Last updated on February 16th, 2024
The resurgence of the SteveJobs-inspired dad shoes is a reason for celebration among those who value comfort. These once-dismissed chunky sneakers, deemed uncool and unsightly, are now experiencing a fashionable revival.
Steve Jobs, the billionaire creator of Apple, was notorious for pairing his iconic black turtleneck and dad jeans with New Balance 991s and 992s.
Fast forward to the present day, and department stores are now stocked with New Balance or Nike shoes that embrace the classic dad style of the 80s, 90s, and early 2000s, including coveted models like the NB 990 series and Air Monarch.
What exactly are dad shoes?
Dad shoes typically denote functional, cozy sneakers that gained popularity among fathers and middle-aged men in the past.
- In terms of functionality, dad shoes are commonly running or workout shoes featuring large, bulky soles that ensure optimal comfort and cushioning for the feet.
- In terms of design, dad shoes are recognized for their bold color combinations, paying little attention to fashion trends, as their primary focus is on comfort over style.
What to consider when buying dad shoes?
In order to prioritize long-lasting comfort, the top dad shoes of today should include soft padding in either the footed or midsole to offer unparalleled support for your feet while walking or standing.
However, in addition to functioning as walking shoes, the finest dad shoes should also be adaptable enough for training, (trail) running, hiking, or simply going about your everyday activities.
The ideal dad shoes should also exhibit a timeless design, featuring a sturdy profile and a combination of neutral shades and vibrant accents that guarantee versatility when it comes to styling, enabling you to effortlessly pair them with a variety of outfits.
We have meticulously researched, put to the test, and provided an evaluation of the top dad shoes available. These shoes seamlessly combine the sentimentality of past eras with the practicality required by your modern, fast-paced life. Whether you're in need of shoes with superior arch support or versatile cross-training options, these dad shoes are guaranteed to make your father beam with pride.
New Balance 993 Core
|New Balance 993 Core
|- ABZORB midsole
- premium suede/mesh upper
- ACTEVA cushioning
- Full-length rubber outsole with Ndurance rubber heel
The original New Balance classics that sparked it all. Starting from square one: you can't make a mistake with any of the iconic 990 series. This specific version maintains the timeless outline but boasts a sleeker, more contemporary appearance. Marketed as a 'lifestyle' shoe, it's an excellent option for individuals aiming to elevate their footwear game during leisurely strolls and daily activities.
Equipped with a midsole that absorbs impact and offers cushioning beneath your feet, as well as a footbed that provides support, this is also one of our most rigorously tested walking shoes. The fit remains true to size—it embraces your feet while granting your toes ample breathing and wriggling space.
Nike Air Monarch IV
|Nike Air Monarch IV
|- 'white/metallic silver' color
- leather and synthetic leather
- full-length encapsulated Air-Sole unit cushions
- solid rubber sole
Why not pay homage to your family's roots by sporting the original Nike Air Monarchs, which are credited with inspiring the trend? Consider them a "modern throwback." These dad shoes feature a sturdy rubber outsole for secure traction on any surface, ensuring safe and reliable training. Inside, a fully encapsulated Air-Sole cushion provides maximum comfort and support throughout the length of the shoe.
The price is more affordable than high-end alternatives, these shoes have the dad seal of approval, guaranteeing their comfort. Ultimately, they are a timeless wardrobe staple that will serve you well for years to come, especially during casual gatherings in the backyard.
ASICS GEL-Kayano 14
|ASICS GEL-Kayano 14
|- 'light sage/smoke grey' color
Decades ago, Asics established its presence in the running community and has now made a stylish comeback. The GEL-Kayano, created in the early 2000s, stands out as one of ASICS' finest running shoes. Its 14th model offers excellent midfoot stability, preventing overpronation. In other words, if you have a tendency to roll your foot inwards while running or have flat feet, the angled design of the midfoot will gently secure your foot in place, ensuring stability. Remarkably, these shoes still manage to feel light while providing ample support and cushioning for walking. It's no wonder they're a hit with dads.
New Balance MX608v5
|New Balance MX608v5
|- 'white with navy' color
- leather upper
- ABZORB midsole
- Phantom Liner interior has minimal seaming
- ABZORB heel crash pad
- PU foam
New Balance's 608 V5 sneakers are widely recognized as the ultimate 'dad sneaker'. These sneakers have been endorsed by podiatrists and are suitable for both everyday activities and cross-training, making them an incredibly versatile choice.
