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Nike Air Monarch IV Performance Review

Nike Air Monarch IV

Here at WearTesters, we test a LOT of high-tech, high-performance sneakers. For this Father’s Day, I decided to mix things up and walk a day in my dad’s shoes. Or at least try to play basketball in them (Editor’s Note: he did this on his own and we’re not liable for what happens). So I grabbed a pair and walked (uphill both ways) to my nearest court. It was good enough to make our Best Nike Retro Shoes list. Here’s my performance review of a very non-performance shoe: the Nike Air Monarch IV.

Nike Air Monarch IV

The Nike Air Monarch IV is the quintessential Dad shoe so reviewing it for Father’s Day just made sense. Happy Father’s Day!

Colorway: White/Metallic Silver

Release Date: January 12, 2009

Price: $75

Total Score
Buy the Nike Air Monarch IV
Nike Air Monarch IV


As soon as you slide into the Nike Air Monarch IV, you feel ready to stand in front of a barbecue for hours. The upper is wide and made of fairly nice materials that feel soft and plush around your foot and ankle. The full-length Air cushion does a great job of taking any pressure off of your feet. But we’re not here to talk about grilling, so let’s discuss how they worked on the court.

That comfortable, pillowy fit holds up on the court, protecting your joints and, overall, feeling better to wear than I expected. Landing on the Air cushion really is soft, even on cement courts. They may not play like a performance basketball shoe (Editor’s Note: a stunning revelation), but they are comfortable. This Air cushion may limit explosive movement (more on that later), but it does encourage great fundamentals and healthy use of the square when shooting a Tim Duncan-like bank shot.


As this is a performance review (Editor’s Note: that’s a stretch), I have to be honest. There are a lot of cons to the Nike Air Monarch IV. The traction is not great, and I was slipping a lot. The bounce on this shoe can best be described as nonexistent. The air pocket was great for softening landings, but it also pulled all of the energy out of my jumps. For how bouncy Zoom Air feels, regular Air is quite the opposite.

The lateral stability felt good at first thanks to the very wide base. But when trying to change directions, the Air cushion and the generous, loose upper had my foot sliding out over the edge of the outsole and threatening to roll. The lockdown is perfect for mowing the lawn, but not so great for athletic movements. I tied the laces as tight as I could, and despite an involuntary “that’s not going anywhere,” my foot did not stay in place.

Nike Air Monarch IV Summary

Before wrapping this up, I want to mention that I initially intended to test the Nike Air Monarch IV for volleyball as well as basketball. But frankly, I didn’t want to try playing any sport in them ever again for the sake of my ankle health.

And just to make it crystal clear, I don’t recommend playing in the Air Monarch IV at all.

On an equally honest note, they were much more comfortable than I expected, and the materials felt pretty great on foot. That classic chunky look is in style now more than I can ever remember, so don’t hesitate to buy a pair if you want a comfortable shoe with a design that has stood the test of time. 

Happy Father’s Day to the Dads that are part of the WearTesters community and the ones that somehow stumbled upon this post (Editor’s Note: our performance reviews are usually much different, we swear). Enjoy the summer weather, get on the grill, and get grass stains all over those Nike Air Monarch IVs.

But remember to keep the door closed. We’re not trying to cool the whole neighborhood.

Buy the Nike Air Monarch IV
Nike Air Monarch IV Box Pair
  1. I am a retired firefighter and currently a medic for a TV show. I am on my feet must of the day. This shoe is perfect. Comfortable, wide and durable. I do not plan on playing basketball in these shoes. I love how wide they are. I will continue to wear the Nike Monarch IV air.

    1. They’re one of Nike’s most popular shoes for a reason. While the review above is a bit tongue in cheek, experiences like yours are common and explain why the Monarch is extremely popular.

  2. Trying Nike after wearing KSWISS since 1987…just no longer satisfied with the quality. I loved the classic show as I am a classic myself.
    The Monarch’s will mostly be just an every day shoe that I wear to work. They are most definitely comfortable…I look forward to spending the day in them tomorrow.

  3. I’m a size 14 wide. These are one of the only shoes that really fit comfortably. I’m not a huge sports enthusiast but I do run. 3 to 5 times a week. And I’ve been running in them for years. If you have extra wide feet, these shoes are a miracle

  4. the last four pairs that I have bought started squeaking after about 4 months. The toes became unglued after about 6 months. Great comfortable shoes, but the quality lacks.

  5. Mine didn’t last very long. One started squeaking almost right away. And even though they aren’t even dirty and look brand new I have to buy a new pair because of the squeaking. Not a happy camper.

  6. The Air Monarch III was the perfect shoe for me. It was the only shoe that didn’t kill my feet and could last up to two years before breaking down. The Monarch IV is crap. With each new run they get worse. They break down in four to five months. The circular pattern on the sole will start to create a suction cup as they break down which causes them to pop as you walk on any hard flat surface. The latest versions are made with such low grade materials that the sole squeaks on any surface . . . even carpet. They also leak straight out of the box. Brand new straight out of the box and my socks were wet from walk across the yard in the snow.

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