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Dad shoes are a vibe. They’re functional, clunky, super-soft, and hell, they’re even ugly. That’s the whole thing. Dad shoes are anti-fashion to the point of being the height of fashion and that’s just the way it is.
Dad sneakers, specifically, are pretty hard to miss. They’re those mostly white, orthopedic-looking sneakers that are easy on bunions. They basically scream, “I have plantar fasciitis” and we love them for that. They’re a real ’90s vibe, especially when paired with the straight-leg jeans and a brightly colored shirt of your choosing. Dad shoes have a history like many trends do. They were mainstream, and then they went out of style, and then they became so out of mainstream style that they became high-fashion.
Most sneaker history experts point to 2018 as the year shoes meant for dads became Dad Shoes. Birkenstocks were back, especially with mid-calf white socks. New Balance 990v5s were gray and chunky and worn with made-to-measure suits. Clunky Yeezys were all in.
Since then, Dad Shoes have maintained their status, assisted by way of a global pandemic. Comfort was both a statement and a necessity. Nobody was out here trying to stuff their toes into dress shoes when working from home. No way. Instead, you put walking shoes for your daily walk around the block, probably in sweats. People fell in love with soft clothes and comfortable shoes, and they don’t want to go back to the way it was before (aka wearing options that were stuffy, tight and unforgiving). People whose jobs involve standing all day, rejoice.
Here, we rounded up the 20 best dad shoes you can get your hands on. These shoes are for everyone, whether you’re an actual dad looking for practical footwear or a streetwear fiend looking for dadcore’s finest. Start here.
L.L.Bean Slipper Moccasin
L.L. Bean Slippers are about ease and comfort, above all else. They’re an at-home shoe, if you’re not ready to take the dad style out for a spin in the real world just yet, although you might be convinced after wearing these for a bit. They’re lined with shearling and have a good rubber sole for hardwood floor traction.
Adidas Adissage Slide
Hello, ’90s dad. The Adidas Adissage slide evokes feelings of nostalgia for many, and offers unbeatable comfort with a flexible footbed featuring massaging nubs. Wear them barefoot in the summer and with those thick white socks for taking out the trash in the winter. They go well with all forms of workout clothes.
Asics The Gel-1090 Sneaker
Another throwback: Asics’ The Gel-1090. The running shoe from 2003 has been reimagined for the modern man while keeping its signature lines inspired by motorcycles. It’s got that signature thick sole and nurse-shoe white finish that makes a dad shoe what it is.
New Balance 574v2 Sneaker
These New Balance 574v2 kicks are perfect for someone who is going for the streamlined, rugged look instead of the popular chunky white style. The style is a true throwback, with inspiration dating back to New Balance in the ’80s. It was created to combine road and trail running shoe elements but also work for running to the grocery store.
Adidas Strutter Sneaker
Does the shoe you’re looking at seem like it belongs on a power walk? You bet it does. A modern take on a chunky shoe, Adidas’ Strutter sneaker offers a slightly more streamlined look with a textured bottom. It’s good for power walking and regular walking.
Reebok Classic Sneaker
Reebok’s Classic sneaker is not as chunky as other pairs, and for that reason, dads can appreciate its relaxed comfort and everyday feel that provides ’70s and ’80s-style accents. The white upper and gum sole is a time-tested combination. They go well with denim (the straighter the leg, the better) and joggers.
Nike Air Monarch IV Sneaker
If your dad prefers lifted over flatter style, Nike’s Air Monarch IV is the ultimate pick with its mega-boosted sole featuring an Air unit for comfort. It’s one of the best Nike walking sneakers of all time, thanks to its wide base of support and ample room for toe stabilization. As you walk, your feet swell, but these make sure your feet are supported and not smushed up against the sides as the day wears on.
Skechers AfterBurn Sneaker
Take a trip back to the ’90s with Skechers’ Afterburn sneaker, featuring a lugged outsole and smooth uppers adorned with stitched detailing. For those looking to dip their toe into the world of dadcore style, this sneaker is a test in your abilities. Wear them with pride and also your favorite hoodie.
