When minimalist and clean sneakers have dominated the fashion world and have steady sales in the market, it came to a shock when several fashion icons and style stars were seen rocking beefy sneakers with exaggerated features that slowly dominated all social media called dad shoes or ugly sneakers.
What are dad shoes?
Most dad 'ugly' shoes display a sporty appeal with double or triple sole allowing its wearers to look a little bit taller. Also, these kicks pretty look sturdy with enhanced comfort for smooth strides on the streets. Some bulky dad shoes also feature bright or neon colored curvy lines to make it flashy as opposed to all white and black kicks people get to love for the longest time.
These chunkier and more flamboyant looking kicks were basically inspired by the shoes our fathers rocked during the 80s and 90s (or maybe still rocking up to this moment) for the mere "it feels great on our feet" reason.
The controversial dad shoes' look has been considered divisive as some people found it as horrible and hideous because it instead looks opposite to the slim and elegant style of the straightforward kicks that many have loved for several years.
Best Dad Shoes According to Brand
Numerous athletic shoe brands quickly jumped to the bandwagon and launched their take on these amplified kicks as the hottest accessory one could have in today's trend. Our team collated some of the best dad sneakers available in the market and broke them down according to brands with few paramount points for your quick reference.
Nike Air Max
Designed by one of the renowned designers of Nike, the Air Max was launched as the brand's way to push the envelope in developing unique and high-performance footwear. It highlights its visible Air cushioning, giving it a stout profile. The Air Max line has been a perpetual inclusion in the dad sneakers list for its chunky sole and exaggerated curves.
Best Nike Air Max Dad shoes:
Nike Air Max 95. The AM95 sneaker was the first to display the visible Air-Sole unit and was dubbed as the Aix Max's most stylish version.
Nike Air Max 97 Ultra 17. This kick molded from the Nike Air Max 97 model which was stripped off with heavy overlays and updated with single-piece jacquard upper to make it lighter and more breathable.
Nike Air Max 97 Premium. To celebrate the silhouette's 20th anniversary, Nike unveiled this iteration in 2017 that displays modern colors and soft suede panels.
Nike Air Max 98. While several buyers disliked this pair's look, it has been one of the favorites among the dad sneakers' trend for its eye-catching combination of hues and chunky profile.
Nike Air Max 1 Premium. This refreshed take on the classic Air Max 1 retained the traditional elements of its ancestor and was revamped with premium materials to suit the modern trend.
Nike Air Max 90 Ultra Essential. This updated version of the classic Nike Air Max 90 features the advanced materials for better fit, durability, and style.
Nike Air Max Speed Turf. Originally introduced as a football training footwear, the high-top Nike Air Max Speed Turf features its retro details re-updated to fit the modern lifestyle scene.
Supreme x NikeLab Air Max 98. Supreme gave a fresh look to the classic Air Max 98 by adding reflective piping with a color-blocking look on its upper.
Nike Air Huarache
Another masterpiece by Tinker Hatfield, the Huarache was launched in 1991 as high-performance running footwear inspired by the neoprene water skiing shoes. The Huarache was one of the Swoosh timeless masterpieces for its unique look with unmatched comfort and durability.
This dad sneaker features chunky sole with outer cage and an elastic heel strap that covers the neoprene inner sock. This futuristic look was re-imagined several times. Thus, enhancing its elegant appeal to buyers craving for ugly dad shoes.
Best Nike Air Huarache Dad sneakers:
Nike Air Huarache Ultra Breathe. Nike created a more breathable version of their Air Huarache silhouette that used Flywire cables for better support while keeping the outsole with excellent traction.
Nike Air Huarache Drift. Released in 2017, this version was inspired by several Huarache silhouettes, such as Huarache Run, Huarache Racer, and Huarache International.
Nike Air Huarache Premium. The first-class version of the Nike Air Huarache called Huarache Premium was added with suede overlays and synthetic materials giving a premium appeal to suit the high fashion preference.
Nike Air Huarache City. This model was unveiled in 2018 that displays the customized strap with exciting colors to match specific penchant of its followers.
