Tuesday, July 02, 2019

NIke Zoom Pegasus 36 Turbo 2 Review: More For Real Turbo and a Superb Upper

Article by Sam Winebaum

Nike Zoom Pegasus Turbo 2 ($180)
The Pegasus Turbo 2 can be thought of as as a Pegasus 36 that is lighter ( and it is by 1 oz / 28 g), sleeker, more modern ( upper and combination Zoom X and React foam) but maybe not quite the firm doing anything very decently but not exactly exciting or fun (anymore) workhorse the Peg 36 is.

Turbo’s fit is now Flywire free ( Peg 36 and Turbo 1 have the wires) with a very soft and pliable new lofted mesh upper which while not incredibly commodious is sure is more comfortable for me than the Pegasus 36 or Epic React Flyknit 2’s with comfort similar to but more dialed on its narrower platform than the Peg 36  Trail.. 
Gone is the infamous (for some) but great looking racing stripe replaced by a completely overly free toe box and upper. This new upper and far less tongue and collar padding seems to contribute to a 0.3 oz weight loss compared to the Turbo 1 making the Turbo 2 Nike’s lightest trainer by a fraction of an ounce under the Epic React 2 based on my samples.

While the narrow on the ground platform still clearly favors a closer to midfoot than heel strike and more efficient lighter runners, and the overall midsole outsole geometry does not appear to change much if at all l I found the ride has. Turbo 1 was quite soft and somewhat unstable. Soft for recovery runs but not stable enough to not keep from always having to focus on form.  I passed my pair off to Michael Ellenberger a 1:07 half marathoner who loved his 100 plus miles in them more than I did my many fewer.

Turbo 2 is more stable than Turbo 1, somewhat firmer overall directly on the ground, more directed, with its toe off snappier.  I suspect a firmer outsole or potentially firmer React but as of yet do not have confirmation. I don’t want to hand my pair off to Michael as I did Turbo 1 but in the interests of more perspectives may….

Superb overlay free, highly breathable upper. Nike’s best for me in many years. 
Somewhat firmer more stable feel increases versatility.
Very light for a trainer at 7.75 oz /220 g losing weight over v1.
Taut, snappy yet softer ride differs from others in Nike line.

The on the ground platform remains narrow somewhat over forcing focus on form, although much less so than Turbo 1. 
The midfoot geometry, non decoupled as is Turbo 1 and Epic React 2 could use more decoupling as in the Peg 36 or Vomero 14 to smooth transitions for more heel striking runners.
High price at $180.

Tester Profile
Sam is the Editor and Founder of Road Trail Run. He is 62 with a 2018 3:40 Boston qualifier. Sam has been running for over 45 years and has a 2:28 marathon PR. These days he runs halves in the 1:35-1:41 range and trains 40 miles per week mostly at moderate paces on the roads and trails of New Hampshire and Utah. He is 5'10" tall and weighs about 165 lbs.

Estimated Weight: 7.75 oz / 220  g (men's size 9)
Sample: 7.4 oz / 211 g (men's size 8.5)
Stack Height: to follow but expect same as Turbo 1 at 28mm heel /18mm forefoot, 10mm drop
Available at Running Warehouse July 11 here

Fit and Upper

My pair was at my usual 8.5 and the same size as the Turbo 1. I immediately noticed less pressure over the top of the center toes with no racing stripe in the mix. After a run or two the Turbo 1 stripe became less of an issue for me but it was still present. The fit here seems similar in volume to a Peg 36 and Turbo 1 but with far far less complexity to the upper and how it feels. Gone are the Flywires which in Turbo 1 I had to remember to lace lightly. The upper is very soft, thin, and pliable throughout with seemingly no obvious mid foot support. 

Yet there is plenty from an inner mesh arch wrap  and the vertical woven in green bands and lines. 

The “carrier” mesh for the green woven in support looks like a very fine cord like make up of a monofilament type fibers running longitudinally. Between cords all open to the inner lining so plenty of breathability all over. 
Upfront, dense green woven in material creates the toe bumper. 

