Specs and takeaways:
Name: Nike React Pegasus Trail 4
Weight: Men’s 11, 312 g (11 oz)
Stack Height: Forefoot – 26mm; Heel 36mm; 10mm heel-toe drop)
Sizing: True to size
Standout features: Great hybrid running shoe option (road to trail running)
Where to Buy
You can find the Nike React Pegasus trail 4 at:
I have never run in any Nike Pegasus trail shoes. Weird, right? I mention that because this is a trail shoe that some of our other testers have used in previous versions including the Pegasus Trail 2 and Pegasus Trail 3. For me (Brandon) though the Nike Pegasus holds an iconic part of my memory.
My first-ever running shoes was the Nike Air Pegasus in probably 1993 when, as a swimmer, running shoes were simply a fashion choice.
Today, as Andrew, Arron and I look at the Nike React Pegasus Trail 4 we do so with a lot more miles in our legs and with an eye to more purpose-built trail running shoes standing alongside this one. Is the Pegasus Trail 4 a pure trail running shoe or does it find its niche in a simple LACK of a true niche? Let’s see!
Right off the bat I should say that I’m not entirely sure what rubber compound Nike has chose for the Pegasus Trail 4. However, from what I’ve seen around the interwebs about previous versions of this shoe, there was (formerly) a bit of a grip issue which we’ll get to below. The outsole of the Nike Pegasus Trail 4 is laid out with 4mm deep lugs.
On the lateral, front of the shoe there are a series of split, bar-like lugs angled away from the center of the shoe. Arriving at the heel of the outsole, the rubber carries the bar look without being split and in the rear of the shoe, angled toward the middle of the shoe. The medial, forefoot aspect or the outsole has an offset lug pattern in the higher impact area. All of this saves on weight by having some strategic cutaways.
Photo by Brandon
Brandon on the outsole:
First, I’ve done probably 75% of my miles in the Nike Pegasus Trail 4 on trails and the remaining 25% using it as a road shoe. On roads which were largely dry with a bit of rain thrown in in here and there, the rubber outsoles were unfazed as I’d expect. The trails I’ve run on with them have varied from rocky trails to well-groomed singletrack to gravel. On well-groomed, light trails, the Pegasus Trail 4 brought some of the feel of a legacy road running shoe to the party. When rocky terrain and technical trail are the order of the day, I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of grip provided by the outsole rubber – especially in light of the mentions of grip problems on this kind of terrain in previous versions.
I won’t go so far as to call the outsole a “sticky rubber” or using technology such as the Vibram Megagrip with Traction Lug used in the Hoka Speedgoat 5 but it’s very solid in its own right. On top of that, with around 50 miles on the Pegasus Trail 4, the outsole basically looks new. Great durability.
Andrew on the outsole:
For the 4th iteration of the Nike’s Pegasus Trail, the outsole has been revised to really extend the shoe’s grip on the trails. The shoe’s sole has more of a full-foot landing and push off targeted grip overlaying an all over tread pattern. Angled 4mm deep strips of cushioned ribbing has been showcased in the heel and outer edges proving more than a sure grip on almost every terrain you could run on. From your driveway to the muddy slopes post rain storm – though mud does quite a bit of sticking.
The forefoot and inner edges of the sole have a more channel like pattern, again of 4mm raised areas that both cushion foot strike on the road and add grip on the multiple surfaces you’ll encounter. Here in San Diego, most of my trails are on hard dirt and smoothed rock tops and awkward v-slit trails manufactured from our rare rainstorms. The Nike Pegasus Trail 4 has made some of these technical trails even smoother than the Pegasus Trail 3 tread pattern which I gave top marks just a year ago. I’m currently at about 150 miles on my pair and the tread still looks almost new.
Arron on the outsole:
With the new lug direction Nike has greatly improved the grip of the new Pegasus Trail 4. The multi-directional lugs, while short at 4mm, offer good grip in the east-coast style pine needle, leafy trails. I probably wouldn’t recommended them for super soft or wet trails, but the outsole gives a great road-to-trail experience for the runner going from parking lot, to road, to trail and back. I’m not seeing much wear and tear after 50+ miles in the shoe, which is good seeing that I have run more than 20 miles on pavement.
