The Complete History of the Nike Air Pegasus

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The Nike Air Pegasus has reached it's 30th anniversary this year, releasing the +30 this year for $100.

The now-classic running shoe continues to epitomize it's Greek namesake, the majestic winged horse, by providing quickness, flexibility, and added cushion. The Nike Pegasus began with a simple mission: "To design a more accessibly priced every person's Air training shoe," as told by Nike CEO Mark Parker.

Not only did the Pegasus give runners an affordable option, but it's a pair of durable kicks proven to meet the needs of any runner type. From the original Bill Bowerman waffle sole with the standard BRS 1000 rubber to this year's added fitsole sockliner that molds to the shape of your foot, the shoe is still the ideal training shoe for World Champion runners like Bernard Lagat and Mo Farah. Although the shoe has gone through many alterations and modifications, Nike will always strive to make this the “shoe for every runner.” Check out The Complete History of the Nike Air Pegasus.

RELATED: Celebrate 30 Years of Satisfaction with the Nike Air Pegasus



No. 1 - The Original Nike Pegasus

Year Released: 1983
Key Feature: Nylon Upper
Weight: 10oz

The Nike Pegasus 1983 sold for $50 at its release. It was designed by Mark Parker, Nike CEO and Bruce Kilgore, who was working on the Air Force 1, which was Nike’s first basketball shoe with air cushioning, along with other Nike designers whom gave creative input to the Pegasus. It had a nylon upper outfitted with a light suede leather tip, and a heel counter covering and eyelet stay.  Described by a European sales rep as a running shoe that looks like a “rainy day,” with its gray and navy accents, the Nike Pegasus 1983 may not have been the most flashy shoe, but its simple design became a vital component for years to come.



No. 2 - Nike Pegasus GX

Year Released: 1985
Key Feature: Breathable Mesh and Textile Upper
Weight: 10oz

A 1985 Runner's World issue featured a Nike ad that explained all of the Nike Pegasus GX's key components.  The ad noted that the shoe was made of conventional midsole materials such as EVA foam -- offering an average of 13% better rearfoot cushioning, and 15% forefoot cushioning. In its 1985 release, The Nike Pegasus GX may have just been a franchise extension of the original Pegasus, and yeah, you can say it looks like the original version, but its way more snug. It sports a cushioned collar and insole for all-day comfort, a breathable mesh and textile upper, and the Bill Bowerman rubber waffle out-sole.



No. 3 - Nike Air Pegasus 1987

Year Released: 1987
Key Feature: EVA foam
Weight: 10oz

As air-sole cushioning became favored among runners, the shoe received an official name change, "Air Pegasus". The volume of air in the heel was increased for better cushioning, and the front of the sole was made ​​of EVA foam. Kudos to Michael St. Laurent, a Nike shoe developer who was focused in upgrading the specifications of the EVA heel midsole material. His travels to Korean factories were worth the effort, as he succeeded in helping create a better quality slip-lasted shoe, notably the Nike Air Pegasus 1987. As a result, a few weeks after it was released, five million pairs had been sold. Although the Nike Air Pegasus 1987 doesn't have a full air midsole, it has twice as much cushioning than the notorious Air Max which came out in the same year.



No. 4 - Nike Air Pegasus 1988

Year Released: 1988
Key Feature: Synthetic leather Upper
Weight: 11oz

The "Nike Air Pegasus" name change wasn't only due to the Nike Air cushioning popularity among runners, but it was also a clever marketing move to reach one of Nike's most prominent buyers, kids. A June 1986 New York Times article pinpointed the sign of the times, "Attitude is important to inner city youngsters who are still the trend-setting sneaker set . . . Clark's, at 117 West 42d Street, has a window full of sneakers with names such as Persuader, Precision, Recognition, Typhoon, Avalon, Pegasus and Boss Shark."

