The New Pegasus Turbos Aren’t Like Their Ancestors, but They’re Environmentally Friendly and Mighty Pretty
From first glance, to holding them in my hands, to seeing them on my feet in EZRC and RLRC posts and stories, my thought remains the same: The Nike Pegasus Turbo Next Nature doesn’t look like running shoes. They look like they’re setting out to do whatever Nike Roshe runs did. To be fair to the almost-forgotten and once ubiquitous Nike Roshe, I ran in a pair of those once; I tore-up and completely thrashed the sole out of a pair of black-and-white Roshes over the course of about 30 kilometres a week. Gruelling as it was with a clunky heel (as a forefoot runner, you’d think I could never) and laces like barbed wires across the top of my feet, I managed to get it done.
Would these new daily trainers, descendants of the legendary Nike Pegasus Turbo 1s and 2s, folded together with sustainable materials, be a whole world of difference?
Well, first of all, they’re nothing like their ancestors
But then again, pitting these shoes against their ancestors isn’t fair at all.
The two initial iterations of this highly anticipated shoe are legends in the running shoe game. For starters, the Turbo 1 was a badass, it being the first shoe outside the Vaporfly to feature Nike’s hyper-responsive and lightweight ZoomX foam. Imagine the deal runners were getting with these hardworking, training shoes! The very same foam which was propelling runners to personal bests as statistically documented by The New York Times was now available in a trainer with a mean looking racing stripe right down its middle.
Rather than emerging as a badass promising PRs right after you take that shot and buy the shoes, the newest version of the Pegasus Turbo is like the human resources department marching into your office to remind you about their environmental conservation policy (to be clear I’m all for this). All well and good, except that you were told there’d be pizza in the pantry. Shock pending: there was no pizza, just well-meaning HR folks.
My point: while the Pegasus Turbo of legend is the training shoe that might as well be a racing shoe, the Pegasus Turbo Next Nature is the super-good-looking cousin that’ll last for your daily training runs.
Let’s talk about the foam
While the first two models had some of the firmer Nike React firm around their bases, the latest addition to the family is 100% ZoomX foam. The former foam is the injury reduction stuff that’s been well-popularised with the Nike React Infinity Run series of shoes; the latter and more pressing foam, derived from aerospace innovation (per Nike at least), is the lightest foam in the Nike technology-house with 85% energy return.
Remember though, this is a sustainable shoe and at least 50% of the material of the thing on your foot is recycled. And that includes the midsole. One writer notes that most of the ZoomX foam in the shoes is made of ZoomX scraps. Looking at the midsole, it bears the resemblance of popcorn, as though small chunks of chewy plastic were mushed together and surrounded by a thin layer of clean virgin ZoomX foam–which then thickens at the heel to give the Pegasus Turbo their patented, feisty, racing heel look.
Under foot, this foam swap is noticeable.
There’s this ‘kinda flat feeling to running in the trainers, like a can of Coca-Cola you’ve set aside for about an hour. The shoes do have some propelling momentum from foot take-off, but mostly from the thicker heel of the shoe which has a generous slice of the chopped up foam (32mm stack height). The shoe does have a rocker shape to it which is great for runnrs who strike with their heels, but as a guy that spends most of his running time on his toes, I don’t experience the rock but rather go through the tap-tap-tap of the midsole’s thinnest part (22mm stack height).
Maybe the foam just needed that sprinkling of Nike React goodness. Maybe it needed a carbon fibre plate in it like the New Balance Fuel Cell TCs. Perhaps then it would’ve been the perfect partner for my speed sessions where I’m trying to get each kilometre done in less than four minutes. For now though, this beautiful shoe will live to enjoy my longer runs where I shoot for sub-five minutes per kilometre instead.
The upper really went full on sustainability
Not just because it’s 100% recycled yarn but also since it embodies the whole “I’m sustainable and natural” look. Again, it’s totally awesome, but it doesn’t look like a running shoe. Further to that point, the fact that it doesn’t exactly look like a running shoe makes me love it all the more. Take it from the guy who’s ideal running top is a cropped cotton t-shirt.
One thing I’ll say about the upper: it’s rather tight. Totally awesome if you’re like me and you want to feel the full force of the shoe around your toes, but not great if that’s not your thing. A funny thing a good number of people find: it’s a bit tricky to get your feet in the shoe. The tongue is hard-stitched into the rest of the shoe and doesn’t loosen much to make way for your sock-adorned trotter.
Once securely in place though, I found my foot enjoying the heavy cushioning around the ankle and heel. With everything in place, the shoe felt entirely secure while going full-pelt running without any slippage–and those are the real keys to my kingdom when it comes to running comfort. Once you have slippage, you have friction, and with friction comes fire. Great for cavemen, not so fantastic for runnrs.
It’s not pretty and dainty. It’s hot and tough. Yes, I’ll point out here that it gets a bit warm in the shoe, probably a side-effect of making 100% recycled yarn which can actually withstand a bit of a trashing about. The heat never bothered me anyway.
As for the outermost layer of rubber on the outsole: it’s grippy enough, and the forefoot and heel area are ornamented with a more rugged, thin layer of grippy rubber. It has been done in a lugged-fashion where you have a waffle of little grip things keeping you running on your feet. That is opposed to the Nike React Infinity which has the whole alien-sole situation.
But most of all, they’re pretty and pretty good
One of the hottest topics in my life as of late has been ESG. “Environmental, social and governance”, ESG, “is a term used to represent an organization's corporate financial interests that focus mainly on sustainable and ethical impacts,” writes one author. But this three-letter acronym has become an everyday mantra for me.
It’s a quick test to see if something I do is good for mother nature, good for the community, and is legal.
Took a bike ride to work? That’s ESG.
Reheated left-overs instead of ordering in? That’s ESG.
Using a pair of heavily recycled sneakers for running? That’s ESG too.
Perhaps Nike wasn’t fair to these babies for putting them in the same Pegasus Turbo class as their grandparents and parents. Maybe it would’ve been fairer to birth them into the world under a completely new Nike Nature line. But with what they’ve done, the world has accepted one of the most visually appealing shoes on the market with a great deal more functionality than the now completely vanquished Nike Roshe.
While I look back on my college days of running in Roshes face squarely in palm, I’ll probably think back to my time running in my Next Natures and smile at the super attractive pretty good shoes that they were. “That’s ESG.”
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