Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Nike Pegasus Trail 2 Multi Tester Review: Smoother Trails (and Roads) Cruiser

Article by Renee Krusemark, Jeff Beck, and Sam Winebaum

Nike Pegasus Trail 2 ($130)


Estimated Weight: men's 10.65 oz / (US9)   9.24oz/262g  women's / (US8)

  Samples:10.4 oz /295g US M8.5, 9.24oz/262g USW8, 11.5oz/326g US M10.5

Stack Height: 31mm heel / 21mm forefoot, 10mm drop

(to be confirmed, may not include insole and/or outsole as Jeff measured 28mm forefoot compared to 23mm for Wildhorse 6 which measured as Nike spec )

Available now.  $130


Sam: The Pegasus Trail 2 arrives with new naming, losing the numbering scheme of the road Pegasus, the dual front and rear air bags, and the Cushlon main midsole. 

It gets a full React midsole and trail focused upper along with a stout outsole called out by Nike as suitable for some road on the way to trails.

The weight based on our samples increases to 10.65 oz /307 g right in the range of heavier duty trail shoes such as the Salomon Sense Ride 3, Saucony Peregrine 10 and Mad River 2 as well as the slightly heavier Hoka Speedgoat 4. 

So what do we have here? A more door to trail shoe such as the Pegasus 36 Trail, a more pure trail runner to slot above the Kiger 6 for longer efforts? And how does it fit in with the Wildhorse 6, a shoe with very similar stats and React midsole but a less continuous outsole and different upper.

We’ll try to get to the bottom of it.  Please read on.



Very forgiving softer ride yet also dynamic and decently stable with plenty of response. All paces and surfaces felt good with none of the usual firmer harshness of many trail shoes on hard surfaces

Smooth easy transitions at all paces and on all surfaces, a notably easy and fast climber

Upper is comfortable, roomy, and decently secure. A long days on moderate trails fit.

Firmer rubber, full outsole has great ground contact, decent grip, and provides stability to the soft React foam midsole


Great midsole; soft for long distances yet responsive for faster paces

Feels much lighter than its weight

Breathable across the upper


Comfortable midsole with plenty of underfoot protection

Great traction in dry dirt and wide platform

Upper is breathable and roomy

Road performance doesn’t suffer for being a trail-centric shoe

Don’t be fooled by the listed weight



Faux gaiter top of upper is useful but would prefer that foam collar rose higher for more top of collar support towards the lace up

Low toe box on try on. Don’t be fooled by initial sensation that the decently wide toe box is low. A few miles pack and stretch things,

Outsole performed on all surfaces tested so far (hard dirt, dry rock, road, light sand over hard) except fine gravel over hard and hard packed snow where there was some slip. Edge profiles of lugs not aggressive enough?


Slightly low height in toe box

Very unstable on uneven surfaces

Upper across the lacing could be refined


Underfoot protection wears out around mile 10 of runs, could use a rock plate

Not the shoe for technical trails, even mildly technical pushes the shoe past ability

Upper has a little extra slop around the midfoot

Tester Profiles

Renee is a former U. S. Marine journalist, which is when her enjoyment of running and writing started. She isn’t that awesome of a runner, but she tries really hard. Most of her weekly 50-60 miles take place on rural country roads in Nebraska, meaning mud, gravel, dirt, hills, and the occasional field. She runs a half marathon around 1:40 and hopes to get a full marathon at 3:30(ish) some day. Not today. But some day!

Jeff is the token slow runner of the RTR lineup as such his viewpoints on shoe and gear can differ from those who routinely finish marathons in three hours or less. Jeff runs 40 miles per week, both roads and desert trails in Phoenix, Arizona. He has a PR's of 4:07 marathon and 5K at 23:39. In December he raced his first 50 mile trail ultra. 

Sam is the Editor and Founder of Road Trail Run. He is 63 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 just sub 1:40 range training 30-40 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.

First Impressions and Fit

Sam: No doubt fit is true to size for me, maybe a touch voluminous. On first try on, the toe box felt low, often an issue with new shoes. After a few miles things stretched and the insole packed and now there is plenty of broad and well helf room up front.

The tongue is a neoprene like bootie which wraps the mid foot quite securely and easily. The lace throat is quite broad with thin laces which I found can be pulled as tightly as you wish with no bite through the ventilated neoprene tongue.

