Nike Pegasus Trail 2 Standard and GORE-TEX Reviews

Two shoes in one review! This article covers both the Nike Pegasus Trail 2 ($130) and its waterproof counterpart, the Nike Pegasus Trail 2 GORE-TEX ($160). I picked up a pair of the standard version in July and loved them enough to get the GORE-TEX version for this winter.

Both sport a 10mm drop and the standard version men’s size 9 weighs 11 ounces (312 grams). The package is outsized, both visibly and in its specs. There are huge updates to this shoe from its previous iterations, most notably the switch to Nike’s React midsole foam, which is the most distinguishing and pleasurable aspect of both versions of the Pegasus Trail 2. The winterized version offers plenty of protection from cold and wet conditions. Let’s dive into the details of these shoes.

Nike Pegasus Trail 2

The Nike Pegasus Trail 2. All photos: iRunFar

Nike Pegasus Trail 2 GORE-TEX

The Nike Pegasus Trail 2 GORE-TEX.

Nike Pegasus Trail 2 and Pegasus Trail 2 GORE-TEX Upper

The upper across both the standard and GORE-TEX versions is very comfortable. However, the standard version is notably roomier and more flexible than the GORE-TEX version, which is expectedly slightly stiffer and rougher to the touch given its waterproof bonding.

One characteristic that carries over both versions is the neoprene tongue, which strikes me as a heavy material and one I expected perhaps only in the GORE-TEX version. However, it’s unnoticeable except for being very comfortable and stable. The tongue doesn’t slip around or slide from side to side.

On both versions, the upper construction quality is remarkable. There is a complete lack of wear, especially in some of the prone areas like the sides where your foot pushes and very steadily degrades the mesh.

There is a large pull tab on the rear of the shoe, which I believe to be more of a branding hit than a useful feature. The size 12.5 that I tested was not so snug that it required pulling on the tab to slide in my foot. This is unlike a mountaineering or alpine-climbing boot where the upper is so rigid that a pull tab is almost mandatory.

The upper’s low-profile gaiter is a nice touch but not snug or high enough on your leg to completely keep debris and snow out. In the GORE-TEX version, I found snow got inside when running or sliding through several inches of it.

The ventilated mesh wrapped with the GORE-TEX Invisible Fit membrane works incredibly well. If you often have cold feet, I would argue that these would be a good option even in dry weather. I suffer from cold extremities, but I also sweat a lot once I get moving. Paired with a wool sock, my feet stayed totally dry both from the GORE-TEX upper’s breathability and transfer of moisture. Just for kicks, I sprayed the GORE-TEX version down with a garden hose for several minutes after a muddy run. Not surprisingly, water got inside. But under normal wet, muddy, or snowy conditions, I’m pleased to report that the upper is reliably dry and protective.

It appears that many consumers buy Nike’s trail shoes even for pavement running. Their own website says that they will “keep your feet dry when running through wet roads.” Indeed, this shoe actually is a strong performer in the road-to-trail category.

Nike Pegasus Trail 2 - lateral upper

The Nike Pegasus Trail 2 lateral view.

Nike Pegasus Trail 2 GORE-TEX - lateral upper

The Nike Pegasus Trail 2 GORE-TEX lateral view.

Nike Pegasus Trail 2 and Pegasus Trail 2 GORE-TEX Midsole

This shoe model–in both versions–is really all about the foam. With all of the propulsion advancements Nike has made in the past year, React foam is still an incredible invention.

When I try on shoes for the first time, I usually have a palpable reaction to it feeling “alive” or “dead.” This shoe is totally alive. Obviously it’s a foam thing for me. I should note that I am 6 foot, 4 inches tall and I weigh 180 pounds, so for a shoe to feel lively it must be quite cushioned and energy-returning. This shoe has these qualities in spades.

I live in Boulder, Colorado and love going uphill–my daily runs average 2,000 feet of vertical–and so to get down I usually have to descend the same amount. Here’s where my love affair with React foam begins to stray. Right around 115 miles into my testing of the standard version, the dead feeling began creeping in and the Pegasus Trail 2 stopped being my daily go-to. I had to really think about why the shoe was becoming less enjoyable and peppy. Then I realized it was the degradation of the foam. Due to my weight and the style of running I do the most, I believe the midsole began to lose its edge sooner than if I was running on flatter or rolling trails. This change was hard to notice visually because the shoe’s outsole and upper remained in fabulous condition. For a shoe that is fairly expensive, you might want to consider how your typical running surfaces and grades might affect the foam’s integrity.

Nike Pegasus Trail 2 - medial upper

The Nike Pegasus Trail 2 medial view.

