Clean. Dope. Fresh. These were the words central to the sneakerhead vocabulary. They were your go to words if you were to compliment the kicks of a sneakerhead.
However times have changed. These words are losing their place in the sneakerhead dictionary. Silhouettes such as the Ultraboost, Flyknit Trainer, NMD are now no longer dominating the sneaker trends.
With the sneaker pendulum swining back to heavy-set silhouettes, the definition of "cool" has now taken a turn, and it seems as though many are already boarding the bandwagon.
Thick soles. Oversized upper. Awkward looking. These are the ingredients that make up the current sneaker culture.
Whether you wanna call them chunky or ugly, these shoes are known as "dad shoes".
It's funny how quick trends have changed. After the release of the Under Armour Curry Two Low, we spent the majority of 2017 joking about these dad shoes. Some would say they increased your barbeque skills. Others said these were the shoes you wear to maintain fresh cut lawn.
Fast forward a few months and it's 2018. Seeing the likes of Bella Hadid, Jaden Smith and Kendall Jenner donning these pretty ugly silhouettes, it is undeniable that dad shoes are actually a thing.
In fact, they are now synonymous with high fashion. The recent Milan Fashion Week Fall 2018 showcased some of the popular silhouettes in the market.
A Brief History
It all began back in 2013 with the Ozweego, a chunky $300 Adidas by Raf Simons sneaker that resembled popular vintage Adidas, New Balance and Sketchers models from the 1990s. Featuring different combinations of colours and fabrics, including mesh and rubber, the shoe attracted many followers of fashion and sneakerheads alike.
Over the past few years, the trend began to appear at luxury houses including Balenciaga, Dior Homme, Gucci, Lanvin, Prada and Acne Studios. As these brands started to create their own unique versions of the style for their male consumers, the dad shoe became a street staple item. Just walking on the streets of Sydney and you cannot help but to notice the growing popularity of certain silhouettes such as the Balenciaga Triple S and the Gucci Rhyton.
With these dad shoes becoming a staple item in luxury houses, prominent female figures including Bella Hadid and Kendall Jenner by showcasing the Balenciaga Triple S, have now made the chunky silhouette a fashion statement for even the girls.
Why? Females have always loved bulky silhouettes. Think of the hypebaes and the Jordans they would wear. The 1s, 3's, 5s, 11s just to name a few. And with dad shoes officially being a cool thing, females are taking advantage to headline new styles and fits.
With this, new doors have opened up and it now seems as though sportswear brands are currently fighting back the luxury brands. In an attempt to regain the title of being the "tastemakers", brands such as Adidas and Nike have released numerous silhouettes that embody the dad shoe. Some of which include the Yeezy 500 and 700 as well as the recent Nike M2K Tekno.
Why The Hype?
Many have attributed the rise of dad shoes towards the return of 1980/1990s fashion trends. We're talking track jackets, throwback jerseys, snap pants. And it's quite true. These dad shoes have made strong references to ’80s and ’90s punk culture where 8-bit colour was so prominent.
What is 8-bit colour anyways? When we say "8-bit colour", we mean the bold, elementary hues in retro arcades and video games — primary and secondary colours such as red, yellow, orange, blue, green. No monochrome, greyscale or jewel color schemes. These 8-bit colour-blocking is the type of lo-fi, high-contrast aesthetic commonly seen on ‘90s-era sportswear garments such as tracksuits and racing jackets and pants.
Whilst many have attributed dad shoes to the return of vintage retro apparel such track jackets and throwback jerseys, this is not the only driver for the dad shoe trend.
So what is this other driver?
Over the past few years, there has been an evolution going around the streets. Such evolution has seen "normcore" shifting towards a new trend called the "gorpcore". According to Vogue Magazine, normcore is a "collective, neutral blandness – eschewing obvious markers of luxury, fashion and distinctive style and instead opting for a more low key, cool look with a dash of athleticism and a whiny of the ‘90s."
On the other hand, gorpcore has an emphasis on utility and function as seen with the fleece vests, colourful, too-big puffer jackets, durable raincoats, velcro accessories and bumbags.
Trend forecasting agency K-Hole believes that both normcore and gorpcore reflect sentiments of liberation in being nothing special, and realises that adaptability leads to belonging. And it makes sense when you look at the styles of normcore and gorpcore. To some degree, these styles are an example of effortless fashion and for the dad shoes to complement this style, it is as though they are the path to a more peaceful life.
PUSHAS' Guide On How To Dress Like A Dad
Want to hop on the trend but don't know how to get started? Well luckily for you, we got you covered! Check out our simple steps on how to dress like a dad!
Earlier this week, we asked our community what they think about the dad shoes. And from our poll as seen below, we can conclude that it really is a hit or miss.
You either love them or you hate them. Simple as that.
But what do we think of dad shoes? Well, the whole concept of the shoe has been quite intriguing. The dad shoe has been a pretty sufficient way of showcasing that you're someone who can flaunt your knowledge of current trends. Whether you are wearing these dad shoes to complement baggy trackpants or fleece vest, you are an embodiment of effortless fashion.
Aesthetically though the shoes are an eyesore. When you compare these dad shoes to something like the Off-White Vapormax, there just seems to be no signs of real craftsmanship. The general build of the shoe looks clunky and rather obscure, and because of that it just does not match the likes of the Yeezy 350 V2s or the Air Max Sean Wotherspoon 1/97 in terms of aesthetics.
Is it here to stay? Honestly speaking, probably not for long. Sure there will be people still rocking the classic chunky basketball shoes like the Nike Uptempo or the Reebok Preacher Ice and the Yeezy 500 and 700s. But in terms of luxury brands such as Balenciaga and Gucci, it feels as though those shoes are going to die out. This is mainly because sportswear brands were the original tastemakers for these silhouettes and it is just very difficult for luxury brands to mimic the design without overplaying it.
What do you think of this dad shoe trend?
Are luxury brands trying too hard to mimic sportswear brands?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
By Daniel PUSHAS