Shalane Flanagan led a group run in Tokyo for the launch of Nike's latest shoe, the Zoom Pegasus Turbo.
The Zoom Pegasus Turbo Has Landed
I don’t run in Tokyo often—but when I do, I run with Shalane Flanagan.
How did I find myself running laps around the Imperial Palace with the four-time Olympian? The dreamy opportunity came about as a result of Nike’s release of the Zoom Pegasus Turbo. Women’s Running was on hand to check out the brand-new shoe at its launch on July 11 in Tokyo, as were a slew of Nike athletes, including Flanagan.
Brett Holts, vice president of Nike Running Footwear, and Flanagan took the stage at Toyosu Pit, a concert venue in eastern Tokyo. Holts explained that some of the Peg Turbo’s DNA is shared by other popular Nike shoes, including the Pegasus, Zoom Vaporfly Elite and Zoom Vaporfly 4%.
The Peg Turbo’s key ingredient—what Holts calls “the magic”—is in the midsole: namely, the ZoomX foam, also found in the Vaporflys. The foam offers runners 85 percent return on their energy output, the most of any Nike foam, and is also the brand’s lightest. Pros like Eliud Kipchoge and Galen Rupp have broken the tape at races while wearing shoes with the ZoomX foam, and it was a crucial ingredient in the Breaking 2 project, Nike’s closely-followed campaign to crack the two-hour marathon barrier.
With their snappy carbon-fiber plate, the Vaporflys were designed for race performance. Nike’s aim with the Peg Turbo, Holts says, was to bring that same great energy return to a shoe for everyday training. To do so, Nike packed it full of ZoomX but removed the stiff plate, instead adopting the form and fit of its best-selling classic, the Pegasus.
Flanagan called the Peg Turbo a “dessert shoe,” explaining that on post-dinner evening runs, she often opts for a shoe that is comfortable, softer and easy on her self-proclaimed “diva feet” (by which she means her feet crave a variety of shoes, depending on the type of run and her own training cycle). For her, the Peg Turbo fits the dessert bill.
I love dessert and couldn’t wait to try out the shoe. I got my first chance to do so on a morning run with Flanagan at the Japanese emperor’s current residence, a green, lush respite in the center of bustling Tokyo. While the shoe felt a bit wide and loose up front, the fit at the midfoot and at the heel was snug and secure. As someone who struggles with Achilles issues, I was particularly happy with the design of the heel collar, which angles away from the Achilles, avoiding contact with skin without compromising fit. For me, it was genius. For Nike, it was a practicality inspired by superstar runner Mo Farah, who had some Achilles issues of his own and had apparently taken to cutting the back material out of his Vaporflys to avoid irritation. This design element, coupled with the slick, pointed heel and a bold, red racing stripe on the upper, also lends the shoe a cool, aero aesthetic. But my favorite part of the Peg Turbo was the smooth, buttery ride. Was this the magic of the ZoomX foam? I’m not sure, but my strides felt nearly effortless, as though I could run in the shoes for days (or certainly many happy miles).
The Zoom Pegasus Turbo will be available on July 19 for NikePlus members, with a global release set for August 2.