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These New Running Shoes Have a Gender-Based Difference

The Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 37 not only reshapes and shifts the shoe’s namesake energy return tech, it also dials it in by gender.

Hasselblad H4D

When a shoe company identifies a hit item, it’s easy for the brand to cash in on future editions with special colorways and aesthetic tweaks. But a shoe does not remain popular for, oh, 37 years with such an approach. Continuous research and innovation is critical to sustain that kind of run, as evidenced by the latest iteration of one of Nike’s most popular running shoes, the Pegasus.

For the Air Zoom Pegasus 37, Nike conducted dynamic testing with both male and female runners, coming away with two impactful findings. First, female runners prefer a noticeably softer level of air pressure than male runners do. And second, regardless of footstrike style, nearly every runner hits mid-strike, making that the most necessary Zoom zone, so to speak.


With these observations in mind, the design team completely rethought the Zoom airbag, transforming it from a thin, full-length unit to a thicker one concentrated in the forefoot. Now more than twice as thick (10mm vs. 4mm), it’s optimized for a bigger energy return with every stride. Additionally, the midsole is gender specific, tuned to 20 psi for men and 15 psi for women.

The underfoot is also loaded with React foam and the airbag is articulated and welded to work in concert with the foot for a smooth, organic response. Meanwhile, the breathable mesh upper boasts a swift, translucent vibe and the midfoot system features updated fit bands to hug the feet.

The all-new Pegasus takes flight next Tuesday, April 28. Stay tuned for field testing notes from our team.

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