Nike M2K Tekno Review
Nike is always a competitor when discussing great athletic options. While many of their shoe styles are rated at the top for performance, some are just as valuable for their casual and comfortable qualities. Nike’s styles such as the Monarch have been lovingly referred to as “dad shoes” for quite some time and, honestly, they aren’t complaining. A retro, kind of clunky, sneaker style has been reemerging from Milan to malls for the past five years. With the Nike M2K Tekno, they have recreated their beloved Monarch with a truly modern twist. This sneaker feels like walking on air, looks like it is straight out of a throwback music video, and helps people of all ages rock their “dad shoes” with pride.
Editor's Pros & Cons
- High Stability
- Incredibly Cushioned
- Heavy Traction
- Retro Aesthetics
- Chunky Silhouette
- Not Flexible
- Runs Large
Despite looking extremely heavy, the Nike M2K Tekno is actually quite breathable. Its upper may be a mix of leather and textile but it doesn’t smother your foot. The leather is actually a much more breathable fabric than it is given credit for. On the majority of these M2k Teknos, the main body of the shoe is leather which has naturally breathable properties so you won’t feel smothers. The inner padding has a mesh lining which aims to wick away moisture and draw heat out of the shoe. They are so light in their construction that they won’t feel intensely bulky and hard to wear. Even if this looks like it doesn’t perform well as a summer shoe, it absolutely does. The problem people often think a heavier looking sneaker will have is that it will weigh down the foot and not translate well to warm weather. That isn’t true! The Nike M2K Tekno is perfectly suited to hit a basketball court, gym, or park on a warm day. The ventilation in the bottom and toe of the sneaker doesn’t hurt either!
There are so many new color schemes and combinations to choose from in this updated take on the Nike Monarch 1. Pale pinks and army green get combined with bright and eye-catching accents to create something spectacular. Even on the white or black pairs, we see bold colors used on the signature Swoosh, stunning materials, and details utilized in the overlays, and subtle pops of contrast running through the midsole and outsole. Whatever combination you choose, it will pull off a totally retro look no matter how you style them. Nike knows trends in sportswear, and bringing back sneakers like the Monarch 1, with a strategy to connect with younger wearers then ever before was a true hit. The standout color combinations in the collection are the white and blush with iridescent panels and the white with multiple primary accents that truly evoke the old-school vibe.
When these shoes came out, there was a pretty unanimous reaction to the feel of the shoe. Almost every single reviewer rates these as a shoe they could wear all day. Why? Well, where to start. The midsole is light, springy, and reactive to your movements. The outsole has great grip and absorbs shock so that super responsive midsole has a firm base to play off of. This makes it forgiving on your feet but effective against the ground. A highly cushioned upper, including the tongue and collar, envelops your foot in a hug. Cushioning on the insole finishes off this absolute symphony of comfort. In the world, there are so many shoes that are begging to get kicked off as soon as you walk through the door. Not with this Nike. Wanting to keep a shoe on is rare, and this helps you to recognize just how supportive this Monarch 1 update really is. Once you try it for yourself you will instantly be in love with the new Nike M2K Tekno. With so many different colors to choose from, you can’t choose wrong.
Overlays do wonders for leather or mixed textile shoe. Most of the upper on the Nike M2K Tekno is leather, then it has the addition of these standout overlays that look cool and have a great purpose. Overlays protect the upper of the shoe and reinforce spots which are likely to wear: the inner and outer side panels, the heel, and the toe. Not only does this sneaker utilize textile overlays, but there are guards on the heel and toe for even greater protection. Nike extends the outsole up to protect these heavily trafficked areas of the shoe in terms of wear. The rubber outsole is also extremely tough, and it protects their strong foam blend which also holds up well and resists degrading over time.
One thing to beware of with this style is the fit. While when you get the right side, it's otherworldly how amazing they feel, it can be hard to pinpoint the right size. The Nike Monarch 1 is partially known for its large array of wides, it goes up to 4E and accommodates a large range of pretty large and wide width feet. That is an awesome thing for people with wide feet, but for those that don’t have such a wide foot, it can be an issue. Reviewers had a whole range of the size discrepancies of how large this shoe actually runs. Unfortunately, it seems the Nike M2K Tekno borrowed some width from its previous version, the Monarch. Some reviewers said that it ran a half size large, while others stated they needed to return and size down a whole size and a half! That is a really large amount, and while I saw none that returned the shoe due to dissatisfaction, there were quite a few exchanges by separate reviewers to find their right size. The shoe running big isn’t a detriment to all, but being that it is to some, it is necessary to consider how shoes normally fit you. Don’t forget, Nikes actually commonly run very small, so it may be that these purchasers are comparing their sizes to what they wear in other Nikes. A difference in style between the M2K Tekno and slimmer trainers or running shoes could be responsible for this issue.
