The World’s Oldest Running Shoe Model In Production
By Nikhil Choudhary
October 2, 2023
In my 12 years of lacing, putting miles, wearing out, and writing about running shoes, I haven’t seen models of running shoes coming (and going) this fast, from the polarizing rise of 3D printed midsoles to the fervor for the next best carbon plated shoe.
The moments for which one can quote the latest running shoes “New” are now shorter than ever. The course from being called The Best to One of the best to eventually fading into the background is never been this brief.
And the new introductions aren’t just happening faster — they are happening in a more profound way.
I mean, the feature-set that would once last a running shoe line’s whole life span now requires a complete refresh every one to two years. I couldn’t ask for a more reasonable period to be a running shoe critic.
But in the core resides a classic work of running shoemaking, rather an accepted archetype of the genre. Something that we critics put the more contemporary models in comparison with.
A 1983 iconic assemblage of Straight-to-the-business features that doesn’t seem to hit a serious reset every year: Nike Pegasus embraced the notion that each passing year should be celebrated rather than dreaded and feared as the end of vibrancy and vitality.
While most running shoemakers face the choice of letting nature take its course and pausing for a loyal group of consumers to develop or sticking with a reliable formula of grafting updates, not many running shoe brands have devoted decades to learning how to better produce what works.
Through Pegasus, Nike reinforces how a shoemaker can devote years, if not decades, of loyalty to certain medleys of features that work: In fact, save the original Asics Gel line-ups, no running shoe has filled the same mold for so long.
Is this enough to justify the legacy of The Peg? Are these the only ways to quantify the importance of the most iconic shoe to run in? It’s a question that has intrigued us every time we acknowledge The Peg at the sliver hubs of long readings.
We paused to dive in and share some fascinating and characterful details from this run through the history of a true running shoe titan. Tune in to learn why possessing The Nike Pegasus is more than having one of the best running shoes ever created.
Why Nike’s Pegasus is
The World’s Favourite Running Shoe?
While many models stumble to find fair footing,
How The Peg Conquered The Hearts?
Buying a shoe for it’s dynamic legacy is like watching Football for it’s vogue. I mean, one must encounter inspiration in many different forms at such great treats to self, Right? If it’s not coping with the contemporary longings, How long or far can one drag an antique for the sake of its historical reputation?
However, the Nike Pegasus Line leaving the longest-lasting footprints is a testament to the big improvements in quality from the models of three or four decades ago. What began with a small Air Wedge in the heel now includes two Zoom Air units – at the forefoot and heel.
While penning year-end pieces on best running shoes for men annually for seven years, We acknowledge The Peg explaining why they are having a moment once again, but in such dedicated writings, we’ll clarify: Why The Nike Pegasus has always owned the moment.
It Lets Everybody In
Idealy pitched, remarkably attractive, and delightfully priced:
Peg delivers on all fronts.
❝Designed for every kind of run – long and short, easy and hard – and every kind of runner, the Nike Pegasus is arguably one of the best Nike shoes money can buy❞
Scattered across my desk right now are 23 pairs of road and trail running shoes. We’ve put 50 miles, at least, on almost all of ’em. However, we ensure our obsession with running shoes or our loyalty to certain models―especially those with lengthier standings―doesn’t make us sugarcoat any of them.
Escaping the last Peg along with the memories of miles we have covered in them, I trigger every year with a fresh idea about What I’d (and you’d) like to run in for the remainder of the year.
But even the biggest trend and technological upgrade is barely discernible at all when someone gently slides the latest Peg from the corner. Continuing its journey down the minimalist road, it feels like, along with logging easy miles, one learns to love Peg.
In fact, as I write this, a pair of Nike Pegasus 40 sits by my back door, drying out after a 7km run. And that’s not just me, talking personally, but not many runners are immune to this addictive affair.
Surrounded by a depth of history, there is also a stream of consciousness surrounding the triumph of Peg. The Pegasus’ most suitable consumers range from avid runners to bi-weekly joggers. I mean, there is hardly anyone who can not engage in it.
❝I always worked in sports shops and whenever anyone was learning to run, the shoe you directed them towards was the Pegasus,❞
says Mr Brad Farrant, founder of sportswear distributor Make Room.
❝The go-to selection for people just getting into the sport or for serious runners in search of a practical training shoe,❞
Sneaker consultant, historian, and long-time collector Mr. Kish Kash concurs.
“Versatile,” has become so debased in the modern running shoes parlance; we think it means “Boring mainstream running shoes.”
