Like it or not, “dad shoes” are here to stay for the foreseeable future. It is no surprise that Balenciaga shoes have joined the fray, with the Triple S leading the fashion house’s line of “ugly/dad sneakers.”
You can either blame or thank Kendall Jenner for injecting life and popularity into the unlikely sneaker trend that are dad shoes, whether you love them or not. Jenner captured the imagination of trendsetters when she matched a pair of chunky running shoes with cargo pants, a crop top, and a fanny pack.
And the rest is sneakers history. Soon after, celebrities and other fashion-forward individuals followed suit, including Kendall's big sis Kim.
Tracing the roots of the ugly sneaker trend
In tracing the origins and the rise of the dad shoe trend, two interesting strands arise – normcore and feminism.
Normcore is a fashion trend that embraces authenticity and rejects extravagance. Instead of moving towards what is seen as cool and edgy, adherents strive to integrate with what is mainstream.
And to a certain degree, the road leading to normcore (and ugly footwear, specifically) can be attributed to the re-release of the ultimate dad shoe: the Adidas Stan Smith.
Another possible reason behind the trendiness of clunky footwear is the renewed feminist vigor in pop culture and politics. Broadly speaking, sneaker culture has been the domain of men. Wearing ugly sneakers, which have been mostly associated with men, is viewed as a feminist statement.
If you can't beat 'em...
As the old adage goes: If you can't beat ‘em, join ‘em. Ready to join the ugly sneaker bandwagon? Here are some styling ideas that can help you pull off the trend fashionably.
- Go preppy
Exude a preppy vibe by pairing a clean and minimalist pair of white dad shoes with a plaid dress. Round off your outfit with a denim jacket.
- Glam it up
Add style and drama to your look by wearing your pair of dad shoes with an evening frock. The seeming mismatch between your outfit and kicks will definitely turn heads.
- Go plaid or go home
If you are going for a bold, individual statement, there's no sense in holding back. And you’re sure to make a statement when you wear a T-shirt, plaid pants and oversized plaid jacket with a pair of dad shoes.
- Simple and sweat
Pair a fuzzy jacket with a simple pink dress with matching pink sneakers, and you're set for a quick stroll in the local mall or for hanging out with your friends at the cafe.
- Walking contradiction
Vintage clothes plus accessories plus a futuristic pair of ugly sneakers equals an eye-catching contrast.
- Structured statement
Pair your sneakers with a similar colored blazer, plus jeans and a crop top, and you’re all set to dominate.
Divining the future
From the most prominent fashion houses to the most recognizable sports brands and everything in between, practically everyone is cashing in on ugly sneakers trend. Here are a few trends to expect in the near future.
1. Form and function
Brands recognized for their running and mountaineering gear like Salomon and Mizuno are cashing in on the dad shoe trend with their own offerings. Expect these brands to mix style with performance and comfort deftly.
2. Neon hues
The year 2018 saw pastel as the dominant color family for ugly sneaker releases. Fashion pundits are expecting something bolder from brands with neon, in its various iterations, as the color of choice for the latest releases.
3. Extra chunky
The aughts are making a big comeback with chunky platform sneakers at the forefront. Stylists are pairing these ugly kicks with trouser suits like the party crowd did during the 2000s.
Buying clothing and shoes online can be a little tricky, especially if you have no previous experience. Here are a few tips to help your online ugly sneaker shopping go seamlessly:
- Start by finding a reputable seller with a sensible returns policy. Check customer reviews and read the fine print.
- If you have been eyeing a particular sneaker silhouette, it is a good idea to try it in a physical store so that you'll know your real shoe size beforehand. Most shoe brands are consistent with their sizing and knowing your actual shoe size will make buying sneakers online easier for you.
Alternatively, you can trace the outline of your feet on a piece of paper and, using a ruler, measure the drawing from heel to toe. Ideally, you should wear socks of medium thickness. With your feet's measurements in tow, you can now check the online merchant's size chart.
- Finally, the last thing you need to do is to check the availability of the particular colorway and size you are looking for.
With trendy ugly shoes completing your outfit, you’re sure to turn heads wherever you go.