Birkenstock Arizona Sandal
Dads everywhere deserve to love Birkenstock’s Arizona sandals. And maybe you already do, since Birkenstock itself called this the “official home office shoe” of the pandemic. This two-strap slide is the third shoe Birkenstock dropped back in the ’70s and has made its home in gardens, living rooms and runways ever since.
Cole Haan GrandPro Rally Sneaker
Cole Haan’s GrandPro Rally sneaker is a dad shoe without being a Dad Shoe. Which is to say, that you don’t need to be trying to make any sort of anti-fashion statement by wearing them. Cole Haan’s shoes have made working dads’ lives so much easier with their signature bouncy support, thanks to the Ortholite foam footbed.
Blundstone Pull-On Boot
Perhaps you’ll notice that a lot of dad shoes can be characterized as Crunchy Granola. This is true. That’s because function is coming way before form here, as does the Blundstone Pull-On Boot. It’s an indestructible boot, meant to take on harsh conditions and tough wear. These are also one of our favorite shoes for standing all day.
Hoka One One Bondi Running Shoe
Hoka One One Bondi might really be the height of signature dad sneakers, and is one of the best models in the brand’s lineup. They’re huge and comfy. They’re white and clinical. They’re adept at absorbing all force from your feet, making them great for walking in all day in, especially if you have worrisome foot ailments or low back pain.
Adidas Stan Smith Sneaker
Adidas Stan Smith sneakers are by far one of the best Adidas sneakers of all time and pretty much have been since their inception in 1965. They have a simple, low-profile design that has stayed with the shoe throughout the years. The shoes got their signature Stan Smith title in the ’70s, after the famed tennis player signed with Adidas.
Nike Air Max 95 Sneaker
Nike’s Air Max 95 wears its comfort on the outside. Look at those pockets of air! Imagine how bouncy and free they’ll feel on your feet. They pull through on the comfort front with full consistency, making them one of the best Nike shoes of all time. They were designed as running shoes in the ’90s but are no one-movement wonder.
Chaco Banded Sandal
Chaco’s banded sandals are like if the Florida Dad Shoe was its own subset of footwear. Which, maybe they are. Chaco’s banded sandals are extremely popular among coastal dwellers. They’re vegan, obviously, and made with a super-soft foot bed that makes sure your feet stay supported. The straps are part of the look here but they also act as added security.
New Balance 990v5 Sneaker
Ah, the New Balance 990v5 — the real dadcore shoe if there ever was one. Made for running, walking and just about anything, these shoes are tough, so you don’t have to worry about them getting flimsy or worn out quickly. The shoes are made with an Ortholite insert and are part of the brand’s “Made in the U.S.A.” campaign — an emphasis on local manufacturing.
Sperry Striper II Sneaker
Dads in boat shoes is a whole thing and that’s fine. But, boat shoes are not the only way. The Sperry Striper II is also a standout dad shoe with all of the practicality of a Sperry with a bit more wearability. On the boat, to the beach, out to dinner — they’re the kind of shoe his kids won’t be embarrassed to see him wearing.
Timberland Redwood Boot
Timberland Redwood is the dad shoe maybe your dad or you as a dad didn’t know they needed. Timberland boots are no secret, of course, but this lower boot has all of the functionality as his old reliables with a fresher look. These work boots are seam-sealed and waterproof, ideal for lawn chores.
Dr. Scholl’s Crux Clog
I’m not a dad, but I think Dr. Scholl’s Crux Clog are my dream dad shoe. They’re clog and brown (not that dads monopolize a color, but also don’t they, kind of?). That screams dad. These ones have a soft inside lining for warm feet and are sustainably made. The fabric is crafted with recycled materials.
Fila Workshift Shoe
Fila’s Workshift shoe is a favorite for dads looking for slip-resistant work shoes or hardcore dad style fans who preach practicality above all else. The key detail here is the traction. These shoes are designed to keep you firmly planted on the ground, even if there’s water or oil on top of it. They make for a very good garage activity shoe, too.