Made with Nike React foam, the midsole of the Pegasus Trail 4 has a stack height of 36mm in the heel and 26mm in the forefoot for a total drop of 10mm. The foot largely sits on top of the midsole in the front and rear of the shoe but the React Foam does have a bit of rise on both the medial and lateral side of the midfoot. There is no rock plate in the midsole of the shoe but with this being a shoe bringing trail and road versions to the game in the same body, it’s a logical way to save weight.
Photo by Brandon
Brandon on the midsole:
I’ll be sure to not get too into the ride just yet (see below) so hang in there for a second. The midsole of the Nike Pegasus Trail 4 is a full hunk of Nike React foam, a material which I’m definitely a fan of. Before I get to other aspects, I’ll say that if you’re looking to this the Pegasus Trail to become your do-it-all trail runners, the lack of a rock plate is probably going to have those of us who hit technical terrain on a regular basis looking for a bit more protection. With that said, on many not-so-technical trails where rugged terrain isn’t truly a thing, the Peg Trail 4 came to party.
The midsole of Nike React foam itself is in a sweet spot for me when it comes to durometer. It isn’t a “soft” cushioned midsole per se but it’s not one of those firm midsoles that can sometimes result in overly worked feet of hot spots. Being that React is a veery durable foam, I didn’t notice any breakdown in feel on any kind of terrain.
The biggest takeaway for me with the Nike React Pegasus Trail 4 is how seamlessly it can jump from road to trail options. As mentioned above, the solid, underfoot traction is capable on trails and uneven surfaces but is also smooth and responsive on roads.
Photo by Brandon
Andrew on the midsole:
On top of this new, grippier tread lies to me the open secret: Nike’s proven time and time again, React foam. It just cushions the ride in such a perfect way. Enough cushioning, but not too much where the runner can’t still feel the road or trail. The Nike React midsole protects your feet from the pounding of the roads and – even without a rock plate – the little bumps on the trails where some may say a rock plate is needed. To me, with our rocky, thorny, ever present root trails, the pairing of the new tread channels and React foam is a perfect combination. The pop of the foam, the grip of the new tread, Mmmm good.
Arron on the midsole:
Nike’s React Foam all the way through the midsole gives the Pegasus Trail 4 a soft feel, while remaining responsive enough where your foot doesn’t sink into the shoe. It’s a good balance that makes it a great one-shoe-quiver for people looking to save some cash on multiple shoes.
Photo by Brandon
As we come to the mesh upper of the Nike React Pegasus Trail 4 (official, long-ass name!) we’re met with a lightweight and pleasantly breathable upper. In the toe the mesh is closed in and has some additional, overlaid diamond shaped bits. Interestingly, the overlays don’t really add any protection to the toes, it seems they’re mainly a way to provide durability in the sealed toe box. At the rear of the shoe there is a padded collar which extends down into the shoe a good amount. The foam in this area is firm-ish but overlaid with a soft, skin-friendly mesh.
Internally, the tongue is gusseted and attached to a secondary, internal mesh which works with the outer mesh to keep debris at bay. Running up the throat of the Pegasus 4 Trail is a slightly padded tongue which, thanks to the gusset action mentioned a second ago, does well to stay put, even on uneven terrain.
Rounding out the upper are a GOOD heel pull loop and Nike’s Flywire lacing system. Firstly, it seems like 99% of the time I reach for a heel loop on a running shoe, I have to do a double-take to see if I do indeed have impossibly fat fingers – I do not. On the Pegasus Trail 4, the loop is a truly good size. As for lacing, the Flywire system uses strings / cordage in assisting (in this case) eyelets in putting much of the “pull” of tightening shoelaces beneath the foot which result in a much more hugged feeling.
Photo by Brandon
Brandon on the upper:
First things first, I’ve run in road shoes that tried to be trail shoes and vice versa before. I’ve also run in “hybrid” running shoes before. It seems that in most of those circumstances the upper is the last place that gets any attention from designers and as such, you’ll find a nice, grippy outsole with an upper that is garbage on uneven terrain. In this case, it seems that the folks from Nike Trail and Nike Road got together on this one. The upper does a great job of keeping the foot nicely held in place, even on very off-camber terrain.
