The Nike Beautiful X Air Presto Premium triple black (Credit: nike.com)

Sneakerheads, watch out! We have another background history for one of the most iconic and influential sneakers for you: The Nike Air Presto.

It has been 16 years since its debut, but the sneaker still maintains its freshness up until now. With the new Nike Beautiful X Air Presto Premium coming up, we will give you a short outline of probably the most famous forebear of the Nike Free.

Worn by elite runners, collected by sneakerheads and featured in different art galleries, the Nike Air Presto has a long history in the making. A lot of you will be familiar with its latest releases, but its saga goes way back. The sneaker was first released at the turn of the millennium, but it took quite some years to put the idea into practice. Feel free to take a guess of what the big deal of the Presto was all about: unrivaled fit and comfort, of course! The footwear developer Tobie Hatfield, brother of well-known Nike shoe designer Tinker Hatfield, rose to this challenge and together with his team, he created the Nike Air Presto with its appropriate tagline “T-shirt for the foot”. A sneaker as comfortable as a slipper but fresh & fly.

The Evolution of the Nike Air Presto

So, what’s the sensation with this one? Throughout the 90s, Nike developed some groundbreaking design work that all of you are nowadays celebrating in most of the sneakers so far. The concept of natural motion played a big role. Thus, Hatfield and his colleagues decided to design a shoe including the so called “V-Notch”, a carved-pit area by the ankle intended to improve fit. In order to understand the sensation of the sneaker, here’s a small anecdote for you:

Hatfield gave a prototype of the first Presto to a co-worker, who normally wears size 11. Obviously, he wasn’t presented a 11 but a size 9 instead. The guinea pig didn’t complain and felt comfortable in the shoe two sizes too small for him. Hatfield thus rethought and revolutionized the footwear sizing. Since the Nike Air Presto was a so-called “T-shirt for the foot”, why not adapt the sizing of shirts as well. Forget about the standard numeric system, because this sneaker goes from 3XS to XXL. Well sure, why not? Let’s change tradition with only one sneaker.

In addition to the unusual sizing structure, the original lineup was identifiable by an ideal upper material never seen before: space mesh, a material primarily used in the medical industry. Besides, a lightweight Phylon midsole and a cushioned Duralon outsole completed the futuristic design. Hatfield configured “the perfect fit” and developed the idea of giving the feeling of traveling bare foot way further.


An early sketch of the Nike Air Presto (Credit: nike.com)

The original Presto was an instant sensation when it was first released in 2000 and changed the sneaker culture per se. The minimalistic look of this model is now over a decade old but still state-of-the-art. Sneakerheads will argue it qualifies for a true vintage status and sure as hell, it does.

It’s a kind of magic!

But why ‘Presto’? After first taking a look at the new design of the iconic shoe, one has to have the history of its name in mind. Crowd-sourcing the name from the design, the footwear designer received over 300 submissions from sneakerfreakers worldwide. The one that stuck in everyone’s head was ‘Presto Magic’: When you put the shoe on, it fits so perfectly that it is almost like a magician saying: PRESTO!

As unconventional as the naming process were the silhouette’s color-ways: “Catfight Shiner”, “Trouble at Home”, “Abdominal Snowman” and “Rabid Panda”. Each was accompanied by playful illustrations and these were later on used for advertisement. A lot of you will remember those from back in the day. Oldschool but goodschool!

The Presto was the first major shoe created specifically for the US Olympic team in 2000 in Sydney and its timing was perfect. The introduction boasted the latest footwear technology. Athletes and sneakerfans loved it and are still enthusiastic! The success of the Nike Presto caused numerous re-editions of the original one, but the shape obviously maintained the same. If you want a timeless sneakers, that’s the one!

Reflecting on this shoe’s rise to icon status, we can’t wait for the Nike Beautiful X Air Presto Premium. Presto fans, it is time to stop crossing the days off on your calendar, the day has come for the new magical sneaker – unfortunately, women only. This one was inspired by Joan Benoit Samuelson, a marathon runner, who revolutionized running by winning the gold medal in 1984. We’d say it’s the perfect pick for inspiring an inspirational sneaker. What a woman, what a shoe!

Check out all the available Nike Air Presto color options at KICKZ and stay tuned for the Nike Beautiful X Air Presto Premium!


Nike Air Presto SE Midnight Navy (Credit: kickz.com)


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