Even if you haven’t been watching the runway shows this year, you can’t go anywhere without seeing men wearing what can only be described as ‘dad sneakers:’ clunky, unsightly and probably very comfortable. The footwear of choice for unassuming middle-aged men with two kids and a mortgage has become the unlikely star of men’s fashion this winter.
With a slightly orthopedic look, many of this season’s hottest designs wouldn’t look out of place in a Seinfeld rerun. Balenciaga and Raf Simons are the brands leading the charge when it comes to this unwieldy footwear trend. Simons’ Ozweego Bunny sneakers, made in collaboration with Adidas, are developing a cult status among fashionistas across the globe due to their extreme ‘dad’ stylings. Since Balenciaga’s now infamous fall/winter 2017 runway show (the one where every item looked a little bit like Bernie Sanders merch) the fashpack has been eagerly awaiting the brand’s Triple S sneaker. Described on their site as an ‘American-style oversized sneaker’, the Balenciaga Triple S has a slightly worn look and combines several materials to give off a very Sketchers-esque look. While they may look ridiculous on first glimpse, there is something very endearing about the shoe and the level of detailing visible in each design. Their clashing colors, stacked triple sole and contrasting laces somehow work well together.
One of the most interesting parts of this trend is its reliance on comfort and functionality. Many of the designs seem to take influence from practical footwear designed for hiking or even gait correction. With Vibram Rollingait soles and all-important ankle support a common feature among some of this season’s hottest sneakers, it feels a far cry from the sleeker ‘fashion sneaker’ designs of the early 00s. Gone are the days when pairing the hottest sneakers with a suit was a viable option, now the most popular designs would look more suited to a woodland walk than a catwalk.
If you’re feeling inspired to dive back into dad fashion, below are a selection of the best dad sneakers available right now.