Models that are either far from standard sales prose, more like shoes for advanced runners who appreciate inside knowledge delivered with a bit of attitude, or too introductory shoes people start their running careers with.
One can have a wonderful run in them, but they need to be embraced. However, the significant transition in the choice of different types of runners from such traditional wear to Nike Pegasus worldwide has practical reasons.
No one can debate Nike’s capacity to dazzle a propelling case with mind-bending hardware and details. But for the Pegasus, they don’t rely on elements that steer it toward a specialized purpose; like all good engineers, they know that less is more.
Not that I am calling into question the panoramic vision of The World’s finest running shoemaker, but by and large it is the dependable React foam and Zoom Air units that one would comfortably take to every type of run, rather than the carbon fiber embedded ZoomX foam.
Ruling with versatility, the Pegasus was a utilitarian, functional, value-for-money shoe, as its first advert acknowledged: “Never will so many own so much for so little”.
Made Of Nike’s Most Promising Findings
Which is, in fact, the real promise of Nike Pegasus
Cleo Abram, an American Journalist and Video Producer, sees the world’s most storied and prestigious automotive racing series―Formula 1―as a massive science experiment. I just want you to notice how similar the F1 scenario is to the Pegasus universe.
Many technologies and parts are developed initially for Formula 1 cars and eventually end up in our ordinary cars. In that way, Formula 1 does ring like a massive science experiment discovering gains that may drag the rest of the car industry forward in a positive direction.
Now, think of Nike’s Flagship models as the F1 car, packing the most novel discoveries, and The Pegasus as those ordinary cars operating on parts and technologies that prove to be the most promising from those discoveries.
A global sporting goods powerhouse―with a knack for creating radical high-performance running shoes―when polishes, fine-tunes, and assembles elements meticulously manicured from the pantry of its landmark innovations perfected over the years and quote the result ❝Nike Pegasus❞
The Sole unit is drafted with Phylon (EVA) foam, which updates to The Premium Cushlon foam after three years of testing it across different lines.
The Pegasus universe was cruised fluently on Phylon (EVA) foam even when Nike had a much more cushioned but durable and responsive Cushlon Foam in 2007.
It took three years of favorable reviews for Nike to muster up the courage to show their beloved Pegasus line a Cushlon foam in its 27th iteration.
The point is: no matter what number of anniversaries the Pegasus line marks or whatever the affair of celebration is, Nike gives its longest-running line of running shoes a proper present (in the form of a rework) only through the most promising ones from its supernatural arsenal.
That never asked us to stretch out of our comfort zones.
Epitomes like the Ford F 150, Apple iPhone, Burberry Trench coat, and our beloved Nike Pegasus were born when giants of the trade put their glasses, brewing all they have accumulated in years, with a desire to create originals for others to imitate.
But legacy is associated with original creations that ought to change. Subtle… not Sudden… Changes! Changes that fuel advancements while sensing as they should.
The iPhone, the F 150, that Trench coat, every one of ’em has gradually submitted reworks, and so they are still opening our hearts and wallets.
Through the decades, to remain a one-size-fits-all propelling machine, the Pegasus has evolved beautifully as well.
Of course, Nike can flex the redesigning muscles better than any other running shoemaker, and I can feel how appealing it would be for them to stun critics and buyers with a complete revamp.
Knowing what you’re getting is the essence of a classic, so Nike ensures every rework blends into the Pegasus-y framework. In fact, every Peg, even the newest one, is the quintessential old Nike Pegasus.
Quite frankly, it is a reason that many brands still haven’t earned or preserved their own Pegasus. People crave the familiar; they take refuge in what they know: While brands are striving to drag their massively accepted findings beyond the known borders in just the following edition.
Every rework resounds that Nike is looking inward, not outward. Ask themselves, “How can we do our utmost to convey the character of this particular piece of heritage while progressing?”
The Pegasus universe has been so on the pulse of what’s happening in that moment. Comprehending what’s happening on street corners around other brands has evolved to become even better.
With gradual changes, while staying true to the culture, Nike Pegasus has lived the experience of communities and perfectly aligned with the vibrant mindsets of every decade.
Very Un-Nike-y Prices
Feels like Nike has hired a cabre of stingies to price the Peg.
According to a study, wearing Nike’s React Infinity Run reduces injury risk by 50% compared to traditional stability shoes. But no study has ever proved that Nike confirms that our wallets are not prone to any injuries as well!
If you buy a new Nike Vaporfly (some)%, your purchase will intensify two mere beliefs about the company: Nike actually does make runners faster by roughly (some) percent, and their shoes are hitting us with what people sarcastically refer to as ❝The Nike Tax❞
I mean, we are so into building our running lifestyle around Nike that it is even more painful to throw those extra oomphs into the background than it is to shed their premium prices.
