With last year's Free Hyperfeels, Nike went super minimal and light, but there's something to be said for a shoe with a little more structure—even if you want to go fast. Two-time gold medalist Mo Farah (pictured above; he took home top honors in the 2012 Olympics with a 13:41 5K and a 27: 30 10K) counts the latest version of the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus among one of his most important training tools.
"For someone like me, running 100 miles week in and week out, I need a neutral shoe," says Farah. "Sprinting that much, I start coming down on my heels, and this is very well cushioned." Part of that cushioning is the Air Zoom bag in the heel; it both softens the impact and propels you forward to increase speed.
The first Pegasus shoe hit the market in 1983, and a lot has changed since then. The 31 ($100; released yesterday on nike.com) has a more anatomically correct toe box for better fit, a less extreme drop from heel to toe to encourage a more natural foot strike, and a stipped-down upper that eliminates weight. Brand new to this version is a "crash rail" along the outer edge of the shoe's sole, which will help even underpronators (runners whose feet roll too far out when they land) snap through their foot strike to come off the big toe—another acceleration assistant. Lace them up and you, too, could run as fast as Farah. If that doesn't work you can always try his other trick: Shaving his head is a vital part of his pre-race ritual.