Sunday, June 30, 2024

Nike Pegasus 41 Multi Tester Review: 6 Comparisons

Article by Michael Ellenberger and Jeff Valliere

Nike Pegasus 41 ($140)


Michael: A few years ago, I compared the annual Pegasus launch to Nike’s iPhone unveiling - largely because it’s inevitable, but also because it’s a chance for each brand to showcase its latest tech in its long-running product. If that holds true, then this year’s Pegasus 41 may well be the iPhone X review - a significant break in past design (which had held largely constant for the past few generations) and a look into the direction the Pegasus line is going moving forward.

And, well… it’s good. Speaking as a non-tech-reviewer (but stubbornly insistent Apple user), the iPhone X was probably a more foundational change, but the Pegasus’s change over to ReactX (hooray!) paired with dual Air Zoom units is undoubtedly a new and enjoyable ride. I was also pleased to see a 4mm increase in stack height, which functions to add a little more cushion and help eliminate the shoe from bottoming out. 

But, with so many good trainers on the market (seriously - after many years focusing on racing shoes, I think this is the year of the trainer!), how does Nike’s classic Pegasus stack up?


ReactX - more, please! Michael/Jeff

Softer than any of the last 3 or 4 versions: Michael

The upper - while boring - is quite comfortable and presented no hot sports: Michael/Jeff

Overall cushion/comfort:  Jeff


Yet again… the Air Zoom units present a somewhat unfriendly firmness in the forefoot: Michael

Feels less premium than last year, but comes with a price hiket: Michael

Most comparable shoes (Michael): 

Brooks Ghost 16, Diadora Frequenza, On CloudRunner 2


Approx. Weight: men's 9.9 oz / 281g US9

  Sample Weight: men’s 9.68oz / 274g US8.5 ( Peg 40:  9.2 oz / 261 g (US8.5))

Stack Height: men’s  37 mm heel /  27 mm forefoot ( 10mm drop spec) 

   Previous Version:   33 mm heel /  23 mm forefoot ( 10mm drop spec) 

Platform Width: 85 mm heel / 65 mm midfoot / 110 mm forefoot 

First Impressions, Fit and Upper

Michael: My 8.5 Pegasus fits true to size - I often find the Peg to narrow a little too severely in the toebox, but didn’t necessarily encounter that here (for what it’s worth, I’ll note I’ve been running in the thinnest socks I can find due to this heat wave, so things may change slightly come winter running). 

The upper of the Nike Pegasus 41, while functional, feels somewhat unfinished and lacks the refinement of its predecessors. Constructed from lightweight and breathable mesh, it offers a snug and secure fit that ensures your feet stay cool and comfortable even during intense runs… but there’s just nothing flashy to it.

The design feels rather basic and unpolished, missing the aesthetic and innovative touches that made previous models stand out. The wide lacing system, although effective, contributes to a sense of utilitarian simplicity rather than cutting-edge design.

In comparison to its competitors, the Pegasus 41's upper falls short in terms of sophistication and flair. It serves its purpose adequately, providing the necessary support and lockdown for various terrains, yet it doesn’t captivate or inspire. The breathable mesh, while a practical feature, can't compensate for the overall sense of incompletion. This upper feels like it was designed to be functional above all else, which, while not inherently bad, fails to elevate the shoe to the level of excitement and innovation that runners might expect from a brand like Nike.

Jeff V:  While not much of a roadrunner, I received the Peg 41 compliments of Nike along with an entry for the Bolder Boulder 10k, as Nike was a major sponsor.  Since I had time goals for running in the front wave, I went with a light and fast race shoe, but luckily I usually run a second lap with the family in a slower wave, so stashed the Peg 41 with my bike near the finish and was able to run in them for another go around.  

I squinted as I unboxed them in the neon yellow colorway, as they are bright!  Michael certainly has much more discerning tastes/expectations than I since he has a history with the Pegasus and is a dedicated road runner.  I was somewhat impressed with them overall out of the box, as they have a comfortable, secure, well vented and well padded upper that works well for my foot.  Fit is true to size and I find the heel, midfoot and toe box to all be quite secure.  While I have adequate room in the toe box, I do note a bit of a taper (but is not an issue in the least).  Like Michael, I have been wearing my thinnest socks due to hot summer temperatures, but I think they would fit fine even with a slightly thicker to mid-weight sock.  Breathability is very good.

The upper is soft, flexible (though secure) and very well ventilated.

The heel collar is well structured and secure.

The heel collar and tongue are very well padded, but not overly so.  The tongue is also gusseted.