It is wouldn’t wrong to say that with Nike, we struck the diminishing marginal return too early, maybe right from the opening. But some great people at Nike never forget to place the Peg right at the tip of their elliptical utility curve.
❝Reliable, durable, and comfortable, the Nike Pegasus is arguably one of the best Nike shoes money can buy❞
While pleasure kicks in just by understanding that everything we have made you see in Nike Pegasus can thwack the old cost-per-wear concept out of the park, there’s also pleasure in purchasing, or more specifically, in getting a bargain.
It’s what’s called “transactional utility,” says Tom Meyvis, a professor of marketing at NYU’s Stern School of Business and an expert in consumer psychology. The Pegasus Universe perfectly feeds this neurological process.
While you might think I’m a crazy person for endorsing a ₹11k running shoe as the best value. But there are people who can see sense in prices ever higher, and it can quickly become philosophical, touching on questions that transcend Pegasus, like “What is Expensive?” and “What is value?”
Despite an impressive array of running shoemaking prowess and premium materials, the fact is that price and defining value remain a bit of a dark art—and more than a bit subjective affair, even to our editors.
But we think that our expertise in running shoe assessment is of a level where we can charge others for it. We were immediately impressed ’cause the ₹11k price puts Peg significantly ahead of running shoes with a similar price tag.
Value is there and The Pegasus universe is the perfect way to enter the world of proper running shoes. And don’t let anybody tell you differently.
A Little Background
What The Peg’s past 40 Years has been like?
The now-classic running shoe continues to epitomize its Greek namesake, the majestic winged horse, by providing quickness, flexibility, and added cushion. The Nike Pegasus began with a simple mission: “To design a more accessibly priced every person’s Air training shoe,” as told by Nike CEO Mark Parker.
The Pegasus is Nike’s best-selling running shoe of all time and has been a fixture of its catalog for longer than any other model. First launched in 1983, priced at $50, it was a Nike response to the jogging boom, along with the Saucony Jazz and Puma Easy Rider.
In fact, It’s Mr. Mark Parker who (was then Nike’s director of design concepts and engineering) has originally conceived the Pegasus. The shoe was intended to serve as broad a range of runners as possible, honoring co-founder Mr. Bill Bowerman’s maxim that “if you have a body, you’re an athlete”.
The shoe evolved the design of the Tailwind, Nike’s first Air-cushioned shoe, with a small Air Wedge in the heel (most runners land on their heels, so the technology was needed only in the rear half of the shoe).
“While other shoes in the line may have offered greater stability or more cushioning, or have been more lightweight, the Pegasus came in just behind the leader in each category, making it the go-to selection for people just getting into sport or for serious runners in search of a practical training shoe.” Sneaker consultant, historian, and long-time collector Mr. Kish Kash concurs.
Fundamentally, the Pegasus was a utilitarian, functional, value-for-money shoe, as its first advert acknowledged: “Never will so many own so much for so little”.
In 1987, the volume of Air in the heel was quietly increased to give it twice as much cushioning as the Air Max (the Pegasus also became the Air Pegasus that year in recognition of its improved buoyancy).
Over the following years, while sneaker culture embraced everything from Pump technology to innovative fastening systems, the Pegasus evolved at a stately pace. Fabrics improved, cushioning shifted in line with the latest research, and colorways broadened, but its profile stayed broadly the same.
Compared with the 1983 model, the Pegasus ’89 had a slightly higher heel-to-toe drop, its sole components were divided vertically rather than laterally, and it had an additional heel support, but the shoe basically looked the same.
By the Pegasus ’92, the sole unit had gained an additional component, but it was still a standard, neutral running shoe. About 17 million pairs were sold in its first decade.
It was only in the late 1990s that the Pegasus stumbled. Dropped from the line briefly in 1997, it suffered a few false starts on the relaunch in the early 2000s, working through versions that were by turns bulbous, cluttered, frequently finished in reflective silver, and apparently unclear of the shoe’s identity or heritage.
However, the Pegasus universe regained its footing in 2012 with the Pegasus 29, a sleek model that came in retina-searing neon tones, mirroring the colorways showcased by middle-distance runners at that year’s London Olympics.
With a mesh upper, extraneous weight was stripped away while the stability of the shoe was maintained via printed overlays at key structural points. “We’re talking about engineering the upper to work with how your body is working within the shoe,” said senior footwear designer Mr Mark Milner on its launch. It remains a benchmark in modern running.
