Fashion

Why Nike's Air Monarch Is the Undisputed, Ultimate 'Dad' Trainer

The designer of the coolest 'uncool' trainer talks about the Monarch's legacy
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Long before the likes of Gucci, Vetements, Raf Simons and Kanye West co-opted the chunky, ungainly 'dad' silhouette for 2017's most on-trend trainers, you had the Monarch: the original 'ugly' sneaker.

A resilient best-seller worn by tired men in cargo shorts and polo shirts, the kind of guys who just want to grab some light fittings from Homebase on a Saturday morning, the Monarch's designer, Jason Mayden, recently spoke about creating the coolest 'uncool' trainer in the world.


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"From a business perspective it was significant and very important, but from a design perspective it was undesirable," he told Nice Kicks earlier this week.

"It wasn't "sexy." It wasn't a signature shoe, or a shoe that incorporated all of the new technologies. However, I was new to Nike and I remember being told that you get praise and you get promoted at Nike from doing the work that no one else wants to do and doing it well. I took that serious and I took on the project and gave it a personality and a life."

Mayden went on to turn the Monarch into a perennial hit for Nike and one that has seen something of an 'ironic' resurgence, as well remaining a bestseller and favorite for all the dads out there (we called the dad style resurgence last year, btw).

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"Quite honestly, I laugh at itI think it's hilarious in a good way." he said of the trainers new Instagram cult following.

"Here's the deal: So much of the sneaker industry has become SO serious. It has become so driven by fashion, struggle and melancholy, and these things that are based on dystopian futures. The Monarch is about a shoe that is happy, that is involved, that most likely has a mustache with no beard that loves Miller High Life, relaxed fitting denim, and a BBQ in the backyard."

Here's to all the middle-aged guys in tucked in t-shirts, wide-leg denim and Monarchs...the guys who don't even realize how much influence they have on fashion right now.

This story originally appeared on Esquire.co.uk.

* Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.

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Finlay Renwick
Finlay Renwick is the Digital Editorial Assistant at Esquire.co.uk
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