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In the past few years, finding the best chunky sneakers for women has become important to fashion mavens everywhere. However, oversized sneakers aren’t anything new — some classic styles have even been around for several decades (looking at you, Asics) — but the trend has really been ramping up on runways (see: Off White and Cecilie Bahnsen, for example) and in stores recently. Even Rihanna wore a pair of chunky sneakers during her history-making Super Bowl performance in 2023, and celebs including Kim Kardashian, Hailey Bieber, Katie Holmes, and Coi Leray have all been spotted in the gravity-defying shoe trend.
It’s not just celebs, though: “Dad sneakers” have been — and continue to be — spotted on some of the coolest influencers and content creators in the biz, helping to cement their status as one of the most controversial and unexpected trendy sneakers in the same vein as Crocs and sport sandals. The first generation of chunky sneakers emerged in the ‘80s, with many originally designed as skateboarding, basketball, or running shoes. Of course, though, it wasn’t long before these “ugly,” giant shoes became a fashion piece in their own right, just as suitable for wearing with a sweatsuit as they are for toughening up a floaty dress.
In 2023, there are slews of chunky platform sneakers to choose from an array of labels. For example, New Balance has perfected the dad sneaker look; Sorel makes incredible walking shoes for women; Hoka has got running shoes covered; Alexander McQueen has the ultimate designer sneakers. So keep reading to learn more about the trend as well as our editor and expert-approved top picks for the best chunky dad sneakers. Whether you’re looking for workout shoes or shoes for conditions such as bunions, or you’re on the market for chunky sneakers that will make a real fashion statement, this roundup has them all.
Best Classic Dad Chunky Sneakers for Women
New Balance is many people’s first choice of brand for chunky dad sneakers, and that’s definitely the case for fashion content creator, stylist and trend expert Erin Eagle. “These sneakers rose to popularity last year, and are not slowing down anytime soon,” the expert says. “I would style them with a pair of wide-leg jeans, a cropped white tank top, and an oversized blazer for a simple but elevated streetwear look.” These come in various shades of white, gray or black, as well as with colorful accents. But they’re not just stylish: They’re also super comfy for walking around in all day thanks to the ABZORB midsole, which helps to, well, absorb the impact of your foot hitting the sidewalk or other hard surfaces.
What reviewers say: “Bought these a couple weeks ago and they’re so comfortable, but be warned, the other reviews are true, these are in men’s sizes, so make sure to look at the conversion chart for W sizing to M sizing. For reference, I’m a Women’s US size 8, and I bought the 6.5 — they fit just right! Even a bit of space around the toes, which I liked because I have wide feet. Highly recommend these and they go with anything!”
Related: Best New Balance Sneakers
Best White Chunky Sneaker for Women
Nike chunky sneakers are also incredibly popular — which makes sense considering the brand is one of the top-selling athletic brands, period. If you’re looking for women’s chunky white sneakers, Nike’s TC 7900 sneakers are where it’s at. They feature a classic, dad-like design, with webbing and rubber details to really bring it home. They’re designed to support your feet as you walk and stand throughout the day, thanks to thick foam cushioning on the inside and chunky, durable rubber soles on the outside.
What reviewers say: “Originally bought for the gym, but they’re also great for everyday wear.”
Related: Best Nike Running Shoes
Best Colorful Chunky Sneaker for Women
Though these Fila chunky sneakers come in a very popular plain white version, they’re especially great for those looking for a bright-colored statement shoe. Whether you go for the white shoe with neon details or the all-coral or buttercup colorways, you’ll be sure to make a splashy entrance wherever you go in these. Make sure to size up half a size, and you’ll find these to be the most comfortable shoes ever for walking or standing for long periods of time, offering fantastic arch support, a real leather upper, and a lightweight rubber sole.
What reviewers say: “Size up by a half size, I learned that the hard way. Originally got a size 8 in Women’s (that’s my size) but it was too tight. The 8.5 fits perfectly. The shoe looks and feels great.” From Macy’s
Best Value Chunky Sneaker for Women
By all accounts, these Lucky Step shoes are the best affordable chunky sneakers money can buy. Thanks to their lightweight material and slip-resistant rubber sole, they’re ideal for walking long distances and stylish enough to be your festival footwear of choice. While these aren’t orthopedic shoes by any means, they are suitable for those with flat feet. Just note that they can take a few wears to break in — it’s best to wear a Band-Aid on your Achilles tendon to avoid blisters. Once broken in, they’re comfortable to wear in any weather conditions and will totally perfect your outfit without breaking the bank.
What reviewers say: “I’m planning on buying these in as many colors as I can. They’re very comfortable and look exactly like the pictures. I ordered my usual size and they fit perfectly.”
Best Women’s Chunky Sneaker for Walking
Whether your job requires you to stand for long periods of time or you’re looking for a lightweight hiking shoe, these from Sorel are it. Though these walking shoes aren’t ideal for plantar fasciitis, people are impressed with the amount of ankle support they provide. They will keep your feet stable and allow them to breathe, thanks to the mesh uppers. We also appreciate that the brand uses sustainable materials such as the eco-friendly textile topcover.