Nike Air More Money LX
The revamped version of the Nike Air More Money is launched exclusively for the women. This Nike dad shoe displays removable flaps on its lacing system giving a unique appeal while its bulky sole was inspired by the Nike Air Uptempo.
Essential Points about the Nike Air More Money LX:
Its profile is synonymous to its hefty price tag of $160.
This women-exclusive kick is offered from sizes 5 to 12 US in medium width.
This beefy sneaker is available in two colorways, - Black/Summit White/Metallic Pewter/Black and the Summit White/Oil Grey/Rainforest/Summit White.
Nike Air Monarch IV
Considered as the "King of all Dad shoes," the Nike Air Monarch was initially launched as training kick for the 80s. This sneaker rules the current market for its stout silhouette with authentic fashion loved by the daddies.
Essential Points about Nike Air Monarch IV:
This Nike shoe is widely available at a price range of $65.
This model is presented from D to 4E widths.
This Adidas dad kick was inspired by the Adidas Falcon Dorf launched in the 90s. It displays a bulky upper made of mesh and nubuck added with Torsion system tooling on its outsole. To stay faithful to its retro look, Adidas introduced it in loud or muted colors that can harmonize to the current dad sneaker trend.
Essential Points about the Adidas Yung-1:
This low-top dad shoe is available at $120.
Adidas offers this in men-exclusive sizes from 4 to 14 US in medium width.
The Three Stripes unveiled women's version of the Yung-1 and called it the Falcon.
Adidas Yeezy Boost 700
The first chunky sneaker in the Yeezy line-up, the Yeezy Boost 700 by Kanye and Adidas features a chiseled midsole that bears a resemblance to the high-fashion sneakers like the Triple S of Balenciaga and the Rhyton Leather of Gucci. The upper of this stout kick is made of mesh with suede overlays resting on top of the multi-layered outsole.
Essential Points about the Adidas Yeezy Boost 700:
This ultra-expensive footwear is sold at $300.
Adidas launched this in several colorways such as Mauve, Salt, Inertia, and Wave Runner.
This true to size low-top sneaker is available in men's sizing from 5 to 14 US in medium width.
You may find the only Yeezy branding imprinted on the inner wall.
Adidas Crazy BYW
The chunky look of the mid-top Adidas Crazy Boost You Wear (BYW) was stirred from the basketball shoes from the 90s. The brand used several materials on the upper seated atop the ultra-responsive Boost sole giving an extremely out-of-this-world design with unmatched comfort and flexibility.
Essential Points about the Adidas crazy BYW:
This pricey sneaker costs $170.
The Adidas Crazy BYW is offered in men's sizing from 7 to 14 US in medium width.
The three pods midsole of this model is similar to the Feet You Wear (FYW) technology introduced in the 90s. This tech follows the natural movement of the foot and works as an extension of the foot.
The updated version called Adidas Crazy BYW II uses upgraded material with a low-top profile.
Adidas x Raf Simons Ozweego Bunny
This model was introduced in 2017 as Adidas' collaboration with Belgian fashion designer Raf Simons. This dad shoe was inspired by the running shoe from the 90s added with futuristic elements to fit the contemporary style. This avant-garde kick displays a thick 2-layer outsole with mesh and leather on its upper.
Essential Points about the Adidas x Raf Simons Ozweego Bunny:
Another version of this collaboration is another chunky dad shoe called Adidas x Raf Simons Ozweego 2 that features asymmetrical lines and striking colors on its upper.
This model is available in men's sizing from 7 to 13 US in medium width and was said to run small that the usual sizing.
Adidas presents this at the fancy price of $425.
Originally released in 1993 as running footwear, the re-issue of the Aztrek made a big wave for the current bulky kick craze that reigns the current sneaker trend. The new Aztrek kick kept the classic details such as Hexalite cushioning and the rugged outsole.
Essential Points about the Reebok Aztrek:
Incredibly affordable, Reebok offers this at $90.
This kick is presented in men's sizing from 3.5 to 13 US in medium width.
