words // Nick Engvall

Today, lightweight running shoes from Nike are available in countless styles, most of which use two of Nike’s most popular technologies: Lunarlon or Nike Free technology. But before there was Lunar Foam or Nike Free, the Nike Air Presto changed everything about what a minimalist running shoe could be.

Originally released in 2000, the Nike Air Presto was something unlike any running shoe of the time. It used a mesh sock-like material for the entire upper, which made it incredibly comfortable. As for support, that came from the cage-like plastic overlay that wrapped around the midfoot and Air-filled heel of the Presto. The design of the presto was only outdone by the colorways it became available in, which were not only limitless in terms of creativity, but also seemed to be limitless in how popular they were. An example is the colorway made for world-renowned guitarist and songwriter Eric Clapton for his 2001 Tour. Although seeing celebrities laced with the latest shoes now might be common, artist collaborations hadn’t quite become popular at the time, and athletes were still the face of performance sneakers. Of course, Nike covered that aspect as well by having Don Ardell run in the Air Presto.

While the design and names associated with the Nike Air Presto helped it gain popularity, the marketing behind it was as simple and effective as you can get. Presto Instant Happiness, the slogan was, and still is, genius.


Eastbay Memory Lane: Nike Presto