Midsole & Platform

Okay… the midsole. The crux of the issue, on the Pegasus - I can set aside a mediocre upper in the name of functionality, if the midsole is worth it. Fortunately… the midsole of the new Pegasus is overall impressive, primarily due to the inclusion of the ReactX foam  and 4mm more overall stack height than we are used to in a Peg to come in at  37mm heel, 27mm forefoot yet with only a 13g increase in weight. This material (which debuted, on the InfinityRN 4, which I didn’t test) adds a bouncy and fun element to the ride, making each step feel lively and responsive. It’s not nearly as bouncy as the ZoomX slab on the Invincible (I’m guessing you knew this by now) - but the new foam does significantly soften the midsole here, providing a cushioned experience that long-time Pegasus users and new runners alike will appreciate. 

Nike says the processing of ReactX reduces carbon footprint by 43% while increasing energy return by 13% over the older React foam.

However - and this has long been my issue with the Pegasus line, and it’s not quite resolved here - the incorporation of the Air Zoom units introduces localized sections of firmness that can cause mild discomfort. These firmer areas, where the Air Zoom units are positioned, create an uneven feel that can be noticeable during runs. While the midsole does break in over time, becoming more comfortable with each run, this design isn’t a perfect solution. 

In spite of these minor issues, the overall performance of the midsole remains strong, delivering a mix of softness and responsiveness that enhances the running experience, and I do think this is the best-riding Pegasus we’ve seen in many generations. 

Jeff V:  Michael sums up mechanics of the midsole well and I agree with his impressions.  I find the Air Zoom and React X combination to provide a very nice blend of soft cushioning with bouncy responsive energy.  I find this combination of comfort and response ideal for long training runs at moderate paces.  I think the overall weight holds them back a bit, but if you are feeling fast and want to push them, they have enough get up and go for a little bit of up-tempo work.  The cushioning here keeps my legs feeling fresh and was particularly welcome when running my 2nd lap of the Bolder Boulder after pushing hard in my first faster lap of the course.


As you may expect, the outsole of the Nike Pegasus 41 truly excels, showcasing exceptional toughness and durability. This has long been a standout element on the Pegasus, and there’s no drop-off here - the robust rubber outsole is designed to handle not only road running but also light to medium trail running, provided the conditions are dry. The waffle pattern enhances grip and stability, ensuring confident strides across various terrains. This outsole is built to last, demonstrating Nike’s commitment to quality and longevity.

After more than 50 miles of running, the outsole of the Pegasus 41 shows virtually no signs of wear, a testament to its durability. The flex grooves incorporated into the design offer flexibility and allow for a more natural foot movement, enhancing the overall running experience. Whether you're stuck to navigating city streets, or tackling (semi-) rugged trails, this outsole will provide reliable traction and durability, making it one of the standout features of the Pegasus 41.

Jeff V:  The outsole does a fine job at providing a smooth ride, is soft (not harsh and slappy) and integrates very well with the shoe overall providing a nice level of flex and a smooth ride.  Traction is very good on intended road/cement surfaces and is even just fine on dirt paths and light trails.  Durability looks to be very good thus far.

Ride, Conclusions and Recommendations

Michael: In an attempt to close the loop on my opening analogy, I need to provide a little more technological context. In 2017.  Apple released both the revolutionary iPhone X (no home button!) and the more modest iPhone 8, which was a successor to the previous iPhone 7, but not a total overhaul - a cheaper, more familiar option. Jump to 2024. Nike’s Pegasus 41 isn’t quite the iPhone X I was hoping for, and maybe Nike never so intended it, but I do think it’s a very complete Pegasus. Good, certainly; even very good!

But here’s the thing. At the same time that Nike unveiled the Pegasus 41, it announced the Nike Pegasus Premium, a 2025 release bearing all of Nike’s latest and greatest tech including both Air and ZoomX foam. Ah - there’s our iPhone X. So where does that leave the P41? It’s complicated. This is, to me, the best Pegasus in several years - my favorite since at least Pegasus 35. But this formula is a little tired. ReactX foam is great, but it’s not remarkably great, and the Air Zoom units continue to frustrate, rather than elevate, the experience. I’m criticizing the shoe because I care, and because Nike’s other top-end trainers (the Vomero and the Invincible) are both terrifically fun options that don’t have that frustrating “just wait ‘til it breaks in!” aura. 

Even so. If you’re a runner seeking a solid, enjoyable, and everyday trainer, the Pegasus 41 is, definitively, a good choice. It’s not nearly perfect, but Nike has so many years of improvement in this shoe, that even incremental changes are meaningful, and do elevate the ride. 

Michael’s Score: 9.0


Jeff V:  The Pegasus 41 has a very smooth ride and easy transition with a well cushioned feel underfoot and a fair level of response.  They are very comfortable in every way, with a secure and breathable upper, great security and nice ventilation.  If you are looking for a well cushioned, comfortable trainer for putting in the road miles, then the Peg 41 is a fine choice. 