Reebok DMX Run 10
This model has all the classic elements but added with a futuristic appeal for the trendy chunky dad sneaker trend. Without giving up the durability, comfort, and timelessness, the Reebok DMX Run 10 is a nice addition to one's collection.
Essential Points about the Reebok DMX Run 10:
This slightly expensive sneaker is found at the price range of $140.
Reebok offers this in men's sizing only from 6 to 13 US in medium width.
This sneaker uses the DMX 10 Air Chamber technology that allows free movement of air through its chambers.
Reebok Instapump Fury OG
Twenty-five years since it was introduced in the market, Reebok re-introduced the Instapump Fury as lifestyle footwear. This ugly dad sneaker features a futuristic technology that can be inflated or deflated to adjust the fit. The IP Fury has undergone various collaboration and remodeling over the years keeping the silhouette relevant to several generations.
Best Reebok Instapump Fury dad sneakers:
Reebok Instapump Fury MTP. This customizable version of the Instapump Fury highlights its retro design that can match almost any casual attire.
Reebok Instapump Fury SP. The revolutionary look of this Instapump Fury was added with splatter design on the upper.
Reebok Instapump Fury Tech. Bearing all the classic details, the only difference is this pair's more pronounced Pump tech.
Reebok Instapump Fury OG Ultraknit. This version replaced the mesh material with Ultraknit on its upper for more breathable and movable comfort.
Reebok Instapump Fury Overbranded. To boost its futuristic look, the brand used a shiny cage over its matte underlay.
New Balance 997R
Constructed with lighter elements compared to the previous model NB 997, this summer-ready sneaker is made with premium materials and cushioning giving its users all-day comfort and style. It also has perforations found on the forefoot and ankle to enhance the ventilation and style.
Essential Points about the New Balance 997R:
New Balance offers this sneaker in men's sizing from 5 to 13 US in medium width.
These chunky dad sneakers have a price range of $180.
The REVlite technology on this pair's midsole provides lightweight cushioning and support.
New Balance 990
The NB 990 pioneered the NB 99X series and was the first sneaker to be launched in a $100 price range. During the 80s, this model was considered the most advanced running footwear; thus, many runners considered owning this a reasonable investment.
Essential Points about the New Balance 990:
These ugly dad sneakers are offered at $165.
The NB 990 is available in men's sizing in a wide range of widths from B to 4E.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs was seen wearing the NB 990 several times in several historical events.
New Balance 530
This chunky dad shoe stayed true to its heritage look unveiled in 1992 by featuring smooth leather upper added with mesh for ventilation and netting to deliver lightness and comfort. Its simplicity and classic look made its way as one of the favorite silhouettes in the NB line.
Essential Points about the New Balance 530:
At $100, this is the most affordable New Balance dad sneaker currently available.
This stylish running-inspired sneaker features a suede upper with the beefy sole to maximize the cushioning and durability. The NB998 kept the classic profile and ideal to be worn for various activities, such as workouts, casual duties, and some business works.
Essential Points about the New Balance 998:
This pricey kick rates at $180.
Both men and women can enjoy this pair as NB offers this in both genders' sizing.
Puma Thunder Spectra
Puma finally made a leap of joining the dad shoe trend. Introducing the Thunder Spectra that features premium mesh and nubuck upper styled with color blocking stirred from the 90s fashion. The exaggerated tooling on its sole gets the nod of many dad sneaker enthusiasts.
Essential Points about the Puma Thunder Spectra:
This relatively affordable kick costs $120.
This iteration is presented in men's sizing from 6 to 14 US in medium width.
Puma launched this model on April 28, 2018.
Puma Thunder Desert
This highly-recommended shoe features a toned-down hue as opposed to other chunky ugly dad shoes. Thus enhancing its styling potential. The premium suede upper was added with textured leather overlay for added flair and character.
Puma offers this in a reasonably priced point of $120.
Buyers can choose from various colorways offered in the market - Bright White/Grey Violet/Puma White, Natural Vachetta/Cream Tan, Smoke Green/Silver Green, and Puma Black.
The Jumping Cat brand presents this kick in both genders' sizing.