By 1988, the Nike Air Pegasus 1988 had established itself as Nike’s top selling shoe. It featured a synthetic leather upper and rubber toe guard offered runners an alternative for cold and wet conditions. 1988 was also the year where Nike proudly released ads uncovering their athletic shoe designs for women. They created the Pegasus Plus and Pegasus ACG for women, an all terrain shoe. The perks didn’t come without a premium price as it retailed for $70.



No. 5 - Nike Air Pegasus 1989

Year Released: 1989
Key Feature: Nike Air Midsole
Weight: 10.8oz

Despite the fact that a new model came out the next year, runners snatched up pair after pair to keep their favorite shoe as long as possible. It was updated with an ultra soft and breathable upper that fits like a glove, a Nike Air midsole, a rubber outsole, and a mesh/leather upper. Probably one of the most hyped up and retro'd running shoe til today, the Pegasus 1989 came out with a blast of colorways. Most notably, the 2009 Nike Air Pegasus Berlin commemorating the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989 which sported a splatter design on the swoosh. It represented broken concrete of the wall after the Germans took it down reuniting their nation.



No. 6 - Nike Air Pegasus 1990

Year Released: 1990
Key Feature: Nylon Upper
Weight: 11oz

Reminiscent of the 87' Pegasus, the Nike AIr Pegasus 1990 keeps the same figuration with synthetic leather/ suede panels, a lateral reinforcement heel, hard rubber outsole and toe guard, and the nike air midsole. The flashy part of this shoe had to be the nylon upper. Don't get fooled by the fancy look, this Pegasus version with its subtle use of plastics and sleek design was and still is a great training shoe for neutral runners, and a holy grail for avid shoe collectors.



No. 7 - Nike Air Pegasus 1991

Year Released: 1991
Key Feature: Plastic Side Panel
Weight: 12oz

In a 1991 Runner's World issue, Steve Spence, a long-distance runner who took the bronze medal at the 1991 World Championships in Athletics, recalled the Nike Air Pegasus as one of his favorite training shoes. Sandwiched between the ’89 and the ’92, this Pegasus model was a mix of both versions, and included a few unique details of its own: the shoe contained a plastic side paneling that went on to feature in the ’92  without the bulky upper. It had a slender sole unit like the ’89, but more innovative reinforcements that the ’89 lacks.



No. 8 - Nike Air Pegasus 1992

Year Released: 1992
Key Feature: Lateral reinforcement heel
Weight: 10.8oz

A vintage Nike advertisement featuring the Nike Air Pegasus in a white/blue colorway stated, "If Phidipides had worn shoes, he probably would have worn the Pegasus. Just about everybody else has." Phidipides was an ancient athletic figure who helped inspired a famous modern event called the marathon. You may not be a marathoner, or have a dope name like Phidipides, but back at 1992, this Pegasus model was the shoe to rock. The Nike Air Pegasus 1992 goes back to the famed look and bestseller, Nike Air Pegasus 1989. It has synthetic mesh and leather uppers with suede panels, and  a much larger lateral reinforcement on the heel than what you saw in the '89 version. One of the most recent 2013 reissues of the shoe dons the 1992 Summer US track and field Olympics colorway, the same summer olympic games that had USA’s Olympic athletes in Barcelona competing for gold, including Michael Jordan and the ’92 Dream Team.



No. 9 - Nike Air Pegasus 1993

Year Released: 1993
Key Feature: Spandex Inner Sleeve
Weight: 11.8oz

Ten years after the original release, the Air Pegasus had sold 17 million pairs. The Nike kitchen had always looked toward innovation, so they switched to a spandex inner sleeve for the Nike Air Pegasus 1993 version. Although the change was temporary, the Air Pegasus went to a more conventional upper, and some serious changes in the next few years.



