The Nike Pegasus Trail 3 is a comfortably cushioned and versatile shoe for terrains of moderate difficulty.
The Pegasus Trail 3 is Nike's max cushioned trail running shoe with a 31 mm heel stack height featuring Nike React foam. The ride feels good at any pace with a slight bounce.
The main improvement on this new version is the new upper that offers a more precise foot lockdown for more stability. In addition, the design is top-notch, like the Terra Kiger or the Wildhorse.
The main downside of this trail running shoe, as with its predecessors, is its grip: traction is not optimal on tricky terrain like mud. However, it does allow you to venture out onto the asphalt, making it a good door-to-trail option if you want to run on both surfaces.
In summary, the Nike Pegasus Trail 3 is a very good comfortable, and versatile trail running shoe that's fun for most terrains but can fall short on technical ones.
Read the complete Nike Pegasus Trail 3 review analysis below for more information.
- Good comfort
- Improved upper for a more secure and comfortable fit
- Versatile shoe: it can venture out on the road and delivers a fun ride at any pace
- Comfy and rather snappy cushioning
- The limited grip on technical surfaces like mud
Nike Pegasus Trail 3 Review Analysis
The Nike Pegasus Trail 3 is the most cushioned shoe in the trail series of the American brand. Historically, it’s a shoe that has always prioritized style and comfort over performance.
Although it has similarities with its road colleague, the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus, it would be simplistic, as we will see, to reduce it simply to the trail version of it.
This new version (2021) offers a better fitting upper for more stability on technical trails. The real question is whether the improvement was sufficient to take the lead r if the Terra Kiger remains the queen of Nike trail shoes.
Read on to find out how this shoe performs and whether it’s suitable for you.
The midsole offers a simple configuration: full-length Nike React foam. No Zoom Air unit as on the Terra Kiger or the ‘regular’ Pegasus for the road.
The sole is 31 mm thick under the heel and 21 mm under the toes. Therefore, the drop is 10 mm, which is relatively standard and works well for most people.
Testers were very impressed with the underfoot feel with good shock absorption, moderately soft cushioning, and a hint of bounce for an enjoyable and smooth ride.
The Pegasus Trail 3 doesn’t have a rock plate, but as we’ll see in the grip section, you probably won’t need one as it’s not a shoe for highly technical rocky terrains.
The Nike Pegasus Trail 3 offers comfortable cushioning with just the right amount of energy return for fun trail runs. The React foam offers a slight bounce and the 10 mm drop facilitates smooth transitions from heel to toe.
Also, these trail shoes show good versatility by being comfortable at all paces, whether it’s an easy-going recovery trail run or speed work.
Foot lockdown (upper)
The upper was one of the weakest points of the previous version: trail runners criticized it for being too loose and not precise enough to offer the necessary lockdown on challenging trails, especially downhill. As a result, there were stability issues reported by testers.
On the Peg Trail 3, Nike has remedied this problem by improving the midfoot lockdown with its effective fit system. The heel counter is also better fitted and locks in the foot securely in the shoe to prevent slippage. Also, the shoe comes with a comfortable padded tongue to cradle the top of the foot. Thus, according to reviewers, stability (and, thus, overall performance) is much better than in the past, which is reassuring if you want to tackle difficult surfaces.
In addition, the toe box is roomier (it was low on the P2), which offers more comfort without compromising the lockdown.
Weight-wise, without being as light as the Terra Kiger, the PT3 is not too bad, with 293 g/10.3 oz for men and 271 g/9.6 oz for women. It’s very reasonable if you take into account the overall comfort and cushioning of the shoe.
And finally, the design. Some runners don’t care how their shoes look as long as they perform. Well, that’s fair. Still, let’s take a moment to appreciate the sleek design of the Pegasus Trail 3. Nike has a long experience when it comes to crafting stylish sneakers and it shows. The issue is that you may want to wear these Nike shoes at all times (I once saw the first Peg Trail at BBQ, true story) and you should definitely not if you want to keep them sharp for the trails!
Grip and durability
With trail running shoes, we usually start by talking about grip, as it’s one of the essential points to determine if we’re dealing with a good trail shoe. In the case of the Pegasus Trail 3, the feedback from testers is, let’s be clear, pretty bad! So we didn’t want to scare you right away.
Well, it’s not catastrophic either: the shoe is effective on dry dirt trails and even proves comfortable on the road. It’s on wet terrain that things get ugly. According to users, the good-looking rubber outsole with a shockwave design and its multidirectional lugs don’t offer enough grip, especially on muddy surfaces.
Unfortunately, this disqualifies the shoe for ultramarathon running, where the landscape often varies and can include some downright treacherous sections. Thus, the Nike Peg Trail 3 is for your daily workouts, and long-distance runs on slightly or moderately technical trails.
Small consolation, the durability is rather good. The testers noted that the rubber is resistant and does not wear out quickly. With a price tag of $130, it makes it an exciting shoe for daily running.
Despite a disappointing grip on technical grounds like mud, the third version of the Nike Pegasus Trail is not devoid of strengths to seduce.
Its comfortable and slightly responsive cushioning, combined with an improved upper that is safer with a near-perfect fit, makes it an appealing choice for easy daily runs.
We recommend it for aspiring trailers looking for a comfortable and versatile shoe and more experienced runners who want a comfortable shoe to alternate with their more ‘serious’ shoes.
Model: Nike Pegasus Trail 3
Comparisons – Nike Pegasus Trail 3 vs.:
Nike Pegasus Trail 2
The Nike Pegasus Trail 3 features an improved upper that allows for more stability with its more secure foot lockdown. Also, the toe box is more spacious without reducing the effectiveness of the fit.
However, the grip still needs to be improved. Maybe for the fourth version?
Nike Wildhorse 7
See the side-by-side comparison with our comments.
Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 7
See the side-by-side comparison with our comments.
Is this shoe waterproof?
Answer: This model is available in two versions: regular and Gore-Tex. The regular version prevents minor water infiltration and dries quickly. The Gore-Tex version, on the other hand, insulates your feet better to keep them dry even in heavy rain or when crossing shallow streams. However, it's also expensive and heavier.
Is the Nike Pegasus Trail 3 suitable for heavyweight athletes (80 kg/176 lbs or more)?
Answer: Yes, this model should be suitable for all weights as it comes with high stack cushioning (31 mm heel height).
Is the Pegasus Trail a good shoe for ultramarathon running?
Answer: Not really. Testers noted insufficient grip on technical terrain like mud. We recommend to keep it for your easy runs.
How does the Peg Trail 3 fit?
Answer: The shoe fits true to size.
Kevin is the founder and editor of Runner’s Lab. He started running in 2015 and completed his first marathon in Rotterdam in 2016. He’s also worked for Under Armour from 2016 to 2018 and helped launch their running collection in Europe (in particular the HOVR shoes). In addition, Kevin is a 300-hour certified yoga teacher (Sivananda) and uses this experience to run more mindfully with a focus on well-being over performance.