Tuesday, August 06, 2019

Nike Zoom Pegasus Turbo 2 100-Mile Review: Channeling the Squish!

Article by Michael Ellenberger 

Nike Zoom Pegasus Turbo 2 ($180)
Before you read this 100-mile update review, I want you to go onto Nike’s website (specifically, to this link, the product listing of the new Pegasus Turbo 2) and watch the little animation that loops when you’re browsing the show. Focus on the midsole of the shoe when the model-runner puts his weight into a footstrike. Look at the squish of the ZoomX foam as pressure is applied to it. This shoe is soft, and even when Sam and I say it’s firmer than the original (it is! I promise) - if you want a shoe that is firm by firm standards, not just by Pegasus Turbo standards, than this may not be for you. Keep that in mind as we consider the following…The 
The Nike Pegasus 35 Turbo was the first shoe I ever reviewed for Road Trail Run (and oddly, while last year’s Turbo bore the “35” numerals of its non-Turbo counterpart, this year has not included 36, but has gained the number “2”). My first run in them was a track workout, 4 x 1 mile. Emboldened by the fresh new kicks, I went to the track one dewey morning and had a great session - one of many on my way to a big half-marathon PR, and an overall successful 2018 of racing. “Maybe this shoe could do it all,” I wrote. 

Hard cut to 2019. The Pegasus 35 Turbo was one of the most divisive shoes of the year, with some loving the squish, and others despising the ways in which your energy was seemingly sucked into the midsole (and don’t get me started on that racing stripe). The original Turbo was, in the end, not the shoe that could do it all. It was relegated to being a recovery-day shoe for me, a milage hog for the days where my legs just needed a little marshmallow fluff underneath them. That 2018 track session had gone well… but it wasn’t really the shoes. The Turbo… 2

Enter the Nike Zoom Pegasus Turbo 2. Gone is the racing stripe. Conserved is the generous layer of ZoomX midsole. Our shoe guru Sam has already detailed the revitalized Pegasus Turbo 2 in a complete written review, and an in-depth Youtube look, but after putting a shade over one hundred miles on the PT2s, I have some thoughts. 

This time, I’m not going to say the Turbo 2 can do it all. I’m not going to say this is the one perfect shoe. But in over 100 miles - and with paces between 4:30 and 9:30 minute miles onboard - I am confident in saying the Turbo 2 is a notably better shoe than its predecessor. It is a robust, more competent daily trainer, and well worth considering for your next go-to shoe. It’s not perfect, but darn if it isn’t great.

The ride here is considerably smoother than on the original Turbo - as I wrote in my introduction, yes - this is a very soft shoe. But it’s not extremely soft, and some tweaks to the midsole (whether it be the composition of the ZoomX itself, the React layer, the outsole or location of different structural elements or some combination, I don’t know) have really livened up the shoe. There’s actually some decent stiffness of the midsole at faster paces. Now, with all of this in mind, go back to that Nike.com tab and those product shots of the Turbo 2 being compressed. Think about this “decent stiffness.” It’s all relative, runners. The Nike Pegasus 36, for example, is a considerably firmer ride underfoot. The Hoka One One Carbon X - oh, baby. You feel the carbon in that one. So the firmness of the Turbo 2 is not to be taken too literally… but it is there! And it is a substantial improvement over the original iteration, providing enough support and bounce-back that faster paces don’t feel muddled or lost in the cushion.

Sam, in his review pointed to a slight instability due to a narrower last. I didn’t have any issues in this regard, but the shoe is slightly narrower than the first generation. For me, the most significant step back from the Turbo to the Turbo 2 is the upper. The disappearance of the racing stripe is a positive change, it’s true, but the old upper had a much more comfortable fit around the ankle and laces, on my foot. Gone on the Turbo 2 are the padded tongue and heel collar, replaced with thinner, sharper, more racing-inspired elements. They didn’t present problems - I had no blisters or hot spots across all ranges of hot weather - but I just didn’t find the upper to be as comfortable, or as refined, as on the Turbo 1. In the upper change mix one also has to consider the likely drop in weight of approximately 0.25 oz / 7 g resulting in a very commendable 7.75 oz /220 g for a size 9.

Durability, fortunately, has been a highpoint - the outsole of mine (with somewhere north of 150 miles in total) shows no significant wear, and the pentagonal pattern is still providing sufficient traction. And good thing, too - because at $180 USD, the Pegasus Turbos are not cheap. It's hard to really say they're worth it (when there are many, many offerings coming in well below that price point that I love), but if running shoes are where you choose to spend your rainy day money - these should last you a long while.


So where does that leave us? The Turbo 2 is an excellent trainer. It's soft, it's responsive enough, and it's darn comfortable, despite the heel missing that extra-plush padding. ZoomX is still a bit of a mystery - aesthetically-questionable wrinkles included - and the one-year-only racing stripe is missed, if only hypothetically. It made the shoe stand out, at least. But really, the Turbo 2 is terrific, and these 100 miles have been my best of the summer - I've run workouts, long runs, and easy days without that "shoe insecurity" that can creep in when you think maybe you could have worn something better (okay, I wore the New Balance Fuelcell 5280 for a mile time-trial - more on those rocket ships to come). In 2018, I hoped the Pegasus Turbo was the one shoe to do it all. In 2018, I didn't ask the same of the Turbo 2 - but it came a lot closer. Can't wait to see what 2020 can bring.

