Whether you're here for the cyclical reboot of nostalgic trends, tend sporty with your style, or live for all things streetwear, you've probably taken note of the dad sneaker trend. From chunky silhouettes to overbuilt soles and retro logos, these comfortable sneakers may seem polarizing, but many appreciate their throwback aesthetic. Many enjoy the pragmatic appeal of a comfort-first shoe from a legacy sneaker brand (hence the dad reference).
Categorically, dad sneakers fall into the "ugly" bucket of trends — those nostalgic styles like Bermuda shorts, mom jeans, and Birkenstock sandals. Understandably, these trends can seem tricky to pull off. But, despite trepidation, dad sneakers continue to be a huge trend in 2020. A handful of styles from the likes of Nike, New Balance, and Adidas have proved particularly popular among fashion circles . What this means is plenty of opportunities to try out the dad sneaker trend if you're not already on board and rocking the look wholeheartedly. A little guidance from celebrity, editorial, and commercial stylists by way of head-to-toe outfit ideas might be the exact push you need to spark confidence. Whether the vibe you're after skews laid back or polished — yes, it's possible to steer a dad sneaker in the direction of sophisticated — with a little know-how, you might be capable of pulling them off with aplomb.
Keep reading for six chic dad sneaker outfit recommendations from styling experts centering around the next It Nike, New Balance, and Adidas styles. Plus, all the pieces you'll need to recreate each look on your own. If you need further convincing, take a page out of Kaia Gerber, Rosie Huntington-Whitely, and Timothee Chalamet's style books by emulating some of their recent dad sneaker outfits, too.
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The Dad Sneaker: Nike Air Monarch IV
Rachael Wang, an editorial and commercial stylist whose worked with brands like Nike, Mara Hoffman, and Universal Standard tells TZR, "The all-time most iconic dad sneaker is the Nike Air Monarch IV, which I would recommend wearing with '90s-style jeans, a menswear-inspired blazer, baby tee, and cable chain nickel for the full nostalgic effect."
The Dad Sneaker: New Balance 624
Andrew Gelwicks, a New York and Los Angeles-based celebrity fashion stylist whose clients include Luna Blaise and Catherine O'Hara, tells TZR that dad sneakers are his ideal accessory for offsetting feminine and more formal pieces. "When dressing for the office, a chic and comfortable option is to pair your favorite long slip dress with a pair of dad sneakers. There's something sleek and refined about it, but the shoe allows for it to be not so dressy, and much more relaxed," he says. "For something with a bit more of an edge, pair black dad sneakers with a black mini skirt, black tights ... try with a fun print ... and a cute, simple black top. This monochromatic look gives a playful twist to a sporty look while giving you comfortability when going out with friends."
The Dad Sneaker: Adidas Magmur
New York-based editorial stylist, Rebecca Dennett (whose work can be seen in magazines such as Elle, Allure, Porter, and Vogue Mexico) tells TZR that dad sneakers can be dressed up and made to look as polished as a pair of heels with the right attire. "I would style these cute dad sneakers with this chic midi skirt and camel top, which has a sporty vibe with the polo zipper. I love the contrast of texture with the sneakers, it feels unexpected. It's practical for running around in post-quarantine life but still chic enough to feel like you're making a fashion statement."
The Dad Sneaker: Nike RYZ 365
"Dad sneakers are so uncool they're cool. Isn't that the very name of the game? Effortlessly cool, comfortable, and chic?" says Katie Graner, a former Shopbop stylist who works freelance with a range of women's and men's brands. "My all-time favorite occasion to wear dad sneakers is to work when I have dinner immediately following. I'll style my kicks with a monochrome look featuring a wide-leg trouser and a simple tee. I love the Nike RYZ because they pair with any monochrome look perfectly."
The Dad Sneaker: New Balance 574
The iconic New Balance 574 is a must-have among the fashion set, and stylist, Cat Pope (her work can be seen in Grazia, ICON magazine, and Vogue Arabia and on celebrities including Anna Chlumsky and Andreja Pejic) tells TZR that her go-to take on the look is via the new Split Sale design. "I love the New Balance Split Sail in 'Peach Soda,' they're a fun color pop take on the dad sneaker," she says. "With summer on our doorstep, a great way to style these is to amp up the '80s vibe. I'm thinking long sleeve skater tees, skirts, or shorts in faded denim and white bunched socks."