What reviewers say: “These are so comfortable. I like the little height boost but they’re still great for walking. I went for a little hike that had some snowy spots and I didn’t slip. I appreciate the traction and can’t wait to run in them. I would definitely size up if you have wide feet but thankfully I have other SORELs and knew this already.” From Amazon
Best Women’s Chunky Sneaker for Running
Hoka’s Rincon 3 Sneakers are wonderful running shoes for plantar fasciitis or flat feet, thanks to their cushioned midsole and lightweight construction, which allows you to run fast without hurting your feet on the sidewalk. While these shoes require you to size down and take some time breaking them in, once you’ve ticked off those requirements, you’ll find they’re incredibly comfortable — whether you intend to wear them for jogging or as a supportive fashion shoe. They also come in a ton of fantastic colorways and in both regular and wide sizing.
What reviewers say: “It’s taken a long time to find comfortable shoes to wear being flat-footed. These shoes feel amazing.”
Best Sporty Chunky Sneaker for Women
“If I had to pick my top sneaker prediction for spring ’23, this one would be it,” Eagle says. “The Salomon XT-6 is the ultimate choice for the ‘gorpcore’ enthusiast and has already gained popularity among celebrities.” The stylist is right: Emily Ratajkowski and Bella Hadid are among the fashion girls who swear by these sneakers. But the XT-6 is something of an unwitting fashion favorite, having originally emerged as a trail running shoe. As such, it’s able to weather any and all terrains with its EVA cushioning, fantastic stability, and lightweight construction that won’t weigh one down.
What reviewers say: “Just bought these a few weeks ago and they are some of my favorite shoes I own. I’m normally a women’s size 7.5 in Reebok/Nike and I got a 6.5 men’s for these and they do fit a little bit big but they are so comfy and easy to put on. The straps don’t adjust super tightly because of the tightening mechanism but they are the perfect everyday walking shoes for me. Not to mention they are so cute.”
Best Retro Chunky Sneaker for Women
Asics’ Japan S PF model is based on an original design from 1981, hence the cool retro vibe — but with the added platform to fit that chunky sneaker trend nicely. They come in a range of neutral tones, meaning they’re easy to pair with just about any outfit you can dream up, with just enough branding for those who enjoy the look of a logo. They provide all-day comfort and support for walking around town or traveling. Reviewers also love that they don’t take much breaking in and that they’re significantly more affordable than other equivalent styles. They do run a little small, though.
What reviewers say: “These are very cute, they go with everything, true to size, very comfortable and well priced! I have them and so does my daughter and we both love them.”
Best Designer Chunky Sneaker for Women
Ask most fashion connoisseurs, and they’ll tell you that Alexander McQueen’s Oversized Sneakers are the best designer chunky sneakers you can get. Since Mcqueen first introduced them during its Spring/Summer 2015 show, the Oversized Sneaker has quickly become a style staple for those looking for a fashion shoe. Many people find these comfortable to walk in, but sadly others find them stiff and prone to blistering. While they may not be the most practical depending on the shape of your foot, we love that they look like someone inflated a classic Stan Smith. They’re very, very cool.
What reviewers say: “I absolutely love them. They are a perfect fit. Comfortable and stylish. Definitely would buy them in different colors.”
Best Chunky High-Top Sneaker for Women
A platform version of Van’s classic skater shoe, these chunky high-top sneakers come in either suede or canvas versions. They’re perfect if you’re looking to wear them under long pants or if you just want to hop on the chunky sneaker trend in a fail-proof way. While it can take a couple of tries to get the sizing right, and these shoes feel quite stiff on the first few wears, they are super comfortable and lightweight once on.
What reviewers say: “I own the regular black Old Skool and the Sk8-Hi shoes and I’ve wanted to purchase the stackform version of them for some of my pants that are a little too long for me and they’re exactly what I wanted. The platform isn’t heavy and I love that the tongue has a cushion on it.”
Best Canvas Chunky Sneaker for Women
Presenting: the chunky sneaker version of “business in the front, party in the back.” These Converse are your timeless classic Chuck Taylors on top and textured chunky sneakers on the bottom. They’re not for you if discretion is the name of your game, but for everything else, they’re a simply fantastic shoe. They need to be broken in but are very comfortable to wear throughout the day, provide great support, and don’t cause any blisters or uncomfortable rubbing.
What reviewers say: “I get so many compliments. They go with all my outfits. Cute and stylish. They are comfortable and easy to clean!!”
Best Leather Chunky Sneaker for Women
These Adidas chunky sneakers are another winning style: just a classic Forum shoe with the three stripes, but set on a flatform for extra height. Made from genuine leather, they feature a memory foam liner to mold to your foot and provide comfort as you go about your daily activities. They’re perfect for throwing on with a simple dress, a pair of jeans, or a sweatsuit — especially if your bottoms are on the long side. Though some people find the toe box a little narrow, they fit a majority of foot shapes perfectly.
What reviewers say: “I love these shoes! they are perfect for everyday wear and extremely comfortable. I think they make my casual outfits look higher end and the platform is a fun bonus!”
