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Nike / Air Presto Ultra Flyknit

Behind the Innovation

Two of Nike's innovative designs finally come together to produce a drastically lighter take on a timeless silhouette. For a unique combination, the Nike Air Presto Ultra Flyknit reengineers the perennial Air Presto design by implementing Nike's performance-enhancing Flyknit material and remodelling the components to improve the quality of the fit and function further than ever before.

For those that may not know, the Nike Air Presto was originally released in 2000 but was under development for some time before the initial release. Beginning in 1996, Director of Athlete Innovation Tobie Hatfield had been developing a footwear prototype that offered a perfect fit and superior comfort found in something similar to that of a sandal. Through further testing, the implementation of the V-notch was found to relieve tension in the collar, which created a hinge effect that naturally extended the length of the shoe for footwear testers. This revelation lead Hatfield to implement a new concept of sizing for footwear altogether. Hatfield mentions "We don't do half sizes for our T-Shirts; we do small, medium and large…so what if we tried the same thing for footwear?"

Nike's marketing for the Air Presto was an avant-garde choice that was both fresh and effective at the time. Nike used quirky cartoon animations to literally illustrate the unconventional theme behind each colourway, giving the shoes a bit more personality. Colourways like "Unholy Cumulus", "Brutal Bee", "Trouble at Home" and many others captivated many sneaker enthusiasts and athletes alike with their fun, thematic stylings.

"T-Shirt For the Foot"

This sizing concept along with the V-notch design was implemented into notable Nike footwear silhouettes like the Air Gauntlet and Air Zoom Drive. These sneakers also utilized virtually seamless uppers and later, Zoom Air Technology which eventually paved the way for the construction of the high-tech runner. The Air Presto came into fruition in 2000 where it was marketed as the "T-Shirt for the Foot" meaning the shoes would be available in sizes from small to extra large instead of traditional sizing. The name of the shoe itself came from crowd-sourcing with one of the more popular results being "Presto Magic" as if to say once worn, you could imagine a magician saying "presto" because of the perfect fit.

16 years later, the Nike icon has been updated with innovative materials and technological advancements to enhance this classic even further. The Air Presto Ultra Flyknit's one-to-one fit has been upgraded by the construction of the Flyknit upper, which offers ventilation from the toe to the ankle and improved flexibility in the collar. For the first time ever in the Air Presto franchise, the Air Presto Ultra Flyknit was produced as a mid-cut silhouette to satisfy modern tastes and reinforce ankle support. The TPU cage has been redesigned to wrap over the Flyknit upper effectively. Ultra tooling with rubber panels have also been added to improve the level of comfort and durability near areas of high wear on the shoe. Flyknit and Presto lovers rejoice! The Air Presto Ultra Flyknit is finally here.

The Nike Air Presto Ultra Flyknit launches Thursday May 5th in store and online.