10 Essential Styling Tips to Master the Dad Sneaker Trend


The age of ugly dad sneakers is upon us. Not only do these rubber-soled, comfortable sneakers epitomize contemporary culture, but they have also become a fashion trophy. No longer relegated to the subgenre of sneaker culture, ugly sneakers have scaled the pinnacle of high fashion.

Today these fashionable yet seemingly orthopedic footwear are styled by fashion icons such as Bella Hadid and Kylie Jenner. And their preferred dad sneaker of choice? The Balenciaga Triple S.

The rise of the dad sneaker

While New Balance and Adidas may have fathered the ugly, chunky sneaker trend with their release of the New Balance 990 series and the Adidas Stan Smith, in the early ‘80s, it was Balenciaga that transformed the dad shoe into an aesthetic statement.

The Balenciaga “Triple S” model added cred to the clunky sneaker trend. These fashion sneakers made their runway debut during Balenciaga’s Fall/Winter 2017 show. Soon after its release in 2017, industry influencers were sporting its oversized, ostentatious silhouette.

Its height-boosting, triple-decker stack of molds and colorful neon colorways elevated dad sneakers to new heights.

Today, Balenciaga shoes have trickled down from industry influencers and high fashion, reaching consumer levels and achieving a full-blown cult following. The ugly sneaker trend now sits at the forefront of street cred.

Anyone serious about street style, down to the most stylish sneakerhead, wears Balenciaga shoes as a fashion statement symbol.

Looking to adopt this thick-soled shoe as part of your everyday rotation? Here are 10 style tips to make your own ugly sneaker move.

●       Show some ankle

Dad shoes are bold in nature. Pair your orthopedic kicks with an oversized blazer and relaxed fit, ankle-bearing pants. Finish the look with some dorky shoes.

●       Suit up

Contrast is key when styling dad sneakers. To balance its neon colorways, pair your much coveted Balenciaga “Triple S” sneakers with a loose, plaid suit that sits just over the shoe. It’s the perfect workday-meets-street vibe.

●       Go full athleisure

Jump aboard the athleisure aesthetic and sport your dad shoes with a full-on gym teacher ensemble. Leggings, a cute hoodie, and equally chunky scrunched white socks intersect style and comfort. Win-win.

●       Throw on a dress

But not just any dress — a midi dress. The perfect length and look for day or night, work or weekend, the midi dress can be your go-to look for any occasion. A puffy-sleeved frock and silky slips offer the perfect contrast to the gloriously ugly dad shoe.

●       Go full dad mode

Nothing pairs as perfectly with a pair of dad shoes as high-waist, wide-leg dad jeans.

●       Mix and match

Feeling nostalgic? Throw on a cropped, retro graphic tee with leopard print leggings for a sporty throwback vibe.

●       Create a new classic

Few ensembles are as timeless as a T-shirt, jeans, and sneakers. Give this classic an updated look by swapping jeans for bold-colored track pants. Accessorize the look with a micro bag for the perfect statement piece.

●       Cover up

Belted coats may do more than just see you through unpredictable weather. Their sleek look is the perfect contrast to the clunky dad aesthetic. Go with a midi length to keep the focus on your dad shoes.

●       Exude summer vibes

Nothing says summer like a billowing white maxi dress. Go monochrome with a classic white sneaker.

●       Think pink

Think you can only wear pink on Wednesdays? A cotton candy pink suit with a pair of white dad shoes make for a dynamic statement any day of the week.

Are ugly sneakers here to stay?

While dad sneakers are all the rage and the epitome of cool, fashion is cyclical. Its continued popularity and the longevity of the trend are both dependent on how the design gets updated.

While 2017 and 2018 may have been defined by neon colorways, 2019 is all about subtler colors and the rise of outdoor hiking trends. Not only will the trail sneaker become the next “must-have” sneaker trend, but it will also appeal to folks looking to stay stylish while exploring the country landscape.

Balenciaga once again leads the trail with their “Track” sneaker. This chunky-tech sneaker features a caged construction heel and a multi-paneled upper with cord laces. The “Track LED” model even comes with an LED light in the heel.

Other brands like Adidas, Salomon, and Nike have also started to release their own hiking-esque models, complete with glaring, unorthodox shades.

Author bio

Lamia Dahmash is a stylist and Fashion blogger at Farfetch. She is always one step ahead of trends and known for perfectly coupling eclectic and minimalist styles. Feel free to follow Lamia (@luludahmash) on Instagram to get a feel of her style and different fashion tips and tricks.