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In defense of chunky sneakers, the comfiest footwear trend of 2018

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Photo: Instagram/@society.vii

Back in 2014, I had a boyfriend who exclusively wore dad sneakers (and no, he wasn’t a father). At the time, I found them—and their chunky sole and wide, boxy shape—excruciating. Flash forward a few years, however, and he’s most certainly having the last laugh (with respect to his kicks anyway). These days, just about every fashion girl from Los Angeles to Paris and beyond—think: Kaia Gerber, Bella Hadid, Kim Kardashian, and more—has tried the trend, which you may remember originated sometime in the ’90s.

And it’s even more apparent that the classic, ultra-supportive, and so-called “dad shoe” is back in action as high-end labels, as well as OG sportswear brands, are increasingly adding them to their collections—but with some fashion forward updates. Thick platforms and stacked cleats have been added to modern silhouettes in mixed textures. Some designers, like Stella McCartney, have streamlined the volume from those ’90s versions for a sleeker fit. But right now, there are still several pairs clunky enough to turn your morning coffee run into a leg workout currently on the market—with even more styles to come in the months ahead. Chic brands such as Louis Vuitton, Céline, and more showed variations within their spring and resort collections for 2018. 

“The trend provides an opportunity to expand your sneaker collection beyond minimalist styles.”

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. “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.

Having tried the trend myself, I have to say that perhaps dads—and my ex-boyfriend—had the practical footwear thing right all along. 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.

Shop chunky sneakers—retro and modern, alike—below.

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Photo: Barneys New York

Fila Disruptor 2 Leather Sneakers, $120

Photo: Farfetch

Fenty x Puma Cleated Creepers, $143

Photo: Nike

Nike Air Force 1 Upstep Premium, $140

Photo: Farfetch

Stella McCartney Chunky Sole Sneakers, $640

Photo: Adidas

Adidas Prophere Shoes, $120

Photo: H&M

H&M Chunky Sneakers, $20

Photo: MyTeresa

Miu Miu Satin and Velvet Platform Sneakers, $595

Photo: Mango

Mango Leather Appliqué Sneakers, $100

Photo: Nike

Nike Air Hurache Ultra, $90

Photo: Reebok

Reebok Instapump Fury FBT Sneakers, $167


Photo: Acne Studios

Acne Studios Manhattan Leather Suede and Mesh Sneakers, $470

If retro trends are your thing, peruse puffer jackets, ‘90s-style sweatshirts, and velvet activewear to further your fashion fix.