The heel collar has an extended fabric which Nike calls a “faux gaiter” to keep out debris. Sitting at the top edge of the rear strap is a wrap around cushioned donut of foam. 

The rear heel hold is very good for moderate terrain trails  but I think the donut of foam could extend a little further forward for a touch more support just before the laces,

Renee: The 10mm drop and weight were initially a turn off, but the shoe feels much lighter than its weight and it runs more like an 8mm drop. My first impression is nit-picky because I think the Trail 2 (in its next addition) can be the closest I will get to a trail version of the Vaporfly Next%. Initially, the Trail 2 seemed like a Dr. Frankenstein creation: lots of good parts and ideas from other shoes (Turbo 2, Pegasus 37, Kiger, Wildhorse, Vaporfly) but without direction. 

The shoe is great within its parts, but those parts don’t always work together for a trail shoe. Don’t get me wrong: I like it, and because I like, I want it to be better next time. I wore a women’s size 8, my usual size. My true-to-size is more like the non-existent size 7.75. My size 8 was probably more shoe than I needed, but I’m sure the 7.5 would be short in the toes. If you are in-between half sizes (like me), consider going with the lower half size.

Jeff: Sam broke it down very well, and Renee is right - if you are familiar with many Nike models you can see the inspiration and how it carried over into the Pegasus Trail 2. The faux gaiter was introduced in the Wildhorse 6 (though the Peg Trail 2 version of it a little more streamlined), the back half of the upper appears to be the same material (and in my green/green/blue version, the same color) as the Vaporfly Next% upper, and the midsole feels very similar to the Infinity React, without any of the stability elements. Really Nike didn’t refine last year’s awkwardly named Pegasus Trail 36, it tore it down and rebuilt everything from the ground up. While it seems like they went a completely different route, they did create a very capable road/trail hybrid shoe that I think will fit many runners’ feet with a very generous fit upper that is almost too big in areas. I went with my true-to-size 10.5, and I have had zero issues with sizing.


The upper is an elaborate make up for engineered mesh, welded and stitched on support pieces, printed overlays (toe box) and a toe bumper which is part of the outsole. All of this said ssentially Pegasus Trail 2 has a two piece upper. 

The black toe box and sides of mid foot are a well ventilated pliable mesh. It is thinly lined so very little trail dust gets through. I can’t comment on drainage as of yet, but the holes along the midfoot speak well to drainage potential. During three runs in moderately warm conditions the shoe proved very breathable.

The rear more gray areas (due to trail dust!) are a dense stiffer “ripstop grid” mesh which also extends from lace up forward all the way through the entire lace up area behind the front mesh. (see picture below and above).  All lace loops and the two front deep slot overlays are attached or wrap over that inner stiffer layer which extends down all around about an inch towards the midsole. 

It “looks” a lot like Saucony ISO Fit in being able to accommodate different foot volumes but… the more rigid grid mesh clearly provides more top sides of the foot support than ISO. The mid foot wrap here is fantastic in its comfort and security when combined with the stretchy inner neoprene bootie which extends to the midsole. The laces are thin and I think could be a bit broader to better cover that wide gap between sides.

Instead of a toe bumper integral to the inside of the front of the upper, the Peg Trail 2 has an exterior extension of the outsole wrapping the front as well as  dots of overlay over the mesh. 

The result is a wide high toe box with no interior front pressure and plenty of front protection. I experienced zero slip forward on any downhill including a long moderate pace and grade almost 3000 foot / 1000 foot downhill over 7 miles. 

Renee: I like the upper. It is soft and has a sock like fit on the inside. Because my size 8 seemed a bit long, the upper seemed a bit sloppy. I think that might be because the size 8 is more shoe than I need. If anything, I think the lacing/tongue area could be improved. The laces are long and no matter how tight I laced the shoes, it didn’t seem to lock down enough to counterbalance the weight underneath.  The upper is very breathable, which is great. The drainage is okay during moderate/light rain, but during heavy rain, the shoe was heavy yet still comparable to any shoe that is not waterproof. The toe bumper is cool and not instructive. I did find the toe box height a bit low but not uncomfortable.

Jeff: Trail shoe uppers have to walk a fine line. They can’t be too overbuilt, that leads to excessively heavy shoes that breathe poorly, but they also can’t be too minimal or else you have a shoe that doesn’t give the support needed for running on awkward angles. 

