It Took a Nike Employee Seven Years to Track Down These Rare Sneakers

Here's a detailed look at the Eric Clapton x Nike Air Presto.

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Complex Original

Image via Complex Original

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The Nike Air Presto was one of the sneakers that paved the way for the Nike Free, but it hasn't seen as much retro love as one would expect in recent years. Save for a few iterations, the Presto has been relatively quiet. It's surprising, because the model, designed by Tinker Hatfield's younger brother Tobie Hatfield, is able to garner a positive response when it makes a re-emergence. One of the forgotten Presto designs most likely will never see a re-release, but the story behind it is worth revisiting.

In 2001, Eric Clapton was in the middle of a world tour and Nike gave him a limited run of the Air Presto. Up to this point, most have forgotten about the rock star's exclusive version of the runner, but a pair recently surfaced. Leon Witherow — an Australian-born Presto collector, who currently works for Nike in The Netherlands and runs the Instagram account @prestology — unearthed his Clapton Prestos, which happen to be signed by the man himself.


According to Witherow, he was able to track down the Prestos after a seven-year hunt. For some back story, he says, "The pair was signed by [Clapton] and then auctioned off for charity. The proceeds of the auction went to the Crossroads Foundation at Mr. Clapton's request. At some point the pair ended up at K-Skit in Japan where they sold for around $900. After a few years of silence, they surfaced again at a second-hand motorcycle dealership in Nara, Japan, called  ‘Holly Equip Inc.'"


From that point on, they ended up on eBay and that's where Witherow was able to procure his pair. The rest is history — but here's an in-depth look at the pair he was able to secure.



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