For the latest on the Nike Pegasus trail, check out our Nike Pegasus Trail 3 review.
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 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 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 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 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!
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!]
Our Favorite Trail Running Shoes
Check out our Best Trail Running Shoes article to learn about our current favorite trail running shoes!