Are Nike Prestos Good for Running Shoes?

Nike Prestos are one of Nike’s most popular shoe models, known for their stylish design and comfortable fit. But are they actually good running shoes? In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at the Nike Presto’s features and performance to determine if they make a good choice for runners.

The Origins of the Nike Presto

Nike first introduced the Presto in 2000, marketing them as an innovative new shoe with a “t-shirt for your feet” feel due to the stretchy upper material. The original Presto was designed as a comfortable everyday shoe rather than specifically for athletic performance.

However over the years, Nike has released many variations of the Presto intended for different uses, including several models made for running. So while the original Presto may not have been optimal for logging miles, there are now Presto options built with runners in mind.

Key Features of the Nike Presto

There are a few signature features that set the Presto apart from other Nike shoe models and contribute to its comfort and functionality:

Upper Material

Most Presto models utilize a breathable mesh or stretchy neoprene upper, allowing flexibility around the foot. This Morphodfit upper cradles the foot comfortably.

Midsole Cushioning

Nike Prestos are equipped with a thick Phylon midsole which provides lightweight cushioning underfoot. Some models also incorporate an Air pocket in the heel for added shock absorption.

Inner Sleeve

Prestos include a neoprene or spandex inner sleeve that hugs the foot like a sock for a secure fit. It prevents sliding around inside the shoe.

Rubber Outsole

Durable rubber outsoles with flex grooves offer traction and flexibility for easier movement. The pattern and rubber compounds vary between models.


On average, Nike Prestos are lighter weight than most running shoes at around 8-12oz per shoe. The flexible upper and Phylon foam midsole contribute to keeping the weight down.

Evaluating Nike Presto Models for Running

Nike produces many types of Presto shoes including casual fashion sneakers, training shoes, and running shoes. With such variety, you have to evaluate each model individually rather than making blanket statements about the Presto line as a whole for running.

Here are some quick assessments of the most popular Nike Presto styles:

Nike Presto Fly: One of the best for running with a lightweight upper, Lunarlon cushioning and durable rubber outsole in a classic low-profile design. Provides flexibility, support, and responsiveness.

Nike Presto Extreme: Features high abrasion rubber for traction and durability on rugged trails. Provides ankle support and cushioning for off-road running. Water resistant upper.

Nike Air Presto Mid Utility: Built for multi-surface traction with a reinforced midfoot panel and tall collar. Better for trail use than road running due to bulkier platform. Designed more for hiking than performance runs.

Nike Air Presto Essential: Minimalist, formfitting everyday style similar to the original model. The stretchy upper and low collar do not make these optimal for runs longer than a couple miles. Lacks support features serious runners require.

Benefits of Running in Nike Prestos

The main benefits you’ll get from choosing Nike Prestos as your running shoes include:

Lightweight Cushioning

With their Phylon foam midsoles and low-profile design, Prestos are lighter than most traditional running sneakers. The comfortable cushioning doesn’t weigh your feet down.


The stretchy upper material and molded shape allow natural movement of the foot without restriction. Nike designed the Presto line explicitly for flexibility.


Mesh paneling featured on most Prestos offers ventilation during runs to keep your feet cool and dry. Less sweat buildup means less blister risk.

Secure Fit

The inner sleeve grips your foot in place as you run. This compressive support prevents sliding around that could lead to blisters.


Rubber outsoles with gripping lugs provide reliable traction on most surfaces. Grooves aid flexibility when toeing off or moving over uneven terrain. Even better traction available on certain trail models.

Drawbacks of Running in Nike Prestos

While the Nike Presto offers many advantages for runners, the shoes do have some drawbacks to consider:

Lack of Stability Features

Many Presto varieties lack stabilization features like external heel counters, guide rails, or firmer midsole materials. Without these supports, some runners risk overpronation issues.

Minimal Ankle Support

Low collar designs don’t provide structure around the ankles which could make them uncomfortable for longer distances.

Not Suitable for All Foot Types

The narrower fit caters best to runners with average or narrow feet. The toe box is roomy but those needing wide widths may find Prestos too tight.

Expensive MSRP

Brand new Nike Prestos generally start around $120 MSRP. More premium models exceed $200. There are more budget friendly running shoe options.

The Verdict: Good for Shorter Runs

Overall Nike Prestos can work well as running shoes for runners doing shorter distances at easy paces a few times per week. Models like the Presto Fly or Extreme provide necessary support features and outsole durability to handle runs up to 5K.

Most Nike Prestos lack pronation support, ankle stabilization, and cushioning stability required for regular intense training though. We suggest opting for designated stability or neutral cushioning running shoes instead for half marathons, tempo sessions etc.

If prioritizing lightweight flexibility and breathability for mostly casual runs, the Nike Presto has clear advantages. Just limit the mileage or terrain intensity. For all-around daily training and longer distances, turn to options with more support.

FAQs About Running in Nike Prestos

Still have some questions about using Nike Prestos for your runs? Here are answers to a few frequently asked questions:

Are Nike Prestos good for walking?

Yes! The original Nike Presto was marketed specifically for comfortable walking with its flexible upper and Phylon cushioning. Models like the Essential and SE remain excellent casual walking shoes today.

Can I use Prestos for gym workouts?

Nike Prestos work great for lightweight cross training and HIIT-style gym sessions. The Grip model adds traction and support for multi-directional gym moves. Just swap them for more cushioned trainers for steady state cardio or heavy weight lifting requiring foot protection.

What is the lifespan of Nike Prestos?

With proper rotation and mostly usage for casual wear, Nike Prestos typically last over 2 years or 300-500 miles before needing replacement. High mileage runners may sustain midsole breakdown around 300 miles.

Do Nike Prestos run true to size?

Yes, most styles of Nike Prestos offer a true-to-size fit. However, some runners prefer sizing up a half or full-size if needing a wider toe box or taller collar height around the ankles. Try them on in-store whenever possible.

Are all Nike Prestos good for running?

No! Make sure to select designated running models of the Presto like the Fly or Extreme if you intend to use them for serious training. Casual fashion styles lack adequate traction, cushioning, and stability for most running. Evaluate each model separately before assuming its performance capabilities.

As you can see, Nike Prestos can work as running shoes but aren’t suited for all run types, foot types, or training programs. Take activity level, individual fit, and support requirements into consideration when deciding if Nike Prestos meet your running needs. Don’t sacrifice foot health or injury prevention simply for style points!

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