Nike Pegasus Trail 5 Review

An in-depth review of the Nike Pegasus Trail 5 trail running shoes.

By on May 22, 2024 | Comments
Nike Pegasus Trail 5

The Nike Pegasus Trail 5. All photos: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

The Nike Pegasus Trail 5 ($150), like its predecessors, is my magic slipper of sorts for daily, non-technical singletrack running. It can also handle the occasional mile of pavement linking my door with the desired easy-moderate trails and not flare up my never-ending plantar fasciitis saga. It was with excitement and a bit of trepidation that I initially slid my finally-pain-free feet into this shoe some weeks ago, hoping that Nike didn’t change the awesome ride of the past versions of this shoe. I’ve put 150 miles on these in very short order, and I can confidently say that, for me, each aspect of the update is an improvement.

They are svelte and agile and make me feel speedy on smooth, less rocky trails, and now the cushioning is even more forgiving on those days when I’m decidedly not feeling speedy. They’re still not ideal for super rocky or rubbly trails, but with smart foot placement, their upgraded traction will get you more confidently from point A to point B on trails, even if the rock protection is lacking.

This version is 10 to 15 unnoticeable grams heavier than the previous, with their actual weight being 10.2 ounces (289 grams) for a U.S. men’s 9. The 9.5-millimeter drop is right up my alley, with Nike reporting a 37-millimeter full stack height at the heel and a 27.5-millimeter height at the toe. The three colorways for women and four for men are interesting and visually pleasing as they pay tribute to the GR 11 trail that traverses the Pyrenees. I found them to run true to size.

The iRunFar team has previously reviewed the Nike Pegasus Trail 4. As this shoe has only improved, we’ve selected the Nike Pegasus Trail 5 again as one of our top choices in our Best Trail Running Shoes guide.

Shop the Women's Nike Pegasus Trail 5Shop the Men's Nike Pegasus Trail 5

Nike Pegasus Trail 5 Upper

Nike Pegasus Trail 5 - lateral

A lateral view of the Nike Pegasus Trail 5.

The upper of the Nike Pegasus Trail 5 has a few easily identifiable changes, one of which is that it’s slightly wider with a bit more volume through the forefoot. My toes have remained chafe- and blister-free in these, regardless of the conditions. The upper is a single layer of engineered mesh and uses various textures and hole sizes to maximize breathability and durability in high friction zones, as well as improve the overall structure. This, coupled with thin overlays through the medial and lateral midfoot, provides better protection from water, dirt, and sand entry while having excellent heat management. I’ve noticed much cleaner feet after windy, dusty runs with the occasional splash zone.

The shoe keeps the Flywire technology from prior versions that provides midfoot security through the integration with the laces. It allows the shoe to remain nimble and agile from the moment you tie them until you finally unlace for the day. If you like experimenting with various heel-lock lacing strategies, the shoe now features a third lacing hole nearest the ankle. I haven’t used these extra holes, but I appreciate their availability. The gusseted tongue is more substantial and offers better protection from the laces. I found it to stay perfectly in place throughout each run and didn’t find it obtrusive on the anterior ankle, even on steep uphills or during faster runs.

Another noticeable improvement is in the ankle collar and Achilles notch area — especially if you’re someone like me who had issues with prior versions being very aggressive against the Achilles tendons during the first 50 miles of use. The shoe now has a heel counter with a pliability and structure that moves the collar slightly away from the Achilles instead of angling directly into it. The heel cup is secure, snug, and well-fitting. The padding in the slightly lower-cut ankle notch makes it more comfortable all around.

Instead of the familiar webbing loop off the rear of the shoe, Nike attached a D-shaped rope loop to make it easy to pull on the shoe. It’s also handy for hooking the shoes to your bag via the ever-trusty carabiner. It seems like a superfluous change, but a little flare here and there can be memorable.

The insole is similar to the Pegasus Trail 4 and remains more substantial than that of many brands. My feet crave a little extra cushioning and arch support, and these insoles do the trick. They are removable but have a bit of extra stickiness holding them in place, which means even if you completely soak the shoe, the insole isn’t going anywhere.

The toe bumper is a little sturdier than prior versions and wraps a bit further onto the front of the toe with two wings on either end. It provides adequate bumper protection but stays low enough on the front end that it doesn’t compress the shoe onto the tips of the toes. I’m a little more careful around cactus in these shoes, but I haven’t had any run-ins with the pointy ends of things yet.

All in all, it’s a terrific upper that keeps my feet exceptionally happy. The Achilles notch change was imperative from my perspective, but I also really like the feel of the new mesh. There’s no reason to reinvent the wheel, but these enhancements really lift the Pegasus Trail 5 to a new level.

Nike Pegasus Trail 5 Midsole

Nike Pegasus Trail 5 - medial

A medial view of the Nike Pegasus Trail 5.