For me, this upper is very good, if not incredible. Even though there are several layers, it breathes very well even as temps hit triple digits. I’ve put 50 miles on them already, with several runs in the 10-14 miles range, and I’ve yet to experience any hot spots or even general foot discomfort from the Arizona summer heat. The bootie inside feels nice, and while the faux gaiter has some functionality, it isn’t as robust as the one Nike used in the Wildhorse 6, which I think is more effective at keeping rocks and pebbles out of the shoe. 

My two main gripes about the upper are minor. First, the midfoot sizing seems a little off. On the medial side there is almost enough extra material to pinch, which doesn’t give the shoe great lockdown for technical running (but there’s more than the upper that keep the PTr2 from excelling on the nasty stuff - more on that below), but there isn’t so much that it created any blisters or wear spots from movement. I would imagine runners with narrow feet will be swimming in the PTr2. 

My second (and even more minimal) gripe has to do with the heel pull tab. I like when shoes include them because they usually make shoes easier to put on - but these seem to be purely aesthetic with almost zero function. There isn’t enough room to put a finger through and pull the shoe over my foot, and the process is made a little more complicated by the faux gaiter. Not the end of the world, but not great either.


Sam: The Peg Trail 2 gets an all React foam midsole. There are no rock plates called out. The prior Pegasus 36 Trail had a Cushlon midsole with front and rear Zoom Air bags. Nike calls out the look of the midsole geometry. 

Yup it looks great but what is really neat is how pleasingly soft with noticed rebound this midsole delivers. And even with a full coverage outsole with only a few slots cut through how smoothly the shoe transitions and fast it feels. We took them on a 4 hour run hike over 15 plus miles of smoother single track climbing close to 3000 feet and first to last mile legs were pleased while at the same time, and always tricky with a softer midsole trail shoe how decently stable they were. Rock protection was more than adequate from the combination of midsole and outsole but not highly technical rocky terrain grade.

The midsole flares out at the heel clearly contributing to the stability and cushion feel with the more subtle front flaring also a plus. And miracle of miracle they have a nice front flex making them climb very well. Of course it is not just the midsole contributing to the cushion and stability here. The outsole is also key.

Renee: Love the midsole. The React form is soft and plush, which was great for longer runs (13.1 or more); during shorter, faster efforts, the midsole provides good energy return and responsiveness.  I was able to do easy (but not slow) longer runs at around 9 min/mile pace (average 100ft elevation gain per mile on rolling hills) and faster 5k repeats. The 5k repeats were at marathon pace (for me an 8min/mile), but I stopped paying attention and ran some 7:10 m/m splits. In short, the Trail 2 is great for versatile paces. Because of the weight, this is not my first choice for a shorter, faster run. For me, I prefer the Trail 2 for the longer distances, at least 13.1 miles and better at the 3-4 hour runs. The stack height and midsole offer comfort for the long run yet the rebound needed to run fast when needed.

Jeff: I’m with both Renee and Sam. This midsole is very good, and has a very comfortable feel. Several of my runs were road to trail, but I also ran two runs of four-to-size miles purely on the road - and they were great there. There’s plenty of protection from the ground, but the protection from rocks is only adequate. I found by the time a trail run had crossed the 10 mile mark, the midsole rock protection was wearing thin. 

Granted, I’m a heavier runner tipping the scale just north of 200 pounds, so lighter runners could easily go longer without issue. I’m still not buying the stated midsole measurements, at least for the 21mm forefoot. Pressing down on the upper and measuring from the top of the midsole to the outsole, I measured just over 28mm for the PTr2. 

Using the same methodology, I got 23.5mm for the Wildhorse 6, which has a stated stack height of 23mm in the forefoot, and wearing them against each other it is very obvious that the PTr2 has more underfoot than the Wildhorse 6.


Sam: The outsole is called out by Nike as also being suitable for door to trail and I agree. The lugs are broad providing lots of contact on smoother harder surfaces. The arrangement is less dense than the Pegasus 36 Trail’s.

The rubber is very firm, yet due to the overall geometry and flex up front. not slappy or that noisy up front on hard surfaces. It does not feel as “tacky” as say MegaGrip so I wonder about grip on wet rock of which there is none here in Utah at the moment.

