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Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 39 review

The Nike Pegasus 39 is a workhorse, suited to all runners

a photo of the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 39
(Image: © Future/Tom's Guide)

Tom's Guide Verdict

A fantastic all-rounder, well suited to beginners and experienced runners alike.

Pros

  • +

    Improved fit to Pegasus 38

  • +

    Comfortable everyday running shoe

  • +

    Durable

  • +

    Lighter than the Pegasus 38

  • +

Cons

  • -

    Not many color options available at launch

When it comes to the Nike Pegasus there are two camps of runners — those who long for the return of the Pegasus 36, and those who prefer the updated version of the shoe, with React foam in the midsole. After a week of testing in the Pegasus, I’d go as far to say that the Nike Pegasus 39 might just be the one that reunites Pegasus fans everywhere. 

Nike Pegasus 39: Specifications

Price: £109/ $120
Drop: 9.6mm
Weight: 231g (women’s US 8)
Type: Road
Colors: 5 men, 7 women
Widths: Regular, Wide

Nike has improved the fit, made the shoe lighter, and added a Zoom Air unit to the heel of the shoe as well as the forefoot. It’s got all of the features of the Pegasus — a durable all-rounder built for long runs and everyday miles, but it’s slightly more responsive, allowing you to pick up the pace should you need to. How does it compare to some of the other best Nike running shoes on the market? Read our Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 39 review to find out.

Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 39 review: Price and availability

The Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 39 was released in April 2022 and costs £109/$120. In the UK, it is currently available on the Nike website, and on retailers like sportsshoe.com (opens in new tab). This is the same as the Nike Pegasus 38, although you’ll likely be able to pick up a pair of last year’s shoes at a discount right now. In the world of super shoes, the Pegasus has always been a more affordable running shoe, popular with beginners and more experienced runners alike. 

a photo of the Nike Pegasus 39

(Image credit: Future/Tom's Guide)

At launch, it’s available in five different colorways in the men’s version — red, white, all black, light blue, and black and white, and seven in the women’s — mint, grey, all black, white and pink, pink, white, and black and white. That said, being one of the most popular Nike running shoes on the market, it’s very likely that the Pegasus will be released in more colorways in the future. 

The shoe is available in sizes US 6-15 (UK 5.5-14) in the men’s version and sizes US 4.5-12 (UK 2.5-9.5) in the women’s.

Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 39 review: Design and fit 

So, what’s new? Nike has made some tweaks to the upper in the Pegasus 39 — there’s still a good amount of cushioning, but Nike has used an engineered mesh to make it stronger and lighter. It’s also added a Zoom Air unit to the heel of the shoe, which is probably the most noticeable change underfoot. 

Fit-wise, the Pegasus 39 seems to address some of the issues runners experienced with the 37 and 38. It’s more true to size, which we found during our testing, and the heel has been slightly changed to prevent heel slip. The toe box feels roomier than on the Pegasus 37 and the Pegasus 38. It comes in a regular and wider width, but unless you’ve got particularly wide feet, the regular shoe should be suitable for most runners. 

A photo of the flywire on the Nike Pegasus 39

(Image credit: Future/Tom's Guide)

Upper 

The upper on the Nike Pegasus 39 is lighter than that on the Pegasus 38. Nike says it has placed engineered mesh throughout the upper, which is stronger and more flexible than regular mesh. There’s also “Flywire technology,” which is a band of wires that wrap around the midfoot of the shoe from the laces to keep the foot in place.

The tongue of the Pegasus 39 is still padded, and there’s a good amount of cushioning around the collar of the shoe. I also appreciate the new laces, which are similar to those used in the Nike Vaporfly Next% 2 (although not as exaggerated), with grooves along the outside of the laces to prevent them from loosening or coming untied on the run. 

a photo of the heel of the Nike Pegasus 39

(Image credit: Future/Tom's Guide)

Midsole 

The midsole contains Nike’s React foam, which is a lightweight, durable foam, the same as that used in other everyday Nike running shoes, such as the Nike Infinity Flyknit 3. In the Pegasus 39, Nike has added a second Zoom Air unit to the heel of the shoe. The 37 and 38 both had a forefoot unit for a responsive toe-off, but the Pegasus 39 has both a forefoot Zoom Air unit and a second in the rear of the shoe. This gives the Pegasus 39 more of a snap and a little more energy return. 

The React foam isn’t overly plush, so don’t put this shoe on and expect a soft, cushioned ride. Unlike the ZoomX foam used in shoes like the Nike Invincible or the Nike Vaporfly Next% 2, the Pegasus 39 isn’t bouncy or plush, but for an everyday workhorse, it’s got a good amount of responsiveness.  

a photo of the outsole of the Nike Pegasus 39

(Image credit: Future/Tom's Guide)

Outsole 

The outsole is similar to previous iterations of the Pegasus — Nike calls it “waffle inspired” and there’s a good amount of grip for wet concrete and light trails. The lugs are by no means deep enough to take this on a technical trail (we’ve found the best trail running shoes for that), but it’s a stable all-rounder for those everyday runs. 

Like other Nike running shoes, the Pegasus 39 has slightly more of a flared heel — Nike says this is to optimize landing, helping for a faster heel-toe transition. 

Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 39 review: Performance 

I wore the Pegasus 39 for a number of different runs — from slower, easy commuting runs with a backpack, to recovery runs, and a six-mile tempo session, with two-minute repeats. I’ve been impressed with the versatility of this shoe — while there are definitely better shoes for faster sessions (I’d normally opt for the Nike Air Zoom Tempo Next%), the Pegasus 39 is reactive enough to pick up the pace should you need it. 

My main issue with the Pegasus 37 and Pegasus 38 was that I felt like they didn’t quite have enough energy return underfoot. Both versions felt a little sluggish and a little heavy. Whether it’s the extra Zoom Air unit or the fact the Pegasus 39 is a lighter shoe, it definitely feels more responsive. 

a photo of the flywire on the Nike Pegasus 39

(Image credit: Future/Tom's Guide)

The fit is a massive improvement on previous iterations. Out of the box, I was able to run for about 20 miles in the shoe without any blisters or hot spots. While I’ve never experienced heel slipping in the Pegasus, it definitely has a good locked-down feel.  

Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 39 review: Verdict 

Would I go so far as to say this is my favorite Pegasus since the 36? In a word, yes. After falling out of love with the Pegasus for the past few years, I feel like the 39 is a big improvement. Compared to similar shoes in the price range, such as the New Balance 1080v12, or the Brooks Glycerin 19, I’d argue that for a cheaper price tag, you’re getting a much more versatile shoe in the Pegasus. 

It’s still definitely best suited to easy miles but has enough snap to cope with faster sessions, although quicker runners might find it a little hefty. Again, this is a brilliant bigger shoe and has enough durability to last for miles. It’s wonderfully reliable, and could easily get you around your first 5K, or your first marathon. 

If you’re not willing to spend more than $100 on a pair of running shoes, now is a good time to buy a pair of the Nike Pegasus 38, which should be on sale. But for a little bit more, the Pegasus 39 will more than satisfy most runners.

Jane McGuire is Tom's Guide's Fitness editor, which means she looks after everything fitness related - from running gear to yoga mats. An avid runner, Jane has tested and reviewed fitness products for the past four years, so knows what to look for when finding a good running watch or a pair of shorts with pockets big enough for your smartphone. When she's not pounding the pavements, you'll find Jane striding round the Surrey Hills, taking far too many photos of her puppy.