It’s been 35 years since Nike launched the Pegasus.
Designed in part by Mark Parker (now Nike’s CEO) to be “A more accessibly priced every person’s Air training shoe,” it launched in 1983 to mixed reviews — some thought the grey colourway was a little…dull— but its simple design endured and in the late 80s really came into its own. Indeed, for men of a similar age to the shoe, just the mention of the name Pegasus is enough to transport them back to a time when trainers meant, well, everything.
Playground credibility aside, the Pegasus went on to sell in a big way and remains Nike’s best-selling running shoe.
To celebrate the landmark anniversary Nike decided to take on the dubious task of improving on a classic. Although it’s undergone myriad structural and material changes in its 35-year history, Nike wanted to avoid throwing the baby out with the bath water, so they consulted the experts: distance runners, including Mo Farah.
It quickly became apparent that tinkering with the fundamentals that make this shoe such a good runner would be foolish. That being said, there was also room for improvement. The result is the Air Zoom Pegasus 35.
What made the Pegasus so good in the first place remains- its cut and sew upper and foam mid-sole are still there. After all, bringing a cushioned running sole to the masses was Nike’s intention for the Pegasus. However, there are now a series of clever tweaks that boost the shoe’s comfort and performance.
And as 5k joggers and marathon runners will all tell you: even the smallest improvements can make a huge difference when you’re putting in the miles.
The bevelled heel helps with touchdown as you’re running, the collar is directed away from the Achilles tendon to make it more comfortable on your foot (you have Sir Mo to thank for that) and there’s a full-length Zoom air bag in the sole. Inspired by the Zoom Vaporfly 4% — a shoe that claims to improve your running efficiency by, you’ve guessed it, 4%— the sole offers improved cushioning and flexibility.
The Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 35 is unrecognisable when compared to the original shoe, but that’s the point. The original Pegasus was built to serve requirements specific to its time. The Pegasus 35, an aesthetically pleasing runner which offers performance as good as its looks, is no different, and delivers on its promise.
This article originally appeared on Men’s Health Uk