The dad trainer: our edit of the shoe trend that refuses to go away

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Would you raid your dad’s wardrobe? The biggest names in fashion did, and what they found has been transformed into this season’s must-have shoe. 

An unlikely fashion icon has been rearing its ugly footwear head over the past couple of months, and now it’s take on hero status: The Dad Trainer.  

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… 

  • Gucci

    Call it the Gucci effect but whatever the Italian superbrand 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

  • See by Chloe

    The dad’s cool little sister, 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

    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 Net-A-Porter, £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 Diamond/F trainers at Jimmy Choo, £595

  • Reebok x Gigi Hadid

    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. Their latest interpretation of the ugly trainer comes courtesy of a collab with no less Gigi Hadid. These chunky trainers offer some seriously retro styling accents inspired by Reebok’s iconic 80s and 90s collections, brought bang up to date with mesh and faux leather panels. 

    Shop Reebok x Gigi Hadid DMX 2200 trainers at Net-A-Porter, £75

  • Shoes 53045

    The brainchild of David Tourniaire-Beauciel (who designed Balenciaga’s iconic Triple S trainer), Shoes 53045 are strong contenders for the title of our favourite ugly trainer. The best part? This flame-coloured pair is so comfortable that the designer compares them to slippers. 

    Shop Shoes 53045 Bump Air trainers at Net-A-Porter, £360

  • Reebok + Pyer Moss

    Another Reebok collab, this time courtesy of streetwear king Pyer Moss. The ultra-chunky sole is the perfect shoe for stomping across town while the multi-coloured patchwork-effect finish makes for a vibrant alternative to all-white designs

    Shop Reebok + Pyer Moss trainers at Net-A-Porter, £200

  • Nike + Off-White

    When Nike and Off-White announced their collaboration we knew to expect great things, and they didn’t disappoint. Enter the Waffle Racer. One-part football boot (note the all-over black spikes) to two-parts dad shoe (complete with DIY-store approved tie tag) this colourful shoe might be less chunky than its counterparts, but we love it no less. Wear yours with wide-leg denim and a lot of attitude. 

    Shop Nike+ Off-White Waffle Racer trainers at Net-A-Porter, £130

Main Image: Getty

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