Nike Air Monarch Assassin Left

What Will Replace the Dad Shoe?

Date: August 04 2019

By: Gabe Filippa


Spearheaded by nostalgic silhouettes like the Nike Air Monarch and New Balance 990, the ‘dad shoe’ emerged from its slumber to become one of the unexpected icons of contemporary streetwear. From the visionary Raf Simons Ozweego to Kanye West’s Wave Runner 700, it seems like everyone in the world of sneakers has offered their own interpretation of the hefty footwear trend. 

But what’s next for the dad shoe? Will we continue to raid the basket of sneakers that our fathers leave by the back door? Or will the trend modernise and morph into something else entirely?

We offered some alternatives and predictions for the future.

Visvim Christo Sandal Olive Right

visvim Christo Sandal | visvim

Daddy Goes on Vacation

Brands have been quick to slide into the sandal phenomenon in 2019, Yeezy’s Slide, visvim’s Christo, and John Elliott’s Suicoke colab all taking cues from the popular, chunkier trends hijacking the sneaker scene. From Off-White throwbacks like the Jelly Sandal to Gucci’s latest sandal resurgence, the slip-on revival is a far cry from the squalid beach-side flip flops desperately clung to across various itineraries. 

Hey, if Kanye West can pull up at 2 Chainz’s wedding in the Yeezy Sandal, then best be sure you can wander straight out that pool gate and head wherever you damn well please.

Saloman S Lab Xt 6 Black Right

Salomon S/LAB XT-6 | CLOT

Daddy Goes Hiking

Trail and hiking sneakers continue to climb down from the mountains and into the broader street-style scene. Functionality takes precedence over form here, as throwback silhouettes like the Air Humara and more modern iterations like the Salomon Speedcross clamour back into vogue in 2019. 

‘Athleisure’ at its very core, the appeal in these utilitarian sneakers lies in their antithesis to the unwieldy, garish silhouettes seen across the globe’s seemingly endless fashion weeks. 

That’s not to say these sneakers aren’t hitching a ride to the world’s runways, with brands like Salomon linking up with Comme des Garçons alumni Fumito Ganryu for the S/Lab XT-6 ADV trail-runner.

Nike Adapt Bb Wolf Grey Sole

Nike Adapt BB 'Wolf Grey' | Nike

Daddy Goes Tech

If the concept of cloud computing isn’t enough to trigger some kind of cognitive meltdown for fathers in the 50-plus age bracket, then maybe self-lacing technology or 22,000 plastics beads will do the trick. 

The logical next step for throwback runners? Hyper modernity. 

Between the self-lacing Nike Adapt BB, the recently-unveiled Nike Joyride, and PUMA’s BioEvolution, there’s enough head-spinning tech in 2019 to power your very own Silicon Valley.

With sustainable initiatives like the adidas Parley system, and vegan alternatives like the Wotherspoon AM1/97s, there’s really no excuse when it comes to modernising your rotation. Unless of course you simply can’t fathom the idea of barbecuing tofu…

Adidas Yeezy Boost 700 V2 Static Right

adidas Yeezy BOOST 700 V2 'Vanta' | StockX

Daddy Don't Change

Brands are still banking on the idea that the dad shoe phenomenon will extend well into 2020, with Balenciaga launching the Track.2, Yeezy debuting the 700 V2, and New Balance dropping the 990v5. These new faces join certified-sellers like the Nike M2K Tekno, adidas Falcon, and FILA Disruptor, the hefty soles of all designs still stomping down the well-trodden 90s running path. 

While these designs push the OG dadcore blueprints to their logical extreme, there’s still plenty of room for high fashion interpretation, with brands like A-COLD-WALL* giving the Nike Vomero 5 a steampunk finesse, and Martine Rose genetically altering the Air Monarch IV to form growths across the silhouette’s uppers. 

Sometimes, it’s just too exhausting teaching an old dog (or man) new tricks. Indeed, the dad shoe phenomenon may very well continue to take pride in its chunky size, cumbersome gait, and unapologetically corny attitude moving forward – just like your real daddy.

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