The Legacy of the Nike Pegasus, as told by Joan Benoit Samuelson
Introduced in 1983 as “the shoe for every runner,” the Nike Pegasus has earned a reputation in the running community as a trusted, dependable training shoe. The Pegasus has undergone major technology shifts — though incrementally — while gracing the feet of both recreational and elite runners. That small detail is its magic: The Pegasus’ evolution has been made step by step through each model, leaving runners with a shoe that they know intimately well, a relationship that continues with the new Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 37.
One runner who has a special relationship with the Pegasus is Joan Benoit Samuelson, who made a last-minute swap to run in the shoe in 2008 for a pivotal race in Boston. She had regularly worn the Pegasus for more than 30 years (before that, she trained in now-classic silhouettes such as the Daybreak, Odyssey and Althea). But the switch into the Pegasus for the race was all the proof she needed to rely on the silhouette’s fit, responsive ride, lightweight feel and durability when she needed to rise to the occasion.
Thinking back to the earliest Pegasus models, Samuelson is reminded of the value in the line’s iterative progress.
“The innovation, the design and the function of the Pegasus have come so far, but in thoughtful and calculated steps,” she says. “You want to evolve that way if you want to keep the devoted, knowledgeable runner. Throughout my career, when I wasn’t sure whether I was able to go the distance, the Pegasus was my go-to shoe.”
What’s New (and Familiar) About the Pegasus 37
- Designers of the Pegasus transitioned from a full-length Zoom Air bag to a forefoot Zoom Air bag (the forefoot is where you rebound from the ground, and need an airbag the most).
- The bag is twice as thick as the Pegasus 36 Zoom Air bag, offering more energy return.
- The team top-loaded the Nike Air Zoom technology into React foam for the midsole. React foam is lighter, more responsive and more durable than the previous Cushlon foam.
- The translucent upper gives the shoe a lightweight, feather-like look.
- An updated midfoot enables a fit band to secure your foot
- The color shift across the lateral side of the shoe highlights the placement of the Zoom Air bag in the forefoot.
- The silhouette maintains a heel collar that tapers away from the Achilles tendon — a design influenced by direct athlete feedback.
- The familiar waffle rubber outsole helps provide trusted durability.
- With every update made to the Pegasus during the years, runner benefits and design focus remain on improving comfort and fit.