Small but sturdy changes presented the Pegasus universe marginal gains each year. Flywire lacing systems have come and gone, Flyease technology has been imported from basketball, eyelets have shifted slightly, and in 2018 a full-length articulated Zoom Airbag appeared, inspired by the carbon plate that runs through the length of the record-destroying Zoom Vaporfly 4%’s sole.
A forty-plus years later, through glamorous ascensions and quiet retreats, the Pegasus is still on our feet. Or rather, our brain stems. You can say that Pegasus is an old classic that never shows its age.
Why Nike Fuels The Longest Running Shoe Line?
How and why Nike (and no other brand) is
gambling on lengthier lines Like Peg?
There couldn’t be more perfect surroundings to see how extreme Nike could be in instituting running shoes. There couldn’t be more perfect rivals either, to see why Nike isn’t the only one having the ability to create running shoes that can stand the tests of experimentation and age.
Most Pegasus users, admittedly, will neither want nor need to attend such thin questions. But the fascinating responses to such inquiries―that we’ve gained following a polite opportunity to meet with some great people at Nike―helm our inferences on the Pegasus a new meaning.
The reasons why Nike (and only Nike) is nourishing heritage-heavy running shoe models are so deftly woven together with the many motivations to buy a Nike Pegasus. We insist you go through this reading, even if your commitment to the Pegasus universe does not extend to focus on what’s under the surface.
As The Peg Goes Far, Nike Went Wide
The Mingling Pegasus stretches Nike’s Entryway.
Wait for a second―and 25 pairs of Nike sold. Yes, dear readers, a second is enough for Nike to trade 25 pairs of shoes.
Considering how many Nike stores and retailers there are globally, it makes complete sense, but quoting ❝Nike Being Fortunate❞ might be the least sense-making reason to justify these mind-bending numbers.
However, we can comfortably charge this triumph on shoes that fit seamlessly into many lives. Shoes like Jordans, Air Force, and Pegasus are not capped to a niche and, quite frankly, Just Doing It for Nike.
Of course, super specialty shoes like Air Zoom Alphafly, ZoomX Vaporfly, and Air Zoom Tempo are artifacts that have become the brand’s hallmark ever since. However, such shoes display the kind of innovations that only Ultrarunners can make the most of.
I mean, few people are in that very sliver of the demographics who can properly drive such incredible pieces of engineering on the road. Such shoes are for runners that are made from long strands of muscle and tendons that sound like the E string on a violin when plucked.
A list loaded with just such devoted shoes, and with no shoes like Pegasus, Nike would be like the Sony of running shoes grassland. Along with stretching our minds and enlarging our notion of what running shoes can be, Nike values putting some regular, purposeful attention directed at everyday shoes that many of us eventually need.
Knowing how widely acceptable the Pegasus line is, it is easier for Nike to come by the editing table each year and breathe fresh life into a staple in running gear.
Through Pegasus, Nike Learns!
Every mile of Pegasus trains Nike to generate an
even more perfect one-for-all running shoe next time.
When Nike puts out a new Pegasus, the brand’s longest-running trainer, you had better believe a lot of thought went into it—especially now that the company has made 40 versions.
How Nike is so excellent in improving on an already excellent all-rounder without putting a foot wrong? Are incredibly versatile Peg-like-shoes so complicated to construct that no other has yet created a line alike?
By the way—Nike isn’t the only company that’s creating running shoes that work extensively. Puma’s Deviate Nitro, Asics Novablast, Saucony’s Endorphin Speed, et cetera—are all incredible (if not better!) choices if we zoom out.
However, it’s that Nostalgic Glow that everybody else is missing. Something that emerges in a shoe with time, and Nike has invested pretty good time to sweeten the Pegasus Universe.
Versatility is classically associated with appeals that ought to be perceptibly appropriate in different lifestyles and working environments. Sometimes a good combination of social media influence, buzz, and that elusive coll factor taught us What Versatiles are.
But things don’t go like that when versatility is not a perceptional but functional affair. Functional to an extent where the needs of the moment dictate the sorts of a thing we choose.
Running shoes are, after all, a tool to support the most complex form of drill that everybody executes in their way.
Referring to that, assembling a shoe―that there is no taste it lacks―is quite impossible without decades of learning ingrained in how diverse every runner (and running) could be, with corresponding creation abilities.
Well, flourishing forty years has framed The Pegasus a beautiful heritage to die smart. However, it shows Nike data from millions of miles―logged by runners of all abilities over various terrains―to learn from and to get better at it.