Best Adidas Basketball Sneakers
Best Platform Chunky Sneaker for Women
Steve Madden is really onto something with its Possession sneakers. These may be sporty-looking, but they’re a fashion sneaker through and through, with their multicolored and solid-colored options, side logo, and super on-trend silhouette. You may need to go half a size up for a better fit, but other than that, they’re very comfortable to walk in (after a touch of breaking in, but that’s par for the course).
What reviewers say: “Purchased in white to wear with literally everything this spring and summer. The style is perfect in person! I wear a 9 in everything, I followed the suggestion to size up and got the 9.5. Toe hit the end. Have a 10 coming and hope it works. Definitely size a full size up. This style won’t disappoint.”
Best Wedge Chunky Sneaker for Women
Where most chunky sneakers are set on a platform or an arch-shaped sole, these from classic sportswear brand Puma switch things up with a slanted wedge style. Try these chunky sneakers in black or white for a sleek addition to your outfit, which makes a statement without looking too bulky. As long as you take a half size higher than your usual size, you essentially won’t need to break these in for them to feel extremely comfortable. Plus, they’re really durable, so you get more than your money’s worth here.
What reviewers say: “Wore these for a 9-hour shift on concrete floor. Had no pain at end of day and feet weren’t sore like usual. Highly recommend!”
Best Sustainable Chunky Sneaker for Women
Veja has become a cult destination for fantastic sneakers, in large part because the company is so dedicated to sustainability. This also goes for their chunky sneaker style, which is made from various eco-friendly materials, including natural rubber, recycled polyester, organic cotton, and even sugar cane. “This sneaker offers a clean, minimal style with a slightly thicker sole, giving an updated twist to the brand’s classic design,” says Eagle. “I would style these sneakers with my favorite jeans, a white sheer top, and a cropped black leather jacket.” Like many other sneaker styles, these run small, so make sure to size up. With that said, these Vejas are constantly selling out because they look beautiful and have great arch support, which will help you avoid aches and pains after a long day’s wear.
What reviewers say: “First off — size up. Listen to the other reviews. I’m a pretty true 9 and I got a 10, they fit so perfectly. Second, WOW these shoes are the best. Soooooo comfortable, SO much arch support that admittedly feels weird at first but will help tremendously in the long run. The colors are beautiful.”
“Whether spotted on the Off-White and Cecilie Bahnsen runways or during Rihanna’s Super Bowl performance, chunky sneakers continue to steal the show,” says Stitch Fix stylist Molly Roe. “One of the trends Stitch Fix predicted in its 2023 Style Forecast is maximalism and chunky sneakers certainly fall into this ‘more is more’ category. Based on recent runway collections, we’re predicting there will be a rise in chunky sneakers that incorporate futuristic qualities, such as iridescent side panels, or feature utilitarian details, like drawstring ankle cuffs or velcro straps.”
Alexander McQueen continues to dominate the designer chunky sneaker market with its Oversized Sneaker, while Balenciaga certainly got the futuristic memo, considering the chunky sneaker styles they’ve brought out recently with their X-Pander silhouette. Gucci is also a go-to label for unconventional ugly dad sneakers, such as those with retro neon shades or jeweled embellishments. Meanwhile, affordable brands such as Steve Madden and LUCKY STEP have also developed trendy platform sneaker designs, so you don’t have to spring for the designer ones.
Chunky sneakers aren’t all created equal, so it’s important to keep these factors in mind when you’re shopping for a pair:
Putting together the perfect chunky sneakers outfit isn’t difficult — we promise. Despite their size, these shoes are versatile and go with pretty much any outfit. Besides, since they’re often super comfy, the same pair can sometimes take you seamlessly from the hiking trail straight to happy hour.
For more than 75 years, Footwear News has been the shoe authority. Our coverage spans top industry news, retail trends, head-to-toe fashion, athletic and outdoor analysis, and more. Footwear News’ global network of editors has carefully curated all product selections featured using our expansive brand knowledge and thorough research to find quality, long-lasting items.
In order to select the best chunky sneakers for women, we conducted extensive research into the products currently on the market, as well as sifted through reviews to make sure we only included beautiful, high-quality shoes. We spoke to Stitch Fix stylist Molly Roe, who provided insider knowledge into the chunky sneaker trend, and fashion content creator Erin Eagle, who recommended her favorite picks and explained how to style them.
Iris Goldsztajn is a freelance writer and editor based in London, UK. She is currently the morning editor at Marie Claire, and her work has appeared in the likes of British Vogue, InStyle, Refinery29, Bustle, and many more. She is originally from Paris, France, and has lived in Los Angeles and New York City. Previously, Iris was the associate editor at Her Campus, where she was responsible for all style and beauty blog content.
Molly Roe is a stylist at Stitch Fix, an online personal styling service that picks clothing for you based on your needs and preferences. Roe is based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and works as styling team lead for Stitch Fix, where she keeps a keen eye on trends in order to best advise customers.
Erin Eagle is a fashion content creator, stylist and trend expert who goes by @inthesejeans on Instagram. She is the founder of A Style Set, a community-driven platform that helps both men and women to find pieces they love, all while having fun with the shopping experience. A Style Set is committed to inclusivity and aims to cater to all budgets and styles.