No. 10 - Nike Air Pegasus 1995

Year Released: 1995
Key Feature: Fleece Liner
Weight: 11oz

When the Nike Air Pegasus 1995 was released, Nike made a major admission, they said, "We blew it". They were talking about the previous version that had an inner fit sleeve which made the fit too narrow. Hence, sales suffered. It took them a bit to figure it out, but they had the answer all along. The Air Pegasus 1995 was a simple backtrack to the original Pegasus fit. With it's curved construction (lip-lasted), phylon midsole, and carbon rubber outsole, the magic of comfortable running returned. However, months after the release, it didn't take long for Nike to mark the decline of the 1995 model, with it's traditional silhouette. They then turned their focus on Nike basketball and tennis shoes.



No. 11 - Nike Air Pegasus 1996

Year Released:
Key Feature:
Air Sole Unit

Bob Kempainen ,1990 US National Cross Country Champion, was featured on an Athlete's Foot ad rocking this model in 1996. The ad cleverly stated, "Bob has an advantage over you, Nike's own in-house experts custom fit his shoe to suit his particular bio-mechanical running action." With a breathable mesh upper, a comfortable air foam midsole, and extra cushioning, it's no wonder why Bob or any runner can run in this model for a very long time without stress or fatigue. The shoe suits the way your foot pronates, and rolls on impact. The Nike Air Pegasus 1996 was the first of two versions of the shoe to feature a visible Air-Sole unit in the heel.



No. 12 - Nike Air Pegasus 1997

Year Released:
Key Feature:
Polyurethane Pillars on the Midsole
Weight: 12.2oz

According to a 1997 Runner's World print review, the Nike Air Pegasus is "The Energizer bunny of running: It keeps on selling and selling . . . and selling." The most significant change to the Nike Air Pegasus 1997, was its ride.  It was the second Nike Pegasus shoe to feature an air sole unit in its polyurethane rubber heels. Although it didn't contain forefoot air like it's predecessors, what makes it awesome is that it doesn't stray away from the classic's. The shoe still has a phylon/polyurethane midsole and an outsole with carbon rubber in the rear foot. There aren't any major improvements cosmetic wise, but the Nike kitchen cooked up a good fitting shoe that wasn't too pricey ($75 retail).



No. 13 - Nike Air Pegasus 2000

Year Released:
Key Feature:
Foam Midsole

"Runners adopted Pegasus like a favorite pair of jeans -- its fit, comfort and durability made it attractive to both serious and recreational runners," said Kevin Paulk, Nike Footwear Director for Running. After a long three-year wait, Air Pegasus was reborn, with a multitude of specs of its predecessors, and just a few techy evolutions. The Nike Air Pegasus 2000 was best noted for introducing a foam-only midsole containing a full-length Air unit.  A full-length Air-Sole unit replaced the heel wedge, while a new version of the classic Waffle outsole offered remarkable traction. The Pegasus was a universal fit and a supportive upper made the reintroduction an excitable one for runners everywhere.



No. 14 - Nike Air Pegasus 2001

Year Released: 2001
Key Feature: Encapsulated Air-sole Unit
Weight: 11.4oz

2001 marked the year when Alberto Salazar, marathon runner who broke the 10k road record twice and 1500m in 1983, started the Oregon Project. While overhearing Boston Marathon commentators mention that Americans were proud of being in 6th, he remarked that "we had to train harder, faster, longer and smarter," said Salazar. "The mission was to develop American marathon and distance runners—Americans who could win marathons and distance races." Although he was coaching American marathoners such as Mo Farah, and Dan Browne, he would train himself as well. His primary training shoes were the Nike Air Pegasus 2001, in a black and white colorway. This millennial release  featured a breathable mesh upper with lightweight synthetic reflectivity, a phylon midsole with a new full-length encapsulated air-sole unit and BRS 1000 outsole with forefoot Waffle fill for improved traction.



No. 15 - Nike Air Pegasus 2002

Year Released: 2002
Key Feature: Air Foam Midsole
Weight: 12oz

Runner's World critics in a 2002 printed issue stated that the shoe was too soft in the previous version, so Nike slightly stiffened the air foam midsole for this Nike Air Pegasus 2002 update. The strap is comparable to a horse's saddle for all around maintenance.The Nike Air Pegasus 2002 maintains familiar specs of the previous version with only minor tweaks.It keeps the same roomy last, the same full-length Air cushioning unit, and has a slightly grooved waffle grip on the outsole. The heel-strike area has a flex groove for a smoother ride, and the upper maintains its ultra-soft feel and airy open mesh in the toe-box. The midsole itself has been slightly built up to give a little more arch support.