This has been a very comfortable low moisture absorbing upper in our recent New Hampshire humidity and heat.

The collars and achilles are completely new. We have a stout quite low heel cup with the rear achilles higher up pliable as are the side walls further forward. 
There are modular pads on the sides on the ankle curving in line with the top of the collar and ending all together just before the achilles area on either side.  
The black lining from lace up plunging down to the rear incorporated the modular pads but also locks the foot to the rear of the shoe. The support arch band (really the inner lining) is thin, as pliable as the rest of the upper, and runs from lace up all the way to the front of the shoe, Nice design. 

There is only a smooth lining and no padding directly at the far rear a bit more than an inch wide. I have had zero issues with irritation or slip. This said socks with some texture to grip the rear achilles are advised. This rear of upper is a  big contrast and a welcome one to the much more padded and high collars of the Turbo 1 and an obvious source of weight loss in the shoe. I have no heel slip but this is clearly a more relaxed and “lighter” on the foot feeling rear hold than Turbo 1. I have a fairly narrow heel but might be concerned about rear hold for very narrow heels.
The tongue is thin with a slightly asymmetrical design at the top.  The top and side of tongue bindings provide the structure and lace and eyelet stay bite standoff as down the middle we have a dense soft mesh with a touch of padding. 
When soft yet secure inner arch band, woven in green mesh structure,  relatively broad fairly stiff eyelet holder, tongue with its standoff along the edges of the tongue are all pulled together at lace up one gets a very comfortable zero pressures fit, a huge contrast to the very snug Flywired Pegasus 36 fit or the plasticky stiff upper of the Turbo 1 with its Flywire trying to hold it all together and awkwardly at that.

The midsole is made up of two materials: ZoomX high energy return foam as in the VaporFly below the foot and denser React foam below that. In my sample, the lime green is the Zoom X foam and the white the React. One can see a slightly greater proportion of Zoom X thickness at the forefoot which leads to a soft bouncy return on toe off while overall the React provides the structure and stability, along with the outsole to the platform. There is no carbon plate here as in Zoom Fly or the Vapor Fly and the flat mid foot geometry is less dynamic than those two yet...one toes have a touch of that springy toe off sensation of those two in the Turbo.
The feel is quite unique and a bit hard to describe. One way might be to call the midsole feel “taut” yet springy. While the Epic React has a dull yet well cushioned light feel, here we combine some of that React feel with the obvious spring and dynamism of the Zoom X foam. In the Turbo 1 the combination was off for me, quite unstable and overly soft especially upfront. Here, and while for sure this is not a broad platform the midsole outsole combination is more dynamic and somewhat more stable overall. Quite frankly less scary feeling and faster feeling!  I am not sure what has changed but suspect first the outsole is firmer and secondarily maybe also the React layer.   

The outsole is divided into front and rear pads with a large expanse of flat exposed React foam between at midfoot. I suppose this expanse helps stabilize the narrow mid foot platform but as in the Epic React which shares a similar outsole midsole on the ground general design I wish for more decoupling between heel and forefoot as the Pegasus 36, Vomero 14, and for that matter most competitors have. 

The outsole is firm and should prove durable. I suspect, but am not sure it is firmer than the Turbo 1's, contributing to the more stable and snappier ride with the center filled in strip of outsole playing a more noticed role 

