What is the Nike Air Presto?
Dubbed as the “t-shirts for your feet,” the Nike Air Presto sneakers are among the most recognizable silhouettes from the Nike brand. First introduced in the year 2000, the Nike Air Presto has conquered the sneaker industry with its quality performance and stylish appeal.
Throughout the years, different variations of the classic sneaker have been introduced, but the first colorways of the sneaker was a unique set as it was in thirteen (13) different forms with a corresponding nickname for each.
Red, blue, yellow, green, orange, and more were combined to create an attractive skin for the shoe. Each of these colorways was also assigned with its own matching animated promotional TV slots. These TV slots come in unique, unexpected forms with strange animations such as urinating clouds, a balloon-headed monk with an inflating and exploding head, a shady milkman who contaminates the milk with an unknown substance, and an erratic panda. After every advertisement for each colorway of the shoe, its nickname is presented and enunciated along with it number out of 13.
The following are the nicknames given to each of the thirteen colorways of the Nike Air Presto:
- Brutal Honey
- Trouble At Home
- Unholy Cumulus
- Shady Milkman
- Rabid Panda
- Orange Monk
- Jack Mackerel
- Migraine Fly
- Presto Bill
- Catfight Shiner
- Rogue Kielbasas
- Abdominal Snowman
- Unnamed Colorway
Today, a wide assortment of variations and collaborative releases are offered by Nike for the Air Presto shoes. From different color combinations of blue, red, white, black, yellow, to say the least, to unique design iterations. Take a trip below to know more about this classic sneaker and some of its top collaborations and outstanding variations.
Nike Air Presto Shoes Top Collaboration
The Nike Air Presto is never a stranger when it comes to collaboration. Being one of the most recognizable and iconic Nike classic shoes, it has caught the eyes of several other labels, celebrities, designers, and other big names that give interest in giving the shoe a new look.
Below are some of the remarkable collaborative releases of the Nike Air Presto sneakers:
Acronym x Nike Air Presto Mid 2018 Pack – officially released on the 20th of September, 2018, this collaborative release features three different yet distinctive colorways. The three new appearance of the shoe displays a color-blocking look with various patterns on its cage and toe overlay. The colorways come in Cool Gray/Black, Racer Pink/Photo Blue-White-Black, and the White/Dynamic Yellow-Black. These Nike Air Presto shoes retail at $200 each.
Commes des Garcons x Nike Air Presto Foot Tent – keeping the original of the Air Presto yet giving it a little twist with the modified mixture of fabric on its upper which includes the rumpled polyester, wearable shrubbery, and sliced-up suiting. Two colorways were offered for this release with one displaying a navy hue while the other is in light aqua.
The distinctive feature of the shoe is the removable of its lacing system as well as its cage and replaced with the “pull-string-secured laceless look” which imitates that of a tent. These versions of the Nike Air Presto shoes were revealed at the CdG’s recent HOMME Plus Spring/summer 2019 show that was during the Paris Fashion Week.
Nike Air Presto X Doernbecher Collection – patients from OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, Ethan Frank, Sophia Malinoski, and Joe MacDonald were the ones to design for their own colorways of the Nike Air Presto X.
For Ethan Frank’s design, the 13-year-old trumpet playing black belt dressed the silhouette in a combination of university red and black colorway. The 10-year-old soccer player, Sophia Malinoski’s version of the Nike Air Presto X comes in a hyper jade and black color combination. The third one displays a wolf gray and black colorway for the 14-year-old football fan and camp counselor for fellow cancer survivors, Joe MacDonald.
These Nike Air Presto shoes were released in September 2017which retailed at $100 each.
OFF-WHITE x Nike Air Presto – the Nike brand and the Milan-based label, OFF-WHITE, have kept a solid relationship when it comes to collaboration. They have both worked together on several Nike shoes, giving them fresh, unique The Nike Air Presto shoes are among the ones that were involved in this partnership.
Below are some of the collaborative releases between Nike and OFF-WHITE, featuring the Nike Air Presto:
- OFF-WHITE x Nike Air Presto Extra Credit – dedicated for DJ Khaled, this special edition OFF-WHITE x Nike Air Presto exhibits an all-white upper with its laces and tongue adorned with the signature OFF-WHITE text.
- OFF-WHITE x Nike Air Presto “Black” – this all-black version of the Nike Air Presto features a more breathable mesh upper with a synthetic caging, orange tabs, the OFF-WHITE text on its lateral area along with the Virgil Abloh signature tech callouts and the “AIR” branding on its velcro strap on its heels. A pair of this shoe was released in July 2018 retailed at $160.