I estimate the lugs to be about 4mm but effectively may be a bit more as there is a gentle slope up. I wonder if the slope along with the midsole contributes to a seamless feel between outsole and midsole with no firm sharp sense on contact as many trail shoe outsoles have?

The lugs are broad, widely spaced and not particularly sharp edged up front with the outsole pattern more focused on, it seems, on contact area and smooth flow than soft ground bite.  

My runs took me on some fine loose gravel over a hard road base where the front grip left a bit to be desired. Crossing a few patches of firm, ball bearing like wet snow also produced only average grip.

With fine sand over the same road base and on hard packed dirt single track the grip was outstanding. On pavement it was close but not quite of course a road shoe like outsole but from memory actually more unnoticed than the Peg 36 Trail’s outsole. 

The front outsole (and midsole) provide plentiful, if not rock proof, protection and also a ground conforming but not overly firm or soft stability over obstacles. 

A little over 25 miles in I see zero wear of any kind. Even the super fine patterning over the lugs is all intact in the photos above.

Renee: The outsole is appropriate for a road-to-trail shoe. The outsole was comfortable on pavement, a crushed-rock path, and not bad on gravel and dirt. I don’t get the traction I would like running up and down hills on loose gravel because the lugs are rather large and spread out; this also means mud takes some time to fly off. So far, the outsole seems extremely durable.  I’m running rural Nebraska, so I had zero experience on mountain terrain.

Jeff: The marketing materials compared this outsole to a mountain bike tire, and I can see the inspiration. There is some space in between the lugs, and I noticed a little bit of wear on the non-lug rubber after my first dedicated road run, but nothing egregious. After 50 miles of mixed running I’m seeing a little bit of wear on the lugs, but nothing alarming. I have been pleasantly surprised with how grippy they are in loose, dry dirt and in the little bit of sand I’ve encountered - the outsole is probably the weakest single element of the shoe, and I wouldn’t say that it is a problem. Nike trail rubber has been problematic in the wet for the last few years, but unfortunately I haven’t been able to experience any wet runs so I can’t say with any certainty how these will hold up. 

I can say I was impressed by the wrap around toe bumper that’s part of the outsole - it is so minimal it’s nearly there, but twice I stubbed my foot pretty hard against a rock, and in both cases the rubber strip was enough to protect my toes. I’m a fan.


Sam: I initially “assumed” due to some early comments about weight (incorrect as based on US10 as Nike lists and not standard US9) that the Peg Trail 2 might lean “lifestyle”. But the Pegasus name stands for performance and when Jeff Beck got a pair and raved about them I had to test!

The ride is outstanding. Softer and forgiving with noticed rebound plus response from the combination of the new React midsole and that firm outsole, my second run with some hiking of 4 hours and almost 3000 feet of climbing had me with happy legs and a stable ride start to finish. Clearly the Peg Trail 2 is Nike’s ultra worthy shoe in the line up.

My first and third runs on tired legs led to unexpected Strava segment PR’s on uphill segments of moderate grade and a much faster than expected time for the 6 miles of Park City smoother single track during both runs. They climb very well and while they may not be highly technical terrain perfect, and for those kinds of runs Nike has the Kiger, they flow downhills and flats oh so smoothly and with more than adequate stability. I ran a bit of road on those runs and they did just fine, as intended by Nike.

Renee: The midsole ride is nice.  I would like the upper to be more secure. My biggest negative about the Trail 2 is the stability. The stack height is great for comfort, but the balance of the soft upper, stack height, and weight made running uneven surfaces very hard on my inner ankles. The shoe performs great on maintained, buffed trails. I run mostly country roads, which can be a mess. On the even terrain, up and down hills, the Trail 2 was great. Most often, I’m running uneven surfaces with thick dirt and gravel, which is much easier to run while wearing a lightweight, lower stack, lower drop shoe. I can’t fault the Trail 2 for that. I think the ride and shoe, overall, are great for more buffed, even-surfaced trails. My women’s size 8 weighed 9.24oz/262g, which is a bit heavy for my frame. Thankfully, the shoe feels much lighter although I would prefer it to be just a few ounces less in weight. 