Puma RS-0 Play
The chunky outline of the Puma RS-0 Play makes it elegantly stylish that deserves a space in the dad sneakers trend. This model was stirred from the 80s Running System added with color combinations that will make any outfit stand out.
Essential Points about the Puma RS-0 Play:
This budget-friendly sneaker is found at a $100 price point.
This chunky dad sneaker is available in men's and women's sizing.
Balenciaga Triple S Trainers
Considered as the master of the dad sneaker trend, the Balenciaga Triple S has launched innumerable imitations from various brands. As one refreshes their social media accounts, this sneaker can be seen dominating most of the high fashion sites updates.
The low-top Balenciaga Triple S showcases chunky outline with pre-stressed details for that dusty look and worn-out appeal. Many described this kick as layers of cake confectioned with various details. It has mesh, leather, and suede upper rested atop a stack of soles inspired from different sports.
This kick will surely catch the attention of many onlookers for its odd design and striking colors. Numerous considered this a bit tricky to style for its 90s-inspired yet futuristic design with worn-in details that, unfortunately, can only suit a few kinds of outfits.
Essential Points about the Balenciaga Triple S Trainers:
Triple S means "Triple Soled" which was inspired by a medley of various sports - running, track and field, and basketball.
This upscale sneaker costs $795.
Balenciaga offers these ugly dad sneakers in men's and women's sizing.
Saucony Shadow Original
The retro look of the Shadow Original adds appeal to this chunky sneaker. It represents the bulk of the 80s fashion and serves as the critical design of the Saucony brand.
Essential Points about the Saucony Shadow Original:
This fair priced kick can be purchased at $70.
Saucony offers this in men's sizing from 5 to 15 and women's sizing from 5 to 12 US both in regular width.
Saucony Grid 9000
This classic running sneaker was launched in 1994 and dubbed as premium running shoes in that decade. This model has appeared in various collaborative versions keeping its significance until the current market.
This dad sneaker is available in men's and women's sizing.
Other popular dad shoes molded from the Grid 9000 profile are the Saucony Grid 9000 Knit and the Saucony Grid 9000 Liberty Pack.
Asics Gel Diablo
This dad kick from the Japanese footwear brand boasts its lightweight construction and its cushioning technology that is at par to its contemporaries. It features chunky outline with retro colorway to suit the buyers craving for ugly sneaker kick models.
Essential Points about the Asics Gel Diablo:
These affordable chunky shoes cost $130.
Considered true to size, Asics offers this in men's sizes from 5.5 to 14 and women's sizes from 4 to 14.
Asics Gel Lyte III
This 90s chunky sneaker is considered ultimate running footwear with lighter and better performance compared to other running sneakers. The Gel Lyte III also displays the split tongue, which served as this model's main selling point.
Essential Points about the Asics Gel-Lyte III:
Asics offers this at $120.
These low-top dad shoes run true to size and are available in men's sizing.
Gucci Rhyton Leather
Gucci jumped to the dad shoe trend and launched their version of the chunky sneakers. The Gucci Rhyton Leather features thick sole influenced from the retro trend added with distressed effect on its leather upper for an authentic vintage look.
Ponderous Points about the Gucci Rhyton Leather:
These ultra expensive ivory white dad sneakers are presented at $740.
Exclusively offered in men's sizing, Gucci presents this from sizes 6.5 to 15.
Many loved the ramshackle look of this kick which made it more appealing for the majority of the buyers. More reviewers were drawn to this pair's distressed details and the chunky sole that resembles the sneakers from the 90s fashion.
Gucci Rhyton Gucci Logo
With this pair's 2" thick sole, this pair deserves a space in the chunky kick line up. The overall look of this model is greatly influenced by the retro look added with the oversized vintage Gucci logo printed on its side.
Ponderous Points about the Gucci Rhyton Gucci Logo:
This sneaker is extravagantly priced at $820.
Men's sizing is available from 6 to 16 US in medium width.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What are the characteristics of dad sneakers?
Our team came up with several features for a sneaker to be dubbed as dad shoe:
The thick, padded upper is reminiscent of the 90s fashion.
