Running is your time to refocus, regroup, and recharge. It’s when you do your best thinking. Or maybe it’s where you go to clear your head. Whether you pound the pavement to get fit or to get away from it all, your run is your time, and it’s sacred. We all have different reasons for running, and today – Global Running Day – we celebrate all that motivates us to lace up.
At Eastbay, Global Running Day has special meaning, because we were founded by runners. In 1980, friends Art and Rick became frustrated with how difficult it was for high school and college athletes living and competing outside of big cities to gain access to top-of-the-line shoes. They decided to solve the problem by bringing shoes straight to the athletes. And so, Eastbay was born. And the first shoes we sold? Running shoes.
Through 37 years of growth and change, running has remained at the center of everything Eastbay does and believes. That’s why today, we want to highlight three heritage running shoes that embody some of the things we love most about running: persistence, determination, and tenacity.
Nike Air Zoom Pegasus
The original Nike Pegasus, designed by Mark Parker and released in 1983, had one goal: deliver a must-have running shoe that everyone could afford. The first version featured a grey nylon upper with suede overlays at the tip, heel counter, and eyelets. Finished with a navy Swoosh, the Pegasus 1983 may have lacked bells and whistles, but the simplicity of Parker’s design is what would keep runners coming back for more.
Over the next 30+ years and iterations, the Nike Pegasus strived to stay true to its mission, making small updates and improvements without straying too far from the simple design and dependable technology that runners loved and trusted. There were PRs and missteps along the way, but as any true runner knows, overcoming the struggle is what leads to success.
With the release of the Nike Air Max, the world met visible Air technology for the first time. All Air cushioning was so popular that the Nike Pegasus officially became known as the Nike Air Pegasus, drawing attention to its encapsulated heel Zoom Air bag and its fast, responsive cushioning.
As this influential decade came to a close, Nike released one of their most popular versions of the Nike Pegasus. The Air Pegasus ’89 kept the snug, comfortable fit runners loved in a soft, synthetic leather upper. This remains one of the most retroed and celebrated running shoes of all time.
Nike has always been known for its envelope-pushing innovation, but sometimes, change isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. In 1993, the Air Pegasus added a spandex Dynamic-Fit sleeve, drastically altering the shoe’s fit and support, much to the dismay of Pegasus fans. While this spandex sleeve only lasted for one version of the shoe, Nike continued trying to update and add to the Air Pegasus.
As new designers tried their hands at crafting the next great Air Pegasus, changes kept rolling in. 1996 saw the first version with a visible Air bag in the heel, a daring move meant to modernize the shoe and help it stand out from the crowd.
While the Nike Air Pegasus still had a loyal following, it was clear that the shoe line had lost its identity. It was time to take a break and regroup. And so, the Air Pegasus disappeared from Nike’s running shoe line for three years.
For the Air Pegasus 2000, Nike went back to basics. Built on Bill Bowerman’s classic Waffle outsole, the Air Pegasus 2000 said goodbye to visible Air, re-encapsulating the full-length Air-Sole unit and combining it with Phylon foam for a super soft and responsive ride.
Aggressive updates and changes continued to hinder consistency in the Air Pegasus line, but in 2005, Nike made strides with the women’s version, building it on a women-specific last and adding forefoot flex grooves better suited to the female stride.
2006 – Present
By streamlining the design teams responsible for the Air Pegasus, Nike found the sweet spot originally envisioned for this staple running shoe. The Air Pegasus ’06 claimed the Runner’s World ‘ International Editor’s Choice Shoe of the Year Award,’ and the following versions continued to pick up the pace, gaining ground that had been lost and re-growing the shoe’s fan base.
The Nike Air Pegasus 34 strikes the perfect balance between cutting edge technology and simple design. The latest version is also available in a wide array of colors and widths, making it the perfect fit for runners of all types.
The shoe’s Flymesh upper delivers a combination of breathability and lightweight strength, so you’re free to run farther and faster without worrying about your fit. Dynamic Flywire cables wrap the midfoot, integrating with the shoe’s laces and allowing you to customize your level of support and lockdown every time you lace up.
Low-profile Zoom Air units in the heel and forefoot work together with soft Cushlon ST foam to cushion and support every step while returning explosive energy that encourages a faster stride.
34 years after the first Pegasus was introduced, Bill Bowerman’s Waffle outsole remains, now with aggressive pistons and sideways lugs to absorb shock and enhance traction on multiple surfaces.
Mizuno Wave Rider
The Mizuno Wave Rider didn’t exactly start out on the right foot. The first edition, released in 1998, was bulky, heavy, and not very popular with runners. But Mizuno knew that if they could refine the shoe’s design, then their new Wave midsole technology could potentially change the game.
So the team went back to the drawing board, replacing the original heavy materials and overlays with lightweight, breathable AIRMesh and redesigning the shoe’s Wave plate to create a softer, more cushioned ride. The Wave Rider 2 was a huge success.
