You may not know the shoe by name, but you have certainly seen them at one time or another.
They are the Nike Monarchs. Some people call them the Dad Shoe or the Old Man Shoe.
My best friend wears them, and for the record he is 40 years old, not 65 years old. He’s been wearing them for as long as I can remember. They are his multi-purpose shoes. Whether it is for golfing, playing basketball, going out to the bars, hanging out or even as his dress shoes for work, he will wear those shoes with zero apprehension.
The technical name of the shoe is the Nike Air Monarch IV. Considering how long these have been around, my guess is the Nike Air Monarch I, II, and III came out in the 1600’s. They are cross-trainers that come in multiple widths; regular, wide, extra-wide. They even come in three different sets of colors, with white being the most popular.
These shoes can be found at multiple outlets like Famous Footwear, JC Penneys, Shoe Carnival and Kohl’s to name a few or anywhere that grandfathers shop at. They will usually run around $65.
After more research, I found out that these are Nike’s best-selling cross trainers of all time…. ALL TIME!
There’s even an Instagram account dedicated to these shoes: http://instagram.com/teammonarch
The guys in the wedding party and I decided it would be funny to get him a pair of Nike Monarch’s for the reception. Then it turned into, we thought it would be funny to get all the groomsmen and ushers a pair and present them during the best man speech.
I went over to the nearest Shoe Carnival and swooped up several pairs. The staff there loved the fact that we were buying about a dozen pairs along with why. One sales person was very skeptical the whole time due to how ugly they were. He gave me this look like, “Are you sure this is a good idea?” I wanted to respond, “Of course not, but the best stories come out of bad ideas.”
Now, most guys would probably wait to put on these shoes until after the first dance. Nope…. he was like a 5-year-old child on Christmas Day who couldn’t wait to try his new gift.
That might be the first time ever, in the shoe’s history, they’ve been worn during the First Dance.
The guys and I decided to wear our shoes the entire night. We had so many questions about how the shoes actually felt. A night on the dance floor was going to be the true test.
We danced the night away in the clunky shoes. They were much heavier than any other shoe we were used to. Whether it came to line dancing, two stepping, or simply jumping up and down, you could feel the weight of the shoes. It was a given that my calves were going to be sore the next day.
Throughout the night, the opinions on how comfortable they felt were mixed. About half of the group thought they were comfy, while the other half didn’t think so. After wearing the dress shoes provided to us by the Tux rental provider, the Nike Monarchs were a godsend and like having my feet wrapped in pillows.
Other opinions included:
“Clunky, heavy and down right uncomfortable. I’m not sure where everyone is coming up with good comfort. Comfortable if you’ve been buying from Payless for the last 20 years.”
“A little wide in the foot for me and too heavy for running or working out. Solid walking around shoes if you have wide feet.”
“I was impressed with how comfortable they were, but anything was better than our dress shoes we had to wear.”
“Super comfortable, bulky and unwearable with anything slim fit.”
“They’re just so darn big!”
“Ugly and amazingly comfortable”
Of all the guys who wore them for the first time, twelve out of twelve probably wouldn’t wear them regularly or perhaps even ever again…..at least not in the next 20-30 years. I thought the same would hold true for me.
I would not see or wear them again until the day my daughter was born. Putting on the Nike Monarchs as a first-time father was like Cinderella putting on the glass slipper. It was such a magical experience. The shoes were there with me, supporting my feet as we left the hospital as a new family.
After the wedding, most of the guys gave their shoes to their fathers, fathers-in-law and Goodwill. Every now and then I’ll even use it as a lunchbox for work.
There’s a saying that goes, “Don’t knock it until you try it.”
After finally trying the Nike Monarchs, we can now start knocking it.