First, there was retro chic, then geek chic…now ladies and gentlemen, let us introduce you to the new fashion kid on the block – dad chic. No, we are not talking about high waisted trousers, Velcro strap sandals or knitted cardigans here, but more your father’s fashion-forward footwear – aka, the best ‘dad shoes’. To find out about similar footwear, check out our guide about shoes for the elderly.
No longer are those bulked up sport shoes that your dad (or those of us over a certain age) favored in his youth out of vogue. Instead, those chunky sneakers are more like the on-trend way to put your best foot forward. Who knew that platform sport shoes, in your face branding and flash block colors could still work, but hey, they really do!
For this dad shoetrend to really hit the fashion mark, you need to ditch the mid-calf socks, belted slacks or the long dad shorts and go for a more laid back, low slung trouser or jean look. Oh, and a wry smile and a knowing nod to those who admire your new chunky dad shoes wouldn’t go amiss. So, before you root through your father’s closet for his collection of old sport sneakers, check out our best dad shoes review to make sure you really are in the right dad shoe fashion ballpark.
The Best Dad Shoe
Soft nubuck leather upper for white cool styling
Five eyelet crisscross lacing
Comfort padding in collar and tongue
Rubber lugged outsole for street traction
Distinctive Fila branding
The Fila Strada Disruptor is a total chunk monster that will have the retro shoe fan rocking their new sneakers with a nostalgic look for old school basketball in their eye. There is no denying the size of these dad shoes bad boys and that is their selling point; add to casual low-slung jeans and you have a super cool style that is easy to wear. And who knew that comfort could be so fashion-forward? Made with a durable nubuck leather upper, super-soft textile lining, a cushioned collar and padded tongue as well as an extra-thick rubber sole, those mean city streets will make no difference to your feet, no matter how long you are out about town.
Despite their size, the Strada Disruptor is also surprisingly lightweight and easy to wear. And they are well-priced too and give you so much retro-cool that you may have to fight your Pa for rights to wear them! Good looking, old school and totally awesome, we are more than happy to put the Fila Strada Disruptor in our best choice slot. You may also like our guide to the best white sneakers for men.
Cool dad shoe design with old-school basketball vibe
Chunky sole gives excellent support and absorption
Despite the outer size, the inner shoe can run a little narrow
Textile and synthetic upper
Six eyelets lacing for a secure fit
Rubber sole with color blocking
Cushioned insole support
Choice of 12 retro colorways
You can’t say your dad is retro sport shoe cool without paying tribute to your even cooler mom, and you don’t get more 90s sneaker fabulous than the original Adidas Falcon.
The original athletic shoe styling with the flashes of color and old-school Adidas logo is a joy to behold and let’s not forget the sheer comfort of this uncomplicated sports shoe design. Solid lacing, cushioned insole support and a thick rubber sole, there is so much to like about these sneakers, which can be totally rocked with jeans, dress or a skirt. And the support and shock absorption they offer means they can also step up on the sports court too. An absolute classic for all mom sneaker fans out there and one to enjoy and take care of. Check out our velcro shoes buying guide for more old-school but well-fashioned footwear.
Awesome retro styling matched with laid-back comfort
Slightly oversized so check in case you need to come a size down
Inspired by 90s cell system running shoes
Mesh uppers with suede/leather overlays
Block styling in a choice of two colorways
Heel support and midfoot stabilizer
Internal lace woven system
If you like to attract full-on attention with all your sporting footwear, then you will be certain to whip up a storm with Puma’s Thunder Spectra. Inspired by the oversized sneakers of the 90s and with a running track vibe, these chunky dad shoes are out and proud when it comes to retro styling. Color blocking, thick outsole, side flashes, exaggerated tooling – these old school stunners have it all.
With mesh uppers and suede/leather overlays, the Thunder Spectra sneakers are not just about the look, they are also determined to give your feet a comfortable ride. Add to the dad shoe mix inner heel support, protective sidewalls and midfoot stabilizers and while you may not always be blasting around the running track, you will certainly be foot comfort cool. And, despite the obvious bulk, the Thunder Spectra dad sneaker is also surprisingly lightweight. At the mid-weight price tag, they are a good option if you are looking to introduce chunky dad shoe chic to your shoe cupboard but don’t want to blow your budget. Make sure to check out our top picks to the best shoe storages, to keep your shoes looking brand new.
