Papa Does Reach

By Ray Zhang

Truth be told, I wanted to resist dad shoes. They shouldn’t be around, they shouldn’t be appealing; and they shouldn’t be ensnared by this irritating thing called trend. But they are, and they are, and they are. The more I look the other way, the more they pull me close, as a father would when bent on setting his boy on the football path. I know it is a little late to want a pair now. Like I said, I was in resistance mode.

Until the Nike M2K Tekno appeared before me like an apparition. I became the sucker I never knew I was. I have been a Nike fan since I clothed my feet in my very first pair—the Cortez, a sneaker so unlike the canvas school shoes I had to wear then that I wore only them whenever I didn’t have to be in my uniform of white shirt and navy shorts. So when I met this pair that is presently associated with dads, I couldn’t resist. Trust me, I tried.

Nike has not been really seduced by the dad shoe trend. Afterall, they’ve been there and done them. They don’t have to prove anything the way some fashion houses have to. They are, in my books, the father of all sneaker brands. The M2K Tekno was released in Q2 in Europe and was at first available for women only, perhaps to better compete with a certain Triple S or Archlight. Then last month, the guys get their pick too, first in black or white, and now in white with strokes of rather striking colours.

The M2K Tekno is appealing to me also because it is not too “dad”. I think Nike deliberately styled it with a fashion hand and, especially in this colour iteration, to yield a rather edgy (some even say hi-tech) vibe. There’s a glossy black heel piece, which is reminiscent of the one on the Internationalist, but looks like it is imagined on a CAD desktop. The bevelled edge is perhaps why some think the sneakers look futuristic.

These sneakers are clunky. They make newer silhouettes such as the Air Max 270 look like the skinny jeans of kicks. In them, I feel encased in a foot massager—so rather spread out the shoe is from the top view (a beautifully shaped upper) that I can make out the foam Monarch (original dad shoe?) mid-sole on which the M2K Tekno is built. While I have worn catamaran-as-shoes in the past, it was too long ago to feel natural in them now and these take a while for me not to feel like I waddle rather than walk.

What really needs adjusting to is the very real tendency of people stepping on the M2K Tekno (with no apology to follow) even in a barely crowded place. I wear a rather large size (by SG standard anyway) and that means my shod feet are somehow frequently too close to someone else’s, and theirs inevitably would scrap my heel or, worse, land on it. These kicks protrude at the back, just like the EXP-X14—a veritable dorsal fin! If Nike avails the M2K Tekno for its ID customisation service, I’d have my next pair read in the rear: Do Not Pull Up To The Bumper.

Nike M2K Tekno in summit white/black/team orange (as shown), SGD159, is available at The Foot Locker. Photo: Jim Sim