There’s something beautiful about an elderly person unknowingly wearing something innately stylish, which is why the recent rise of geriatrics donning Nike TNs really warms the cockles of my heart.

Also known as the Nike Tuned Air, Nike Air Max, Nike Air Plus, Nike's TN sneaker is the sneaker most emblematic of London’s roadman scene, a fashion-focused subculture whereby sneakers project taste, status, and wealth.

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So, the fact that Albert, Edith, Ernest, and Winifred are wearing Nike TNs on the bus down to the cake hall is — and I don’t say this lightly — truly iconic and I am absolutely obsessed.

Thing is, these incidents aren’t isolated either. Gramparents, an IG account dedicated to celebrating the art of effortless elderly fashion, is just one example of the internet’s appreciation for the sensation. Though the rise of the geriatric Nike TN is like the UK’s version of American seniors wearing the New Balance 990s.

First released in 1998, the original Nike Tuned 1 was conceived by designer Sean McDowell, who got some on-holiday design inspiration from the silhouettes made by palm trees against a kaleidoscopic sunset.

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Said sunset was reinterpreted by way of a two-tone gradient effect atop cage-like paneling which eventually led to the birth of the now-instantly recognizable TN as we know it today.

In the succeeding years and prior to the adoption of the Nike TN by UK roadmen, the sneaker has uniformed a deluge of British subcultures. So much so that in the early 2000s, thanks in part to its association with trouble-making youths, the Nike TN earned the nickname of “Nike’s Biggest Fuck You Shoe” and was even banned in many nightclubs and schools.

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This whole phenomenon reminds me of the time my late grandad (RIP) wore that extremely frowned-upon black and yellow Fred Perry polo to a family gathering, with absolutely no prior knowledge of the shirt’s well-documented links to the Proud Boys, an American fascist group.

But that naivety is where the beauty of the elderly adopting culturally-loaded products lies.

In most circles, sneakers play an integral role in shaping a person’s public perception. But to the nan, grandad, grandma, papa, and the rest of the old folks on their way to play lawn bowls, a pair of Nike TNs are just a comfy pair of shoes.

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