Surprisingly lightweight for the size of shoe
Toe fabric is a little on the thinner side
Made from 100% quality leather
Chunky synthetic sole
Hidden inner lacing system
Tongue pull for easy access
EVA midsole shapes to fit your foot
Go absolutely oversized with the Men’s Fusion from Globe, with its chip off the old chunky block style more than a nod to the skater boy days of the 90s and early 2000s. Slouchy, solid and oh so skatepark, these black sneakers for men will make your inner dad shoe aficionado proud. Wear with low slung jeans or board shorts and you will totally feel the retro skate vibe.
The overall shoe built on the Globe Men’s Fusion is equally impressive, as is the less than $80 price. Made from leather, with extra-thick walls, TPR heel stabilizer, and EVA midsole as well as a triple-layer toe cap, the Fusion can also step up from a mere fashion item to functional and practical footwear.
Awesome 90s skater styling with a cool slouchy lacing system
Great price for a quality leather shoe
Narrower footwell can feel a little snug around the ankles
100% leather or suede upper
Rubber sole with logo tread
Breathable fabric sock lining
Padded collar and tongue
Good choice of colorways
Get all nostalgic for your old high school running track with the 93Eighteen Sneaker that looks equally cool as classic streetwear. Made from leather and with a super supportive rubber outsole, your inner athletic jock will go chunky dad shoe crazy for these classics from Champion. Available in more than 10 cool colorways and block color designs, the 93Eighteen are really easy to wear and will add more than a dash of dad shoe styling to whatever you wear.
But away from the fashion-forward vibe, do these dad sneakers have any sports credentials too? For their value price, we think they do. They may not be the bulkiest or the most in your face sneaker in our best dad shoe review, but as we know, size doesn’t always matter. You get a breathable sock lining, cushioned insole and a logo tread on the outsole for a half-decent track tread. And, with the oversized Champion logo and locker patch, you will have a retro brand to up your street cred, on and off the sports track. Be sure to also check out our list of the best dress sneakers for men for more great items like this.
Quality leather provides good foot support
Excellent value for money
Runs on the narrow side so check your sizings
Woven mesh fabric upper
Chunky synthetic outsole
Memory foam insole for comfort
Wraparound heel panel
Traditional lace up system
Skechers’ contribution to the world of the chunky dad shoe is this not-so-ugly sneaker that combines foot comfort with subtle retro sport shoe styling.
Using the ‘so comfortable it’s just like a slipper’ foam technology Skechers are renowned for and with proper 80s athletic styling, the Dlt-a Oxford are an affordable way to add a nice touch of dad style to your casual wardrobe. First up, the comfort – you get the memory foam insole for that Skecher marshmallow comfort underfoot while the outer shoe is made from soft, flexible woven mesh fabric. Then there is the very chunky outsole that reaches up to the midsole with TPU straps for added structure and foot support. While the Dlt-a Oxford may not stand up to too much really strenuous and prolonged sports action, they are certainly a ‘shoe-in’ for an everyday chunky dad sneaker, where super comfort and a retro vibe are top of your list.
You get that cloud-like foot comfort Skechers are famous for
Nice athletic sport styling and quality shoe build
The woven mesh fabric outer is perhaps not up to too much hardcore sport play
Leather and synthetic upper
Durable rubber outsole
TPU heel clip for foot stability
Foam midsole for comfort
Heel tab for easy shoe removal
Check out the awesome pimped-up bumpers on these bad boy dad shoes – the M2K Tekno from Nike. You’ll be rocking the 80s with these fantastic looking sports shoes, which have all the fine details and retro styling you need. The super-chunky rubber sole has a dad shoe-chic heel clip for extra support and stability – as well as a cool flash of color – while the leather and mesh upper looks more sports shoe streamlined. Inside you get a foam insole and around the ankle collar padding, as well as old-school lacing to keep your feet snug and happy.
The M2K Tekno is a nicely balanced chunky dad shoe in a choice of colorways that are not too in your face yet still work the retro vibe. The result is a fantastically chunky dad sneaker you can style up with pretty much any outfit and the beauty is, they won’t break the bank.
