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Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 38 review

The Nike Pegasus 38 is a workhorse of a shoe, perfect for every distance.

Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 38 review
(Image: © Tom's Guide/Future)

Our Verdict

The Nike Pegasus 38 is a brilliant running shoe for experienced and beginner runners alike. It's a fantastic all-rounder and is more comfortable underfoot than the Pegasus 37.

For

  • A great all-rounder
  • Well-built and durable
  • Available in a number of different colorways

Against

  • Not the most responsive shoe

Tom's Guide Verdict

The Nike Pegasus 38 is a brilliant running shoe for experienced and beginner runners alike. It's a fantastic all-rounder and is more comfortable underfoot than the Pegasus 37.

Pros

  • + A great all-rounder
  • + Well-built and durable
  • + Available in a number of different colorways

Cons

  • - Not the most responsive shoe
  • -
Nike Pegasus 38: Specs

Weight: 275 g (M), 235 g (W)
Drop: 10mm
Type: Road
Neutral/stability: Neutral
Widths: Women’s - regular, men’s - regular, extra-wide 

To sum up the Nike Pegasus 38 in one word would be to say 'reliable.' This is a workhorse of a running shoe that is perfect for beginners but also would suit any level of runner. In all, a brilliant all-rounder. 

When the Nike Pegasus 37 hit the market last year, I made a very bold claim, saying it was my favorite Pegasus yet. Compared to previous versions, I thought the 37 had more 'pop,' yet like many other runners, I struggled a little with the fit of the shoe. Then came the Pegasus 38, which fixes those fit issues, while still keeping the same bounce underfoot. I've run upwards of 50 miles in this shoe; for this Nike Pegasus 38 review, I'll take a look at the upper, the midsole, the outsole and the fit and appearance of the shoe, as well as how it felt out on the road.

Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 38 review: Price and availability

The Nike Pegasus 38 was released in April 2021, and costs $120. The Pegasus 38 is available in a number of different colorways, with Nike often releasing special-edition versions of the shoe. Whether you're after an all-black shoe for your next race or fancy the limited edition A.I.R. Kelly Anna London design, Nike has something for everyone. In the men's version, the shoe is available from a U.S. size 6 to a U.S. size 15; for women, the Pegasus 38 starts at a U.S. size 5 and goes up to a U.S. 12.  

The Pegasus 37 was released around the same time the year earlier. Based on this, we can predict that the Nike Pegasus 39 will drop in spring next year. 

Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 38 review: Design and fit

Like the Pegasus 37, the Pegasus 38 contains Nike’s responsive React foam, which is lightweight and offers a good amount of underfoot cushioning. 

In fact, the only real differences between the Pegasus 37 and the Pegasus 38 can be found in the fit and the upper — the toe box is wider, the laces do up slightly differently and there’s cushioning beneath the tongue for a comfier fit. They’ve also fixed the shallow heel cup of the Pegasus 37, which many runners found caused blisters on the run. 

The Pegasus 38 fits true to size (although, as with all running shoes, it’s worth sizing up compared to your daily trainer). Right out of the box, it’s a comfortable shoe and should fit most runners well (unless you have an especially high instep or wide foot). 

The shoe looks great on and off the run, making it a popular choice for runners who want a shoe they can wear in the gym or on hikes at the weekend (although this might shorten the life of the running shoe). 

The Pegasus 38 features Nike's Flyease entry system. The laceless design allows all athletes to slip the shoe on and off with one hand using the zip, and then tighten the webbing across the foot for the perfect fit.  

Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 38 black and white colorway

(Image credit: Nike)

Upper

The Pegasus 38 has a breathable mesh upper, that is similar to the Brooks upper on the Glycerin 19 in terms of thickness and plushness. This plushness has also spread to the tongue of the shoe — Nike has replaced the racing-style tongue of the Pegasus 36 with a thicker, padded design to protect the foot from pressure and hot spots.  

The Pegasus 38 also has a new lacing system; the soft, midfoot webbing system is designed to spread any pressure across a wider area of the foot. 

side profile of Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 38 white model

(Image credit: Nike)

Midsole

The Pegasus 38 has the same full-length React foam midsole and Zoom Air unit as the Pegasus 37. It’s got noticeably more cushioning than previous versions of the Pegasus, but unlike say, the Infinity Run Flyknit 2 or the Nike Invincible Run, the React foam still has a firmness, so don’t expect the Pegasus 38 to feel too bouncy or springy underfoot. 

Outsole

The Nike Pegasus line is well-known for its hard-wearing outsole. This is a running shoe that’s designed to keep going for miles, without needing to be replaced. 

The outsole itself is similar to that of the Pegasus 37. It’s definitely a road shoe, with an outsole that is grippy enough to wear on pavements and grass but it wouldn’t be a great choice for trickier terrains or especially slippery surfaces. 

a side view of the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 38

(Image credit: Nike)

Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 38 review: Performance

Out of the box, the Pegasus 38 was extremely comfortable; I found I was able to run in it straight away, with no pressure or blisters. 

The Pegasus 38 was absolutely brilliant during my warm-up and for easy miles, but unlike other versions of the Pegasus, it didn’t have the same energy return during faster sessions. This doesn’t mean it can’t pick up the pace when you need it to; it just means old-school Pegasus fans might pine for the firmer snap of the Pegasus 36 on faster days. 

When testing the Pegasus 38, I clocked upwards of 50-miles in the shoe and spotted no signs of wear or tear to the outsole. 

Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 38: Verdict 

For a shoe to be in its 38th iteration, it must be doing something right. With the Nike Pegasus 38, Nike has built on the updates made to the Pegasus 37. This is a wonderfully reliable shoe — you can wear it for your first 5K, or your fifth marathon, and pretty much everything in between. It’s also well-built and durable, so for $120 you can expect to get hundreds of miles out of this shoe. 

This is a fantastic shoe for beginners who want to feel comfortable, stable, and supported as they move. We gave this shoe our best overall running shoe in our roundup of the best Nike running shoes due to its versatility and durability, but if you're not willing to spend upwards of $100 on a pair of running shoes, now might be a good time to pick up a pair of the Nike Pegasus 37's, which are last season's stock, so will be discounted. 

Alternatively, the Hoka One One Rincon 3 is also a brilliant all-rounder and was the most affordable shoe in our roundup of best running shoes for 2021. But if you pick up the Pegasus 38, you won't be disappointed.

Jane McGuire

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.