One drawback for me is the lack of true toe protection. Now, I should mentioned that this is probably not going to be your super technical trail running shoe so the amount of rocks, roots and other Mario Kart – esque obstacles aren’t going to be as plentiful. However, as every trail runner can attest, it’s almost always the tiny, low to the ground babyhead which sees you sprawled out on the ground with a broken toe. Anyway, not a deal-breaker by any means, just something worth watching out for.
Andrew on the upper:
As I venture to the upper, the Pegasus Trail 4 improves a bit but over the Pegasus Trail 3 you can clearly see that Nike is not fixing what’s not broke, just a tweak or two to nail down the fit. Where the Pegasus Trail 3 has full lacing up the shoe, the Pegasus Trail 4 caps off the top with 2 hole eyelets to lock in the lace knot over Flywire at the top. This little feature, of using the actual top eyelet over the Flywire really helps lock in the fit over the option of the Pegasus Trail 3 model where Nike gave you the option. Most people never think to undo the top Flywire and use the holes. Here Nike has shown the way for improved fit. The sewn in tongue on the Pegasus Trail 4 has also morphed into a padded unit that easily removes any shoelace friction or tension on the top of your foot. The tongue also keeps out some debris as well as assisting in the fit. The toe box of the Trail 4 fits about the same as the Trail 3, that little extra so your toes have room to breathe. The toe kick protection has been simplified on the Trail 4 as I assume it was overkill on the Trail 3. Just enough protection and grip on the new sole eliminates the need for more protection.
Photo by Brandon
Arron on the upper:
The newly designed upper of the Nike Pegasus Trail 4 is breathable and durable. The inside feel of the upper is comfortable and feels seamless across the sides of the foot with or without socks. The gusseted tongue offers a smooth feel across the top of the feet and didn’t seem to have any hotspot issues with overlapping fabric. Extra padding around the heal and ankle area provide a soft feel and prevents allowing rocks into the shoe. The dual mesh upper stops most debris from entering the shoes but fine dust and sand can still sneak in though hasn’t bothered me yet. The reduced toe cap is preferred over previous models.
Brandon on fit:
Let me first begin by saying – as I try to with most running of other shoe reviews – that I have a very average foot. Not blessed/cursed with wide feet or narrow feet, just very average. From a sizing perspective, my men’s size 11 is right on point. Being that Nike is an industry standard bearer, I’d expect nothing less.
Moving from front to back, the toe box of the Nike Pegasus Trail 4 affords a good amount of room for toe spread and splay. It does something I’ve mentioned a ton in the past and maintains the medial, big toe area room while adding just a touch of space where the little toes is. This makes for a much more foot-shaped toe box. The midfoot is fantastically locked in but the lacing still gives room to play with for wide or narrow feet. In the heel of the shoe, the foam around the collar doesn’t rub and gives a truly great, wrapped feeling to the ankle and heel with a well formed heel cup.
I have to say that the fit of the Nike React Pegasus Trail 4 is fantastic. Nike has done a great job of balancing needs of those seeking a comfortable trail shoe and those looking for a comfortable shoe on the road. While I will again say that this would not be my first choice for technical terrain or rugged trails, the hybrid capabilities of the shoe are enhanced by its fit.
Photo by Brandon
Arron on fit:
I have a very “normal” foot, even for being a size 13. These shoes fit true to size and I had zero issues running uphill or downhill with the sizing. The Flywire lacing system allows for great lockdown on the mid-foot, while the toe box is wide enough for good toe splay during longer efforts. There doesn’t seem to be any extra fabric to overlap, as in some other brands with wider toe boxes and gusseted tongues. The heal counter and heal cup fit well for my foot and didn’t need to change lacing style to get a good lock down for the heal. All in all, the fit was great, even during a 5+ hour effort.
Brandon on ride:
There are a lot of dirt roads where I live in the Front Range of Colorado. Often, I’ll run on these dirt roads to stay on a more forgiving surface but frequently, I have to hit up some pavement on the way to or during these runs. I bring this up because it’s give me the chance to have a very side-by-side comparison of the ride of the Nike Pegasus Trail 4 on different surfaces and I have to say that it performs with aplomb.