No. 16 - Nike Air Pegasus 2004

Year Released: 2004
Key Feature: Lower Arch
Weight: 12.4oz

This pair is the second update to the "Bowerman" Pegasus, originally launched in 2000. In the Bowerman series, Nike places function over fashion, a perfect description for a shoe often reviewed as a no-nonsense trainer. Despite an all-new outersole, midsole and upper, the 2004 model performs very much like its predecessor. Small changes include a slightly lower arch and a lighter, more breathable mesh upper. All in all, the 2004 Air Pegasus shoe was a gradual evolution of the millennial version. AND For the first time, the women’s shoe was adapted to match the female anatomy—a huge step forward for women runners!



No. 17 - Nike Air Pegasus 2005

Year Released: 2005
Key Feature: PU Crash Pad
Weight: 12oz

In 2005, Bernard Lagat, long-distance champion, won the 1500m holding the record with a time of 3:33:34. During that year, he had trained in the Nike Air Pegasus for 90 miles a week. It's no question, that these kicks were uniquely constructed for the serious runner. Nike wanted to kick it up a notch from the usually noted "neutral shoe", but still keep the  history of high performance, durability and comfort. It featured a light and breathable mesh upper with a vented saddle that offers midfoot support and breathability. It's also equipped with reflective welds at heel and tip and a visible air-sole unit. Unlike its predecessors, these kicks come with a softer PU crash pad for unbelievable cushioning.



No. 18 - Nike Air Pegasus 2006

Year Released: 2006
Key Feature:
 Contoured Insole
Weight: 12.4oz

The 2006 Air Pegasus was selected as the Runner’s World International Editor’s Choice for Shoe of the Year. These neutral kicks place protection and durability over cushion and flexibility. Mark Parker and the innovation kitchen came up with a unique insole that is highly contoured with a slightly rigid unit that helps the foot maintain its neutral positioning unlike other footwear companies at the time who  have only added soft and thick insoles. Further evidence is the midsole, which features a full-length airbag in between a foam base layer and a rubber top layer. Also the uppers fit much better than those of their immediate predecessors. When you’re already working with a good base, just a few minor tweaks can take you to the next level.



No. 19 - Nike Air Pegasus 2007+

Year Released: 2007
Key Feature: Rubber Outsole

The Nike Air Pegasus 2007+ differs from the previous version with only minor tweaks. This pair has been most noted for its narrower cut, slightly higher arch and revamped upper that has gotten great reviews for in the 2006 version. The midsole has large front and rear air bags and a medium-density rubber top layer, while the outsole is bascially hard rubber. This ingenious and complex blend results in a firm, insulating and very durable ride – making it the most costly shoe out of all its previous versions. The thin vertical overlays used to secure the upper to the rest of the shoe have been recreated to acheive full-length comfort by drawing in the forefoot and heel. If your a neutral runner with slight overpronation on the foot, these kicks are a match made in heaven for you.



No. 20 - Nike Air Pegasus+ 25

Year Released: 2008
Key Feature: Nike+ spot
Weight: 7.7oz

Sid McGinnis, who is a guitarist on the Late Night Show with David Letterman, said, “Running is my time away from my profession and family. It’s totally outside of my work and outside of music also.” The Nike Air Pegasus+ 25 was made not only for neutral runners, but for those who want to jam out as well. With the added Nike+ spot, you can insert the sensor that talks to your iPod providing you information about mileage run, speed and all this are downloadable on your computer.  The Nike Air Pegasus+ 25 has a very simple midsole with a  full – length Nike Air cushioning pad, and it's lighter than all the previous versions. So while the old school waffle outsole pattern remains from the 1983 model, it’s paired with several very modern features—like crash pads, arch bridges and flex grooves—that help your foot land softly on the heel and move like butter on the toe-off.