Jeff: In a vacuum (or groomed/non-technical trails) the ride of the PTr2 is exceptional. Borderline plush, without any mushiness and with plenty of responsiveness, the PTr2 is a trail cruiser. Like Sam I set a segment PR in them, so I don’t buy the “they’re too heavy to run fast” narrative that a number of runners have picked up on after looking at a spec sheet. And while I’ve been running virtually everything at a slow pace (with no races on the horizon, I’m starting Zone 2 heart rate based training), when I opened it up to a 6:50/mile pace the PTr2 didn’t feel overmatched.

Even on the roads it runs very well, and has plenty of squish to spare. But like its sister shoe, the Wildhorse 6, the shoe has major stability problems as the trail gets more technical. The wider platform (~8mm wider than the WH6 in the heel) helps some, but just like the Wildhorse, as things get rocky or rooty the shoe’s weakness shows up. If you stick to fire roads or non-technical trails, you’ll likely have few complaints, and on the road it runs like an amply cushioned daily trainer. 

Conclusions and Recommendations

Sam: The Peg Trail 2 was a big and pleasant surprise. The ride is forgiving, fun, and with some bouncy rebound without compromising stability too much. The ride is the shoe’s strongest suit.  My legs and feet were in fine shape after each run. It is clearly a new ultra shoe contender, something Nike barely, if at all, has in the Wildhorse. 

The upper is comfortable and roomy but doesn’t compromise security but for a tiny bit between that collar donut padding and lace up on the mostly moderate terrain I tested on. At the limit, on more technical terrain, the easy fit and comfort and softer midsole may be more challenging. I would not take them on trails in the super rocky and rooty White Mountains of NH for example but on "groomed" ,well built Park City trails they are sensational

I tested on a variety of terrain but mostly dry single track, hard gravel and pavement which the outsole design favors over softer ground from what I can see so far as I did run a few feet over snow where the outsole didn’t have great bite.  It remains to be seen how the outsole performs on wet slippery rock and roots. 

The Peg Trail 2 is clearly a versatile shoe. It can clearly play road to trail and mixed terrain of the harder surfaces variety and for greater distances than the Kiger. It climbs extremely well and descents are stable and largely shock free on smoother trails, the feel being considerably less punishing than the typical trail shoe. 

Sam’s Score: 9.3 /10

Ride:9.7(30%) Fit: 9.2(30%) Value: 9(10%) Style: 9(5%) Traction: 8.8(15%) Rock Protection: 9 (10%)


Renee: I like the shoe. The midsole delivers a great ride providing cushion and comfort for the long run (think 26.2 and beyond), yet it is responsive enough to run faster speeds.  The Trail 2 would be a great choice for a road to EVEN trail run. 

Personally, I would like the Trail 2 to be more trail-friendly while distinguishing itself more from the Kiger and Wildhorse. Otherwise, the Trail 2 is not much better than a max cushion road shoe. 

My perfect Trail 3 would have an 8mm drop, losing some stack height but also losing weight, both of which would help the stability for those wanting to run uneven/more technical trails. I would like the upper to be more refined to improve the trail ride and help with lockdown (and therefore stability). 

All that said, I run mostly country dirt roads that aren’t well maintained and are very harsh and uneven. The high stack and drop just aren’t perfect for those conditions. However, the Trail 2 is fantastic (must-have) for more buffed out surfaces, from gravel to crushed rock to plain dirt.  

Renee’s Score: 9/10 

(-.25 weight, -.25 for unrefined upper fit, -.50 for lack of stability on uneven terrain)

Jeff: Nike’s best trail shoe isn’t perfect, but has a lot going for it. It has a fun ride, a comfortable fit, lots of versatility, and exceptional looks, all for $130 - and it compares well against many shoes that are $20-40 more. While it isn’t on my shortlist for more severe trail running, it’d be my #1 pick if there was only room in the suitcase for one pair of shoes on a trip (but I’ll admit that it’s likelier that I’d bring a bigger suitcase - I’m not a monster). It is a massive departure from last year’s Pegasus Trail 36, and I think they’ve done themselves a bit of a disservice - if this was called the Infinity React Trail it would be a more accurate description. Either way, Nike has put out a shoe that’s fun to run easy or hard, just as long as there aren’t too many jagged rocks on the trail.