Subtle dad shoe design with a modern and wearable look
Nice, chunky outsole for cushioning as you walk
Narrow foot well may mean you need to loosen those laces
Suede and leather upper
Breathable mesh underlay
Oversized rubber outsole
Adidas Boost foam support in the midsole
Design based on classic 90s running shoes
Is Kanye West the instigator of dad shoe fashion revival? Who knows if he can claim full credit, but even if he can’t, Mr. Kim Kardashian has certainly added his own unique take on the 90s retro look and taken it back into the mainstream. With his ongoing collaboration with Adidas, the Yeezy Boost 700 takes all the best bits of old school street and sport sneakers and packed them into one mighty fine-looking dad shoe. The Yeezy Boost 700 are certainly not cheap – hence our review’s Premium Pick title – but if street fashion really is your passion, then you will see these cool and chunky dad sneakers as a good investment.
The bulky shape and super-chunky outsole are real eyecatchers and the Boost 700 comes in a nice range of colorways, all sticking with the Yeezy utilitarian vibe. Made from suede, leather, and mesh, the upper looks great, all layered, laced and shouting street style. Underfoot you get a substantial rubber outsole, with cool lime green flashes and plenty of oversized support. And the Yeezy Boost 700 are not all style over function either, thanks to the Adidas Boost technology, quietly working away in the midsole to keep your feet feeling energized and comfortable. In short, the Yeezy Boost 700 are distinctive looking, well-made sneakers that will set your feet apart and elevate your dad cool look to a whole new street style level. If you are into running, make sure you also check our guide to the best insoles for running.
Eye-catching and distinct design that offers both style and comfort
Mesh liner means your hardworking feet can breathe
Expensive for a pair of running sneakers
Dad Shoe Buying Guide And FAQ
How We Chose Our Selection Of Dad Shoes
With so much retro-style choice out there, we needed to get focused to ensure we brought you the very best dad shoe trendsetters. Rather than just dipping our toes in, we went in deep and used the following criteria to come up with our ultimate list of chunky dad shoe fashion.
Reviews – we checked out all the user reviews and first-hand customer feedback to know that all of our top ten best dad shoes are totally wearable and desirable.
Brand – not all sneaker brands cry out dad shoe chic so we filtered our list down to those brands that give the retro chunky shoe styling but are also bang up to date on the street, so you can be sure you are a leader of the dad-fash pack.
Price – fashion, especially dad shoe fashion – doesn’t necessarily have to break the bank so we also looked at what you get for your money, from materials used, quality styling, ease of wear and versatility. Your dad would be proud as we totally want you to get value for your money!
The wonderful thing about fashion trends is that they never really go away. If they did, we wouldn't be here reading up on Dad shoes. Much like Mom jeans, this blast from the past has become an integral part of contemporary fashion and it's practically storming the market. The thing is, this once generic footwear now comes in a range of designs and styles that you need to know how to navigate. You can't walk blindly here, you need to make an informed decision. The road to doing this is not as straightforward as you'd like.
Just as it is with any well-sought-after product, shoe manufacturers are going wild. Whether you're a first-time buyer or a seasoned one, a little guidance here and there never hurt anyone. In order to ensure that you get it right the first time (and then the next), here is some much-needed information.
Features To Look For In Dad Shoes
Every product out on the market has certain qualities you need to look out for. If you miss it at this stage, then there's really no getting it right. The same principle applies when it comes to the process of looking for the best dad shoes. There's an array of retro-styled shoes out there for your consideration, so weeding out the top contenders is the only way to actually make a purchase.
If you aren't quite sure what these features are, there's no need to panic. You don't need to do all that research, we've done it for you and we went all in too. Below are some well-vetted things to look out for if you're looking to get the best option for you. At the end of the day, expect nothing less than the best chunky dad shoes out there.
Style - Dad shoes are simply dad shoes right? To the untrained eye, they may all look the same. But there's an array of designs out there being released by different brands on a daily basis. They definitely want you to get them while they are hot. Navigating this crowded market in a bid to find the one is not impossible, but it's hard. You need to iron out some things first and at the forefront, there is your own sense of style. Once you get to a place where your style and these chunky kicks converge, you're on the right path.
For the most part of it, you'll find the usual monster heeled designed out there. Then there's the design that really gives you that raise you need with the addition of a platform silhouette. Obviously, there's a handful more out there, the key thing is that you go for something that speaks to your personal sense of style. Don't just wear dad shoes because everyone else is, take your time to do some searching and you're sure to land a pair that fits right into your wardrobe.
