June 14, 2018
By Jody Hume
LOVE OR LOATHE? THE DAD SNEAKERSHOP EDITORS' SNEAKER PICKS
It used to be that people were afraid of turning into their parents. Now, it seems like it’s the coolest thing you can do. First it was mom jeans that were everywhere, and now it’s dad style that’s staging a fashion takeover. Among the Hawaiian shirts and floppy bucket hats being embraced by designers and fashion people, it’s the chunky, un-streamlined, dorky, practical white dad sneaker that’s become the key must-have. You could argue that Balenciaga is at the center of this trend, and depending on your outlook, they’re either to be blamed or celebrated. Because, like many It items, the dad sneaker is divisive. Is it the perfect dose of irony to add to a pretty dress or staid suit? Or are they just plain ugly? To get both sides of the debate, we asked Senior Designer Eric Johnson (also our go-to sneakerhead) and Editorial Style Lead Kyle Stiansen to share their opinions.
So you are on the pro side or still trying to sort out feelings on this label?
To me, I equate dad sneakers with those perplexing trends in history like ‘80s power shoulders and MC Hammer harem pants. I remember when Raf came out with his version of them years ago and I couldn’t wrap my head around it.
I agree, I feel like the label only came about because they came into the forefront at a time when the tech trainer was dominant, and the only assessment they could make was that these were something their dad would wear. So what do you feel was patient zero of this wave? I feel like the fact that the Raf Ozweegos took off should have been a sign.
I think where we are in fashion right now is sort of the pinnacle of ironic fashion, and dad sneakers really reflect that. In the ‘80s to shock people was to do something like Gaultier or Mugler and create these insane fashion forms. Now designers are choosing to grab attention by making pieces that make you go “who would pay 6 figures for that?” Were you into them when they first became something or did it take time?
I was instantly on board when I first saw the [Balenciaga] Triple S samples. I think it was the fact that shoes had been so safe for so long, that this overly brash and hideous thing grabbed my attention. I came from wearing skate shoes and Air Force Ones for so long, that it was familiar territory to go back to something so chunky and random-looking.
Like a hardened marshmallow. I think what makes it more rebellious in a way is that they are so scuffed-looking. I actually think the Gucci Rhyton sneakers are more successful. Something about the logo gives it a funnier look that I like.
I think because of how slapped on it looks. Like the model was done, and someone in a panic realized there wasn’t any branding on it so someone stuck a sticker on the side of the prototype and said ship it. But you could honestly sit that in a Skechers store, without the branding, and no one would know the difference aside from the quality of materials. I will say, I’m extremely fond of the Dior Homme trainers. I think I’m biased based on its similarity in shape to the Air Max 90, which is one of my favorite sneakers of all time.
So how do you wear these? Because I look at them and know I will definitely look geriatric from the waist down.
For me, it’s either a nice wide leg or a cropped pant. I feel like unless you are a size 9 or smaller, wearing them with anything even remotely fitted, looks terribad. You don’t need anything as crazy as like a Rick Owens Mastodon pant, but you don’t want to look like a stick with blocks on your feet. I’m not even really a fan of wearing them with jeans, which feels like it pokes even more holes in the “dad-shoe” moniker …
Oh you definitely can’t wear these with jeans. You have to play up their peculiarity. Do your friends embrace the dad sneak?
Yes and no. A few of my friends have veered down the route of the functional but ugly as sin route, like the Salomon S-Lab or a New Balance 990v4. Others can appreciate the design while not wanting to touch them with a 10 foot pole personally. I think I’m a lot more willing to crash and burn with sneakers, so I would have given them a chance regardless.