The dad trainer: our edit of the best chunky trainers to add to your forever wardrobe

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Stolen from dads and loved by many, the chunky ‘ugly’ trainers are here to stay. And we’ve found the best pairs. 

The ‘ugly’ dad trainer has been doing the rounds for quite some time now, and its powerful impact on the fashion world shows little sign of wavering. 

Thanks to Balenciaga’s Triple S trainer, Raf Simon’s Ozweego shoes and Nike bringing back the Air Max ‘98 the classic characteristics: a clunky sole, bright colour combo and brawny elements are no longer reserved for middle aged dads in DIY stores. Already a big hit on the street style circuit, the high street are clocking on to these shoes, and so should you.

Their chunky appearance could be daunting but the XXL shape is all about creating daytime drama, even when paired with the most understated pieces. Did we mention they are, frankly, ridiculously comfortable? Wear yours with midi dresses or delicate skirts and don’t forget a statement sock.

Still not convinced? Scroll down, we guarantee there’s a sneaker to sway you… 

Best chunky dad trainers

  • Gucci

    Call it the Gucci effect but whatever the Italian super brand touches turns into the most covetable piece of the moment. Case in point? The dad trainer. With a thick sole and ultra-chunky shape, this is the shoe dads the world over are dreaming of, given a quirky Gucci twist courtesy a cartoonish take on the intertwined GG logo. 

    Shop Rhyton GG apple sneaker at Gucci, £700

  • New Balance

    New Balance trainers
    Best dad trainers: New Balance

    With a strap line that once read ‘Worn by supermodels in London and dads in Ohio’, New Balance is the OG dad trainer brand. Running shoes made cool, these 827 kicks will tick off the pastel trend in the coolest way possible. 

    Shop 827 trainers at New Balance, £100

  • Adidas

    Adidas trainers
    Best dad trainers: Adidas

    A go-to when it comes to chunky kicks, Adidas never fails to get it wrong. The Torsion trainer will serve the purpose of an everyday white pair with all the joys of the uber comfy thick sole.

    Shop Adidas Torsion TRDC Trainers at Arket, £119

  • Reebok

    Reebok trainers
    Best dad trainers: Reebok

    No tribute to the dad trainer would be complete without an honourable mention for Reebok, whose chunky styles have were a firm favourite of dads in the 1980s and 1990s. These chunky trainers offer some seriously retro styling accents inspired by Reebok’s iconic 80s and 90s collections, brought bang up to date with colour block panelling. 

    Shop classic leather legacy trainers at Reebok, £70

  • See by Chloe

    Best dad trainers: See by Chloe

    See by Chloe’s interpretation of the ugly trainer is unashamedly pretty. A patchwork of pastel pinks and warm neutral tones makes for a feminine take on the dad shoe, perfect for those making their first tentative foray into the world of chunky trainers. 

    Shop Kayla trainer at See by Chloe, £285

  • Balenciaga

    Balenciaga trainers
    Best dad trainers: Balenciaga

    We didn’t reach out to a historian for comment but we’d wager that as long as there have been dads, there have been ugly trainers. But when it comes to raising the dad trainer to its new style icon status, it’s French fashion house Balenciaga that deserves the credit. The ultimate chunky-soled trainer, the Triple S is the statement shoe that no self-proclaimed fashion lover should be without.  

    Shop Balenciaga Triple S at Farfetch, £650

  • Jimmy Choo

    Though you might know Jimmy Choo better for its glamorous footwear and gravity-defying stilettos, even this red carpet-ready label can’t resist turning its hand to the dad trainer. This ultra-chunky bright white trainer is a very Jimmy Choo take on the trend, with glittering silver laces and an iridescent sole. 

    Shop Jimmy Choo diamond/F trainers at Farfetch, £595

Main image: Getty

All other images: courtesy of brands

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