Over the past 20 years, Mizuno’s signature Wave midsole has only been altered five times. Mizuno maintained this consistency through a deep understanding of what runners want and need from their shoes, using wear testing and athlete feedback to help guide any updates made to the Wave Rider. As a result, the shoe got sleeker and faster, and the fit got better over time.
The Wave Rider 4 introduced Intercool technology, a ventilation system designed to move moisture and humidity out through the bottom of the shoe, keeping feet fresh and reducing the risk of uncomfortable blisters. Mizuno would use Intercool across all the running shoes in its line.
The Wave Rider 6 delivered a smooth, lighter feel by switching from a plastic Wave plate to softer, more cushioned composite material that better absorbed and dispersed the shock of heelstrike.
Mizuno conducted an extensive consumer study, called Kansei Engineering, in order to determine what runners most wanted to see out of their next running shoe. The study determined runners wanted a shoe that didn’t just feel fast, it needed to look fast. As a result, the Wave Rider 10 used design lines, colors, and overlays to evoke forward motion and a faster pace.
2010 – Present
With each new update, Mizuno continued to pay close attention to what runners wanted to see from the Wave Rider line. And with the exception of the 14th edition, which featured a tighter, more aggressive fit that didn’t sit well with runners, the brand has maintained the integrity of the Wave Rider for 20 years, proving that hard work and dedication do pay off.
The Mizuno Wave Rider 20 sees another rare update to the beloved Wave plate midsole with the introduction of cloudwave. This new technology uses updated geometry to create a softer, more cushioned heelstrike and smoother transition throughout your stride.
Additionally, a sleek DynamotionFit upper hugs and moves with your foot as you run, while zoned engineered mesh delivers areas of breathability and support where you need them most. The result is a fast-looking shoe that keeps you feeling light on your feet.
Inspiration can be found in the strangest places. For ASICS designer Toshikazu Kayano, it came in the form of the stag beetle, named for the male’s large jaws, which resemble the antlers of a stag. At first, this seemed like quite the leap, but the shoe’s original design has carried through every model, lasting 24 years and withstanding the test of time.
Released in 1993, the original ASICS GEL-Kayano Trainer featured skeletal logo stripes designed to mimic the stag beetle’s hard, protective shell, and a lightning outsole pattern that represented the male’s jaws. The shoe’s technology borrowed from both running and training, resulting in an incredibly stable shoe that also delivered soft cushioning and a smooth ride.
By 1997, “Trainer” had been dropped from the Kayano’s name, and ASICS had gotten more serious about adding stability tech to keep this running shoe cutting edge and in demand. This version added an Extended Trusstic System through the midfoot, creating a more secure ride for overpronators.
To kick off the new millennium, the GEL-Kayano once again went high-tech, adding an Impact Guidance System (I.G.S.). Now a staple in most ASICS footwear, I.G.S. uses linked components to encourage a smoother, more natural transition from heelstrike to toe-off. The result is a shoe that doesn’t just fit, but actually works with your foot to create a more efficient run.
As all runners know, consistency is key. That’s why 2008 only saw smaller tweaks to the Kayano line. The addition of memory foam greatly improved the shoe’s heel fit, creating a snug, locked-down feeling that eliminated wiggle room for injury.
By 2009, the GEL-Kayano had a serious following of dedicated runners. The stability shoe was such a success that fans trusted ASICS through large, innovative changes in 2009, including asymmetrical lacing, meant to evenly disperse lace tension across the top of the foot, and a new midsole design.
2012 – Present
In recent years, the Gel-Kayano has dropped in weight, resulting in a stable, comfortable, and fast shoe that’s durable enough to go the distance. Through consistent improvements and dedication to runners, ASICS has created one of the most popular and long-lasting stability shoes on the market.
Available later this month, the ASICS GEL-Kayano 24 continues to improve on Toshikazu Kayano’s original design and legacy. I.G.S., originally introduced in the Kayano in 2000, still encourages a smoother stride, while rear- and forefoot GEL Cushioning Systems work to absorb the shock of impact and distribute it evenly across the surface of your foot for a more comfortable run.
Still on the cutting-edge of running shoe technology, the GEL-Kayano 24 also features ASICS’ new FlyteFoam midsole, an ultra-lightweight, ultra-responsive foam that delivers bouncy energy return with every step, helping propel you forward to a faster run. FlyteFoam is also more durable than traditional midsole materials, making the Kayano 24 tough enough to go the extra mile.
For the Nike Air Pegasus, Mizuno Wave Rider, and ASICS GEL-Kayano, consistency has been the key to long-term success. As a runner, you understand this constant effort to improve all too well. After all, the only thing driving you is the desire to be better, faster, and stronger than you were yesterday.
Persistence. Determination. Tenacity.
It’s what these running shoes relied on to keep pushing forward, and it’s what you need every time you lace up. When you’re about to hit the wall, when you can barely breathe, this is what you turn to to keep pushing through. To be a runner is to be strong, and at Eastbay we want to celebrate the effort and sweat you put in day after day.
Tell us why you run, and show us how you celebrate Global Running Day. Today is all about you — so get out there and #Prepare4Greatness.