No. 21 - Nike Air Pegasus+ 26

Year Released: 2009
Key Feature: Shaped Heel Pocket
Weight: 11.7oz

For over 25 years, the Nike Air Pegasus has been the ideal choice for mildly underpronated to mildly overpronated (neutral) runners. For the Nike Air Pegasus+ 26, it improved upon the classic fit and feel of its Pegasus predecessors, and named “Best Buy” by Runner’s World magazine. It was also a favorite among many celebrities including John Mayer, musician, who was seen wearing the Pegasus+ 26 in a blue/white colorway. Strategically placed overlays on the upper give you a natural range of motion, and overlays in the forefoot enhance control while allowing your toes extra space to expand and move while you’re on a run. It also features a shaped heel pocket, to help secure your heel and prevent overpronation, A slew of classic features remain, including a full-length Air-Sole unit for the long-lasting cushioning Pegasus runners have to come to love.



No. 22 - Nike Air Pegasus+ 27

Year Released: 2010
Key Feature: Notched Upper
Weight: 11.6oz

The Nike kitchen added a new recipe to this staple shoe. It featured an all new notched bootie-like construction for the upper which keeps the mid-foot stable and secure during runs. The Nike Air Pegasus+ 27 uses Cushlon throughout the mid-sole, resulting in increased cushioning in the heel and better forefoot flexibility. This is a great daily training shoe for neutral or supinated feet -- don't worry only 10% of individuals have this condition, especially who have high arched feet.



No. 23 - Nike Air Pegasus+ 28

Year Released: 2011
Key Feature: Flywire Panel
Weight: 11.2oz

In 2011, Bernard Lagat set a new U.S. indoor record in the 2-mile run, he broke a 21-year old mark to become the American record-holder at the five distances from 1,500 meters to two miles. Without a doubt, Lagat had always trained in his favorite trainers the Nike Air Pegasus. The Nike Air Pegasus+28 was equipped with an inner sleeve (bootie) that wraps around the entire foot allowing for easy on and off. An external heel counter wraps the heel for a secure fit, and the sockliner molds to your foot shape for a custom fit. These kicks also have a flywire panel on the midfoot for targeted support. These thin nylon fibers will keep you in the air, and won't weigh you down.

No. 24 - Nike Air Pegasus+ 29

Year Released: 2012
Key Feature: Nike Zoom Air
Weight: 10.5oz

Can't get enough air? So can't Shawn Johnson, the 2008 Olympic balance beam gold medalist and team, all-around and floor exercise silver medalist, who rocked the Nike Air Pegasus+29 neon-orange colorway at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Los Angeles Halloween 1/2 Marathon in Los Angeles 2012. This model sports a mesh upper with carefully placed overlays for added ventilation, support, and flexibility. Obtain support and cushioning from heel to toe with Cushlon foam while Nike Zoom air offers responsive cushioning for the mid-sole. The classic rubber waffle out-sole is made with lateral rubber blades for extra cushioning and sensory feedback.



No. 25 - Nike Air Pegasus+ 30

Year Released: 2013
Key Feature: Hyperfuse Upper
Weight: 10.8oz

Mark Miner, Nike Senior Footwear Designer, said "When you get to that simplicity of what a runner needs, then that's beautiful." The new Nike Air Pegasus+ 30 takes the minimalist beauty of the Pegasus 1983 look with a contemporary twist. Now crafted with modern day construction materials, it consists of a low top figuration with an upper built from Hyperfuse, and a full-length zoom air, that keeps on going even when you're tired. The contrasting white Nike Swoosh finishes it off; a glowing signature. Champion distance runner and longtime Pegasus wearer Mo Farah gave it more hype. "Pegasus is one of my favorite shoes," he said in a Nike press release. "It's really important to have a training shoe that's very well cushioned, as light as possible, but gives you that support you need."