Back in 2004, Nike helped Hello Kitty celebrate its 30th anniversary by producing an extremely limited run of Air Prestos. The original plan was to release 500 pairs each of four different versions of the Presto featuring the popular Japanese character, but only 12 pairs in total ended up being given to to select friends and family.
Now, nearly 20 years later, Nike is finally preparing to bring the collaboration to the public. Images of a T-shirt and shorts from the cutesy capsule have surfaced — and although they’re relatively simple, they’re also surprisingly alluring. The most well-known illustration of Hello Kitty appears beneath the Nike Air logo on the front of the tee and then again but blown up bigger on the rear. An all-over print then sees the mark repeated on baby blue shorts, and we’ve gotta say that the gear so far is already holding our attention.
Reports of Nike x Hello Kitty returning have been circulating since August, and there’s no telling yet how much longer we’ll have to wait for the collection to arrive. Once it does, though, it’ll close the loop on one of the rarest pair of Nikes you’ll ever see.
The two versions that have most endured — Out of the four different versions of the Hello Kitty Air Presto that made the final cut, only two are widely circulated through images online. A black, white, and blue pair sees Hello Kitty flipped upside-down and back in an all-over print, while an additional white, gold, and blue pair, sees multiple versions of the character repeated with more negative space.
While these two sneakers are the most well-done of the four seen in early concept sketches, the reason they’re the only ones we see today may be as simple as them being the only ones passed around and photographed. With only 12 pairs reported to be in existence, it’s impossible to account for them all — but legend has it one pair ended up in a Tokyo thrift store, while another was once being offered at Round Two for $3,000.
Hello Kitty fans will obviously want to participate in the capsule’s release whenever it does come, but they’ll have to compete with hardcore sneakerheads who’ve been long familiar with the story. And even if the designs end up deviating from the original, the Hello Kitty Prestos should be one of the most sought-after drops of the year.