It doesn’t matter what they’re actually called, the term “Dad shoes,” most aptly describes this season’s trend in men’s sneakers. Kevin Hart was recently mentioned by GQ magazine for going out in public wearing a pair of ugly “chunky” Valentino Rockrunners.
I won’t lie, I too own Dad shoes. Not six hundred dollar sneakers like Kevin’s, but several pairs of Merrell’s and Hi-Tecs that were doing the ugly thing long before New York designers decided to borrow the look.
In case you’re unfamiliar with “Dad shoes,” go to any location where there’s an ample gathering of dads. I recommend kids’ sporting events, your local Bass Pro, maybe even a PTA meeting. Look for a guy that obviously hasn’t been hiking in a while and then look at his shoes. Bingo, dad shoes. They will be Earth toned, a weird combination of layers, materials, stripes, leather or suede and have tread that resembles the tires of a monster truck.
Merrell’s are pretty much my “go to” casual shoe. They’re typically a cross between a hiking boot and a running shoe. The appeal for me is the aggressive tread, sturdy laces that won’t break when you’re already running late and one of the best insoles money can buy. They are also one of the few brands that acknowledge men’s feet are typically wider than a woman’s. My current favorites from Merrells are a pair of their Ridgepass hiking shoes. They do well on any surface and dry out well.
I also own a pair of the Moab Ventilators which are pretty much the same shoe with a higher ankle. They’re a great mid-weight hiker with as much ankle support as a higher cut boot.
My second favorite brand is Hi-Tec. My first pair of hiking boots were Hi-Tecs and took me from one side of Philmont scout camp to the other side, and still lasted for several more years. They’ve come a long way since then. Their biggest appeal for me is the weight. Unlike Merrell’s, that tend to be a little on the heavier side, Hi-Tecs are amazingly light. True to dad shoe nature, they are some of the ugliest shoes your feet will absolutely love.
My last and most recent favorite dad shoe is the Oboz Mendenhall. They’re a cross between a loafer and a converse sneaker. They’re not for hiking. These shoes are purely made for loafing. When worn properly, even a grown man can look like a teenager again. My wife and kids hate them and sometimes refuse to leave the house with me when I wear them, which only increases their appeal for me. As a dad if I’m not embarrassing my kids in public, I’m kind of not fulfilling my parental duties.
I hope designers continue to rip off the dad look for years to come. I’ve got a closet full of flannel shirts and cargo pants that I really want to start wearing again. Of course before that happens I’d like to see hammer pants, mullets and jean jackets make a come back into the men’s fashion world.
Lastly, we’re big fans of comfy shoes for our jobs in the service industry here at TipStories.com! Check out our other favorite shoes to wear on your long shifts.