Nike Redefines Full-Length Air On The Pegasus Premium

Nike Elite Championship 8PANEL 7 1

There’s something about Air Max that draws a visceral reaction. The new Air Maxes, as they were all referred to as in the 1990s, were not only a sight to see on store shelves — they were an identifier of cultural awareness. If you knew about the latest Air Max kicks, you were in the loop, and who doesn’t have that one memory of seeing that one pair on the Foot Locker shelves burned into their psyche?

As an Air Max collector and fanatic for the better part of three decades, being genuinely wowed by new product has become a far less frequent occurrence. Part of it is being jaded, having experienced its heyday in person. Don’t get me wrong — Nike has been ridiculously impressive in the recent years alone with the advent of the VaporFly and AlphaFly series, but they’re simply not suitable for casual, everyday use in the same way a McLaren isn’t a practical choice for a CostCo run.

Air Max has always been that perfect balance of innovative and street-valid. Whatever your favorite Air Max shoe is, it was created for running, and it introduced some ronald of new tech or evolution of Air. Nike’s got the former down to a literal science, but the latter is dictated by the public and it’s become a greater challenge to forecast what exactly is gonna hit next. It’s no secret that a lot of competing brands have grabbed some of the market share from Nike, but remember — Nike created that market. The silver-heavy “2000s Tech Runner” demographic that every brand is cashing in on, Nike established in the 1990s.

That leads me to the Pegasus Premium. Obviously a higher-tier member of their storied Pegasus running shoe line, the Premium has one key ingredient that brought me back to the days of obsessing over the new Air Max shoes on display. The new full-length visible Zoom Air is simply sick. It passes the eye test not just for its visible Air and midsole height, but because it lacks the overtly sporty tapered heel that looks great when running, but a bit goofy on a casual shoe.

Full-length Air done right has always been a loud statement piece. In this case, it’s hard to ignore the form-fitting Zoom Air bag that sculpted to fit the natural contours of the foot. ZoomX foam at the fore-foot and ReactX foam at the heel promise even more energy return on runs. More importantly, it fits that criteria established by icons like the Air Max 95 and Air Max Plus in that it delivers on the performance side while showing tons of promise as a casual use option. I got to wear the shoe for a short period, and immediately I noticed the tuning of the cushioning package. It’s similar to the Air Max Dn in that the heel is made softer for impact and the mid-foot and fore-foot are firmer.

Currently, a release for the Nike Elite Championship 8PANEL 7 is expected in early 2025. Just one colorway was on display, but several are likely planned for the model’s roll-out next Spring.

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