If you want to look fresh, try raiding your father’s closet.
“Dad shoes” — those thick-soled, aggressively awkward sneakers beloved by Jerry Seinfeld, circa 1994 — are currently fashion’s hottest, must-have accessory.
And celebrities can’t get enough of them.
Just this past month, Kim Kardashian, Kendall Jenner and Jaden Smith have all sported new clunky tennis shoes by brands like Yeezy and Louis Vuitton.
Chance the Rapper donned a pair while hosting “Saturday Night Live” in November, while model Bella Hadid wore some very dadlike Nikes during a recent dinner with her own dad.
“We’re in the dad-sneaker peak at the moment,” says Yu-Ming Wu, cofounder of the traveling industry footwear event Sneaker Con, which takes place in New York City on Dec. 16 and 17.
Andrew Raisman, founder of the app Copdate, which allows users to buy highly coveted kicks without waiting in line, believes the trend originated with Yeezy “Powerphase,” an all-white, defiantly uncool sneaker released by rapper-designer Kanye West in March 2017.
“It’s like Kanye went into the Adidas archive and was like, ‘Find the weirdest, most generic shoe and let me make it a hype sneaker,’” Raisman says.
Apparently, Kanye was onto something.
In September, Balenciaga launched a $850 multicolored dad sneaker, the “Triple S,” which Wu says go for $1,500 on resale sites.
Luxury labels like Céline and Gucci have shown old-fogeylike kicks on their Spring and Resort 2018 runways, while street-style stars attended September’s Fashion Week sporting ungainly sneakers with fabulous, fancy frocks.
In response, sportier brands like Fila and Sketchers have re-released their own vintage geeky designs. “They’re the antithesis of the kind of slick, technical shoes that had dominated the sneaker world for a long time,” says Raisman, adding that unattractive footwear is just part of the current trend.
“A 15-year-old kid and a 50-year-old man dress the same now,” he says, citing the oversize drab trenchcoats, bland $800 hoodies and Soviet-era threads by the influential design collective Vetements.
Not that Raisman covets any dad kicks for himself.
“I guess they’re comfortable, they look pretty sturdy, and they make you look two inches taller,” he says. “But from a purely aesthetic perspective, they’re nothing great to look at.