Does this mark the return of the ‘dad sneaker’?

By Josefin Forsberg

Photo: The Streetland

Streamlined tennis shoes, step aside. We’re welcoming back chunkier soles, but which style will be the new ‘Daddy’ of dad sneakers?

One of fashion’s most divisive shoe trends is making its grand return. Initially proposed by Copenhagen’s fashion crowd, the chunky-soled ‘dad sneaker’ that we’ve come to know (and love) is making a major comeback. We're seeing a wave of new 'dad sneaker's hitting the market, with New Balance’s follow-up to the Classic 991 (a true staple for Scandi tastemakers) announced today.


Which prompts us to look back at when the style first became a staple: when Balenciaga’s Triple S sneakers, Yeezy Wavemakers and other high-fashion dad shoes hit the streets of the Danish capital during the late 2010s. Worn with sweeping skirts and quirky sweaters or modern tailoring by the city’s cool girls, spotted on everyone from booked-and-busy models to fan-favourite content creators like Emili Sindlev and Vogue Scandinavia cover star Pernille Teisbaek.

Peaking by 2019, its popularity has since dwindled, with sleeker tennis styles taking over the runways. However, we're coming full circle – as fashion often does – since the last time our favourite Scandi tastemakers tapped chunky, functional dad sneakers as the shoe-to-shop.

Rabanne autumn/winter '23.

Gucci autumn/winter '23.

Miu Miu autumn/winter '23.

Stella McCartney autumn/winter '23.

On the autumn/winter ‘23 runway, Coach showed chunky high-tops while Marni presented footwear that coordinated with its monochromatic pops of colour. Rabanne showed a roster of ensembles that leaned into true comfort, where fuzzy textures paired with chunky-soled sneakers.

Leisurely looks were also seen on the runway of Stella McCartney, where sneakers grounded floor-sweeping chunky knit dresses. Finally Gucci and Miu Miu made a case for the return of the dad sneaker. Miu Miu paired its version with looks seemingly replicating the chicest of college student's in the midst of exams, while Gucci opted for more office-friendly attire.

Ganni x New Balance as seen on the Danish brand's spring/summer '24 runway. Photo: The Streetland

Cecilie Bahnsen x Asics collaboration on the autumn/winter '23 runway.

Backstage at Miu Miu's autumn/winter '23 runway show. Photo: Acielle / Style Du Monde

Earlier this season, we also witnessed a slew of sought-after sneaker collaborations: Adidas tapped British brand Wales Bonner, rapper Bad Bunny, and artist-come-Louis Vuitton creative director Pharrell Williams. Asics bolstered its Scandinavian presence with its second Cecilie Bahnsen collaboration (carried into the spring/summer ‘24 season), and the Salomon x Sandly Liang styles reappeared on the runway after being released for spring/summer ‘23. Finally, New Balance reaffirmed its role as a provider of hype-worthy kicks, tapping both Aimé Leon Dore and Copenhagen's cool girl brand Ganni as collaborators.

The question remains, however: Who will prove to be the ‘Daddy’ of dad sneakers?