Jeff’s Score: 9.2/10 

Ride: 9 (50%) Fit: 9 (30%) Value: 10 (15%)  Style: 10 (5%)



Index to all RTR reviews: HERE

Nike Pegasus 36 Trail (RTR Review)

Sam: Roomier and softer the Peg 2 is no longer a reshod, slightly wider platform road Peg. Pegasus Trail 2 now leans more towards longer distances on moderate trails with some roads welcome in the mix. The changeover from Cushlon and Air units to React is welcome as is the new outsole as for me while the Peg 2 is not quite the grippy road to trail speedster it is now a longer distance more comfortable shoe all around for similar terrain. True to size in both. If you think you will miss the Peg 36 Trail consider the Peg 37 (RTR Review) as it is plenty well cushioned if on a narrower platform and has very decent easier trails grip.

Nike Terra Kiger 5 & 6 (RTR Review)

Sam: I have not tested the Kiger 6 but did the 5. The 4mm drop (vs. 10mm here) Kiger with its rear air bag and front rock plate and more secure upper is clearly the speed and more technical, if shorter distances, compliment to the Peg Trail 2.

Jeff: Same as Sam, I didn’t test the Kiger 6, but I have run in the K5 (which is very similar to the 6). They’re not a bad 1-2 punch, with the Kiger on hand for shorter, technical runs, and the PTr2 excelling on longer smoother runs. I find the Kiger runs out of comfort around mile 8, and the segmented rock plate means I’m always rolling the dice on rock landings. The PTr2 felt like the Kiger+ from the first run, and I’m all over it. Give me the PTr2 without hesitation. Both fit true-to-size.

Nike Wildhorse 6 (RTR Review)

Jeff: On paper they are two very similar shoes, both with React midsoles, lots of rubber on the outsole, and the upper is about 60% the same, including the faux gaiter and worthless pull tab. The WH looks are much more polarizing, and the rounded outsole makes the instability issue even worse. Take the more cushioned PTr2 every time. Both fit true-to-size.

Brooks Caldera 4 (RTR Review)

Sam: The lighter Caldera 4 surprised me. Stiffer with a broad on the ground platform it is almost as smooth running on trail as the Peg 2 and is more stable and more trail focused. It’s more breathable upper is almost as roomy and is more secure especially at the rear. If your run mix leans more trail and more technical it is a better choice in an ultra worthy shoe but it is not as much bouncy fun to run as the Peg 2 on smoother trails and roads.

Hoka Speedgoat 4 (RTR Review) and Speedgoat EVO (RTR Review)

Sam: The Speedgoat EVO has comparable rear cushion and a bit more upfront. It is stiffer even in the more flexible EVO version with a longer flex. Its MegaGrip outsole is clearly tackier, better on wet rock I am guessing and firmer hampering the pavement and hard smooth surfaces ride. The EVO upper is narrower, more breathable, simpler, and more secure than the Peg Trail 2. The Peg 2 could use some of the EVO's rear hold. The Peg Trail 2 is clearly more versatile as terrain moderates while the Speedgoats are more versatile on the more technical end of the spectrum. True to size in both.

Renee: I can’t compare to the EVO, but between the Speedgoat 4 and the Trail 2, the Trail 2 is my choice. The toe box in the Speedgoat 4 dug into my little toes, making it painful to run in. The ride of the Speedgoat is harsher and firmer, including the upper fit and the midsole. I prefer the rebound ride of the React in the Trail 2 as compared to the midsole/rocker feel of the Speedgoat 4. Both shoes have more stack height than I would like for technical terrain, but with a lower drop, the Speedgoat feels better. Even if I didn’t hate the toe box in the Speedgoat, for more even, buffed out terrain, the Trail 2 is much better for me. Plus, the Trail 2 feels better on pavement for those road-to-trail runs.

Jeff: The Speedgoat 4 was one of my more run in trail shoes of last year, and I ran 20+ miles in them several times. While the toe box isn’t quite as accommodating as the PTr2, the midsole/outsole/upper combination lends itself to much better technical running, and much more foot protection all around. They also work well on groomed trails, but feel a bit like overkill, same as using them on the road. Ultimately, it’s all about purpose - if it’s gonna get nasty, take the Speedgoat. If you’ve got road and easy trails, go PegTrail.

Saucony Peregrine 10 (RTR Review)

Sam: Considerably firmer in feel particularly up front the Peregrine is more clearly a technical terrain shorter distance shoe than the Peg 2 despite weighing almost the same. It is more stable, has better grip, and I was more sore after every run than in the Peg, particularly if any road or hard road base gravel was in the mix.

