I am close to the end of my marathon training for the Little Rock Marathon and the miles have been piling up. A couple of weeks ago I ran almost 60 miles while my average week during marathon training is more at around 50 miles per week. Considering that I have to replace running shoes at around 250 to 300 miles of usage you can imagine how often I have to get a new pair of running shoes. The only shoes lasted for over 350 miles for me were the New Balance 880s v3. A couple of weeks ago I purchased a pair of the Nike Pegasus 31 running shoe – making this the first Pegasus 31 model for me. I have been using the Nike Pegasus for years as my go to running shoe – long before I started running marathons actually. I have run all my marathons in a Nike Pegasus running shoe so far and chances are high I will probably run another marathon in a pair of Nikes. So, now with having quite a few miles on the Pegasus 31 it is time for a review.
The Nike Pegasus 31 has gotten a bit lighter compared to previous models. Nike made the shoe a bit firmer in the front and in the back and reduced some of the cushioning along the way. I have been checking what actual day-to-day users of the shoes would say about it and many people are not happy about how this new incarnation of the shoe performs. Apparently Nike might have removed too much cushioning from the Nike Pegasus on their quest to make the shoe better. When I used the shoe for the first time I immediately felt the difference in cushioning and now about 170 miles later that feeling has not changed. Yesterday I ran for 22 miles in these shoes and towards the end I felt it in my feet. Usually I get this kind of feeling in shoes closer to 250 miles, but not when I have just 170 miles on a shoe. I cannot tell if it is the overall shoe or the fact that my feet were pounding the asphalt for over 3 hours and that the sole material simply could not handle this long of a run. Shoes need about 24-48 hours to “recover” after such a run and so I will test this out next week on my next run to see how these running shoes behave.
Overall I cannot tell just yet if I like the Nike Pegasus 31 or not; it really depends how these shoes perform once I reach 220 – 250 miles. I am a forefoot runner and so for me it matters how much cushioning a shoe has on the fore-foot while I do not really care how much cushioning a shoe has at the heel. If the front of the shoe gives up too early it is a problem for me and I would not buy that shoe again unless it receives a full re-design. From what I heard Nike re-designs their shoe models from a technology perspective every 2 years and that would mean I will be waiting until the Pegasus 33 comes out and I would skip the Pegasus 32. Nike changes the looks and colors of their shoes every year in case you wonder, but the sole and actual shoe technology only changes every other year.
Color-wise I was not happy with the Pegasus 30. I like to be able to wear my running shoes as my normal day to day shoes here and there – especially once I am done using them for running, but the Pegasus 30 colors and designs just looked awkward and I had to buy other sneakers instead. The colors and designs for the 31 are a bit better, but still not where I think they should be. It is however a definite improvement compared to the prior model. The new look with striking upper design is comparable to the design of the Nike Free 5.0 (2014 model) as well as the Nike Vomero 9.
In my review about the Pegasus 30 I mentioned that the shoes feel a bit tight, more narrow which lead me having blisters from running for the very first time. Fortunately the Pegasus 31 is a tiny little bit wider again when I came back from running 22 miles yesterday I did not have a single blister (Disclaimer: I used Blue Steel Anti Chafe on my feet, too). Nike did a great job with the upper fit. Combined with the new inner sleeve my feet felt comfortable and protected. Nike removed some of the upper cushioning, but I have not noticed a negative impact from that.
I also wrote about using the Nike Plus Shoe Pod that works with the Nike Plus GPS watch when running on an indoor running track or on a treadmill. The opening beneath the sock liner is gone. While Nike refers to the fact that newer iPhones and iPods have a built-in accelerometer which takes away the need for the Nike Plus shoe pod, the truth behind is probably more the fact that Nike did close their hardware unit and laid off all its engineers. Those were the people who worked on the Nike, Fuelband, Nike GPS watch, and the shoe pod as an example. Nike refers people to user other technology when tracking physical activity. For me this is not a big problem at this point. During this marathon season I ran indoors only two times and my next GPS watch will be one that can track indoor runs by itself and I will probably retire the Nike Plus GPS watch.
The Nike Pegasus 31 is good, neutral running shoe. Nike made some big changes with this model. Some for the better and some for … well, I do not know yet. During my 22 mile run with these shoes yesterday my feet hurt over the last 3-4 miles, but today I do not feel anything about it anymore. So, the cushioning could be decent enough for mid-range runs, but not good enough for the marathon distance anymore. I like the fresh design and looks of these shoes. Overall I think this is a reliable running shoe having a price tag of about $20 – $30 below competitor prices (unless you buy other shoes on sale or on year-end clearance). I bought this pair of the Pegasus running shoe myself for ~$83 (incl. shipping and tax) from Nike’s website.