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Trendsetters were called crazy when they first started wearing chunky sneakers, but, a few years later, the kicks are still everywhere. Also called “dad shoes” or “ugly sneakers,” chunky, oversized sneakers have been around since sneakers were first released, but the look really took off around 2018 and shosw no sign of slowing down. Now, the best chunky sneakers are more wearable (and more abundant) than ever.
In the early days of the trend, some of the best chunky sneakers were the Raf Simons x Adidas Ozweego, Balenciaga Triple S and New Balance 990. Some of these have stuck around, although we’re also seeing new chunky sneakers on the streets and runways such as the Hoka One One and Balenciaga’s more recent Track Sneaker.
Whether you’re gearing up to dip your toe in the dad shoe world or shopping for your fifth pair, read on. We’ve rounded up eight of the best chunky sneakers to buy right now, as well as some tips for styling your new pair.
How to Wear Chunky Sneakers
The chunky sneaker trend relies on other fashion movements to work. Baggy pants, loose-fitting tops and oversized outerwear all allow the best chunky sneakers to really shine. We also think chunky sneakers look best with more slouchy clothing, so thick, structured jeans might be difficult to pair with these kicks. Also, there is one absolute rule when styling chunky sneakers: no skinny pants or skinny jeans.
As far as outfit palette with chunky sneakers, you’ve got options. Neutral, monochrome outfits are a great way to showcase the statement-making sneakers while colorful palettes match the boldness of “ugly” sneakers.
The Best Chunky Sneakers
Below are some of our favorite chunky sneakers to buy online. We’ve included options from old-school sneakers like the Nike Air Max to modern Adidas, so there should be something for every personal style.
1. New Balance 990v5
If you’re new to chunky sneakers or want maximum versatility, check out the New Balance 990v5 silhouette. Looking great with everything from chinos and an oxford to shorts and a logo tee, the shoes are dad style purified into a sneaker. The 990v5s are also some of the most comfortable shoes out there thanks to a breathable mesh and premium suede construction, as well as an Ortholite insert for support.
2. Nike Air Max 90 SE
The Air Max 90 is a throwback sneaker that Nike has continuously updated due to its lasting popularity. This colorway of the SE model is a great pick right now with variations of white on each panel, a green logo on the heel and a green Air unit in the sole. Highly versatile as far as outfit options go, the Air Max 90 looks great with minimalist chinos and jeans or maximalist statement fits.
3. Adidas Ozweego
Originally released in 1998, Adidas’ Ozweegos were always a top pick for chunky sneakers. Raf Simons breathed new life into the maximalist silhouette back in 2013, and now the Ozweegos are a staple in many sneaker collections. We like this modern all-black colorway, delivering Adiprene heel cushioning and Adiprene+ technology in the forefoot. This cushioning system makes the shoes extremely comfortable for long days, commutes or walks — although it’s still a fashion statement through and through.
4. Reebok Lifestyle Classic Leather
Retro style has made a comeback recently, and Reebok’s sneakers are at the center of the trend. These white leather Classics with a gum sole are probably the most iconic option. While they’re certainly chunky, the Classics are a bit more streamlined than some of our other picks. This makes them a good choice for anyone with a casual, low-profile sense of style.
5. Air Jordan 4 Retro “Fire Red 2020” sneakers
As any sneakerhead will attest, Jordans are an essential piece in any fashion lover’s wardrobe right now. We like these Jordan 4s because you don’t see them as often as the uber-popular (and uber-hard-to-get) Jordan 1s. This “Fire Red 2020” model adds a splash of color with red accents on the sole, eyelets and logo. Wear them casually with streetstyle staples such as baggy chinos or cargo pants and a tee.
6. Hoka One One Bondi 7
For a sporty pick, go with the Hoka One One Bondi 7. Using Hoka’s beloved cushioning and early-stage Meta Rocker, the shoes make walking and running smoother and easier on joints. Memory foam collars and TPU Overlays on the midfoot, meanwhile, lend structure for even more support. Although they’re meant for athletics, we’ve seen Hoka’s worn very well on the streets of fashion week and on the feet of stylish people everywhere.
7. Balenciaga Track Sneaker
Balenciaga’s Triple S sneaker was one of the shoes that lead the chunky sneaker trend a couple of years ago. The Spanish designer brand has since released these Track Sneakers which generated plenty of buzz for their techy, running-inspired look and bulky silhouette. Design highlights include a hyper-flared sole, a multilayer lacing cage and a mesh upper base layer. Be sure to wear them with other bold pieces such as an oversized top and baggy slacks, for example.
8. Puma Thunder Spectra
If you want some well-considered color, go with these Puma Thunder Spectras. They combine red, yellow, pale blues, black and white into a cohesive, athletic look. With a mesh upper, a leather toe and rubber on the heel, the materials are equally diverse and interesting. As the style is distinct, the shoes look best with simple outfits such as light chinos and a white tee.