Nike Zoom Pegasus Turbo 2 Review

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Nike’s marketing pitch: A turbocharged trainer that’s lighter and sleeker.

Upper: Lightweight synthetic mesh, asymmetric tongue.

Midsole: Dual-density stack of full-length ZoomX and React foam. 10 mm heel drop.

Outsole: Carbon rubber in selective areas.

Weight: 220 gms/ 7.7 Oz for a half pair of Men's Men's US 10/UK 9/EUR 44/CM 27.1

Widths available: D - regular (reviewed)

This is an excellent daily trainer and also good for long runs at faster paces. As far as updates go, the Pegasus Turbo 2 is a mixed bag of tricks. On one hand, the toe-box loses the shallowness. On the flip side, the updated fit isn’t perfect. The bouncy and fatigue-resistant midsole hasn’t changed but the new upper influences the ride quality.
Lightweight and responsive cushioning, ventilation, smooth transitions, versatile enough for speed training as well as long-distance runs
The thin and short tongue increases top-down lacing pressure, lack of torsional rigidity, sub-par heel grip

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INTRODUCTION

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Thanks to its shallow toe-box, the high sticker price, and marketing message, the Pegasus 35 Turbo divided opinions like no other shoe.

If you loved the Turbo V1, it was probably due to its responsive midsole which was cushioned enough for long-distance workouts. Its lightweight construction helped the shoe disappear on the foot during runs while keeping it snappy at higher paces.

On the flip side, the shallow and warm upper was disliked by many runners.

The 2019 Pegasus Turbo 2 remedies most of the fit concerns which plagued the Peg 35 Turbo. At the same time, the said updates affect the ride experience to a minor extent.

And just how does a new upper have any effect on the ride? As always, we’ll dive into the details, but not before summarizing the changes between the Turbo V1 and V2.

THE NIKE PEGASUS TURBO V2 vs. V1

The upper material and construction are completely new for 2019 and results in a wider forefoot fit, higher toe-box, and better ventilation.

Contrary to what most of the internet believed, the stripe on the Turbo 1 was NOT the cause of shallow the toe-box – the sleeved upper and the padded collar were. The Turbo 2 has neither, so the interior is a lot more accommodating.

Surprisingly, the ride has firmed up over the Turbo 1. On first impressions, the outcome doesn’t make sense because the midsole and outsole are identical.

And no, neither the ZoomX, React base, or the rubber outsole have changed in hardness.

There are only two reasons behind the firmer ride. The heel padding over the Achilles is reduced to zero, so the foot now sits rearwards as compared to the Turbo V1. If it isn’t obvious already, loading on the less soft part of the midsole creates a firmer ride.

Secondly, the lasting below the insole is no longer perforated. So the foot doesn’t sink in as easily into the midsole as it did on the V1.

The Turbo 2 is 8% lighter than the 1. In metric terms, that is an 18 gram upside over the 238 gram Turbo 1.

Lastly, the new model drops the numerical suffix and isn’t called the 36 Turbo – just the Pegasus Turbo 2.

THE RIDE EXPERIENCE

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After reviewing shoes for over a decade, pattern recognition becomes second nature. It’s like a muscle memory which kicks in as soon as you slip into a pair of running shoes.

Take, for example, the change in the Turbo 2’s ride behavior. It is indeed firmer than the T-1 – but not due to a change in the midsole density or outsole hardness. The bottom is identical to the 2018 shoe; even the blown foam insole is the same.

But there are two important updates which affect the ride quality, and both have nothing to do with foam or rubber.

The first reason is the more spacious upper with a sparsely padded heel. There’s no foam lining the Achilles, so your foot sits closer to the heel counter and farther away from the toe-box. While the outcome is a more spacious fit (obviously), it also makes the ride firmer.

And how is that even possible?

The Turbo 1’s upper was shallow and pointy for a reason. It not only pinned down the foot to the ZoomX midsole for a better feel, but also ensured that the foot was exactly where it needed to be.

In our dissection of the T-1, we showed you how the ZoomX and React foams stacked together. The distribution isn’t uniform; under the forefoot, the ratio of ZoomX and React was around 85:15.  Move towards the rear, and the proportion changes; there’s more of the firmer React material below the Zoom X layer.

With the ball of the foot moving away from the toe-box, it shifts to a relatively firmer section of the midsole where there’s less ZoomX. This makes the ride firmer, even if the foot’s position shifts by a mere 2 mm.

Since the new upper is a running change on an existing midsole, the foot no longer sits over the cushioning ‘sweet spot’. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen this. Four years ago, even the Nike Flyknit Lunar pulled the same trick between annual updates. As we said – pattern recognition.