Jeff: Sam absolutely nails it. The Peregrine shines on shorter technical runs that need the grip and lockdown, but it isn’t the shoe I’d take on easy trails, and it is much harder on the feet and legs than the PegTrail2. Both fit true-to-size, and while the Peregrine toebox is good, it isn’t nearly as wide as the PTr2. 

Saucony Canyon TR (RTR Initial VideoReview)

Sam: The Canyon TR is noticeably superior in upper security as long as you don’t crave big room which the Peg 2 provides lots of. The Canyon is more cushioned given its substantially greater stack but firmer and denser in feel than the Peg 2 with a more rocker based ride that is inherently more protective but I find it underfoot less stable than the Peg 2 due to its giant stack height and lack of a agility.


Renee: Both the Trail 2 and Canyon TR are max height and cushion shoes that are pushing my limits for the weight of a shoe. Otherwise, they are very different shoes for me. In my size, the Canyon TR weighs 0.6 ounces more and feels much heavier than the Trail 2. The upper and total lockdown of the Canyon TR is much better than the Trail 2. Overall, the Canyon TR is much more balanced and far more stable, making it a better choice for uneven surfaces. The breathability of the Trail 2 is better, but the Canyon TR isn’t necessarily hot either.  The Canyon TR is a shoe that works best (for me) on only one type of run: my 3-4 hour, very slow runs. It’s just too heavy for me, but very appreciated when I need to run slow and have my ankles and feet supported. I think stronger/bigger runners could probably push the Canyon TR to faster speeds, but I can’t. The midsole of the Canyon is not as plush as the Trail 2, but still soft. Overall, I would choose the Trail 2, but prefer the Canyon for harsh, uneven surfaces (as long as I don’t mind running really slow).

Saucony Mad River TR 2 (RTR Review)

Sam: Very comparable shoes with plenty of softer cushion and a roomier fit. The Mad River’s high and generous toe box goes too far for me with the Nike having lots of room and a more secure front hold. The Mad River has a superior rear hold. While I like the Mad River a lot, the soft rebound of the Peg, the smoothness of the ride on flatter terrain and the easy transitions along with the climbing ability of the Peg 2 has me leaning its way.  

Saucony Xodus 10 (RTR Review)

Jeff: Saucony’s bigger and more cushioned trail shoe than the Peregrine, the Xodus brings PWRRUN+ to the fight, and ultimately it’s a better midsole material than Nike’s React. The PTr2 is a little better on road (though the trail focused Xodus is incredible on the road Sam pointed out), the Xodus does everything else much better. As much as I like the PTr2, go Xodus.

Sam: A tough match up. The heavier by 0.5 oz Xodus has a yet better midsole outsole in terms of protection and stability, a more secure upper and a great outsole that handles all terrain very well from the most technical to road. It focuses on the slow and easy and no matter where for me. Why a tough match up? The Peg Trail 2 is faster and more fun on both road and more moderate trails by quite a bit.

Salomon Sense Ride 3 (RTR Review)

Sam: Take the Sense Ride 3 upper and a touch of its ProFeel rock protection and put it on the Peg 2 and you would transform the Peg 2 into a more technical terrain shoe and yet better all arounder. The Sense Ride 3’s ride is more protective up front but dull and lacking the feel and bounce of the Peg.

Topo Ultraventure (RTR Review)

Jeff: Two very similar shoes. The Nike midsole is softer and more lively. The Topo has a bigger to ebox and the outsole has better grip. Both offer good cushioning, but no rockplate and you can pay for that choice when things get technical. Either makes a great non-technical trail runner, but I’ll take the lesser (but still good) toebox and the better ride in the Nike.

Topo MTN Racer (RTR Review)

Jeff: Very similar to the Ultraventure, the MTN Racer is a little more dialed in and speed focused, but has the same lack of rockplate shortcoming. The MTN Racer upper is much more fitted, and if you are nimble enough can be run in technical terrain better. I’ll still take the PegTrail.

New Balance Hierro v5 (RTR Review)

Jeff: The New Balance brings decent traction and a great fit, but it’s thick and dull midsole doesn’t provide the amount of protection visually you’d think it would. It suffers even more than the PTr2 when it comes to jagged rock protection. Even if you are just pairing them with jeans on casual Friday, go Nike.