Comfort - When in doubt, choose the comfortable option. Yes, there are other things to look out for, such as durability and design. But if you have all these in the box and the shoes aren't comfortable, at the end of the day, you'll lose out. For this reason, it's important to take a closer look at certain components of the shoes. The outsole is a great place to start, it has to be able to offer up all the support you need while you go about your business. The midsole is another area that you need to pay attention to. Most brands out there employ patented technology to ensure that it literally gives you that spring in your step. In addition to this, you need to make sure the pair of shoes you finally buy are balanced. Anything that affects your stride will not be comfortable in any way. Even worse, it could lead to worlds of pain in the near future. There's no sacrificing when it comes to balancing as a whole.
Besides all this, ensure that the shoes are made using breathable material. This is a great way to keep sweat and odors at bay. Also, no one particularly enjoys it when the feet get too hot, all in all, breathability is key.
Fit - When it comes to all sorts of footwear, this is a serious point of contention. This particular feature works hand in hand with comfort to ensure that you get the most out of the pair of shoes you pick. Typically, these are dressing shoes, so while you want them snug, you do not want to go for a pair that's more on the right side. Of course, there's really no joy in having your foot slip out of your shoes now and then. It's all together, another level of discomfort. But it's equally more uncomfortable when you practically cut off the blood flow to your feet.
So, go for something that fits just right; have enough wiggle room for your toes, but a firm, yet gentle grip around the ankles. If you stick to this formula, there's really no going wrong. For people who aren't going in-store to buy these shoes, it's important to study the size charts on the merchant website. In fact, study these charts religiously in order to find the right size. It doesn't end there though, equally scour through the reviews to get the lowdown on the all-around sizing of the pair you want. Sometimes you need to go a size up and down. Regardless, simply getting the right size at the end of the day is the aim.
Dad Shoe FAQ
Q: What are dad shoes?
A: Merely looking at the phrase 'dad shoes' points to the fact that this form of footwear was/is widely appreciated by dads. First of all, it's important to know that these shoes first cropped up during the retro era and, as it is implied, they were widely worn by dads. These shoes are a form of kicks that were mostly considered ugly and uncomely back in the day. In fact, to date, the jury is still out on whether these shoes are worthy of the fashion trend status they've attained.
Spotting dad shoes in a room is not a hard feat at all. They're those chunky heeled kicks, that have a sort of sporty appeal to them. They usually come with a double or triple sole attached and as such, it gives the wearer a sort of boost. Additionally, you'll find that most dad shoes are quite sturdily constructed and as such, they often offer up maximum comfort. It's like walking on clouds if you find yourself a good pair.
With these shoes, it has never really been about aesthetics. It was all about functionality, which actually isn't weird. A long list of style trends rekindled in the modern-day stem from things that were solely functional. Take your Mom jeans, pussy-bow blouses, Aviator sunglasses, leather jackets, and even corsets. Altogether, when it comes to dad shoes, they were comfortable back then and they are comfortable now. The fact that they don't look that great is a trend all on its own and part of their appeal.
Q: Who started the dad shoe trend?
A: There's a lot of buzz out there about who actually brought this footwear back from the dead. Just like most fashion trends do, this one started right on the catwalk. It's not uncommon for designers to bring back old trends and refurbish them to fit our 21st-century dress sense. Nevertheless, there are some that trace it's growing popularity back to the trend with Adidas Stan Smith.
Since it was released in 2014, it has caused quite a ripple effect. Celebrities now sport these 'ugly' shoes with their suave outfits and guess what? It works! Whether some are wearing it in an ironic sense or not, you've got to admit that the style has totally been reinvented. As aforementioned, Mom jeans stormed the world the same way, and it honestly does seem like these trends are still evolving.
Q: Are chunky sneakers still in 2020?
A: This retro style is pretty much alive and present in 2020. Who's to tell what might happen as the year progresses? Nevertheless, the style and design of these shoes have changed since they first gained popularity. First, it was the ultra chunkiness that sort of gave way for the platform silhouettes that a lot of people are sporting these days.
Both of these styles are being worn by fashion icons like the Kardashians and other trendsetters in the biz. It's common knowledge that once it has the Kardashian stamp of approval, it's definitely going to spread like wildfire. Being fashion icons and influencers have given them the power to proclaim that it's an acceptable trend now.
It's not just the Kardashian-Jenner Clan that are loving this trend though. If you check out the Instagram scene, you'll be sure to find a lot of the style icons and influencers on there sporting these chunky shoes. Even more, if you take a magnifying glass to the streets, the story is the same. This style has somehow found a way to be sporty, loud and even suave. All in all, you best believe that it's a legit style trend to follow.