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Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 39 Performance Review

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9:18 am
June 23, 2022


tinmy2014

Seasoned Veteran

Posts: 709

1

The Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 39 changes things up in several ways from the well-reviewed Nike Pegasus 38. Some of the changes are improvements while others are head-scratching. Whether you’ll like the Pegasus 39 will depend on how big you are and how you run.


Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 39

Release Date: June 2022

Price: $130

Weight: M 9.5oz, W 8.0oz

Drop: 10mm

Sizing: True to size, runs slightly narrow, a wide version is available if needed

  • Rundown: The Nike Pegasus 39 is a lightweight, comfortable running shoe with a curious cushion downgrade from the Pegasus 38 that keeps it from achieving a higher rating.

Pros

  • Light Build
  • Great Comfort & Lockdown
  • Durable Outsole

Cons

  • Cushion Downgrade
  • Price Increase

Pros

Light Build

While any upper is an improvement over the debacle that was the Air Jordan upper, the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 39 takes the upper improvements of the Pegasus 38 to a new level. The Pegasus 38 was comfortable, but the Pegasus 39 is comfortable, super lightweight, and more breathable. Nike took three layers down to two and the difference is very noticeable during hot, humid summer miles. It’s the sort of barely-there but supportive upper that runners crave. Plus, it feels great on foot. More about that in our next item.

Great Comfort & Lockdown

The lighter upper of the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 39 puts less material on top of your foot but keeps the fully gusseted, nicely padded tongue. The Achilles padding increases significantly in a way that feels great and helps keep the heel down inside the shoe and improves overall lockdown. And while I don’t love Flywire strand lacing, it does what it’s supposed to do and keeps the midfoot secure. The upper is probably my favorite part of this shoe.

One note for my wide-footed friends. The Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 39 is still on the narrower side of shoes but is available in a wide version. I’d recommend all wide footers go with the wide version if they’re looking to try the Pegasus 39.

Durable Outsole

The outsole of the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 39 is very similar to the Pegasus 38 with some slight tweaks in the pattern. The result is the same. A consistently grippy thick and durable rubber outsole that will last longer than the shoe’s cushioning.

Cons

Cushion Downgrade

And now we get to the worst part of the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 39. Last year’s version featured a React foam midsole and a huge, articulated Zoom Air bag in the forefoot. This year’s version loses a bit of the React foam, trades in the large volume Zoom Air bag in the forefoot for a typical oval Zoom bag, and adds a standard rectangular bag at the heel.

On the face of it, the changes don’t seem that extreme, but on foot, it feels much different. The impact protection is significantly lessened whether you land forefoot, midfoot, or heel. Landing on the ground is not near as plush, bouncy, or as smooth as the previous version. This cushioning setup doesn’t compete well with most neutral cushioned trainers from Nike’s competitors. It’s most similar in feel to the Brooks Launch 9, a shoe on the lower end of Brooks’ cushioning spectrum.

The cushioning on the Pegasus 39 is ok if you’re a smaller runner or someone who lands lightly. But the main audience here at WearTesters is larger athletes who’ve transitioned from other sports. Most of our audience tend to prefer plush, bouncy cushioning. Unfortunately, the Pegasus 39 doesn’t deliver it.

Price Increase

It’s tough to blame Nike for the inflationary environment, but the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 39 jumps $10 despite less investment going into the most expensive part of the shoe, the midsole cushioning setup. I can’t recommend paying a premium when you ultimately get less protection underfoot. Unless you’re a Pegasus superfan and try every model, you’ve got better options at the $130 price point.

Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 39 Summary

The Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 39 nails everything except the cushioning and price. If you’re a lighter, smaller runner, you’ll likely have a great experience with the Pegasus 39. If you’re bigger, taller, or a heavy lander, you’ll want to look elsewhere for your daily running shoe.

Pros

  • Light Build
  • Great Comfort & Lockdown
  • Durable Outsole

Cons

  • Cushion Downgrade
  • Price Increase

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