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The products reviewed were personal purchases at discounted pricing for review
The opinions herein are the authors'.
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Jeff said...


Anonymous said...

Great review, I am wondering how the Nike Peg 37 ride (male /female versions) compares with this for dirt roads, hard walking tracks and hard surfaces. I know that the Peg 37 isn't a trail shoe. But wondering if this is just as responsive, smooth and cushioned etc Thanks.

70's Teen said...

Jeff measured 28 mm forefoot from outsole to the top of the midsole. Did that include the lugs? How thick is the insole? Is there a strobel board of any significance? Renee thinks 8 mm drop - if correct, then about 36mm stack for the heel? Or do you think the drop is actually more like 5-6?

I'm interested at 28 mm forefoot and 6 mm or less drop, definitely not at 21 and 8-10.

Jeff said...

Hi Anonymous,

The Peg 37 would be fine on dirt roads/track/hard surfaces. Depending on distance the PTr2 could be more comfortable and stable (much wider footprint), but the 37 wouldn't be bad.

70s Teen,

My apologies, I didn't mean to insinuate the actual stack height is 28mm in the forefoot. I'm using calipers on the outside of the shoe, and most midsoles have some level of wrap around, kind of like a bath tub effect, where your foot sits below the topmost point. Mostly I wanted to point out that 21mm was some level of impossible because the foot isn't sitting 7mm below the measurement point, and without taking a band saw to my pair (which isn't happening) I wouldn't be able to get an accurate measurement. That measurement did include the lugs, the insole measures 5mm thick, and not really sure about the strobel board without shoe dissection. FWIW, I just broke out the calipers and measured the heel stack (on lateral side, directly below the farthest back diagonal black slash just forward of the anchor point of the pull tab, measured from the top of the midsole to the lug directly below it) and got 39mm. Again, the foot rests below that mark by some amount, but my measurement is where the midsole starts curving upward. You should give them a shot, they're a very well cushioned shoe, and if they aren't enough send them back to Nike and look at the Hoka Speedgoat or Evo Mafate for that much cushion.

70's Teen said...

Thanks, Jeff. That makes sense; Nike probably excluded the lugs from the measurement. I have the EVO Speedgoats and love them - was looking a different shoe to rotate with. I'm mainly on dirt and grass (often wet due to dew and sprinklers or rain), with 20% roads to and from. My main concern is drop - I have to keep it low for orthopedic reasons, so it sounds like I'd be better off with the Xodus 10 (I can add 2-3 mm of cushion via a 2d insole). Mafate 2 is also intriguing, but some folks have told me they are firmer than Speedgoats (though I heard the contrary too), and I definitely need soft (like the Timp 1.5 or the EVO Speedgoats). Recommendation?

CP1 said...

@70’s Teen I have both the Mafate 2 and Xodus 10 as my primary trail shoes and the M2 is softer in my opinion and I lean toward it on longer or more technical terrain, however if substantial pavement is in the mix and less technical terrain, the X10 is a far more versatile shoe as the lugs are for me go unnoticed on the road. The X10 also fits my foot better as it has a more generous midfoot fit, yet still allows good heel lockdown. My only complaints with the X10 are that it’s hot right now with the summer heat/humidity, which lead to me having to glue down the insole, and the traction on wet rock for me is sub-par. I also see the X10 as being a much more durable shoe than the M2 - I have similar miles on both and the X10 is in excellent condition.

70's Teen said...

Thanks, CP1 - that helps. No technical terrain beyond grass clumps and the ruts riding mowers put in the grass areas). Because I'm in NoCal, where the dirt is rock hard in the summer and fall, X10 might be better re the lugs. I'd add an extra insole for cushioning (unless the difference in forefoot softness is significant - is it?), which should alleviate the heat issue you describe. How would you rate the bounciness of the EM vs. the X10?

Daniel said...

Excellent review as always. I've recently bought this shoe on sale and think it's brilliant for easy trails. The only problem I have with it is that my toes start to hurt after about 15 miles. I consider myself fairly light (less than 150 pounds). At the moment, it's not going to be my ultra distance shoe... unless I figure out what the problem is. My current guess is that I have too much space in the forefoot? Anyone else has this problem?