Pegasus universe is refined to perfection and in perfect balance, with no one factor, such as support or responsiveness, standing out too much or too little. Learning at scale and data makes a serious difference in making running shoes that are supposed to please a wide range of runners.
Putting Things To Their Financial Limits
Pegasus further embraces the tons of bucks Nike uses to Innovate.
From our spring-loaded ligaments to our muscular behinds to our ability to sweat, the human body took the ideal shape of a long-distance runner starting some 2 million years ago―the researchers say.
Our obsession with what originally was a form of transportation or a mode of survival has made us tack down our dress shoes in the 1860s: our idea of the “modern” running shoe has its roots here.
But that’s just a creative beginning that doesn’t take too long to advance into a de trop number of tools that goes into keeping everything up and running.
Innovators have shaded our shoes’ heavy leather aesthetic, and profiles started to plump up the underfoot cushioning with new, advanced materials.
But along with many visionary ideas and thinking, bags of banknotes flow like wine to breathe life into even the most petite refinements.
Most running shoe brands understand that while innovation is associated with growth, industry leadership, long-term viability, and employee engagement, it comes with costs – and risks – but no other company anticipates and manages it better than Nike.
I mean, how often has Nike fed the Pegasus with uppers or foams exclusive to just this line of shoes? Or When any of Nike’s pristine creations debuted through a new Pegasus?
The Pegasus universe epitomizes How perfect Nike is in embracing most of its creations, something that anyone who has been mindfully into the Pegasus universe for a bit might relate to.
When you strip and peel a Pegasus down to its very essence―removing all the precise American engineering that hooks everything in sync―you’d see the brilliant recipe propelling the Pegasus universe and what it conveys about Nike.
Apart from reflecting how much Nike cares about the prestige of their dear Pegasus Line-up, every major (or nominal) rework―through foams, upper materials, or lacing systems that Nike has developed years before―quietly whispers Nike’s Creation directing abilities.
After a few fertile financial years through the flagship models, it is typical to ditch the inventions in a brand’s archives, readers, and galleries. But Nike funnels them down to lines like Pegasus.
Through Pegasus, Nike makes full use of their innovations. Pegasus makes sure their label’s creations don’t end up being a cash trap that absorbs more money forever than they will generate.
Remember: Nike is great in innovation… but they are even better in Allocating their inventions. A plan that seems even more applicable in a broad portfolio like Nike’s. I mean, one can’t whip things around in a five–, ten-, or fifteen models log.
The Accessible Price
So, Why Peg Don’t Carry the Typical Nike Prices?
Of course, a new Pegasus is pretty much contrary to the popular belief that it has to be eye-wateringly expensive if it is from Nike. But before that image sparks any unseemly rumors, let’s look a little closer to the numbers.
The Pegasus universe―as long as I can remember―has been a clever integration of Nike’s most prominent innovations making their way after some good years in the label’s flagship models. That, and no flagship prices.
Read that again, and the idea of a Pegasus being priced at half of flagship models might seem preposterous, if not suspicious. How is it possible that most of those materials, logistics, and people amount to just half of what Nike was demanding earlier through higher-end models?
The cheaper Pegasus has the same Zoom Units, enveloped in React Foam, as the most expensive Nikes. And if it’s so easy for Nike to slash those prices, then surely the original number―I mean, the prices of Nike’s flagship running shoes―was too high to begin with, right?
Understanding where the number on a price tag comes from makes you see sense as to why the Pegasus is usually echoed as ❝The best-value running shoe❞ and why Nike is most likely to pull such shoes.
It’s clear that, through Pegasus, Nike gets you in the door to its ecosystem, which should be supported with unfettered access to your attention (and wallet) until you navigate to pricier Nikes.
However, it’s not something Nike needs to do, right? Pricing the Pegasus, respectively, attainable is something Nike really can do with substantial financial returns.
Nike presents their geriatric creations with the broader reach of the Pegasus to maximize the returns of the effort (and money) that goes on behind the scenes. That is an affair we’ve addressed earlier, but what if I say this pattern is actually the reason behind Pegasus’ lower prices?
Putting it simply, for instance, the React Foam we get in the latest Pegasus was first experimented on a basketball shoe in late 2016. Nike swapped the exhausted Cushlon foam with five-year-old React foam through the new Pegasus 38 back in 2021.
Nike has streamlined the manufacturing process of the React foam in five years; and so they can turn out the Pegasus, featuring a React Foam, for a respectively low price. So, it took years for the technology to be reasonable enough to fit on your Pegasus.
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