- OFF-WHITE x Nike Air Presto “White” – this remodeled version of the OFF-WHITE x Nike Air Presto comes in an all-white colorway that displays Virgil Abloh’s deconstructed touch of mesh upper construction which is complemented with the big Swoosh branding on its sides and the Nike tag on its tongue and the “AIR” callout on its heel. The OFF-WHITE signature branding is displayed on its medial side and its red zip tie on its laces.
- OFF-WHITE x Nike Air Presto “Tie-Dyed” – this version of the classic shoe displays a multi-colored upper that comes in a few forms. The one that was in collaboration with John Mayer displays a multi-colored upper that is complemented with the original shifted Swoosh and the translucent lacing system of the sneaker. The sole unit of the shoe, as well as its white laces, are retained.
Designer, Ev Bravado, gave his own version of the OFF-WHITE x Nike Air Presto “Tie-Dyed.” Donning another multi-colored upper complemented with orange laces, Bravado added his signature rhinestones as a decoration to the “AIR” stamp on the strap on the heel of the shoe.
Notable Variations of the Nike Air Presto Sneakers
- Nike Air Presto Fly “Just Do It” – joining the growing “Just Do It” collection of Nike, a majority of black covers the upper of the Nike Air Presto Fly with hints of bright “Total Orange” on its lacing system. The Swoosh is on the vamp area of the shoe as well as its heel tab. The design is finished off with a white midsole.
- Nike Air Presto Ultra Breathe “Triple Black” – this representation of the Nike Air Presto flaunts and all-black approach from its molded heel counter to its air-cushioned midsole lacing cage, including its laces.
- Nike Air Presto Mid Utility – another rendition of the classic Nike Air Presto is the Nike Air Presto Mid Utility which dons a synthetic leather upper with a molded midfoot overlays. It also features the Air Sole unit and a Duralon Outsole.
- Nike Air Presto Premium – the premium touch given to the Nike Air Presto silhouette, this variation exhibits a leather, a synthetic leather, or a textile upper which vary on its colorway. It also features the full-length Phylon midsole and the Air Sole unit on its heel as well as the molded midfoot cage.
- Nike Air Presto “Metallic Silver/Pure Platinum” – featuring a micro mesh upper construction and its neoprene sockliner that sits on its traditional midsole, this version of the Nike Air Presto displays a Metallic Silver finish on its lacing cage and toe cap. It also comes in matching round laces.
- Nike Air Presto Essential – a stretch mesh upper that offers a lightweight feel and flexibility covers the upper of the Nike Air Presto Essential. It is complemented with the midfoot cage and the foam sole.
- Nike Air Presto Ultra Flyknit – flaunting a Flyknit upper which gives the feeling of “t-shirt for your foot,” it also features its signature TPU lacing cage along with a mid-cut collar. The design is finished off with the waffle-inspired outsole.
- Nike Air Presto SE – this Nike Air Presto variation displays a textile upper construction which is then complemented with its traditional midfoot cage. The foam midsole and the Air Sole unit displays finished up the design.
Forgotten Nike Air Presto Shoes
Variations for sneaker classics may come and go. The designs for these variations may vary according to trend, style of the season, demands of the people, and any other thing that the designers take inspiration from.
A wide range of design and material iteration on the Nike Air Presto sneakers was presented by the brand. Some of these variations have marked their spot in the sneaker industry, yet some only got a little time under the sun and went back into the shadows ad left forgotten. Below are some of the forgotten variations of the Nike Air Presto sneakers:
- Nike Air Presto Cage – this is a laceless basketball version of the Nike Air Presto which displays a slip-on feature that is designed for post-game purposes. The upper of this sneaker is built with a plush material and to finish off the design is its distinguishable midfoot TPU cage.
- Nike Air Presto Chanjo – removing the midfoot TPU cage from the Nike Air Presto Cage, the Nike Air Presto Chanjo also displays the slip-on feature yet presents a foot-hugging mesh material on its neoprene upper construction.
- Nike Air Presto Roam – a product offered from the HTM collaboration, the Nike Air Presto was given the boot form for a limited release of just 1500 pairs when it was launched in the year 2002.
- Nike Air Presto Faze – this version of the Nike Air Presto exhibits a recreation of the TPU cage, and it was mainly designed for a “natural ride.”
- Nike Air Presto Gym – the redesigned TPU lace cage along with additional overlays on its reinforced cock-like upper construction in which gives off enhanced lockdown and support.
- Nike Air Presto “Abominable Snowman” – it was the Air Presto that pioneered in the digitally-printed upper with the Nike Air Presto “Abominable Snowman.”
The Beginning of the Nike Air Presto
The Nike Air Presto sneakers’ breakthrough story began in Korea four years before it was launched in 2000 as a part of Nike’s Alpha Project. But this influential sneaker was not designed by the legendary Tinker Hatfield but by his brother.