The midsole is considered exaggerated with its curvy lines, which adds few inches to the height of its wearers.
Dad sneakers have odd pattern, such as vintage branding or accent on its upper.
Sometimes, color-blocking is also applied to dad shoes.
Aside from the aesthetics, comfort is the key feature for a shoe to be called dad kick. Most of these chunky dad shoes have excellent arch support for day-long strutting.
How to rock my ugly sneakers?
Since the dad sneaker trend now rules the fashion world, this sneaker pretty goes well with any outfit. Here are our few suggestions on how to pull off your attention-grabbing, chunky kicks in the streets:
Wearing skinnies, leggings, or shorts with simple, crisp tees or oversized hoodies will surely work well with the bulky kick. Some accessorize their overall get up with a fedora hat, sunglasses, and gold chains.
Monochromatic attire looks great with oversized kicks, especially for those who don't want to catch much attention from onlookers. Black wardrobe with a touch of neutral hues will look great when paired with black dad shoes.
Palazzo pants or hip-hugging flair pants looks great when paired with the stout dad kicks. This kind of pants partially conceals the sneaker by its wide hemline, suitable for wearers who are a tad bit hesitant in flaunting the attention-grabbing ugly sneakers.
For an authentic retro look, why not pair your beefy kick with attire stirred from the 90s fashion, such as acid-washed straight-cut jeans paired with royal blue nylon jacket and t-shirt with 90s cartoon print.
Nowadays, many fashion magazines suggest wearing dad shoes with a loose fitting suit that will look great for casual occasions.
How to clean dad sneakers?
Here are few easy steps on how to clean your dad shoes:
Spot clean any visible dirt on the upper, midsole, and outsole using dry cloth or soft bristled brush.
Take the shoelaces off and soak them in a gentle cleaning solution made of mild detergent and warm water. Avoid using harsh chemicals such as bleach as it may cause permanent damage to the sneakers.
Clean the upper using the cleaning solution and soft brush and pat dry after using a microfiber fabric.
Meanwhile, wash the sole using the soapy cleaning solution and brush too.
Air dry the sneaker after and avoid exposing to direct heat as it may damage the color or do not use the dryer as it may change the shape of the rubber.
After thoroughly drying it, store the sneakers in cool, dry place inserted with crumpled paper or cloth to retain its shape.
Where can I buy dad shoes?
Since dad sneakers are considered the hottest trend today, several brands offer these kicks in their physical stores worldwide and official online site to keep up with the demand. Also, many retailers and online shops sell these trendy kicks such as Amazon, eBay, 6pm, Finish Line, JD Sports, Zappos, and many more.
Are dad sneakers suitable for every day wear?
Because comfort over style is the primary element of dad shoes, wearing these shoes for every day is not a problem. Most brands inserted comfortable details such as padding, cushioning, perforations, and ample traction to maximize the cozy feel with every stride.
Are my vintage sneakers automatically considered as dad shoes?
Not all vintage sneakers are considered dad shoe as some vintage kicks do not exhibit elements essential to be called as such. These elements are the curvy lines present on its exaggerated midsole, upper is inserted with thick padding, traces of the fashion from the 80s and 90s, and superb comfort aided with ample arch support.
15 best dad sneakers
Nike Air Max 270 Bowfin
Nike Air Max 200
Fila Ray Tracer
Fila Disruptor 2 Premium
Nike M2K Tekno
Adidas Nite Jogger
Asics Gel Kayano 5 OG
Nike Air Huarache
New Balance 997
New Balance X-90
Danny is a sneakerhead turned sneaker industry expert that believes a good outfit begins from the feet up. His aunt currently isn't speaking to him for wearing a pair of kicks at his cousin's wedding. He spends most of his time trying to keep on top of the latest releases, hitting up his contacts and doing what needs to be done to secure his next pickup. Danny has been featured in prestigious publications such as The Washington Post, The Irish Times, Footwear News and the like.
This shoe has recently been added to RunRepeat. There are still not enough reviews for us to assign it a CoreScore.
CoreScore A score from 1 to 100 that summarizes opinions from users and experts. The average CoreScore is 78.