Jeff V’s Score: 9.1/10


Sam’s Video Review of the Pegasus 41 (14:05)

6 Comparisons

Index to all RTR reviews: HERE 

Nike Pegasus 40 (RTR Review)

Michael: As described above, the imperfect Pegasus 41 is nonetheless a step above the Peg 40 is nearly all ways … the “nearly” arrives due to the upper which is lackluster, yet functional. What felt premium on the Peg 40 now feels merely pedestrian on the Peg 41, but all the same, can hardly be considered a material downgrade. At the clearance prices that Nike tends to push for the outgoing models, I wouldn’t blame you for snapping up a cheap Pegasus 40, but the 41 is a better shoe!

Nike Vomero 17 (RTR Review)

Michael: I went into the Vomero testing process almost with dread. Not that I expected the Vomero to be a bad shoe (I certainly did not), but that I expected to be let down by Nike’s high-cushioning, everyday miles trainer. I was definitely not let down - the Vomero proved to be one of the most fun, runnable shoes that Nike has put out in years, and I have to say I’m a little disappointed the Pegasus didn’t “wow” me in the same way. Sure, the Pegasus 41 is an upgrade in most ways over its predecessor, but man… the Vomero is just so fun and so dynamic, while the Pegasus is just, well, “better than it was.” Vomero it is.

Nike Pegasus Trail 5 (RTR Review)

Michael: I found the Peg Trail 5 a much more competent road shoe than I expected, and ultimately a very compelling door-to-trail option… but, Nike also attacks this from the other direction with the Pegasus 41, which is a road shoe that really can hold its own on (light) trails. Look, ultimately, I think you need to know yourself and your (running) surroundings on this one - if you’re a trail runner, then the Peg Trail 5 is a terrific option. If you’re a roadrunner, the Peg 41 is plenty suitable. Those in between, I’d truly just evaluate which you do more, with the caveat that anyone regularly running technical stuff should look at least at the PT5, if not the Zegama (which I did not review).

Jeff V:  Michael sums this well.  I have not run in the Peg Trail 5, but the Peg Trail 4 is one of my favorites for all around door to trail and supreme comfort, for sure one of the most comfortable trails shoes that I have put on my feet.  I think the Peg 41 is plenty comfortable as well (though more expected in a road shoe and thus not leaving as much of an impression there).  The Peg Trail 4 runs really nice on the road as of course does the Peg 41.  

Brooks Ghost 16 (RTR Review)

Michael: I have such a love-hate relationship with the Ghost; what was once a no-brainer lightweight trainer option has somehow become quite muddled in Brooks’s lineup, and fails to stand out against the competition. That’s not to say it’s bad - at all - and I personally really appreciate the significant (10mm) heel offset. But the Ghost is just boring now, and while the Pegasus is a bit in the shadow of its upcoming Premium brother (and its awesome Vomero cousin!), it is still a better, more fun shoe than the Ghost. Boo!

Diadora Frequenza (RTR Review)

Michael: I wanted to measure the Pegasus against the lighter Frequenza because both are mid-weight, high-mileage, non-plated trainers. I enjoyed the Frequenza, but ultimately did find the ride a little on the mushy side - decent for everyday runs, but lacking in real pop. The ReactX of the Pegasus gives it a bit more upside, and the Nike would be my recommendation, but I will note that the Frequeza - which is not one of the Made in Italy offerings from the brand - does feel a bit more polished. For getting the miles in, though, go Nike.

Nike InfinityRN 4 (RTR Review)

The RN4 has a higher 39mm heel 30mm forefoot stack of ReactX foam and a thick and warm Stretch Flyknit upper. It is much heavier than the Pegasus 41 with the same foam and with no Air in the mix at 11.16 oz / 316g in US9. It has a wider platform at  90/75/115.

Shopping for the Pegasus 41 at our partners below is much appreciated and helps support RoadTrailRun

Tester Profiles

Michael is a patent attorney and graduate of Northwestern University Law School. Prior to law school, he competed collegiately at Washington University in St. Louis (10,000m PR of 30:21). Michael’s PRs include a 67:43 half-marathon (Chicago Half-Marathon) and a 2:21:19 marathon PR at the 2023 Grandma’s Marathon. Michael continues to race on the roads, and is chasing a sub-2:20 marathon and potential OTQ in the future.

Jeff Valliere loves to run and explore the mountains of Colorado, the steeper and more technical the better. He has summited all of the 14ers in the state, many 13ers and other peaks in Colorado and beyond, plus, he has summited his local Green Mountain over 2,100 times in the past 20 years.   He can be found on mountain trails daily, no matter the weather, season, conditions or whether there is daylight or not.  On the side he loves to ski (all forms) bike and hike, often with his family, as he introduces his twin daughters to the outdoors. Jeff was born and raised in New Hampshire, but has called Colorado home for over 25 years. He is 5’9” and 145 lbs.

Samples were provided at no charge for review purposes. RoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased via shopping links in this article. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.

Comments and Questions Welcome Below! Please let us know mileage, paces, race distances, and current preferred shoes

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