Some weeks back, Nike sent me a pair of its new lifestyle shoe, the Waffle One, for inspection and use. The shoes are lightweight with a stacked rubber sole. The grey, black, and white colorway is clean and understated. Nike plays up the “support and traction” of the shoes — a hint that these are the kind of shoes that you throw on and keep on for a weekend away without a thought or regret.
Which is exactly what I did. My 12-year old son had a five day long baseball tournament in Marietta, Georgia and I brought the Waffle One with me — the only pair in my suitcase for the entire excursion (risky, I know!) — to see if they could stand up to the sort of hardcore-parenting a five day long baseball trip to Georgia entails. I beat the hell out of these shoes. I threw batting practice in them every morning on red clay baseball fields. I shagged balls in wet grass. I walked miles before and between games to satisfy my fitness tracker’s daily step count. I wore them through thundershowers. I jammed my feet in them to run downstairs to our hotel lobby to grab oatmeal.
The Waffle One features a mesh upper, so I wore the sneakers all week without socks just to see and can report, with much relief, that I never got blisters or swamp foot. I wore them with mesh shorts and a t-shirt during the days and some nights I wore them with chinos and a golf shirt. The Waffle One didn’t just stand up to the abuse I dished out, the added patina of sweat and dirt gave the shoe a bit of badass dad energy that a pristine pair of white slacks. That’s exactly what one needs in a pair of everyday kicks.
Alex French is a contributing editor for Fatherly and has been a journalist and editor for decades with work in Vanity Fair, Esquire, GQ, Grantland, Wired, and many others. He’s also the co-author of Sneakers, which will tell you pretty much everything you need to know on the subject.