Nobody on the internet has pointed out the second reason for the added firmness. That would be the fabric lasting below the insole.

The T-1 had a perforated lasting which flexed better when loaded with weight. The windowed design – similar to what adidas uses for its Boost models – allows the foot easier access to the softer foam underneath.

The T-2’s lasting is a regular textile type with no perforations, an update which limits the ZoomX compression and makes the ride firmer.

Now you know.

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Though the midsole still has the responsive and cushioned ride of the T1, the cushioning doesn’t feel as dialed in as the T-1. Not under the forefoot, at least.

The whole foot-moving-towards-the-rear thing and the new lasting results in a weaker connection with the ZoomX foam. The ride experience feels a bit muted as compared to the V1 – if you know what we mean.

Otherwise, the Pegasus Turbo 2 carries forward most of the things you liked about the original Turbo. The cushioning is very easy on your feet during long-distance runs; the ZoomX imparts the ride with an anti-fatigue quality. The Vaporfly 4% Flyknit has even more of the good stuff.

The transitions feel smooth without being mushy. The thin outsole functions very well with the midsole. The latticed geometry yields easily together with the React foam during the gait cycle for a seamless progression. The curved heel also promotes good landing form by minimizing the chances of heel edge striking.

It does seem that the ZoomX isn’t supportive by itself, so a firmer layer of React underneath helps create a supportive base. Fusing two foams with very different cushioning characteristics give the T-2 a sophisticated ride, something you won’t find on a React-only unisole.

However, the term ‘supportive’ is relative; there’s no outsole over the midfoot so the Turbo has poor torsional rigidity. It bends in the center and isn’t suitable for runners who seek a supportive midfoot.

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Having the softer ZoomX on top increases its responsiveness, a trait which makes the shoe suitable for speedier runs. An incredible cushioning-to-weight ratio also turns long distance runs without incurring a weight penalty. The Turbo 1 was already super lightweight, and the T-2 takes it a step further. We’re looking at a sub-8-ounce shoe.

So is the Pegasus Turbo 2 versatile? You bet it is.

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There’s already a daily trainer and a long-distance racer in the Turbo 2. In that context, a firm shoe like the Nike Speed Rival Fly or the adidas Boston 8 adds rotational value. The Turbo isn’t a real ‘fast’ shoe – it’s a bit soft for that.

You can use the firmer Rival Fly and adidas Boston 8 for days when you’re running 10 – 20k’s at higher speeds; a scenario where the softness of the Turbo might not make it the right shoe for the job.

5K and 10K speed runs and races feel great in road-racers such as the Zoom Streak 7 (or even the LT3) or the New Balance Hanzo.

IS THE NIKE PEGASUS TURBO 2 DURABLE?

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Based on our ownership experience of the T1, we vouch for the Turbo 2’s midsole and outsole durability. The thin rubber doesn’t see noticeable wear and tear until 200-300 miles, and even then, there’s plenty of life left in them. The React and ZoomX stack hold up extremely well too.

The thin upper should be ok for the lifespan of the midsole. We’ll report back if there’s any adverse feedback.

As regards the pointy end of the midsole coming apart, we haven’t come across that – either personally or through reader feedback.

THE UPPER DESIGN AND FIT

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Calling the Turbo 2’s upper ‘changed’ wouldn’t even begin to describe it. The 2019 version gets a complete makeover, be it the materials used or the construction employed.

Let’s address the elephant in the room first. Does the Turbo 2 still have the shallow and pointy toe-box from the last year?

No, it does not. The Turbo 1 had a full inner sleeve under a separate layer of outer mesh; the Turbo 2 gets rid of the internal bootie altogether.

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And that’s not the only reason why there’s more room in the front. The redesigned heel lacks collar padding. In its place are narrow bumps with concealed bands of quilted foam.

And that’s only on the sides; the Achilles area has zero foam padding. As a result, the foot sits a few millimeters closer to the rear than on the V1.

Moving away from the front means that the foot relocates to the wider section of the upper. This update, when combined with the new sleeve-free upper, opens a lot more forefoot room and toe-box height.

It drives us up the wall when people remark that the ‘strip’ over the Turbo 1’s mesh made the toe-box shallow. It DID NOT affect the fit at all; the sleeve and the heel design did.

With the sleeve gone, the Turbo 2 also turns more breathable. The new upper material – which Nike calls ‘lofted mesh’ – is lightweight, pliable, and vented. It’s not as crinkly as the one on the Next %, so don’t get confused. Both are different textiles; the one on the Turbo breathes better than the Next %.

