The “Dad Sneaker” Trend – What Is It?

by Jamie

Over the past couple of months, you may have noticed us mentioning the “Dad Sneaker” trend several times throughout our coverage. If you follow the fashion world, you’ll be well aware what this is. However some of you may still be in the dark about what it is exactly – well, we’re about to inform you.

Chunky sneakers have always been a thing, since way back in the 90’s and early 00’s. There’s been plenty of chunky basketball sneakers through the years, with several Jordan models and the notorious Nike Air Uptempo featuring exaggerated soles and bulky uppers. Let’s also not forget when hefty and wide skate shoes were at the height of fashion, remember Etnies and Osiris? Yeah, about that. Anyway, in recent months, it seems that the “chunky” silhouette has made an immense resurgence. But this time around, it’s in the form of high end fashion.

It’s a strange comeback, as for many years prior to this year, high-end sneakers have been clean cut, stealthy looking silhouettes. Take Common Projects or Balenciaga Arena’s for example. Both very low-key, almost plain and simple sneakers. So it’s a complete turnaround for high-end brands to now be producing heavy, brawny sneakers instead. Many of you may be wondering why this has happened? Well, we’re not entirely sure either – fashion can be strange sometimes.

Last year, Ian Connor (influencer/model) caused quite a controversy with his choice to consistently rock Skechers. Now, Skechers aren’t typically renowned for being a fashionable brand to wear. They’re usually reserved for kids, or “Dads” as such, hence the “Dad Sneaker” name. However, Ian broke boundaries by his persistence to wear his Skechers, and a lot of people started to follow the trend.

So, there’s some argument there that this trend has been sparked by the “influencers” among us. Although, brands such as Raf Simons have been creating “Dad Sneakers” for a while. Take the Raf Simons Ozweego for example. The notorious designer has been producing his “Ozweego” silhouette with the help of Adidas since 2013. It’s always been a bulky looking trainer, and as the renditions have gone on, it’s only become larger and wider.

Then we have brands such as New Balance, who have been creating chunky sneakers as part of their standard range for years. Technically speaking, these aren’t part of the trend, as they’ve been around for a while, and were classed as unfashionable for most of their lifespan. As of recent though, lo and behold, they’ve shot right to the top of the game, and are super fashionable. New Balance only recently launched their collaboration with Californian streetwear legends Stussy, and the model of choice was the 990v4, a heavily cushioned bulky sneaker.

The most notable sneakers to come from this trend so far have to be the Balenciaga Triple S. They were debuted on the runway at Balenciaga’s FW17 menswear show, and since then high-fashion fans and certain sneakerheads around the world have been eagerly anticipating their release. Last month, the day finally came, and Balenciaga dropped the trainers at very select retailers around the world. They released in five different colourways, and sold out almost instantly – despite the high retail price.

The Triple S is very much a love/hate shoe, with mixed opinions everywhere. Personally, although I wouldn’t rock the sneaker myself, I think it’s a great design – who else could actually create a shoe with three separate soles piled on top of each other (Triple S = Triple Sole), and make it genuinely wearable – let alone stylish. Well, Balenciaga seem to have pulled it off, with the sneakers totally dominating every major fashion event around the world.

Something I find interesting about this whole trend, is the way it seems to have influenced street culture and high fashion houses to culminate into one. Streetwear kids used to wear strictly Air Max, Asics and other classic “street” sneakers. This has significantly changed – head down to the Supreme store on a Thursday, and without a doubt you’ll see countless pairs of Ozweegos, Balenciagas and even the odd pair of Skechers.

High-fashion seems to have tuned to street culture, influencers, and popular culture more than ever in recent months, and it’s paying off. Rather than just the elite crowd wearing brands such as Gucci and Raf Simons, a whole new generation are connecting with their work, and in turn starting to wear their items. Is this the birth of a whole new style sub-culture? It’s too early to tell yet, but this is definitely something that could be on the way.

Whether you like it or not, the “Dad Sneaker” trend is well and truly at the height of fashion right now. Whether it will hang around or not is a different question, as we all know, fashion moves fast. This time next year we might all be looking back at photos of ourselves and cringing at our choice of footwear, or we could all still be rocking vintage New Balance.

We’ve already seen high-street stores such as Zara mimicking the chunky sneaker trend, so could this be the beginning of the end? For now, we can only guess, as time will be the true revealer. In the meantime, if you want to jump on the trend, there’s plenty of options out there, some will cost you an arm and a leg, whereas others are surprisingly affordable. We recommend taking a look at some of the different options out there, and working out what you’re planning on wearing your “Dad Sneakers” with – we’d recommend wide-leg trousers or cuffed tracksuit bottoms.

Feature image from Pinterest

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