Nike pumps up the pace with the turbocharged Pegasus Premium shoes

I sat down with Tony Bignell, VP of Footwear Innovation at Nike, to talk about all things Pegasus

Nike announces Pegasus 41 and Pegasus Premium running shoes
(Image credit: Nike)

How do you move forward the legacy of a running shoe franchise as famed and well-respected as Nike's Pegasus?

With over four decades of innovation behind the latest iteration of the trainers, the brand aims to revitalise one of the most popular shoes in its lineup with the announcement of the Nike Pegasus 41 and the brand-new Pegasus Premium.

I sat down with Tony Bignell, Nike's Vice President of Footwear Innovation, to discuss all things Pegasus, including the imminent launch of the Nike Pegasus 41 and its high-end counterpart, the Pegasus Premium.

"It's really daunting, actually," answers Tony with a laugh to my probing question about how it feels to design shoes with such a rich heritage, "If you have a legacy that's four decades long, you want to make sure you improve on what's been done before."

That's even though Tony's leadership in creating some of the most iconic running footwear, his involvement in the pioneering Breaking2 project, and his personal running prowess all speak volumes about his expertise in this field.

In short, he's a real pro.

Nike announces Pegasus 41 and Pegasus Premium running shoes

The women's colourway of the upcoming Pegasus 41

(Image credit: Nike)

He's also a creative person, trying to figure out what wasn't good with the product so he can improve the next one, which isn't easy with a franchise like the Pegasus, as it's a democratic shoe universally beloved by runners.

"What distinguishes the Pegasus from other running trainers is its great cushioning," explains Tony, "It generally has a good fit, an excellent midfoot lockdown, and a more responsive, resilient pop off the ground."

He says that if you like the Pegasus, you don't want to come back and be scared for the next iteration – you want to be improved on, which is why they kept the same last as before and spent a lot of time improving the heel fit because it's really important for runners.

One of the new additions for the 41st iteration (!) is the ReactX foam, which debuted last year in the Nike InfinityRN 4. It's 13% more resilient than standard React and gives 13% more energy return.

"Of course, this is just a number, but it's a number that you can feel," says he, "If you ran in Peg 40 then tried the Peg 41, you'd say the new shoe just feels more cushioned with a better pop."

Nike announces Pegasus 41 and Pegasus Premium running shoes

The men's colurway of the Pegasus 41

(Image credit: Nike)

The footwear industry isn't famous for its green credentials: over 23 billion pairs of shoes are made every year, and 22 billion are thrown into landfills. Which is why it's so important for big sellers like Pegasus 41 to set a good example of sustainability.

"A thing that weighs heavier on your mind when you do a shoe like this is that we sell millions and millions and millions of them," admits Tony, "I care about the environment. We all care about the environment. You wanna make sure what you're doing is the right thing."

The good news is that the new Pegasus uses a lot of recycled materials and emits 43% less greenhouse gases than its predecessor. "It's a lot when you multiply that by the millions and millions of pairs that we sell," he adds. "It actually makes me really proud."

A premium running experience

That's all well, but what about the elephant in the room, the Nike Pegasus Premium? Where do the new trainers fit into the lineup? 

"As we move into the future, we're trying to simplify our lineup," explains Tony. "If you want that signature Pegasus cushioning, you should opt for the Pegasus 41. If you want more energy return, you go with the Pegasus Premium."

He provides an excellent analogy for how the Pegasus 41 compares to the Pegasus Premium: "I drive a Golf GTI. The standard Golf is great, you know? But the Golf GTI has a bit more pop in it. You can pop it in sport mode and go a little bit harder."

"That’s how the Pegasus 41 and the Pegasus Premium compare. They are both equally enjoyable to run in, but you get a little more oomph with the Premium."

"When looking at the Pegasus 41 and the Pegasus Premium, you can tell that they are family together," he adds. "They both have really good cushioning in the heel, but you can see that the midsole of the Premium is different."

Nike announces Pegasus 41 and Pegasus Premium running shoes

The Pegasus Premium with a full length Air Zoom bag sandwiched between two layers of foam

(Image credit: Nike)

That difference is a full-length, curved Air Zoom bag sandwiched between a layer of ReactX (bottom) and ZoomX foam (top). It’s the same Air Zoom bag that's encapsulated in the Pegasus 41, but Nike made it bigger and broader.

ZoomX is also not a new technology; it's used in top-tier racing shoes such as the Nike Alphafly and the Vaporfly series. It's renowned for its unique blend of energy return and cushioning.

To deliver an entirely new underfoot Air sensation for runners, a collaboration between Nike’s designers, engineers, and scientists at Nike Air Manufacturing Innovation and the Nike Sport Research Lab was required.

It's all mumbo-jumbo, though, for the average Pegasus user who just wants to head out and have a good time. Thankfully, Tony understands this predicament: "I'm a runner. I love running, and I don't want to get hurt by running. I wanna have a fun experience. That’s my goal. It’s simple. At the end of the day, that boils down to that, Isn't it? You want to enjoy running."

The Nike Pegasus 41 will be released in June 2024 at Nike and select retailers, and the Pegasus Premium will be released in Spring 2025. More launch details will follow.

Matt Kollat
Section Editor | Active

Matt Kollat is a journalist and content creator who works for and its magazine counterpart as an Active Editor. His areas of expertise include wearables, drones, fitness equipment, nutrition and outdoor gear. He joined T3 in 2019. His byline appears in several publications, including Techradar and Fit&Well, and more. Matt also collaborated with other content creators (e.g. Garage Gym Reviews) and judged many awards, such as the European Specialist Sports Nutrition Alliance's ESSNawards. When he isn't working out, running or cycling, you'll find him roaming the countryside and trying out new podcasting and content creation equipment.