The heel isn’t the only area which cuts down on the foam backing. The new tongue’s asymmetrical flap is bereft of it, not to mention a shorter length. Even the laces go on a diet, changing from the slightly stretchy laces to a flat, narrow ribbon type similar to what the Vaporfly uses.

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After the redesign, the Turbo 2 gets a roomier forefoot and a toe-box which isn’t vertically challenged. In theory, the lighter, road-racer like upper is a good fit for the tempo-friendly midsole.

So everything’s good now, right? Not quite.

The heel doesn’t slip but it doesn’t feel very assuring. You don’t get the sense of superior heel lock-down; there’s more play between the foot and the heel as compared to the V1.

A flat tongue without a sleeve means that there’s increased lacing play. If you have narrow feet, cinching the laces will gather the mesh over the forefoot, something which the Turbo 1 did not do. The Flywire from the previous model is gone, so the midfoot fit feels tighter over the tongue instead of being distributed over the sides.

Nike’s product description claims that the upper has a partial inner sleeve. That isn’t true; the Turbo 2 has a free moving tongue without any sleeve or gusset. Some sideways movement happens during runs, but the loop keeps the tongue from sliding excessively.

The top-down pressure is slightly more noticeable under the last lacing row due to the short tongue. That said, the thin ribbon laces prove to be a good fit for the minimal design by being light over the upper. Also, the narrower and denser lacing alleviates the pressure over the foot.

So it’s a typical case of win some, lose some. The new upper, besides being lighter and breathable, is more roomy and comfortable for long runs. But it has a few kinks which need to be ironed out, apart from the weaker connection with the midsole.

It’s interesting that one color of the Turbo – the Thunder Grey and Stellar Indigo one – has more reflectivity than the others at no price upcharge.

PROS AND CONS

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The updated Turbo isn’t the polarizing shoe the first edition was. Its newly acquired interior roominess makes the upper fit less distracting during runs.

The just-right upper volume and the easy-on-the-feet cushioning work well together; this is a running shoe which is equally at ease regardless of the speed or distance. The ZoomX and React midsole’s do-it-all nature comes from possessing an excellent balance between fatigue-resistant responsiveness and a smooth loading behavior.

It isn’t perfect, though. The heel doesn’t feel very secure due to the minimal padding. The foam midsole still lacks structure, so the Turbo doesn’t work for runners who want a stable midsole. And unlike the cheaper Pegasus 36, the $180 doesn’t sell widths.

SHOES SIMILAR TO THE NIKE PEGASUS TURBO 2

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Considering the Turbo 2’s low weight and its unique cushioning feel, there aren’t many comparable shoes both within or outside the Nike brand. The Nike Epic React 2 Flyknit is a lightweight and cushioned shoe, but minus the springy feel of ZoomX.

Buying the $70 more expensive Vaporfly 4% gets you an even lighter running shoe. Made completely of ZoomX foam, the midsole packs an incredibly springy yet cushioned ride due to the internal Carbon plate.

The Skechers GoRun Razor 3 Hyper has a completely different ride experience than the Turbo. But both share a common lightweight, fast-shoe personality; the Hyper just happens to deliver it differently. It doesn’t have the soft feel of the ZoomX but makes up for it with its incredibly efficient and tempo-friendly midsole.

Another Skechers model which uses the Hyper midsole is the GoRun 7 Hyper. But while the ride experience is great, the same can’t be said of the strange upper fit. But if you can make the knit upper work for you, there’s plenty of responsive cushioning in the tank.

THE NIKE PEGASUS 36 vs. TURBO 2

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Don’t get misled by the ‘Pegasus’ label of the Turbo. The latter has a unique ride character which has little in common with the $60 less expensive Pegasus 36. The Turbo has a softer, more responsive ride – and not to mention lower weight due to its upper and midsole design.

The only aspect where the two intersect is versatility – both models are capable of multi-tasking as a daily beater at various running speeds or a long-distance cruiser.

Without an inner sleeve and Flywire lacing, the Turbo 2 breathes better and has more room inside. On the downside, the Turbo’s heel doesn’t have the lock-down of the Pegasus 36. Due to its firmer ride, the cheaper Pegasus has better stability than the Turbo.

The Turbo and the Pegasus 36 are suitable for daily use and long-distance use, but the Turbo has the edge over the 36 with its smoothness of transitions and anti-fatigue cushioning.

Regardless of what Nike says on its product page, the Turbo 2 doesn’t have an inner sleeve. The Pegasus 36 does.

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