Nike Pegasus Turbo 2 Review

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Nike Pegasus Turbo 2 Review Review Facts

Did you know that the Air Pegasus, Nike’s utility running shoe that anyone can use regardless of gait style or experience level, has been with us since 1983? The company began in 1964, under the name Blue Ribbon Sports. Its founders were running coach Bill Bowerman and his athlete protege, Phil Knight. Knight went on to become the first Nike CEO, although the company was not called by that name until 1971. Even if we take 1964 as the start of Nike, that means the Pegasus has been in production for well over half the company’s life. It may not have the hype, extra features, or celebrity endorsements of an Air Jordan or a Metcon trainer, but the Pegasus represents Nike’s more affordable and unforgettable classic offerings.

Speed, cushioning, and a lack of rigidity are the hallmarks of the Pegasus line. That core identity has changed little since 1983. What has changed is the contours, materials, and durability of the shoe. Advances in technology have not affected the shoe’s general silhouette, and Nike has resisted overly complicating the Pegasus. The Nike Pegasus Turbo 2, released on August 1st, 2019, improves on the Turbo 1 from almost exactly one year earlier.

Editor's Pros & Cons

Weighs less, and allows more freedom of movement, than any previous Pegasus according to Nike

Interior of the shoe is smooth, with nearly undetectable stitching and no chafing ever

Upper is made of mesh to keep the shoe breathable, keep feet from overheating

Roomy toe box keeps your toes apart while holding your foot in place with moderate support and cushion

Laces thread through reinforced fabric eyelets, so you can lace tightly with no tearing and shoe will stay put

Thick lugs on heel and forefoot aid in shock absorption

Midfoot has no lugs, so the shoe stays flexible and helps with a strong midfoot strike


Heel cup/heel counter needed to be deeper and more substantial for longer runs

No gusseted tongue--tongue moves independently of upper and may migrate during ling runs

The Rundown

Aesthetically, the Nike Zoom Pegasus Turbo 2 has a different shape than the 1983 version. This is a reflection of Nike's innovation, changing the design based on new information about biomechanics and on advances in construction technology. The Turbo 2 has a thick outsole, but not a stacked outsole like you would see on actual maximalist shoes. The Pegasus never had a waffle sole, but it did have squarish lugs that have been replaced by more compact ones that have a greater impact on shock absorption. Looking from the side, though, the lugs disappear into the rest of the outsole and you appear to be seeing a rocker style shoe with a smooth outsole. The rocker helps with a midfoot strike and ground connection. The back heel is raised off the ground and so is the front.

If you miss the chunkier sole pattern of the 1983 Pegasus or other early versions, you can always buy the reissue at a reasonable price. It will cost about what a new pair of the Turbo 2 would. Most buyers are sneakerheads, or collectors, who will wear the 1983 throwbacks as a fashion accessory. It is an unfortunate fact that running shoes degrade over time--for this reason, you will likely never see an intact, wearable pair of original Pegasus. If you somehow found one, perhaps preserved in an airtight container, it would likely crumble to dust if you unboxed or tried to wear the shoe. As durable as 21st-century polymers are, too, the Nike Zoom Pegasus Turbo 2 will likely also degrade over such a long period of time. Get a pair now, to rock or to run in, and wear them down through steady use as Nike intended.


The Turbo 2 comes in five colors offered on the Nike website. We are partial to the purple, or hyper violet with black swoosh and trim. Uppers are synthetic mesh, long-lasting, stain-resistant, and breathable. If you wear this shoe in cold weather, you will probably need thick wool socks to stay warm enough. The shoe is snug but leaves enough room to add a wool sock or ankle brace without discomfort. If you have chronic ankle problems or are recovering from an ankle injury, we would not count on the shoe alone to give you adequate support.