Nike Pegasus Trail 2 GORE-TEX - medial upper

The Nike Pegasus Trail 2 GORE-TEX medial view.

Nike Pegasus Trail 2 and Pegasus Trail 2 GORE-TEX Outsole

Neither version of this model has rock protection, but I’ve found that as long as a shoe has robust lugs and enough coverage, a rock plate is not needed. Plus, I found that the shoe was stable on mixed conditions such as rock, mud, and snow. The lug pattern is modeled after a bicycle tire with two crampon-esque teeth on the forefoot that act as a great contact patch while climbing and allow the shoe to bite sloppy trail well. The actual performance of the grip is average, but I don’t knock this as a feature so long as the grip is predictable enough that you know what you’re going to get when you land, cut, and turn.

Nike Pegasus Trail 2 - outsole

The Nike Pegasus Trail 2 outsole.

Nike Pegasus Trail 2 GORE-TEX - outsole

The Nike Pegasus Trail 2 GORE-TEX outsole.

Nike Pegasus Trail 2 and Pegasus Trail 2 GORE-TEX Overall Impressions

These are big shoes. Every aspect of the Nike Pegasus Trail 2 standard and Nike Pegasus Trail 2 GORE-TEX versions is outsized: from the massive swoosh logo across the side to the roomy upper, and from the very cushy midsole to the bike-tire-style outsole. There is weight gain from previous models of this shoe, though they are well balanced and stable, making them a more likely choice for longer-distance running than the Wildhorse or Terra Kiger models.

I like both versions of this shoe enough that I would keep each around for whatever the conditions call for. The construction from all aspects is above average so once you buy a pair–given that you don’t beat down the midsole like I did through excessive and steep descending–the shoes will last a long time. The lugs are stout, but even on mixed surfaces including roads, their integrity remains. This is one of my favorite two shoe models launched in 2020!

Read up on more trail shoes launched in the spring/summer 2020 and fall/winter 2020.

Call for Comments

  • Are you running in either the Nike Pegasus Trail 2 or the Nike Pegasus Trail 2 GORE-TEX? What do you think of them overall?
  • Feel free to share some specific thoughts on the upper, midsole, or outsole of either version.
  • How has the React midsole foam fared for you? And on what kind of terrain do you usually run?
  • Finally, how has the GORE-TEX version performed for you?

[Editor’s Note: If you’re affiliated (i.e., an employee, ambassador, etc.) with a brand, please share your relation in each of your comments on this article. Thanks!]

Nike Pegasus Trail 2 - top view

The Nike Pegasus Trail 2 top view.

Nike Pegasus Trail 2 GORE-TEX - top view

The Nike Pegasus Trail 2 GORE-TEX top view.

There are 12 comments

  1. chris mcgovern

    I actually have both of these shoes. About 100 miles in the GTX and about 300 in the “normal” Pegasus. Shockingly I love these shoes. I only ran in Altras for about 5 years, and spent the last year trying to find other brands to run in without much luck….I thought I was destined to wear Altra forever. (I cant get any model of Altra to last for 300miles, extremely frustrating) And then on a whim, I ordered a pair of Pegasus 2, leary because of a poor wildhorse 5 experience, I thought I would be putting the Pegasus in the closet. Much to my surprise, I kept grabbing them. Road to trail. Buff trail, Tech trail, Fastpack trips. As you mentioned, the upper is very durable, no signs of wear to either pair. The GTX is stiffer in the upper, but breaks in. The tongues are different however. The normal Pegasus is like a sock, where the GTX is a loose tongue, I actually prefer the sock style. The outsole material has been very durable. I have significant wear on the outside heal lugs, but I do that on all my shoes. The traction has been very good and versatile. The midfoot is still feeling good after 300 miles. I usually have to retire shoes prior to or at 300 miles because of upper failure, dead tread, or lack of life underfoot. So at 300 miles with the Pegasus, I was wondering what to do. they look good, they feel good….so I put on a blown out 280 mile pair of Altra Olympus 4.0 to compare. Pegasus felt amazing still….. Honestly cant believe I like this shoe. I think it might even be my TDS shoeing assuming it happens in 2021. Unless i should try something else….. suggestions?

  2. John Ammondson

    I so wish Nike had kept a pegasus 36 trail-like shoe in its lineup, because the peg 36 trail is my favorite trail running shoe ever and I thought the road-shoe-with-slight-trail-runner-features model worked so perfectly. I know that the peg trail 2 has plenty of redeeming qualities, including being a solid road to trail shoe, but the fact that it’s so much heavier and bulkier than the peg 36 trail is a total turn off for me. I wish Nike could have named this shoe something new and continued to release a trail version of whatever the newest road Pegasus model is, but you can’t always get what you want!

