Leon Witherow

Footwear Designer, Portland

Born and raised in Melbourne, Australia, I fell in love with shoes at a very young age, though the thought of designing them didn’t occur until much later. The dream was always to be at Nike; I couldn’t see myself anywhere else. I draw inspiration from the rich history of footwear, automotive design and the work of artists such as M.C. Escher and Piet Parra. Above all else, I am just a sneakerhead who loves to geek out on shoes.


Nike Air Presto: Killa Beez


This shoe draws inspiration from my fascination with American hip-hop culture when I was growing up. This shoe in particular is themed around the legendary ‘Enter the Wu Tang (36 Chambers)’ album by the Wu-Tang Clan from 1993. The ‘Killa Beez’ moniker, along with the black and yellow color scheme, refers to the 100 or so individuals that have become part of the Clan's extended family over the years, while the gum sole refers to the prolific appearance of Timberland boots during appearances by the group.


Nike Air Presto: Tune Squad


The game of basketball dominated most of my childhood, and so when Space Jam was released in 1996 at the peak of my basketball fascination, it was a revelation. To see Michael Jordan, the G.O.A.T., on screen with cartoon characters that had been with me since I was a baby was a pretty special experience. Using the Tune Squad uniform as the main inspiration, I created a wearable, simple colorway with an open mesh upper that speaks to the material used on basketball jerseys.


Nike Air Presto: American Dream


I think everyone has his or her own idea of what the American Dream is. For me, as a kid who had never been to America before, the American Dream kind of looked like Grand Theft Auto: Vice City mixed in with a bit of Scarface and 1980’s skateboarding movies sprinkled in for good measure. I had vivid images of driving on a coastal road towards a sunset in a 68’ Mustang Fastback with an uplifting 80’s synth ballad cranking on the stereo. In the words of Tony Montana “The world is yours!”