by John Schrup
I have to admit something: I’ve always had a thing for the Pegasus. In the late 1980’s-early ’90’s, the Peg was the shit. Of course, all things being relative, today those versions of the Pegasus would likely be called “minimalist” shoes or a “Walmart” shoes, except for the swoosh. It was one of the first legitimate running shoes I ever had, if there is such a thing, and I wore them until my big toes punched holes in the fabric. (My first “real” shoe was the Nike Internationalist. Shoe boner!) So the Peg has been around since, like, the Ark and thus my love for it is rooted in my own revisionist history.
Every year since 1983?–um…math–the Peg has been modified, retooled or otherwise updated. Except for, I think, about 1998 when it was discontinued. Nike, the ADHD kid of running specialty, will on occasion drop the best shoe they make, either because they get bored with it or pull it to make the Nike junkies twitch, itch and scratch for more. I like shoes with a history, and the Peg has it. It has some street cred too.
(Dig: Several years ago I was a coach for a high school team that went to the Nike Team Nationals in cross country. For high schoolers, NTN (now NXN) is their chance to run with and gawk at international superstars, acquire a suitcase full of sweet Nike schwag, race on a custom built course and drink shit tons of Nike koolaid. (On the plane ride back, one girl even said, and this is almost verbatim, “I’m only going to wear Nike for the rest of my life.” She ended up going to Notre Dame, an adidas school.) The year we were there, Paul Tergat, ex-world record holder in the marathon and 10,000 meters, 5-time World Cross Country champion, owner of many fine Italian suits, etc., etc. was in attendance. Paul and I, we’re tight. We’re, like, friends almost. We chatted a bit each of the days we were there, about family or important stuff that, you know, friends talk about, since we always seemed to be on the same elevator. It’s so funny. I don’t know how that happened, except that often I would read the newspaper by the elevator doors and–here’s the funny part–I almost always finished the article I was reading at exactly the same time he walked up and pushed the button to the elevator. Anyway. What were we talking about? Anyway, he wore Pegs. At least with khakis and a well pressed button down shirt that was blue and had this white check pattern that made me think ofakitchentableclothexceptobviouslyreallyclassyhahahahahahahahaha! Paul Tergat.
So when we got back to Albuquerque, I went to the Fleet Feet (that’s another story. Here’s a hint: Hoarders) and bought a pair of Pegasus because, well, my bff ever Paul Tergat wore them so I was going to wear them and suddenly my DNA would change and I’d be an unusually skinny, polite Kenyan who ran super fast. I ran in them for, oh, two weeks I think. And then I got a stress fracture in my foot. Those stupid ass Pegs went straight to the back of the closet. They were horrible. Nevermind that I doubled my mileage in the space of a week and did like 9 workouts over the course of maybe 5 days. Those shoes sucked.)
So now we’re up to Incarnation 29 of the mythological Pegasus. It was just released, all chock full of Zoom Air and Cushlon and Fly Knit and Flywire and all sorts of other life affirming technologies. It is noticeably lighter that previous versions, in keeping with the current trend toward lighter footwear, and twice as marshmallowy. When you put them on your feet, the sensation is one that can only be described as “blooooop.” Think about walking in one of those bouncy house thingys that you can rent at about eleventeen different places on Cesar Chavez. It is the softest thing you will ever put on your foot. Ever. If you put a piece of chocolate on it and held it with a stick over a camp fire, it probably would taste pretty good. On a scale of one to ten, with one being a granite carbon iron diamond and ten being the softest thing ever, the Pegasus 29 is softer. So on those days when you feel that biomechanically appropriate footwear just isn’t doing it for you, or you just aren’t into feeling the ground, at all, ever, then the Peg is for you.