The foam Nike used in the cushioning and midsole is just the right amount of firmness, with enough give to absorb road obstacles while keeping you in touch with the ground. Unlike a lot of modern shoes, the outsole lugs are close enough together that rocks and pebbles will not get caught in them. This is an annoyance that could damage the shoe and injure the bottoms of your feet over time. It happens a lot with cross-training shoes, which often have more open lug spacing or flex grooves to aid with flexibility and liftoff during jumping movements. It is one of the reasons cross trainers do not make good distance runners. But the Turbo 2, being Nike's populist shoe, will double as a gym shoe for the most part and will not let you down during group fitness classes. It is a terrible choice for weightlifting, though, unless you restrict yourself to lightweight, high reps, and a lot of muscle isolating exercises like bicep curls. Nike has plenty of performance lifting shoes--the Pegasus Turbo 2 does not claim to be one of them.

Provided you are not an overpronator, underpronator, or person with chronic joint inflammation, the Turbo 2 will support you during moderate distance running. We say "moderate" because it is probably not ready for the marathon distance. To go that many miles, without getting exhausted and staying sore for weeks after, you really need a maximalist shoe with visible layers of cushioning. Most public marathons take place in cities, too, with unforgiving asphalt or concrete underfoot at every step.

This is an unusually lightweight shoe, thanks to the mesh upper. The stitching and thickness give the whole shoe a translucent look, regardless of color pattern. Uppers are synthetic, but it is not clear if the Pegasus Turbo 2 is a vegan shoe. The mesh is lofted, meaning it curves along with a smooth pattern established by the material under it. That material is the same as the inner part of the shoe.

Finding the actual seams inside the Turbo 2 is a challenge, because of the lofting and precision stitching; the benefit for you is a comfy ride with no chafing and little chance that the lining will tear over time. On cheaper or poorly made athletic shoes, the fabric will often wear out to reveal the heel cup. Weak heel cups, which fragment under regular use, seem to go hand in hand with too-thin fabric. But the Nike Zoom Pegasus Turbo 2 combines quality fabric with a plasticized heel cup for rigidity, extra heel support, and a durable, trouble-free wear experience even over time.

Extra Features

That raised heel, which we mentioned earlier, turns out to have a benefit and purpose. It helps give you a strong kinetic connection to the ground on the liftoff portion of each gait cycle. It also aids with the transition, or turnover your foot performs each time you hit the pavement during a run. The midsole, which Nike calls ZoomX, actually boosts your efficiency by returning part of the energy your foot expends to keep you upright and propel you forward. Also, the heel collar or back of the upper has a slight angle to guide it away from your ankle. The benefit here is less wear and tear on your Achilles tendon.

Rounding out the extra features, Nike put a partial sleeve, like a nonremovable sock, inside the shoe from the toe to the middle of your foot. The sleeve is part of an anatomically friendly footbed shape and can help you run for more extended distances as you continue to train in the shoes.

Who It Is For

There is a key difference between a shoe like the Pegasus and a shoe like, for example, the Metcon. Both are Nike and both are sport-specific--the Metcon for CrossFit and the Pegasus for outdoor distance running. The difference is partially in price, although the Metcon is not exponentially more expensive. The difference is that some of Nike's shoes are performance-oriented enough for professional athletes, while others are more for regular working people who do fitness or sports as a hobby and for better health. Think of it this way--you can get a pair of older Pegasus, for less than original retail, at any big box shoe store. But if you want a hardcore training shoe, offering greater durability, more targeted support, Flyknit uppers, and other advanced features, you usually have to go to a performance sporting goods store or order the shoes online. Nike originally conceived the Pegasus as a shoe for every runner, and it is now enjoyed by, well, everybody. You will often see people who don't even run wearing Pegasus or a similar sneaker, just because they are comfortable, supportive, hold up well, and are so widely available. So in reviewing the Pegasus Turbo 2, we did not apply the same standards we would have held something like a dedicated lifting shoe up to.

The Final Word

The Nike Pegasus Turbo 2 is for you if you run, or if you walk a good bit most days, or if you want something stylish for everyday errands and tasks. The shoe goes with everything, especially if you buy a black pair. If you have a job that keeps you on your feet, these shoes will prove helpful. Though they do not have a lot of advanced features, the shoes are durable, lightweight, breathable, and comfortable. We do not recommend them for specialty running or serious powerlifting, but neither does Nike. The original 1983 Pegasus was for everyone, and that aspect has not changed even as the shoe has become lighter and more supportive over the years.