The new Nike Zoom Pegasus Turbo is ‘designed to make you faster’ – it even has words printed on the shoe to the same effect. It is an everyday version of the Nike Zoom Vaporfly Elite/4% (aka the shoes Eliud Kipchoge wore when he ran his 2:00:24 marathon), with a supposed 85% energy return thanks to the ZoomX foam midsole. This should give you an extra spring in your step and propel you forward, ultimately leading to faster running times.
Sounds pretty good, right? But there’s often a difference between marketing and reality, so the best way to find out is to actually try the shoe. I was lucky enough to be sent a pair as part of the #intersporttestlab campaign, to try out and see for myself if they’re as good as what Nike says. Normally the Pegasus Turbos retail at 180€, which is extortionately high for a pair of running shoes and I would be reluctant to spend that kind of money.
At first look, I think they’re very pretty. The stripe down the middle is an interesting design choice, but I like it. I think it makes them stand out: in every photo you can instantly see that these are the Pegasus Turbos. Some people have likened the look to those rented, don’t-sniff-them-because-thousands-of-people’s-feet-have-already-been-in-them ten-pin bowling shoes, and while I can certainly see the similarity of the stripe, it doesn’t bother me. I also love that the colour, although straddling the line between pink and orange, is the same for men and women. (Men also have a blue option, which I hope becomes available in ladies’ sizes soon).
Popping them on, they felt good straight away – but not perfect. These are not a structured shoe, but I was pleasantly surprised to still find a decent amount of cushioning beneath my arches. You can feel the softness of the foam and the shoe itself is incredibly light: ~200g for the women’s shoe, so it certainly doesn’t feel like you’re clomping around. My problem was with the fit of the shoe itself on my foot. I have fairly wide feet, and the toebox was just on the edge of being too snug. Conversely though the back part of the shoe was too loose, and I ended up having to use the heel lock (the extra lace hole found on most running shoes) to keep it snug around my heel and ankle. I’ve never had to do this on any other pair of shoes, but once it was in place I no longer felt like my foot was going to slide out the top.
To test out the shoe, I wore them on a variety of runs: an easy run, a track session and for a long run. They’re very versatile and I found they performed in each situation. Sometimes I feel like a shoe is too ‘thin’ to run in for a long time, or too heavy to allow for speedwork, but the Pegasus Turbo’s didn’t have any of those problems. The lightness is ideal for fast running, and yet the foam means they still feel great over longer distances – essentially a great everyday shoe.
One part of the shoe I haven’t yet discussed is the heel collar: that extra bit of foam which sticks out the back. It looks a bit funny, but is designed to reduce the stress on your achilles tendon. In fact, the heel of the shoe is where most of the foam is located. If you’re a heel-striker, these shoes will really look after you. Personally I’ve taught myself over time to strike the ground with my forefoot, so the special engineering is a bit lost on me. I do know that I tend to lose my form in the latter stages of a marathon though, so this is probably the time when the heel collar will help me out.
So the big question is: do they make you go faster? Personally I don’t believe that a pair of shoes will magically make you faster (it’s certainly no substitute for proper training!), but from all my testing the Nike Zoom Pegasus Turbos do feel good to me. For an ‘everyday’ shoe they certainly don’t come at an ‘everyday’ price, so I think they are a pair for runners who are financially invested in their running success. I’ve decided that these will be the shoes for my upcoming autumn marathon season, and while I’m not relying on them to bring me a PB, I hope that they will accompany me on the journey to achieving it!
Note: I was sent the Nike Zoom Pegasus Turbo to test, but all opinions are my own