Review of the Nike React Pegasus Trail 4
The Nike Pegasus Trail 3 was one of the best trail running shoes out there, standing out as a road-to-track cruiser that was equally at home on asphalt as it was on light trails. However, it struggled to find grip in the wet and weighed 11.4oz/326g in my UK 9, which isn’t incredibly high for a trail shoe, but was heavy enough to reduce my enjoyment of the shoe at times.
Someone at Nike HQ agreed with those comments, as updates to the Pegasus Trail 4 have made it a lighter shoe with an improved outsole. It’s still not the shoe you want on loose or wet trails, but it’s a comfortable and versatile road-to-trail option.
Nike React Pegasus Trail 4 review: price and availability
The Nike Pegasus Trail 4 is available now and costs $140 in the US and £114.95 in the UK. That’s a $10 increase from the price of the Pegasus Trail 3 in the US, but the price remained the same in the UK. My sample for this review was provided by Sports Shoes (opens in a new tab).
Design and fit
The Pegasus Trail 4 has a mesh upper that doesn’t offer a lot of protective overlays or even a toe bumper, indicating its purpose as a shoe for light trails rather than rough terrain where you could regularly hit roots and rocks.
Nike have used their Flywire system around the midfoot to help create a secure fit, while padding around the collar helps hold the heel in place. I found it to be true to size with the perfect amount of room in the toe box, whereas the Pegasus Trail 3 was too roomy in the front and I could have gone half a size down.
The midsole is still comprised of Nike’s React foam, which provides a dull yet protective ride. It’s a well-cushioned shoe that’s comfortable on the road, while the firmer feel of the foam means it’s still stable on uneven ground.
Compared to the wide, flat lugs on the Pegasus Trail 3 outsole, the 4’s lugs are smaller and there are more of them, especially on the forefoot. This should help the shoe bite into soft ground in particular, although it’s still better suited to firmer trails.
The Pegasus Trail 4 weighs 10.3oz / 294g (UK size 9), a significant drop in weight from the Pegasus Trail 3, which is 11.4oz.
How I tested this shoe
I tested the Pegasus Trail 4 on a range of terrain on four courses, all of which involved a mix of road and trail running. Near my home I’ve ridden forest tracks, park trails and canal towpaths, and also used it on hills in the Forest of Bowland in Lancashire. I also tested the Pegasus Trail 3 and the Pegasus 36 Trail (the original Pegasus Trail shoe, basically the Pegasus Trail 1).
The running performance
While the updates to the shoe looked great on paper, I was concerned that the redesigned outsole would make it less comfortable on the road than the 3. Luckily, those fears were unfounded. It remains a great shoe for road running, with the protective stack of React cushioning dampening impact and providing rebound.
The outsole now offers better off-road grip. Where the Pegasus Trail 3 would get unpredictable and a little dangerous in wet conditions, the Pegasus Trail 4 does a better job sticking to rocks and biting through mud.
It’s still not a shoe you’d want to use for long distances on technical or muddy terrain: on steep descents with loose gravel underfoot, I had to be careful not to overshoot corners. But if you primarily use the Pegasus Trail 4 on light trails, you don’t have to worry about traversing short stretches of wet ground.
The reduced weight is also an improvement, making the shoe more comfortable to wear on long climbs or picking up the pace on flat sections. While I mostly stuck to easy runs, I made an effort to progress finishing at around 3min 40s/km on the road and felt nimble and responsive underfoot in the same way as the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 39 road shoe.
Is the Nike Pegasus Trail 4 worth it?
The Nike Pegasus Trail 4 is one of the best road-to-trail shoes available, exceptionally comfortable on the road while having the grip required for long distances on light trails. It’s an even more attractive option for those looking for a versatile shoe now that it’s lighter and more reliable in the wet than its predecessor.
There are, however, compelling alternatives. The Inov-8 Parkclaw G 280 is a road-to-track shoe that offers better grip than the Nike on a range of terrains. I’ve yet to find any trails the Parkclaw can’t handle and it’s still surprisingly comfortable on the road, if not as cushioned as the Pegasus Trail 4. I rate the Inov-8 a bit higher than the Nike overall, but it’s a lot more expensive at $180/£160.
The Hoka Speedgoat 5 is another great option that is suitable for virtually any terrain and any distance due to the large cushioning stack and rocker design, which provides a smooth ride. I prefer the Pegasus Trail 4 over the Nike Terra Kiger 8 on all fronts, with the Pegasus being more comfortable and lighter, and both shoes having a similar level of grip. It will take its place in our roundup of the best Nike running shoes.