But it should — it’s arguably one of the most important in the company’s lineup and a perennial best-seller.
The shoe is immune to the tides of trend precisely because it’s not intended to be purchased by fashion snobs. With its low key design and extra-wide width, it was designed for the quintessential dad.
The shoe in its modern form — the Monarch II — was designed to give Nike an edge in a segment of training-type shoes dominated by New Balance and favorited by predominantly middle-aged men, according to its lead designer Jason Mayde.
“From a business perspective it was significant and very important, but from a design perspective it was undesirable,” Mayde told shoe enthusiast blog Nice Kicks, who designed the shoe for Nike in the early 2000s and now works elsewhere.
Though it wasn’t a “sexy” project to work on, it had huge import for the company since the segment is an important money maker. The shoe often appears on the “best-selling” lists, and has been sold continuously by Nike since its inception.
Mayde’s work on the Monarch II still lives on in its current incantation — the modern Monarch IV. It hasn’t needed many updates since then because his design “nailed it,” Mayde said.
With the Monarch II “we had the Sunday shopper’s most favorite shoe,” he said. “We had not just a product that would be here for a season and then go away – we had a shoe that would be here for years and years.”
The shoe’s design solidified Mayde’s reputation, and he went on to design some of Jordan brand’s most important sneakers. Still, he’ll always have a place in his heart for the Monarch.
“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,” Mayde said.