With over 11,000 positive reviews, it's clear that these sneakers are a wise investment. It's safe to assume that many of these satisfied customers are fathers who appreciate the affordability and durability of the product.
Additionally, the sneakers are lightweight and offer increased flexibility in the forefoot. The brand's unique materials contribute to an improved midsole, providing superior comfort and support for the heels and effectively eliminating foot pain.
Puma Milenio Tech Unisex Sneakers
|Puma Milenio Tech
|- 'white/silver' color
- Air mesh upper
- Rubber outsole
- IMEVA midsole
- PUMA Formstrip on lateral and medial sides
- SOFTFOAM+: Step-in comfort sockliner designed to provide soft cushioning thanks to its extra thick heel
Puma has nailed the dad style trend with their new sneakers, which feature striking stripes that pay homage to the early 2000s while also gaining the approval of fathers everywhere. Not only do these shoes have the dad seal of approval in terms of style, but they also deliver on comfort. The foam in the midsole ensures instant comfort as soon as you slip your feet in, and the sockliner is designed to provide soft cushioning with thick heels.
These sneakers are versatile enough to be used for workouts or running, as the upper is made from breathable air mesh and the rubber outsole offers excellent grip. In summary, the Milenio Tech sneakers are an excellent choice if you're seeking a modern twist that doesn't skimp on bulky comfort.
Adidas Response CL
|Adidas Response CL
|- silver pebble/wonder beige/focus olive
- lace closure
- textile upper with suede overlays
- EVA midsole
- textile lining
- rubber outsole
Adidas' dad shoes, much like fathers themselves, exude a tough and dependable quality that proves ideal for outdoor escapades. Resembling typical dad shoes, the Response CL model is specifically designed to endure rugged trails and uneven landscapes. As you continue to wear them, the suede upper will acquire a charmingly weathered appearance.
Additionally, the midsole offers both a comfortable cushioning and a revitalizing energy return, while the traction-enhanced outsole ensures a secure grip on diverse surfaces. These dad shoes are the perfect companion for those seeking active playtime outdoors.
Features of Dad Shoes
Cushioning and support: When it comes to selecting the perfect dad sneakers, it's crucial to prioritize comfort above all else. To achieve this, it's essential to opt for shoes that offer generous cushioning in the midsole, footbed, and heel region. This not only ensures ample support but also effectively absorbs impact while walking, reducing any potential fatigue. Furthermore, considering that most dad shoes tend to be running or athletic footwear, it is imperative that they provide adequate arch support to maintain optimal foot alignment and minimize any potential discomfort, particularly during extended periods of wear.
Design: Dad shoes are easily recognized by their distinct feature: a bulky sole that is larger than usual. However, it is essential that the sole remains pliable and reactive to facilitate comfortable walking and running. Moreover, dad shoes should steer clear of simplicity in their design, opting instead for vibrant color combinations or unconventional hues.
Material: Dad shoes, commonly crafted from durable materials like leather, suede, or mesh, possess the ability to endure prolonged use, whether it be walking, running, or simply being worn.
Activity: The actions you take while wearing dad shoes hold significance, as these shoes are commonly designed for various athletic endeavors. Dad shoes, which often encompass running shoes suitable for walking long distances, also include retro sneakers for cross-training or exercising. Typically, dad shoes serve as excellent options for everyday use and leisurely strolls.
How to incorporate dad shoes into your personal style?
Dad shoes may give off the impression of being meant for the sidelines of youth soccer games, but they are surprisingly versatile for various occasions. Thankfully, modern styles have been revamped to offer both a laid-back aesthetic and comfort. To fully embrace the nostalgic effect, consider pairing relaxed jeans or trousers with a tee and a bold jacket.
Alternatively, achieve a balanced look by teaming them with slim-fitting jeans or trousers to create a striking contrast with the chunkiness of the shoes. For a relaxed yet polished vibe, elevate the ensemble with a polo shirt and a pair of chinos.
We have even witnessed and approved of dad shoes being worn with button-down dress shirts and dress pants for office-appropriate outfits.
Why are dad sneakers gaining popularity?
These days, dad shoes have gained popularity for their unique combination of comfort, performance, nostalgia, and countercultural aesthetics. They embody the ugly chic trend, opposing minimalism with their oversized soles and retro designs that evoke a sense of nostalgia.
However, the true appeal of dad shoes lies in their exceptional comfort. With their cushioning, underfoot support, and effortless fit, dad shoes are ideal for everyday use and can even withstand intense running and training sessions.