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In 2016, the ACRONYM x Nike Air Presto Mid took sneaker culture by storm, thanks to its sharp transformation of the classic “t-shirt for your feet.” According to ACRONYM’s Errolson Hugh, the collaboration started by taking a closer look at failed and forgotten Air Presto prototypes. After spotting a sample with a Mid height, he and NikeLab designers proceeded to “Acronymize” it with fresh colorways and a dual-zipper entry system.

“We took a function-driven, deconstructionist approach using ACRONYM highlights and materials,” says Errolson of the ACRONYM x Nike Air Presto Mid. This required a careful evolution of the original shoe’s simplicity into a more complex design. “The Air Presto is an almost slipper-like shoe, and the idea of making a mid-cut version of it is counterintuitive,” adds Errolson. “Mid-cuts usually give support and stability. We wanted to maintain the shoe’s original sense of ease but with additional performance.”

The zippers presented the biggest design challenge and required multiple iterations before achieving a fast, simultaneous pull. Though the shoe’s overall design was completed in three hours, testing the pull distance, angle, and slider types took six tries. The final result retains a clean silhouette while having a visible pull cord and zipper tabs extending beyond the profile of the shoe. Additional support and breathability comes from leather in the heel, a 3D mesh collar, and spacer mesh on the forefoot.

The three colorways were decided based on ACRONYM’s philosophy of having an option for every kind of wearer. The Hot Lava/Volt pairing represents peak luminosity, while the Olive/Black/White combination represents versatility. The Bamboo/Black colorway represents ACRONYM’s classic, two-toned style, as well as the first time the midsole, heel cage, and eyestays of the Air Presto have been the same color.

Last but not least, the geometric, U-shaped tape near the shoe’s toe references kinesiology tape, a simple yet powerful tool for support and rehabilitation. “We knew the shoe was cool, and we knew we liked it,” remembers Errolson. “However, we didn't know that there would be this crazy avalanche of love. It was exciting to see that big of a response to this kind of radical approach.”

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