Score (out of 10)

Nike Zoom Pegasus Turbo 2: 9.6/10
-0.2 for a thin tongue that slides laterally
-0.2 for a sharper, less-comfortable heel collar compared to the OG.

Read Sam's full written review of the Pegasus Turbo 2 here


Nike Zoom Pegasus 36 (RTR Review)

This is the obvious comparison (though with the Turbo 2 dropping the "36" moniker, it is possible Nike is beginning to detach the two models). I came away largely impressed with the Pegasus 36 as a solid, everyday trainer - the same field occupied by the Turbo 2. But while the Pegasus 36 approaches this in a firm, almost-no frills way, the Turbo 2 is plush and soft. They could almost not be more different rides, and it's ultimately going to come down to the preference of the runner to see which of these works best.

Nike Zoom Fly Flyknit (RTR Review)

The Zoom Fly 3 is out now, but I haven't had an opportunity to test it. But the Fly FK remains on the market as a capable racer-trainer hybrid, and presents a third option in the Pegasus-Turbo-Fly spectrum. In a word - the Pegasus is firm, the Turbo is soft, the Fly is springy. It's a sensation I really enjoy, and the Fly FK was one of my absolute favorite trainers of 2018. The Turbo isn't quite as fun to run in, but should find a wider audience as an everyday trainer than the Fly. Plus, the upper of the Turbo should fit a lot more feet than the narrow mesh of the Flyknit.

Reebok Harmony Road 3 (RTR Review)

A more recent review from us here at RTR; the Turbo 2 is a more well-rounded choice than the Harmony Road 3, despite some definite quality in the HR3 midsole. Those who really crave the signature TPU bounce may give the Harmony a try, but I think the more tailored fit of the Turbo 2's upper will appeal to more runners (and the ZoomX midsole is no slouch).

New Balance FuelCell Propel (RTR Review)

New Balance has made a really, really terrific offering in the Propel, but I think the Nike is an overall better shoe. There are 2 runners who should give the Propel extra-serious consideration, though: those with wider feet (who may find better accommodations in the New Balance) and the price-conscious (at $70 less than the Nike, the NB looks like a downright bargain).

Enda Lapatet (RTR Review)

I've set it before, and will undoubtedly say it again - Enda is a brand that I hope finds more widespread success in the American market. The trainers are made in Kenya and the Lapatet is by far a superior shoe for most runners than the Iten (more of a racing flat/trainer hybrid) but is certainly a more firm sensation than on the Turbo. Once the Lapatets are more widely available, runners seeking a firmer sensation should take note (but as with the Peg 36, it will come down to what style fits your style).

Michael Ellenberger
Michael is a 2019 graduate of Northwestern University Law School in Chicago, with an interest in patent and intellectual property law. Prior to law school, he competed collegiately at Washington University in St. Louis (10,000m PR of 30:21). He recently finished 2nd at the Chicago Half-Marathon in a PR of 67:43, and was the top Illinois finisher in the 2017 Boston Marathon (2:33:03, 82nd overall). He recently secured a 2:31 marathon PR at the Austin Marathon. Michael is a gadget and running nerd, and has pipe dreams of running the Olympics Trials marathon standard. His pre-race breakfast is, and will always be, Pop-Tarts.
The product reviewed was purchased at retail. The opinions herein are the author's.
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Greg S said...

Seems to have lost some of the ooooo ahhhhh comfort from Version 1, which I loved for a recovery and all around walking shoe.

I thought nothing changed in the lower portion, so I am confused on how people think it is firmer? Nike didnt confirm a single change other than the upper, so is this placebo?

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi Greg,
Absolutely not placebo. Nike rarely says much when it comes to the details of what may have changed in a shoe. It is clearly somewhat firmer and more stable for me particularly up front. More "taut" overall is the word I used in my review. I suspect either the React portion or outsole is firmer. I found it more trainer for sure than recovery shoe as v1 was.
Sam, Editor

Dennis Chui said...

For most people $180 is a lot of money for a trainer. I bought the first version when it was under heavy discount, and I don't like the cramped toe box. NB Beacon now is just selling for $90 and I see more value in it.

Anonymous said...

I bought the Reebok Harmony road 3 and found it better for my wider foot, it was more stable and a lot cheaper.

Michael said...

@Dennis - absolutely. Most running shoes, at full retail, are a big commitment (especially when last year's versions are often available for less). But the Turbo 2 *is* a terrific trainer, absent the price, and for some it's a worthwhile purchase.

Jeff said...

I am still getting used to version 2 -- the more plush ankle padding/tongue made this an unbelievably versatile shoe for me. I ran track workouts, did marathon training long runs, mellow trail runs, and even ran a trail 50k on the PCT and ran the 2018 Javelina Jundred (100 mile mellow-ish trail race in AZ) in version 1. To me, best all-around shoe ever. Hopefully the thinner upper will be as comfortable/blister free. I just need a trail version (and yes, I know about the Pegasus Trail, need a Peg Turbo trail!)

Anonymous said...

We both seem to really like the Turbo2, Propel, and EvoRide, Michael. That said, my T2's midsole is nearing its end (400k), and I wonder whether there is place for another pair when I am basically set with those other two shoes. What's your take on this first-world problem? Get another (heavily discounted right now) pair of T2, or keep enjoying the Propels for very easy days, and the EvoRide for everything else?