Verdict from +100 user reviews

10 reasons to buy

  • Almost all, those with wide feet and consumers with foot problems included, are impressed with how comfortable the Nike Presto Essential fits.
  • Its simple yet stylish silhouette has received heaps of praises from a good number of sneaker enthusiasts.
  • The low-top Nike Air Presto Essential shoes have gained a lot of recognition for its flexibility.
  • Many wearers praise the shoe for providing decent foot breathability.
  • This model of Nike sneaker does not need to be broken in as it feels soft out of the box, according to several users. 
  • This casual shoe looks great with any outfit, as per a handful of buyers.
  • A few have said that this sneaker is easy to maintain.
  • Some are pleased that the Air Presto Essential holds up when worn for daily walking, traveling as well as light exercises and running.
  • The shoe is easy to slip on and off, according to several testers.
  • Available in different colorways, this sneaker could be obtained effortlessly at affordable rates, as per a significant number of buyers.

2 reasons not to buy

  • More than a handful are disappointed that the upper ripped after a few weeks of use.
  • There are a few who informed that this sneaker lacks support and structure.

Bottom line

The Nike Air Presto Essential emerged with almost no fanfare in 2016. Despite its sudden entry, this edition of Nike Air Presto sneakers still caught the attention of numerous sneakerheads worldwide.

Flaunting a look almost identical to the original Air Presto’s silhouette, it continues to be desired for its unflashy yet fashion-forward aesthetics and its comfortable fit and feel. There's a reason why many, (and incredibly) considered it the sneaker of the year when it came out.

Tip: see the best sneakers.

Good to know

Made with a stretchy, breathable mesh highlighted by a TPU midfoot cage, a toe tip, and an external heel counter, this shoe is capable of providing an adaptive fit and all-day comfort while offering the necessary support. The carved out ankle dubbed as the “V-notch” reduces tension on the collar area and allows the upper to grow in length, thus improving the shoe's fit all the more. Also, the Air Presto Essential by Nike is available only in men’s full sizes.

Keep things simple and clean with the low-top Air Presto Essential sneakers. Offered in neutral and vibrant hues, this humble sneaker is capable of kicking your style up a notch with its eye-catching silhouette. Its stylish looks go with a variety of sporty and casual outfits, baggy shorts, joggers, and jeans included.

Aside from its recognizable cleatie-like upper supported by a midfoot cage, the Nike Air Presto Essential is noticed even more for its “Swoosh” branded Air-infused Phylon midsole and its Duralon outsole with Waffle pattern and flex grooves. The former offers ultralight cushioning and reliable impact protection. The latter provides flexible and durable multi-directional traction.

For the past years, the demand for lightweight footwear with a barefoot-like feel has radically increased. Stepping up in the game is the Nike Presto. Known for its ultimate fit and comfort, this shoe is arguably one of the most sought-after minimalist-styled athleisure shoes created by the brand.

This footwear was designed by Tobie Hatfield, brother of Tinker Hatfield, and a team of other creative talents. Its design concept was born in the year 1996 during a meeting in Korea. After receiving a shoe with a less-than-perfect fit, Hatfield was set to design a sneaker that allowed the foot to maneuver freely for a more natural ride and that gave slipper-like comfort.

In 2000, Hatfield’s vision finally took form. Making its first appearance during the Sydney Olympics, the Nike Air Presto, crafted with a stretchable yet highly-breathable material called the Spacer mesh and packed with the latest footwear tech, won the admiration of runners and sneaker fanatics alike.

  Air Presto : a t-shirt for your foot

This shoe, fittingly tagged as the” t-shirt for your foot” for its lightweight everyday comfort, was offered in 13 colorways. Each colorway had a short, quirky animated TV ad that played a huge role in putting the shoe into the mainstream, thus expanding its target market and elevating its popularity. And similar to a t-shirt, it was interestingly released in extra small to extra large sizes.

Aside from the ingenious marketing campaigns and odd sizing, how the shoe got its name is also amusing. Through crowdsourcing, the brand received over 300 name suggestions and the one that stood out the most was “Presto Magic.” A name very suitable for the shoe's seamless construction that -- "Presto!"-- fits like magic.

Throughout the years, a variety of editions of the Nike Air Presto have been released all of which maintaining its iconic shape intact. The Nike Air Presto Essential is among the more recent models. Making a preview on December 2015, it dropped without warning in the year 2016. Tagged as “Essential,” this version is expected to stray away from unnecessary gimmicks and unusual materials.

  • The heel pull tab is added for quick and easy slip-on/off.
  • The midfoot cage and heel counter double up as an eyestay for the shoe’s lacing system. This feature helps wearers achieve lockdown fit.
  • For branding, the “Swoosh” can be seen printed on the tongue and embroidered on the forefoot. It is also displayed with the “Air” callout on the heel.
  • On the medial side, the “Presto” wordmark can be seen engraved on the eyestay that is attached to the heel counter.
  • The five dots on the sole show that this shoe was initially created as part of the Alpha Project which is a Nike initiative launched in the late 1990s. The program focused on creating the most technologically-advanced footwear products.
  • The Nike Air Presto was also one of the first shoes to use an upper with a digitally-printed design.


How Nike Air Presto Essential ranks compared to all other shoes
Bottom 38% sneakers
All sneakers
Bottom 46% Nike sneakers
All Nike sneakers
Bottom 37% low sneakers
All low sneakers


The current trend of Nike Air Presto Essential.
Compare to another shoe:
Danny McLoughlin
Danny McLoughlin

Danny McLoughlin is a researcher for RunRepeat covering football, sneakers and running. After graduating with a degree in computer science from The University of Strathclyde, Danny makes sure never to miss a game of his beloved Glasgow Rangers or the Scotland national football team. He has been featured in prestigious publications such as The Washington Post, The Irish Times, Footwear News and the like.