On both road (dirt and paved) as well as more moderate trail, the Pegasus 4 brings a smooth ride without add a tone of non-material tech to the mix. It’s also a very responsive ride, likely thanks to the Nike React Foam of the midsole. Again, on more technical terrain, the lack of a rock plate my prevent a super comfortable ride but for me, that’s not what this shoe is for. This is a shoe for runners whose daily ritual takes them across road and trail which are likely not the kind of technical things you’re (mostly) going to find outside your door.
Andrew on ride:
Finally, does the Pegasus Trail 4 ride, I mean run? It runs well, very well. As I mentioned a year ago on the Nike Pegasus Trail 3, this shoe is my GO TO shoe for almost any trail run. For sure ANY run where I know trails will be the focus and I will run from my house. The Pegasus Trail 4 picks up from the Pegasus Trail 3 and by the new sole, the tread kicks up the comfort level another few notches.
Running is smooth on the road and as soon as I hit the dirt, it’s as if I’m still running on the road. The new sole provides that extra grip on my dry and rocky trails here in SoCal. I would for sure make a good assumption that on softer trails it would feel even smoother such as the Pacific Northwest or Northeast areas. The Nike Trail team has also lightened the Pegasus Trail 4 by enough grams that you’d swear you had a road shoe on. No clumsy feeling or heaviness when you take your first steps out. Lace length, a usual pet peeve of mine I’d say is just right, maybe a double knot for skinny feet like mine, but acceptable over other models.
Arron on ride:
The new Nike React Pegasus Trail 4 offers a soft ride that can go the distance. The almost spongy midsole and grippy outsole help with absorbing small rocks or roots and offers a smooth ride on the road before getting to the trailhead. The 10mm drop from heel to toe doesn’t feel 10mm, it feels closer to 6mm. The shoes are rather flexible for as much material is used, making it comfortable for faster, harder efforts as well as those recovery runs or easier longer efforts. This shoe has performed wonderfully for myself, and as it gets closer to Leadville 100 Race day, this versatile shoe finds itself on my feet more and more for those easy efforts on the local trails.
The Nike React Pegasus Trail 4 is a winner. Fast, light, cushioned, good traction and solid Nike fit. It’s all you need for what is really the perfect all-around shoe. To sum up this model, I was recently on my annual camping trip in the Western Sierra Mountains here in California where my runs are uphill (both ways) on a mix of road, open trails, single-track and overgrown deer paths. These were the only pair I wore the entire week. I had options, but the Pegasus Trail 4’s did it all. No matter the steep downhill road finish or the 2 mile climb on singletrack and over volcanic, cement-like terrain to the top of the mountain, these shoes held my feet secure with a nice, stable ride. Barely a slip or bobble due to my shoes occurred the entire week. My legs also felt great all week thanks to the React foam for sure. My first run when I got home, this same pair felt just as fresh on my rocky dry trails here as well. Your legs, feet and body will thank you for running in the Nike Pegasus Trail 4’s everyday. Try them, you’ll love them.
First let’s talk price. At $140, the Nike React Pegasus Trail 4 is a great deal for those looking for a do-it-all/most shoe. Because this can likely handle the non-technical trails many people run more regularly, this is one purchase in lieu of two. I will add one slight critique to the looks of the shoe which is to say that the colourway I have (pictured in this review) are kind of, well, boring. Now, does it matter? No. But, if you’re someone who likes things a bit more loud, maybe the black colourway of the Pegasus Trail 4 will be a better option for you.
I have to say that I’m very impressed with just how much of a true road to trail shoe the Pegasus Trail 4 has turned out to be. Often times when we see things calling themselves “hybrid”, one side of the coin or the other is clearly superior but in this case, both road running and trail running are pretty evenly matched. If you’re looking for a one-shoe hybrid (looking at you, business travelers!). this is a fantastic, and durable options that will be along for the ride on most types of terrain and even the occasional treadmill!
Have you tried the Nike Pegasus Trail 4 (and even the Pegasus Trail 3)? What do you think? Let us know in the comments below!