The Top Sneaker on the Planet Right Now Is a Dad Shoe From Nike

Photo: Foot Locker; Graphic: Well+Good Creative
Every quarter, the global online retailer Lyst releases its rankings of the buzziest fashion items from the past three months. Its intel comes from data on over six million products and more than five million shoppers per month. And this fall, the top sneaker (and fifth overall item in the women's category) is Nike's M2K Tekno. Curious about the sneaker that launched so many add-to-cart clicks, I reached out to Nike for details on the kicks. What I learned is the M2K Tekno isn't quite the mother of all dad shoes—but it's close.

That all-important OG title goes to a M2K derivative: The Nike Monarch I, a cross-trainer that debuted two decades ago. It's one of "the most undeniable heritage 'dad shoes' of all time," says Jin Hong, a senior footwear designer for Nike. And after seeing the chunky sneaker trend starting to return in 2016, Nike tasked Hong and her fellow designers with giving the Monarch a millennial makeover. The result? The $100 M2K Tekno.

"For the M2K Tekno, we had fun infusing design details that are contradictory to the Monarch I—using sleeker lasts to deliver everyday comfort and bringing a sharp/modern edge by adding a heel clip," says Hong. "It was an unexpected clash of old and new, which delivered something that felt relevant and unique for 2018."

"The Nike M2K Tekno, along with the 'dad shoes' trend in general, captures this generation perfectly. This generation is not afraid of true self-expression." —Jin Hong, Nike designer

Heritage, quality, and affordability continue to be top of mind for discerning consumers, and thanks to a stylish trickle-down effect, brands, too, are putting greater emphasis on these areas. "In that regard, the Nike M2K Tekno, along with the 'dad shoes' trend in general, captures this generation perfectly," Hong believes. "From a cultural perspective, I feel that this generation is not afraid of true self-expression and that emotional connections have greater value to us more than ever before."

This could explain why the "blank canvas" or white version of the M2K Tekno, which Lyst calls out on its index, has captured the attention of sneakerheads, influencers, and everyday shoe-wearers worldwide. But soon, Hong says, it'll have some competition as Nike plans to drop new options in 2019. "Beyond more exciting, fresh colorways and material combinations, we'll look to keep pushing new 'style edges' while still staying grounded in the heritage and innovation," she says.

Another hallmark of current sneaker culture happens to be hype. Which is why you'll have to wait for more updates on the M2K until early next year.

Until Nike drops new chic updates, here's how to wash your current kicks so that they look brand new. And Meghan Markle's stylish eco-friendly sneaks might be worth adding to your collection.

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