Last December, when this story was originally published, its headline was: In defense of chunky sneakers, the comfiest footwear trend of 2018. Back then, the buzz around bulky kicks that could double as ankle weights was just starting to grow. Flash forward to today, and it’s now one of the biggest sneakers trends for fall—and the top athleisure trend of 2018.
These days, just about every fashion girl from Los Angeles to Paris and beyond—think: Kaia Gerber, Bella Hadid, Kim Kardashian, and more—has laced up a pair of chunky sneakers, which you may remember originated in the ’90s when Fila introduced the OG of “dad shoes,” its Disruptor 2. Thanks to a renewed interest in fashions from that era, the Italian heritage brand is having a renaissance—it held its first fashion show in Milan last month and released an exclusive new capsule collection with Bandier, an upscale activewear boutique around the same time.
High-end labels and classic sportswear brands, alike, helped the footwear style go from fad to mainstream by adding ultra-supportive sneakers to their collections in 2018. Some designers, like Stella McCartney, have streamlined the volume from those ’90s versions for a sleeker fit. Others fed into the nostalgia factor like Nike with its M2K Tekno, Puma and its Thunder, and Balenciaga with its Triple S.
Celebrity stylist Jasmine Caccamo says that while the look may not be for everyone, it’s more versatile than you might think because chunky sneakers can add dimension to your wardrobe—which could be why it found mass appeal, not just with sneakerheads and hypebaes. “The trend provides an opportunity to expand your sneaker collection beyond minimalist styles,” she says. Pair yours with anything from an elegant dress and statement socks to a tailored suit or track pants. But the key to keeping the look intentional is balance—the more modern, sleek, or elevated your outfit, the more heavily normcore you can go in terms of your sneaks.
Plus, these polarizing sneakers are, after all, good for something that the widely accepted (and not nearly as comfy) fashion-girl shoe styles are not: walking.
This story was originally published on December 8, 2017; it was updated on October 1, 2018.
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