In 1996, Nike Senior Director of Athlete Innovation, Tobie Hatfield, who was a footwear developer back then, was in Korea for a production meeting. New Nike sneakers were tried by everyone, but it was Hatfield who was not really fond of the shoes on his feet. He wanted a shoe that will fit perfectly yet comfortably on the feet.
But it was kind of difficult to accomplish, considering the way that Nike was creating sneakers at that time as even the Nike silhouettes that were built in innovative, pioneering ways during that time lacked flexibility because of the stitches along the leather and mesh material. That aim was what started the journey to creating the Nike Air Presto. But it was never an easy journey as Tobie, and his team attempted every way possible before they were able to achieve success.
In 1996, the Nike brand developed the first prototype of the silhouette and dubbed it as the “V-Notch” at first. It featured a carved-out area in the ankle part which is to provide the enhanced fit. Hatfield’s solution on the splayed collar experience when he tried on his shoes in Korea was to simply eliminate the extra material. In the whole process, he opened up the whole collar to the sole section, then the entire upper. With that, the shoe was able to give more flex and bend in every step done by the wearer.
Hatfield had the prototype in his hand, and he wanted to put it into use, run some miles, and see its performance, but the problem is, he couldn’t do it himself. An idea came to him, and he gave the prototype to his colleague for a test run. Only, there was one problem: the shoe was a size 9, and his colleague wore a size 11. But Tobie was so eager for some feedback for his creation, and so he intentionally did not mention the sizing problem to his colleague.
He was already expecting a negative comment on the sizing issue of the shoe, but it surprised him when his colleague never mentioned anything about the sizing. He realized that the V-Notch provided enough flexibility that it stretched to a larger size when it needs to be and didn’t affect its performance. Hatfield also noted that the V-Notch also helped reduce the tension along the collar area and it generated a “hinge effect” in which enables the shoe to somehow grow in length.
It was also at that time when Hatfield came into thinking about the traditional sizing. Is still necessary to follow the traditional sizing when a size nine could fit those who are ranging from size 9 to size 11? Hatfield thought that it isn’t, and he saw the soon to be the Air Presto as more like apparel – a T-shirt to be exact – instead of a shoe. They come up with the idea of following the T-Shirt sizing.
The development of the concept of the Air Presto continued over the interceding years, but under various project names as the journey comes closer to the Presto, other designs were released on its own. The Nike Air Gauntlet which was released in 1998 features the V-Notch while the Nike Air Zoom Drive that was introduced in 1999 was the one to exhibit the completed design of the seamless interior and mesh upper construction. Only these two features aren’t enough for the Air Presto alone, and therefore, Hatfield and his team continued to develop the needed materials for the missing element.
Time then finally came, and they found the perfect solution to their problem: Spacer mesh. This material was customarily used in the medical field as it provides the flexibility and the stretch of the neoprene materials minus the heat. Also, with the said material, they were able to shape it into the desired shape of the sneaker that they wanted.
The malleable characteristic of the upper of the shoe retained the sizing flexibility that was observed by Hatfield on the first prototype. This led them to run the shoe sizes from XXS to XL just like the T-shirt sizes, instead of following the standard shoe size. It was also then that the shoe was called the “T-shirt for the foot,” as started by Nike.
Now that the shoe was finally created and ready, another problem surfaced as Hatfield did not have a name for it yet. A name for the shoe is always an essential thing especially when telling its history, but no one had come up for the right name to call the shoe that made an impact. It was kind of hopeless, and so a call was sent out by Nike to Creatives nationwide in order to gather name ideas, and for around 300 name submissions, one stood out most: “Presto Magic.” The name was a reference to the “magical fit” as it was like a magic trick revelation with the magician uttering, “Presto!” and there they found the perfect name for the shoe.
The Air Presto was also introduced during the 2000 Sydney Olympics which added more impact to its immediate success. Unfortunately, Nike “cannibalized its own momentum” as it also jumped into various programs for running sneakers such as the Nike Free in which took away a lot of vigor from the Presto. Soon enough, the program overshadowed the Presto on the running branch of Nike, and the shoe was not able to take it back from that perspective. It would then take the Nike Air Presto sneakers at least a decade for it to come back into the spotlight but in another viewpoint.
Nike made variations of the Nike Air Presto, but it didn’t really succeed in gaining back its audience and popularity. Then in 2015, Nike started to make re-issues of the OG colorways and revisited some of the colorways of the Nike Air Presto sneakers that are Olympic-inspired in 2016.
