I remember when the Nike Presto came out.
Actually, I remember the short period of time before it came out, when somehow, sometime I had sent 'them' (Nike) my mailing address and in return for my love they sent me a set of postcards with stylized characters announcing the Presto's imminent arrival. (Should we be sending y'all MATRIARCH postcards??)
This would have been around the year 2000... 7th grade. I remember trying to tell my friends and classmates about this cool new thing that was coming out but without visuals (I forgot the postcards at home), it was just an intangible concept. Imagine my frustration then, when, a few weeks later, a girl in the 8th grade came in one morning with the silver-gray and orange colorway to thunderous admiration.
I told you guys so!!
Not that Nike needs any more props, but to this day I can look at the Presto and fall instantly in love all over again. All known rules about how shoes 'should' be were thrown out the window with this gorgeous new sculpture-for-the-foot of a design, especially considering it was marketed as a running shoe. Running shoes in the late '90's/early '00s were solid chunks of things:
The sleek Presto changed all this, and led the way for products like Nike Free to debut around 2004 and the concept of 'barefoot running' to gain mainstream traction.
I was led down nostalgia lane for the Prestos while browsing a new love of mine: Hender Scheme. If you don't know them yet, get to know them. The next time I have a spare $900 lying around, a pair of Hender Schemes is the absolute first thing on my list. (Actually make that, "the next time I have a spare $3000 lying around, I'm going to Tokyo for a week to pick them up in person and also eat a ton of sushi.")
One of my favorite projects of theirs is how they take classic styles from all different brands (and even the classic German army shoe) and copy them- but in the highest quality vegetable tanned leather, handcutting each individual piece. And my favorite "remake"? The Presto of course. You have to see it for yourself to really understand the genius at play here:
And the original for comparison:
I feel pretty comfortable saying that this is one of the best pieces of design+craft I have seen in (almost) 28 years. An actual masterpiece.
Stay tuned for more on my other love: vegetable tanned leather.
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