The midsole of the Nike Pegasus Trail 5 has been upgraded from the brand’s React foam to ReactX foam. Nike claims this reduced the shoe’s carbon footprint by 43% while upgrading the ride. This midsole feels a bit softer underfoot but never boggy. I feel the new foam is most noticeable as the mileage of a run ticks into the double digits or if I transition from singletrack to dirt road or pavement.

Nike claims the durable ReactX foam provides 13% more energy return than the React foam. This is hard to judge for me, but I will say this shoe is more comfortable on runs in the 10- to 20-mile range than prior versions and retains the agility and sense of propulsion for shorter runs. At 150 miles, they are just as comfortable as the day I first put them on, with no signs of midsole compression or waning responsiveness.

The rise of the midsole through the medial and lateral midfoot is similar to the previous shoe version, which gives a sense of support without restricting natural foot motion. Visually, the midsole now noticeably protrudes off the back of the upper for a purpose I’m not quite clear on. However, my very functional side loves it because it acts as a platform for your other foot to help take the shoe off. The heel-striker in me also finds it enhances the smoothness of the roll from heel to toe, especially with faster, flatter running or while pushing the pace on descents.

Overall, the ReactX foam and subtle design change are positives for overall comfort, responsiveness, and cushioning, especially on longer runs. The only thing that would make the midsole more perfect is a thin rock plate — here’s to hoping!

Nike Pegasus Trail 5 Outsole

Nike Pegasus Trail 5 - outsole

The outsole of the Nike Pegasus Trail 5.

Nike utilizes their new proprietary All Terrain Compound (ATC) rubber for the outsole of the Nike Pegasus Trail 5 and widened the overall footprint of the shoe by a few millimeters. If you ever felt like the ground contact area of prior versions was a bit too narrow, you’ll appreciate this update. It completely resolves that sensation without feeling oversized. This new rubber compound has a slightly more pliable and textured feel, which makes it slightly stickier on slabs and less stiff when dirt roads and hard-packed singletrack are on the menu. It feels like the shoe is better able to work with the foot.

The upgraded traction pattern now includes rows of angled diamond-shaped lugs with small rectangular cutouts paralleling them between the rows to save weight and reduce stiffness. Interestingly, a large section of the midsole is now exposed down the center of the midfoot toward the heel. This is likely to improve the flexibility and roll of the shoe during the gait cycle, particularly on smoother surfaces. I found these changes enhanced traction and ride when tested on sandy rock slabs, small ball-bearing rocks on steeper ascents and descents, and wet dirt over roots or rocks.

The only downside to the newly designed outsole is that on really rocky, rubbly trails, the feet take a beating without a rock plate to ward off the incursions. The shoe isn’t designed for mud and snow, but I was pleasantly surprised by how they shed mud when needed. I’m so happy with the performance of this outsole, in conjunction with the rest of the shoe, that I’ll be stocking up.

Nike Pegasus Trail 5 - Nike Pegasus Trail 4 - outsoles

The outsoles of the Nike Pegasus Trail 4 (top) and Pegasus Trail 5 (bottom).

Nike Pegasus Trail 5 Overall Impressions

Nike Pegasus Trail 5 - top

A top view of the Nike Pegasus Trail 5.

If the new Nike Pegasus Trail 5 indicates that this trail shoe line will remain as reliable in its performance and comfort over many evolutions as the 40-plus versions of the brand’s Pegasus road shoe have, I’ll be one happy runner. There are other shoes for the big, technical mountain days and gnarly terrain, but for a daily run on mild-to-moderate terrain where stress melts away and the run may or may not end with a mile of pavement to the local coffeehouse, this remains my Cinderella shoe.

The ever-so-slightly wider and more accommodating design, the resilient and durable ReactX foam cushioning, and the enhanced traction make it an easy choice to slip into and head straight out the door.

Shop the Women's Nike Pegasus Trail 5Shop the Men's Nike Pegasus Trail 5

Call for Comments

  • Are you running in the Nike Pegasus Trail 5? What do you think?
  • Have you run in prior versions of this model? How does this fifth iteration compare to prior editions?

Our Favorite Trail Running Shoes

Check out our Best Trail Running Shoes article to learn about our current favorite trail running shoes!

Kristin Zosel

Kristin Zosel is a long-time iRunFar contributor starting first as the lone transcriptionist and then moving over to the gear review team. She is in constant pursuit of the ever-elusive “balance” in life as a mom, student, mountain lover, ultrarunner, teacher, physical therapist, overall life enthusiast, and so much more. Kristin’s trail running and racing interests range anywhere from half marathon to 100k trail races, facilitating others’ 100-mile races, and long routes in the mountains, but mostly she just loves moving efficiently through nature solo and with friends.