Like most retail companies, Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour frequently trumpet their latest and greatest models.But don’t confuse a sneaker’s ability to attract attention with its ability to rake in money. In many cases the shoes that are padding these company’s bottom lines are much more humble.Sneaker sales in the US hit $17.2 billion in 2015, according to industry analyst NPD Group. Part of the secret to that success may be shoes you would never expect to be so popular.Take, for example, the Nike Air Monarch IV. The $65 sneaker is one of the brand’s best-selling shoe by pairs sold, but you won’t find the shoe at Nike’s trendy 5th Avenue boutique store. It’s more likely you’ll find the cross-trainer on the more humble shelves of Kohl’s, DSW, and JCPenney. It’s a favorite of notables like Seattle Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll because of its comfort.
The Air Monarch is frequently referred to as one of the most popular in Nike’s portfolio, and was even the top seller of 2013, according to Complex.“Nike sells millions of pairs [of the Nike Air Monarch],“ Matt Powell of NPD Group recently told the Baltimore Sun.The Air Monarch is by all accounts a boring shoe, meant neither to inspire nor offend. This makes it stand out in terms of the other shoes on the usual lists of bestsellers, including this ranking of the best-selling sneakers of August 2014, where it appears at number seven. But the shoe’s mundane design could be precisely what attracts both older customers seeking something comfortable and acceptable, as well as some younger consumers looking to subvert trend-obsessed fashion attitudes. It’s a crossover hit, which Racked called „the holy grail.“