will feel at home with the comfortable yet performance-oriented fit that’s just snug enough. And the fairly elevated heel is a constant: The Peg 41 still has a 10mm drop, with a 34mm stack height under the heel. That’s going to feel chunky to runners who have become accustomed to lower drops in recent years, but it’s still a sweet spot for many—especially those of us prone to sore Achilles tendons.

It’s funny to think that a 24mm forefoot is thin by today’s standards, but it is—and it feels firm as a result. Part of that sensation is also due to the Air unit. Nike has stuck with a two-bag design—separate units under the heel and forefoot—and, if you’re sensitive to what’s happening under your foot, like me, you’ll notice the fairly rigid bag. That’s been common in recent iterations of the Peg, and Bignell mentioned that Nike spent time on the placement of the bag, questioning, “How do you drop that into the shoe?”

However you drop it in there, it’s here to stay because it delivers better energy return than any foam that Nike’s ever tested. That’s the key reason Nike has kept the bags in the Alphafly 3, despite the revolutionary new foams and carbon-fibre plates that have entirely upended the sport of running.

Thomas Hengge

The Peg 41 is a sporty daily trainer.

One Runner’s Take

Our usual testing process involves about a dozen pairs of each shoe model, distributed among the nearly 300 local runners who test shoes for us. That, admittedly, didn’t happen here; we got an early sample in my size, but will wait for more to test closer to the shoe’s actual release date. That said, I’ve been running for almost 40 years and testing shoes at RW for nearly two decades—I’ve run in 48 different models this year, at the time this article was published. So, I have a pretty good feel for what’s happening within a shoe, even though I like to see how our wear-testers find a shoe fares.

I received my sample in early March, just as the weather in eastern Pennsylvania began to turn springlike. I quickly learned I was thankful for temps in the 50s and higher, because the upper on this Peg is fairly breathable, even with its two-layer mesh construction. You don’t get chilly, but it certainly isn’t a shoe to be stomping through snow drifts.

Settling into a relatively flat lunch run with my Runner’s World colleagues, the first mile was a slog. This wasn’t the shoe’s fault—I was just one week removed from running the Osaka Marathon in Japan and traveling 25 hours to get back home. I was wiped out and still battling jet lag. And, despite adding a frowning emoji to my training log entry that day, I’m pleased to report that we worked down to mid 7:00 pace by the end of the five-miler (my marathon pace wasn’t much faster). On paper, the shoe seems heavy—it weighs a half ounce more than the Peg 40 in my size—but doesn’t feel heavy on foot.

Thomas Hengge

The waffle outsole has tread that rivals some trail shoes.

A month later, with some bounce returning to my legs, the shoe was still delivering me some zip. And on this run, I discovered one of its brightest spots remains: the outsole. Nike has used various iterations of its waffle sole over the decades, and the Peg 41 continues to use a diamond-shaped version of that, similar to what we saw on last year’s model. I won’t call them lugs, but the tread is nearly as toothy as you’ll find on some trail shoes. It gives enough bite and has enough coverage that I was able to remain sure-footed on a rainy run—cloudy skies gave way to a downpour during my 45-minute window to run. I came back waterlogged, but the Peg proved to be plenty stable.

On subsequent runs, the frowning emoji turned into a smiley face.

Expanding the Franchise

Nike has often leveraged the Pegasus platform for variations over the years, like Peg Trail and Gore-Tex models. And I still miss the Peg Turbo! Anybody remember that short-lived shoe? It was basically a lightweight Peg with a sporty ZoomX midsole that was a bouncy bundle of joy. It disappeared around the time COVID-19 appeared.

Courtesy of Nike

Nike says the Pegasus Premium will launch in spring 2025.

But the Peg name is making a comeback on an all-new shoe: Pegasus Premium makes its debut next year. I have not touched that shoe yet, but there’s a good bit to be optimistic about.

Bignell tells me that the development team has learned a lot from the Alphafly, with its combination of curved plate and pods. So, for the Pegasus Premium, Nike’s boosting the cushioning power by adding a full-length Air unit placed just below a layer of ZoomX foam (the foam closest to the ground is ReactX). But, they’ve given a curved shape to this Air unit, a la the carbon-fiber plate, so that your foot can take full advantage of that cushioning and energy return without having to flex it. Unlike a plate, the bag doesn’t bend and snap.

Nike says the shoe will launch in autumn 2025. That’s a long wait, but we’ll bring you all the details as soon as we can get pairs to test.



Jeff is Runner-in-Chief for Runner’s World, guiding the brand’s shoes and gear coverage. A true shoe dog, he’s spent more than a decade testing and reviewing shoes. In 2017, he ran in 285 different pairs of shoes, including a streak of 257 days wearing a different model. 

From Runner’s World US

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