Okay, it’s time to talk about a controversial, yet iconic fashion piece. No, it is not Crocs, Uggs, or Mom Jeans. We are here to talk about the dad sneaker!  Now before you judge, hear me out. Hopefully, I can change your mind about them if you are not on board.  Dad sneakers are not just an “ugly shoe” anymore. Considering all the current styles that different brands have come out with, the dad sneaker trend has resurfaced.

What makes a dad sneaker a dad sneaker is its chunky shape, thick platformed sole, and oversized silhouette.  They are also referred to as oversized sneakers and chunky sneakers. This type of sneaker is called the “dad sneaker” because the silhouette of these shoes is basically the same as a shoe that you would catch your dad wearing in the ’80s. The most classic dad sneaker is the New Balance 624, which apparently has been worn by dads for decades.

In fashion circles, the current popularity of the dad shoe is credited to the rise of normcore in the 21st century. Normcore is a gender-neutral fashion trend that thrives on “normal clothes” that are both attractive and comfortable. This includes everyday items like t-shirts, hoodies, and sneakers.

The term normcore was coined by the trend-casting group K-hole. They wrote about it in their book, Youth Mode: a Report of Freedom in 2013. Normcore fashion features clothes that blend in with crowds. This includes fashion items without stand-out patterns and colors. So, if you are wearing a neutral-colored outfit and do not have any pieces that make you stand out, you may be dressing in accordance with normcore. A prime example of normcore is Steve Jobs’s famous outfit with the black turtleneck.

The dad shoe is typically considered to be under normcore fashion because it is designed with clean lines and muted color palettes. Modern versions of the dad sneaker have become extremely popular by emulating this style. For example, Fila Disrupters are sneakers that are white and have simple, clean lines

Dad sneakers are worn by celebrities and are seen across multiple Instagram pages.  Luxury brands have even gotten in on the trend, creating shoes that people have learned to love or instantly hate. I am not saying that you should accept and love dad sneakers because they there are trendy, influencers wear them, and luxury brands now design their own versions of the dad sneaker. To me, they make a powerful fashion statement and can easily elevate your style.

While they may call them dad shoes, the style certainly is not just for men.  I see women owning and styling this trend like no other.  The trend may need to be renamed if you ask me. I personally was inspired to give dad shoes a try because I saw other women styling them so well.

The dad shoe trend is what began my love for platforms and thick-soled sneakers. As a woman that is 5’3, I now live in thick-soled, chunky, platform sneakers. I have never been tall, I will never be tall, and I do not want to be tall. However, I cannot praise platform sneakers enough. I completely understand why the Spice Girls wore them now! They give you height without having to wear heels. They also elongate my legs! Whenever I wear them, I am at least one inch taller. My height does not bother me, but I’ll admit that it is nice to have a little extra height without having to put on heels.

Now that I’ve explained my appreciation for dad shoes, let me share some of my favorites. Lucky for you, I have listed a few dad sneakers down below, just in case you want to try them out or are looking for a new pair.

1. Fila Disruptors

A picture of a the Fila Disruptor sneaker in white. The sole is thick and the Fila is written on the side and tongue of the shoes in red and blue.
[Image Description: A picture of a Fila Disruptor sneaker in white. The sole is thick and the Fila is written on the side and tongue of the shoes in red and blue.] Via Macy’s
I mentioned the Fila Disruptors earlier. They are a staple that many people love! They will certainly give you height.

2. New Balance 624

A picture of the white New Balance 624. There is a bold in on the side that is outlined in dark blue.
[Image Description: A picture of the white New Balance 624. There is a bold in on the side that is outlined in dark blue.] Via New Balance
Here we have the ultimate and classic dad sneaker, the New Balance 624. I also mentioned these above!

3. Nike Air Force 1

A picture of a white Nike Air Force 1 that is pointed to the left.
[Image Description: A picture of a white Nike Air Force 1 that is pointed to the left.]
Now, these are shaped like the previous dad sneakers. However, they are bulky and give you height! I wear Nike Air Force 1s all the time, they are my go-to sneaker.

4. Adidas EQT Gazelle

A picture of a white EQT Gazelle shoe that is pointed to the right. It has black lining on the center of the shoe.
[Image Description: A picture of a white Adidas EQT Gazelle shoe that is pointed to the right. It has black lining on the center of the shoe.] Via Net-a-porter
I have had my eye on the Adidas EQT Gazelle for quite a while. It also comes in black and several other colors.

5. Naked Wolfe Track White Sneaker

A picture of the Naked Wolfe Track White Sneaker. The shoe has a thick sole and Naked Wolfe is written on it black in several places.
[Image Description: A picture of the Naked Wolfe Track White Sneaker. The shoe has a thick sole and Naked Wolfe is written on it black in several places.] Via Naked Wolfe
If you really want a platform shoe, this shoe from Naked Wolfe one is for you!

While the bulkiness of these shoes might bother some people, I like that they stand out and draw people’s eyes. I basically live in my white platformed sneakers.  Dad shoes were often made fun of because they were clunky and large, but they are now styled in ways that are simple, stylish, and cool.  If you are still picturing a dad sneaker with khaki shorts, plaid buttoned short sleeve, and an odd-looking fanny pack, you are way off! Anyone can wear dad shoes and look great, trust me. If you are still wary of dad sneakers, I really think you are missing out. I wear them year-round, with jeans, pants, shirts, dresses, and everything in between.

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  • Tatayana Allen

    Tatayana Allen is a recent college graduate of the University of Virginia. During her time at the university she was a Media Studies major and was in the Cavalier Marching Band. Tatayana loves anything related to fashion, music, and photography.

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