As with most chunkier styles, flexibility is greatly impacted by every layer of amazing foam. While this shoe is sturdy and comfortable, it has almost zero flexibility in the grand scheme of things. If you want a shoe for footwork or an aerobic-intensive session at the gym, this will not be in. Perfect for squats or low-intensity cardio, the Nike M2K Tekno is really lackluster in mirroring the foot's movements. It will not flex and move with you, it will, however, support every move you do make, just not encourage it. The support and stability of this shoe are outstanding, but that hinders it in the area of movement. One of the reasons the Monarch 1 is one of the favorites among the older Nike fans is its intense level of stability. That isn’t a bad thing in and of itself but you have to decide if that is what you are looking for in a sneaker. Now, if you want retro aesthetics and all-day comfort, there is really no downside to this option, but if you need a new shoe for specific workouts requiring a lot of unrestricted foot mobility, look elsewhere. This Nike will most definitely miss that mark.
Nike is basically famous for its midsoles. This injected Pylon foam option is light and very responsive. Responsive foam literally puts a bounce in every single step without harming your joints and knees. Cool accents on this injected foam midsole include the TPU heel clip that provides both support and stability. Nike’s midsole on the M2K Tekno is done perfectly for anyone looking for a great Saturday shoe. This shoe is no frills. Yes, it is bulky, but that bulk is all amazing padding, cushioned foam, and responsive materials that are working together to make a shoe that feels heavenly. So few people dislike the Nike Monarch series once they try it because regardless of how you feel about the look of this sneaker, it is still a totally swoon-worthy kick.
As mentioned, this M2K Tekno comes to us as an update of one of the most beloved Nike standards in their collection, the Monarch. The aesthetics of this updated model obviously pay tribute to their predecessor, but with a slightly more modern appearance to them. With a similar overlay pattern and body shape, the slight color additions and street savvy feature choices turn this into a hot new Nike to get your hands on. This model of the Monarch 1 truly outdoes itself when it comes to an athletic shoe with a whole lot of attitude. If you have a love for the brand and their old chunky classic the Monarch, it is guaranteed you will love the M2K Tekno. Nothing is sacrificed in comfort with the update of the shoe’s aesthetic. What more could you ask for out of Nike other than a new and improved way to wear an old standby?
There is no use to having a stellar upper, ultra-responsive midsole, and cushioned interior without a fantastic foundation. The outsole of the Nike M2K Tekno is right off the Monarch itself. If you are a shoe lover, the thick profile is immediately recognizable on this sneaker. Not only is the outsole extremely durable, with lovely tread made from a steadfast material with optimal traction, but the outsole also contains a design element that is quite smart. Nike uses a contrasting color to come up and work its way into the midsole like waves. Seamlessly fusing the outsole and midsole together, Nike creates a stunning visual effect that is whimsical but not silly. It adds to the overall aesthetics of the shoe and makes it even more fun. This is a shoe with serious comfort that still has a sense of imagination.
Nike is kind of a big deal when it comes to foam and midsole support. As mentioned previously, these shoes are so massively supportive, and what allows that to be true is their layers upon layers of foam in their construction. Finally a sneaker with arch support as well as the heel to toe comfort that doesn’t feel unnatural. The stable upper paired with the multiple layers of foam in the midsole and outsole creates a shock absorbing environment that is nothing to scoff at. Compared to other chunky sneakers that may be heavier due to the materials they are using on the bulkiest parts of the shoe, the Nike M2K Tekno is light, airy, and totally solid in the soles. This shoe will eat the impact of pretty much any stride it faces. That is pretty impressive for a throwback style.
Not everyone is going to love a retro sneaker with a chunky silhouette, and that's okay, Nike doesn’t expect them to. The Nike M2K Tekno, however, is so much more than old-school flavor. While it may run big, its ambition is bigger. Durable construction and soft-as-a-cloud features create a shoe that isn’t easily forgotten. In fact, the Monarch 1 is still remembered, and that will surely be the case for this M2K Tekno. A Nike favorite due to its absolute tank-like appearance and high level of stability, they are now softened with updates that make them a bit more accessible for a younger crowd. Pass on these M2K Teknos if you need a flexible trainer, but for old-school kicks, these are an insanely sweet deal.