Nike Experiments in Minimalism

Over the years, Nike has engaged in several production runs creating lightweight minimalist sneakers. Some of these include:

The Nike Sock Racer/Sock Trainer (1985, 1987)

I had a writer comment about these shoes... they were "incredibly bright yellow" and with "absolutely no support."

The Nike Air Huarache series (various versions: 1992-1994, 2000, 2017, ...)

Nike Air Huarache running shoe; white, green, blue, and blackThe Air Huarache line had several models, and it has its own page.

The Nike Air Rift (various versions: 1997-1999, 2002, 2017, ...)

This model was interesting in that it had a separate slot for the big toe. Nike made special socks just for the Air Rift.

The Nike Air Kukini (2000, 2002, 2005 version)

This model had an overall stretch mesh that covered the front of the shoe like a spider web. There were various colorways; the most frequently seen was a blue/white that resembled pool water with ripples.

The Nike Air Kukini (2003 version)

Nike Air Kukini running shoe (black/gray/reflective)This is the Nike Air Kukini version from 2003. Instead of laces, this design fastens closed with hook and loop fasteners.

Nike Air Kukini running shoe back view (black/gray/reflective)... 'Run Hard, Run Fast'The back view states "--- Run Hard --- Run Fast ---." If this is advice for the wearer, it's most likely in the wrong place!

Nike Air Kukini running shoe (off-white/blue/reflective)Other colorways known to exist but not shown here include black mesh with red lugs and gold mesh with black lugs.

The Nike Air Presto (2000-2002, 2005, 2017)

Nike Air Presto in black with blue Engineered Support CageNike describes this model as "a T-shirt for the feet." The "Engineered Support Cage" (blue in this model) around the midfoot holds the foot in the shoe. Because of the design, Nike released only six sizes (XXS, XS, S, M, L. and XL), which covered the range from women's size 4.5 to men's size 15. Each Air Presto size covered two traditional shoe sizes.

Nike USA Presto - side viewNike made the Air Presto in many colors, including a "red, white, and blue" patriotic color scheme. Proceeds from this particular colorway were donated to 9/11 relief efforts.

Nike Air Presto Praia iD shoe - yellow, tan, brownIn Summer 2005, Nike returned the Air Presto to the Nike line as a NIKEiD shoe. They shipped these really fast... just over two weeks. I was a bit surprised by the return address: Singapore! These shoes, and the ones below them, fell apart quickly. The inside cage broke loose from the rest of the shoe.

Nike Air Presto Plain iD shoe - orange, grayAnother NIKEiD pair shipped from Singapore in just around two weeks.

The Nike Air Presto Cage (2001)

Nike Air Presto Cage, black/silver, synthetic leatherSimilar to the Air Presto, except it comes in integral sizes and is a slip-on shoe.

The Nike Air Trainer Escape (2001-2002)

Nike Air Trainer Escape, black, silver SWOOSHNike advertises this as a lightweight, form-fitting cross-training shoe. That's definitely the case.

Nike Air Trainer Escape, red with black and white, red SWOOSHThe shoe features a plastic cup over the heel, with the word "presto" on it. However, despite this, the shoe does not have an "Air Presto" series name.

Nike Air Trainer Escape, blue with white and clear, blue SWOOSHThis particular version has a fabric pattern derived from a blueprint of the shoe. The last two letters of the words "Korea Development Center" end out under the midsole close to the small toe. I was very disappointed when these fell apart after heavy wear for a number of years, because I liked them so much!

Nike Air Trainer Escape iD, white - gray - black, black SWOOSHThe Air Trainer Escape was also available as a NIKEiD shoe.

The Nike Air Presto Faze (2001)

Yet another variation of the Air Presto design. This version is a slip-on, with a TPU cage similar to the Air Trainer Escape pictured above.

The Nike Air Max Tremble (2001)

Nike Air Max Tremble cross-training shoe: blue upper, white midsole, clear support cageAnother cross-training shoe with a support cage. This shoe feels more suited to vigorous activity than the Air Trainer Escape.

The Nike Air Presto Chanjo (2002)

Nike Air Presto Chanjo Leather, white/white/blueThis example is the Nike Air Presto Chanjo Leather; the vamp is leather, the back is a stretch synthetic fabric.

Nike Air Presto Chanjo, black/redThis Presto Chanjo example is all stretch synthetic.

The Nike Air Presto Gym (2002)

Nike Air Presto Gym cross-training shoe: blue upper, white midsole, black support cageAnother cross-training shoe with a support cage. It appears rather much like the original Nike Air Presto.

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Last Updated: 9 February 2017

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