  3. Reza

    React foam is ok, but my dream is to have trail shoes with ZoomX foam. I don’t care about carbon fiber plates, something like Peg Turbos with more aggressive lugs would be amazing.

  4. JD

    I love these also having bought them for road to trail in the Lake District. I don’t think the grip is great on the road so I wonder if there is an equivalent shoe midsole-wise with a road-specific outsole?

  5. Tommy Stockton

    I found these great for non-technical trails and roads. The traction isn’t great (need more aggressive lugs and softer out sole) and they feel sloppy on technical terrain. I’d probably get another pair for mixed trail and road runs.

  6. Joe

    This is never mentioned anywhere but the Nike React foam is incredibly hard in cold weather, making it unusable. The colder the weather (temperature),the harder it gets. It definitely feels harder than traditional EVA midsoles in cold weather. I’ve had multiple injuries as a result of running in cold weather with React foam (2 different pairs of Nike shoes; Epic React, React Infinity Run). Besides injuries, its made running painful (ankle, knee, hip and lower pain). I switched back to TPU based cushioning shoes (e.g. Adidas boosts) and the pain and injuries went away. I’ve done enough running samples to know its no fluke.

  7. Paul Hughes

    Hi, I too have both of these sneakers however I in the end opted for all black gore tex version as I figured that would be the shoe worn in dirty trails etc. I found i had to go half a size up on the gore tex model as it was painfully tight in my normal 11.5, nike were as usual great and exchanged them. I believe the non gore tex pegasus trail 2 is more comfortable with softer cushioning. I’m considering buying the grey gore tex too as I absolutely love these sneakers, whether for running or around town. The green shoe is stunning in the flesh, very cool. A great nike sneaker in any and all ways.

  8. Erika B

    I recently purchased the gore-tex just because I liked the colors and I absolutely love that shoe. It was no “break-in” period, and fits well. The 1st day wearing them, I had them on for 8 or 9 hours and I could have gone another 8 or 9. My feet nor my legs felt tired or sore. It was a surprisingly great purchase.

  9. Misha

    I think you’re being too generous when you say “performance of the grip is average”. In my experience, the grip is awful – they’re slippery even on wet pavement, not good in mud, or loose surfaces, or really anything other than dry packed trails (but then you could run in road shoes).

    That said, I like the shoes, the foam is great, the upper is comfy, and I appreciate the bigger heel-toe drop to let my calves recover on easy days.
    I also find that the tall stack height under the heel, and relative narrow profile (I mean, it’s wide, but not as wide as other tall shoes like Hokas), lead to more ankle rolls than I like.

    It’s my go-to shoe for easy trail runs, but I don’t wear it on any harder efforts for fear of slipping and ankle rolls.

  10. Katie

    I just go the Pegasus Gore-TX shoes and I love them! I got my normal size (W 8) and I am noticing that both of my big toes are hurting just walking around in them. I am afraid of exchanging them for half a size up, as I have very skinny feet and these fit perfectly. Does anyone know if going half a size up would help?

    I live in Texas where it doesn’t get too terribly cold, but I hike the greenbelt a lot so I got the Gore-TX to help with water. I am sure I will try the non-Gore TX ones as soon as I can afford them, as it gets over 100 F in the summer here and I am afraid the Gore-TX will make my feet sweat. Today, though, we got 6-7 inches of snow (a record) and they are working wonders for my snow play!!

  11. Travis

    I started consistently running during the pandemic and I bought the Gore-Tex version for my first fall/winter season of running. As a novice runner, they have done great up here in the rainforest of Juneau, Alaska where we get tons of rain and slush/snow. I think they do a great job from road to trail and bought a 2nd pair that I’ll use in the heavy rain this spring and summer as I’ve put just over 300 miles on the first pair.

  12. leti Brighton

    In love with the older Peg 36 model but bought the new model because of the GoreTex . Haven’t regretted it, great to keep feet nice and dry through the muddy/wet winter in England.
    HOWEVER, didn’t see that coming, have run 400k in them already with no real issue UNTIL after yesterday’s 22-mile run… has destroyed my toes :-( I’ve got two (same one on each foot) bruised toes, might even lose the nails, puts a massive spanner on my plan (3 weeks pre 35-mile race).
    Not quite sure why. Went through an 18-week marathon raining cycle, mix of road (Zoom Fly) and trail (Peg 2 GTX), 3h10 race (Next%), ZERO BLISTER… and now this :-(
    Toebox too rigid? poor running form on my part? wanted to do more long distance but might reconsider, and not sure how to tackle the upcoming race…

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