Across the US, Europe and Asia, Nike has released sneakers dedicated to all of the biggest cities around the world. In all this time, there has never been a sneaker that pays homage to Montreal, one of the most culturally profound cities in the world. Until now.
Nike has been at the top of any sneakerheads list for decades, and while many of their GR shoes have a storied history, their limited releases are oftentimes used to tell really unique ones. Throughout their reign at the top of the sneaker industry, Nike has released a ton of colourways, often or inspired by sports teams, schools, and cities.
This was epitomized in the 2005 release of the Nike SB Dunk Low City Pack which saw the arrival of unique pairs of Dunks dedicated to four of the most fashion-focused cities in the world: Paris, London, Tokyo and of course, NYC. While each shoe carried their own nods to their specific city, from artwork from French painter Bernard Buffet to an embroidery of River Thames, NYC's model took a different approach - an embroidered pigeon.
Moving away from landmarks, artwork, or specific colouring like other sneakers, it was a bird that symbolized The Big Apple. Cities around the World have been shown the same type of love over the years and for the first time ever, Montreal is receiving its first ever Nike shoe. MTL is known for many things, from festivals to poutine but above all else, it’s known for being one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world. This made the question of "What is Montreal’s pigeon?" that much harder to answer.
What is synonymous with Montreal? What is that element, or item, that best represents the everpresent multiculturalism that thrives across our diverse neighbourhoods? The answer is simple; the bagel. Having been brought to Canada by Jewish Immigrants, there’s a constant debate on who the true originator is, though one thing is for sure; there are two OGs in the city. Having both opened their doors in the 1950s, Fairmount Bagel and St. Viateur Bagel are without a doubt the two bakeries most often mentioned by the locals. Chances are, if you’ve ever experienced the joy of a Montreal-style bagel (NYC, sit down), that bagel was from either one of these bakeries.
The constant debate between which bakery has the better bagel is, to this date, a strongly contested topic amongst Montrealers, so much so that it’s intrinsic to one’s identity as a local. One thing we can be sure of however, is the bagel, and its adoption into the city’s culture is a testament to Montreal’s welcoming embrace of cultural diversity.
Like the debate about who the original was, the question continues today, though now the competition is about which bagel is better, as the two bakeries are in constant competition with each other for the title of Montreal’s best bagel. The bagel and its adoption into the city’s culture is a testament to the French Canadians' welcoming embrace of cultural diversity. It’s from this unique Montreal culture that the Nike Montreal Bagel Dunk was born.
Much like the famous Montreal-style bagel’s connection to the city, Off the Hook has become synonymous with MTL. For over 20 years, OTH has been at the center of Montreal's streetwear and sneaker scenes, constantly participating in the evolution of our city's culture. From Constant Elevation championing up-and-coming local creatives to the Chez Nous collection telling the story of the boroughs of Montreal, we are above all else not a streetwear boutique, but a culture shop with the city running through our veins. Because of this love for our hometown, we’ve partnered with Nike to release this iconic release in our city in a very special way.
The Sneaker itself is exactly what you’d expect when you hear the name “Bagel Dunk” with each and every detail paying homage to the different aspects of the Montreal-style bagel. The two-tone beige leather across the upper lays the foundation for our bagels, with white sesame seeds printed across the mudguards, eyestays, heels and collar flaps and a royal blue Swoosh to break it all up. The importance of details are not lost with this shoe; creamy white midsoles, laces and tongues to represent the cream cheese, fresh golden-orange outsoles for the honey water, and tying our entire Montreal-style bagel together are the wood printed insoles to represent the wood burning oven. With all of those ingredients creating the perfect Montreal Bagel Dunk, the Canadian market will receive one last surprise with an exclusive Montreal Bagel Dunk box, completely covered with special artwork from native Montreal-based artist Chien Champion.
Whether its a “C” wrapped around an “H”, a snowflake or even a fleur-de-lis Montrealers are proud to rep their city. The same way we wear our city like a badge on our chest with Habs and CF Montreal jerseys or even OTH’s Chez Nous collection, the Montreal Bagel Dunk is now our opportunity to do the same but on our feet. As the lead retailer for this special release, Off The Hook will be hosting an exclusive early launch event for the city on Friday, January 13th for the Montreal locals to get their hands on one of Montreal’s best offerings, the Bagel Dunk.