The words that come to mind to describe the Turbo 2 ride are “taut” and soft over firm.  By taut I mean the underfoot feel is narrow and directed. This is not a ride to get sloppy with although it is distinctly improved for me over the soft and quite unstable ride of Turbo 1. There is a distinct “groove” as in the VaporFly 4% requiring some focus to land centered and off the narrow heel but here instead of a plunge forward to the plate we have a very distinct single very snappy flex point with in front due to the full outsole coverage a quite stiff front of the shoe,  That mid foot expanse of flat React is felt. It does stabilize but for me puts a bit of a hitch in transitions. As pace picks up this snappy front of the shoe starts to shine. The combination of outsole, thin layer of React and then under the toes Zoom X makes for a fairly thin, initially soft then a firmer feel at toe off making the shoe quite responsive. Turbo 1 had a softer overall front feel which I found not particularly dynamic or stable leaving me wondering what the shoe was really best for.. Now we have a ride that is more daly trainer than recovery easy miles shoe, closer to a Pegasus but without that shoe’s harshness yet with a serious no nonsense straight ahead go faster feel
The Pegasus Turbo 2 successfully updates the initial version with a superb simple and effective upper which as a bonus reduces weight making it Nike’s lightest trainer and potentially a better pairing with the VaporFly than the new Zoom Fly 3 which gains weight over its predecessor. The ride is tightened up and is more taut, somehow, making Turbo 2 more stable and snappier if still with a narrow on the ground in feel. I do wish for more decoupling to ease transitions. Efficient lighter runners with consistent form and a light heel strike seeking a somewhat softer ride and overall more comfortable fit and feel than the Pegasus or those who found the Epic React upper constraining and its ride a bit dull without the ZoomX of the Turbo 2 in the mix should find it a more suitable shoe for daily training and up tempo work than Turbo 1. Given the lightweight and great cushion it could also serve as race shoe for those who don’t want to go all the way to the Vaporfly. 
Sam’s Score: 8.7/10
Ride (50%): 8.5,  Fit (30%): 9.5, Value (15%): 7.5   Style (5%): 10


Read Michael Ellenberger's Zoom Pegasus Turbo 2 100 mile review 

Zoom Pegasus Turbo 1 (RTR Review)
Turbo 2 is not as soft upfront and is more stable and slightly more responsive while retaining the silky spring of Zoom X. Turbo 2 has a far superior upper. Turbo 2 a clear choice,

Zoom Pegasus 36 (RTR Review)
Turbo 2 has a more relaxed, and effective lighter upper and a softer livelier ride. Not quite the stable workhorse, and great value the Peg 36 is, I prefer the livelier Turbo. 

Pegasus 36 Trail (RTR Review)
Want a somewhat softer Pegasus with a wider fit with road (very fine there) and trail versatility? The Trail is a more versatile option than the Turbo but does not have the taut snappy feel of the Turbo or its light weight as it checks in at about 1.5 oz heavier.

Epic React Flyknit 2 (RTR Review)
While improved in fit over its first version, the Epic React upper has no where near the comfort of the Peg Turbo’s although it does have a slightly more secure fit. I am not a fan of Flyknit and am a huge fan of the new lofted mesh in the Turbo. Underfoot the addition of the layer of Zoom X puts some life into the dull for me React alone midsole of  the Epic React. They weigh about the same with the Turbo a touch less. The Epic React while not as much fun to run is slightly more stable overall.

Zoom Vomero 14 (RTR Review)
The Vomero is a step up in rear and front stability as it has a clearly broader on the ground platform which comes at the cost of additional weight. It is similar to the Turbo in having a lively forefoot toe off.  It could make a good recovery and heavy mileage pairing with Turbo. 

New Balance Fresh Foam Beacon 2 (RTR Review)
Slightly lighter at 7.5 oz, the Beacon moves some stack to the forefoot and reduces stack at the heel when compared to the Turbo for a lower drop flatter, broader more stable feel. Beacon’s ride is not as exciting but should prove more reliable and easier to run consistently for most if a light light shoe is your preference. It too has a superb if somewhat less breathable upper. In the weight, cushion, and performance class both live in it is pretty hard to justify the $60 premium for the Turbo.  

New Balance Fuelcell Propel (RTR Review)
Whereas the Turbo has a taut spring feel to its midsole, the Propel is bouncier.  At more than an ounce heavier it nonetheless runs light and lively. Propel is a better choice as a daily trainer while Turbo leans more towards uptempo and shorter distances for me. As with the Beacon the price difference is substantial, $70 less for the Propel.  

Read reviewers' full run bios here
The product reviewed was purchased at retail. The opinions herein are the author's.
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