The success the Prestos got from its collaboration with Acronym stimulated some more general releases for the silhouette which then led it to its second major success in 2017. Another big collaboration was set for the Nike Air Presto sneakers with the Milan-based brand, OFF-WHITE. The Presto was one of the silhouettes included in the “OFF-WHITE’s ‘The Ten’ Collection.”
Now, the Nike Air Presto sneakers have been involved with more various collaborations with the said brands and have regained its status in the sneaker industry. Nike was able to keep the classic shoe stay on trend and offer a fresh look from time to time.
Nike Air Presto Sneakers FAQs:
1. Are the original colorways of the Nike Air Presto coming back?
As of 2015, Nike made a re-issue of some of the original colorways of the Nike Air Presto. Chances are there are high hopes that the other original colorways of the silhouette may see the light of day again for a re-issue.
2. Is customization up for Nike Presto sneakers?
Yes, it is. Some of the Nike Air Presto sneakers/variations/models are available for the Nike Customization program. In order for the sneakers to be identified if they are available for customization, Nike labels the shoe with tags on its name such as adding “iD” in it and putting the customization logo along with it on their main site.
3. What is the price range for the Nike Air Presto shoes?
The prices of Nike Air Presto sneakers may vary on its design, materials used, or if it is under a collaborative release. Below are the price ranges for the Nike Air Presto sneakers:
$50 - $100 – commonly, the Air Prestos that fall in this price range are those that are now sold at a discounted price. There are also some of the classic silhouette’s variations that retailed at mostly $100 each pair upon release.
$100 - $150 – the classic Nike Air Prestos can be found in this price range as well as some popular variations of the shoe such as the Nike Air Presto Premium, the Nike Air Presto Ultra Breathe, and the Nike Air Presto Essential.
Above $150 – collaborative hypes, limited edition releases, and special editions of the Nike Air Presto sneakers are what mostly are in this price range.
4. Do the pricing also vary for Nike Air Presto casual sneakers of similar style?
Nike Air Presto sneakers may display a similar style, but on most occasions, each model may vary from its colorway and some material that was used for its structure as well as its price.
5. Are Nike Air Presto shoes suitable for both men and women?
Yes, they are. Some variations of the Nike Air Presto sneakers are released for both men and women, and some are unisex and mostly released in men’s sizing. For those models that are released in men’s sizing, and women would want to get a pair, they can do so by reducing the sizes by 1.5 to 2 I order to accommodate their foot size.
6. Do celebrities that were not in a collaborative release with the Nike Air Prestos wear these sneakers?
Yes, they do, in fact, there are celebrity sightings in which they were wearing a pair of Nike Air Prestos. Bella Hadid for one, who sported a white Nike Air Presto Ultra Flyknit as a finish for her sporty all-white get-up while out in the streets with a couple of friends. Karrueche Tran was also spotted wearing the same shoe in another colorway as she stepped out of a gym after training. Rapper, Drake, was also seen with a pair of OFF-WHITE x Nike Air Presto on his feet.
7. How do the Nike Air Presto sneakers fit?
A few factors must be considered in getting the right pair of Nike Air Presto sneakers that would fit one’s feet. One must know their exact foot sizing and they must also know if what width of the shoe is ideal for their foot. Here are the prime factors that must be considered in getting the precise pair of Nike Air Presto sneakers:
Size/Length – the length or the size of the shoe comes for both men and women and its sizing differs from each other. For men, it mostly ranges from size 5 US to size 15 US, while for women commonly comes from size 5 US to size 12 US. Instances are that some may find the shoe either running smaller or larger, therefore, adjustments may be applicable such as going up or down in sizing. If the shoe is only available in men’s sizing, either it is unisex or mainly designed for men, and women might want to grab a pair, reducing 1.5 to 2 in sizing must be applied.
Width – most pairs of Nike Air Presto sneakers comes in medium width. For men, it is indicated with the letter “D” while for women, it comes in the letter “B.” Some may not have the standard foot width and find the medium width shoe too narrow. The typical solution to this problem is for the buyer to go up in sizing.
8. Is it ideal to throw the Nike Air Presto shoes in the wash?
Throwing a pair of Nike Air Presto in the wash may depend on the materials used for the shoe’s construction if these would allow it for a machine wash. But before throwing the shoe into the wash, one must remove the laces first then scrub the shoes down with some detergent. It would also be applicable to insert them into a pillow before putting them into the wash to keep them from bouncing around in the machine. Also, make sure to that there is only one spin cycle turned on.
5 best Nike Air Presto sneakers
- Nike Air Presto Ultra Flyknit
- Nike Air Presto
- Nike Air Presto Fly
- Nike Air Presto Essential
- Nike Air Presto Ultra Breathe
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