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Origin Story: Nike Air Presto "Hello Kitty"

Editorials  

Most sneaker enthusiasts have heard of the Nike Presto’s renowned origins. It’s "T-Shirt For Your Feet" campaign broke ground into new performance + lifestyle categories, & showed Nike’s consistent design evolution from shoes like the Huarache & Jordan 7.

The importance of the original 13 colours of Nike Presto is immense. Each colorway had its own TV commercial featuring designs from Monica Taylor, & nicknames courtesy of Dylan Lee. Nike utilised help from Wieden & Kennedy, the advertising agency responsible for almost all of their ads in the 80s & 90s. Wieden & Kennedy used the created nicknames like Abominable Snowman, Brutal Honey & Unholy Cumulus as inspiration for their campaigns.

The significance of the nicknames cannot be understated. The nicknames opened up a goldmine of ideas for Nike - and helped push the boundaries of what they could create with their footwear across the board. On the other hand, the nicknames opened up what can only be described as Pandoras Box (the good kind) for sneaker collectors & enthusiasts..

 

Within the next few years Nike begins experimenting with different ideas for collaboration - this is where product like the Stussy x Nike Huarache sees the light of day. Precursor aside.. it's 5 sample Prestos we’re here to talk about today.

Sanrio, a company synonymous with its iconic character & cultural revolution Hello Kitty was about to celebrate its 30th anniversary in 2004.

 

Enter Hiroshi Fujiwara, Godfather of streetwear, Japanese icon, the “H” in Nike’s fabled HTM line.



Enter Steven Smith, footwear designer extraordinaire, dad shoe God & Sanrio devotee..
 

What slowly ensued was the creation of 5 prototype designs of a Hello Kitty Presto. Smith has stated that “the original plan was for 500 of each style”. Unfortunately, the project only ended up producing samples & an (rumoured) estimated 12 pairs of each design. It is also speculated that Nike created only 3 out of the 5 initial samples.

The fact that numbers were so limited, and only given out to friends & family has made them a grail for both sneaker collectors & Hello Kitty obsessives alike. Over the past 20 years, a few Hello Kitty Prestos have surfaced online - with the typical asking price being a few thousand dollars. The sneakers’ almost mythical exclusivity and mystery surrounding its origins have landed it in a significant part of Nike folklore.

(Shout out to Truest Hi, the most official sneaker spot in Hawaii - the owner is on another level of sneaker collector)

Fast forward almost 20 years, & the cat is out of the bag. Sanrio x Nike is official. An all new Presto releases later in May. The Swoosh have not skimped on the details - the 2022 Hello Kitty Presto features custom graphics, heel cage, bows for days, a special box - and maybe best of all: an apparel line.






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