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The Dad Sneaker: Trendy or Timeless?

Updated: Feb 15, 2023

By Lucy Sweeney

ELLIE / @Ellie on Pinterest

If you wore white, thick-soled, leather sneakers you were usually the punchline in the middle school cafeteria. The “dad sneaker” has essentially earned its nickname for being ugly. These popular trainers were an ode to retro-sportswear in the 90’s.

Up until three or so years ago, these comfort-friendly shoes were embarrassing to wear. Yet the “dad sneaker” craze has recently garnered support and shown no signs of slowing down. Will these tennis shoes stand the test of time?

We know the beloved Levi 501 jeans aren't going anywhere, but what’s the lifespan of dad sneakers? Are these runners a centerpiece item? Gigi Hadid, Haley Bieber, Winnie Harlow and Jaden Smith seem to think so, as they are all sporting their favorite gym shoes.

The same way a father's Sunday cookout uniform is undone without a pair of New Balance 608’s, the average college student’s outfit is incomplete without their choice of kicks. New Balance, Adidas and Nike have since elevated their classics with designs that appeal to both millennials and boomers.

Lifestyle brands like J.Crew, Free People and Staud have collaborated with New Balance to add their flair to these ageless sneakers. To reimagine a cross between comfort and cute, these shoes are designed with pastels, fun hues or monotone styles.

The resurgence of New Balances has been exaggerated enough that some may say it's an “anti-fashion” trend. Yet the unwavering support for your go-to footwear shows it's not. These staples are season-friendly and could be worn while running Christmas errands or busying around on summer vacay.

It's safe to say these sneakers are timeless, so next time you contemplate teasing your grandpa for his white New Balances, remind yourself that soon you’ll be lacing a pair of your own.

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