Initially released in the past, at least a decade ago, and eventually resurrected due to their popularity. These re-released sneakers are assembled with more modern materials.
Classic sneakers are basically the original models with very little or almost no changes since they were released years ago.
Also dubbed as ugly shoes or turbo trainers, dad sneakers are chunky footwear inspired by the rubber shoes our fathers strutted in the 80s and 90s. These kicks feature massive soles adding few inches to the wearers' heights, with a thick and well-padded upper for ultra-comfortable strides, and often finished with curvy lines, patterns, and striking colors for flashier charm.
Clean, streamlined, often monochromatic silhouettes.
Sneakers with knit uppers that are very soft and wrap around the foot and ankle like socks.
This design approach presents familiar silhouettes in a new light. Various shoe elements are added, removed or revamped to make a sneaker stand out.
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Dad shoes are undoubtedly a hot trend right now. These chunky kicks that are perceived to be preferred by “uncool” dads or dad-types have been so beloved not just by sneaker lovers but also by influential people. Models, singers, actors, designers, and more are drawn to the trend, pictured with dad kicks on their feet.
Throughout the years, one brand among the many who try their luck with the dad shoe trend has always stood out. New Balance, long before dad footwear became a thing, had always been the quintessential dad shoe brand. “Ugly” New Balance sneakers are so timeless and tech-centric that dads wear them.
Furthermore, the brand has appealed more to the older demographic. That is, up until in recent years when they made efforts to be more relevant to a younger crowd. In particular, black, red, and white New Balance dad shoes have been a favorite lately.
Another reason why people seem to prefer the brand, especially dads, is the promise of American-made products. The brand, unlike many in the footwear industry, has maintained much of its production in the U.S. Since fatherhood gives way to the prioritization of function over form, the quality of dad sneakers from New Balance makes them ideal.
Top New Balance Dad Shoes
With its widespread reputation as a dad brand, there are many dad shoes from New Balance that may or may not be worn by actual dads. Below are several of the best-reviewed ones, including some information about prices, features, and more.
New Balance 530
The New Balance 530 is a recreation of a sought-after running kick from the 1990s. It has a smooth and flat upper made up of leather along with mesh netting and vents, which offers a lightweight and cushioned feel. This model was initially launched as a running shoe in 1992 but has since transitioned into lifestyle use.
The sole is made with ENCAP technology along with an EVA wedge, providing a stable ride without sacrificing comfort.
These kicks are among New Balance’s best dad shoes and are affordably priced at $99.99.
Available sizes are in men’s 8-14 and women’s 5-12. It’s in medium width and fits true to size.
New Balance 580
Launched in 1996, the NB 580 has been a highly popular model from the brand. It was based on another classic from the label, the Made in USA M585, which was initially exclusively released in Japan. These dad sneakers from New Balance were explicitly designed to have a more muscular build compared to other kicks from the label.
Three innovations were used on this shoe, namely, the Rollbar midsole for extra traction, the C-Cap system for cushioning, and the ENCAP technology that delivered shock absorption and stability.
These kicks are averagely priced.
Men’s 4-13 and women’s 5-12 are offered for the sizing. Although it’s true to size, a few wearers found the shoe to be tight around the toe area.
New Balance 998
This model was an upgrade on the well-loved New Balance 990 line, which was first launched in 1982. In 1993, the NB 998 was introduced with a buttery suede upper and a ventilated mesh cover. It was an instant hit among shoe lovers, making it one of the current favorites from the brand.
Another variation of this sneaker is the New Balance 998 Made in the USA.
It utilizes ABZORB technology, a cushioning system that offers efficient energy distribution and shock absorption.
These New Balance dad shoes have a premium price of $179.99.
The sizes released are in women’s 5.5-11 and men’s 6-13. It fits as expected.
New Balance 996
Another upgrade to the 990 series, the 996 from New Balance was designed as a complete overhaul to the original line. It’s a hybrid model that features a two-toned midsole made up of blown carbon rubber. One other feature that distinguishes it from other models is its three perforated holes on the sides for ventilation. These New Balance white dad shoes are also known for being very versatile.
Another dad sneaker variation to this model is the New Balance 996 Suede.
Although this model has an expensive price point, quite a few wearers felt that the shoe was worth it.
Sizes are in men’s 6-13 and women’s 5.5-11. It comes in standard width and is generally true to size.
New Balance 997
Initially released in 1991, the New Balance 997 was among the brand’s highly popular kicks. It was brought back in 2015 with fresh colorways and collaborations with designers and retailers. New Balance chose to retain the original model’s 1990s style with its pig suede and mesh upper, along with other retro details.
These American-made chunky New Balance shoes have a very high price of $209.99.
Men’s sizes from 6-13 and women’s sizes from 5-13 in medium width are available. Although it’s true to size, some purchasers found it narrow.
New Balance 990 Made in the USA Bringback
The New Balance 990 was first introduced in 1982 and was created to be the most innovative running shoe of its time. It incorporated such technologies as a motion control device for the heel, along with different features for stability, flexibility, and cushioning. The New Balance 990 Made in the USA Bringback was released to let the younger generation and the model's fans enjoy the original model as it once was.
This model was released thirty years after the original 990. However, unlike a lot of retro releases, this shoe retained the mesh and suede upper of the original, along with its iconic gray colorway.
Commenters have agreed that this kick’s high price tag can be justified by its quality and features, such as the Vibram sole.
Men’s sizes from 5-13 in medium or D width were released, fitting as expected. Women can also wear this sneaker by going down by 1.5 sizes.
New Balance X-90
Inspired by the 990 model, the New Balance X-90 combines modern fashion’s minimalistic and lightweight aesthetic with the chunky soles of the 990 retro running footwear series. Its colorway options include Rain Cloud/Mineral Sage, Sea Salt/Bone, and White/Pomegranate. These New Balance dad sneakers have also been the subject of a collaborative “Dusk Pack” with the END. Clothing brand.
This shoe utilizes the REVlite technology, which delivers responsive and durable support.
These chunky New Balance shoes have an affordable price point of $109.99.
The offered sizes are in men’s 4-14 and women’s 5-11, all in medium width. It has been confirmed to fit true to size by many reviewers.
Frequently Asked Questions
What to wear with New Balance dad shoes?
Dad sneakers are very trendy right now and are surprisingly easy to style. Here are some style tips on how one can look great with a pair of clunky New Balance dad kicks.
Dad kicks are known for having a chunky sole that could be embellished with retro details. The upper is also designed with throwback accents. As such, retro pieces such as bomber jackets, light wash denim pants, wide-leg jeans, and more should match any dad sneaker’s aesthetic.
Likewise, vintage color schemes such as neon and pastels would look great with dad footwear.
With their athletic appeal, dad shoes could also be paired with athleisure apparel, such as joggers, cycling shorts, sweatshirts, and hoodies.
Casual clothes such as jeans, t-shirts, and pullovers have also been paired with dad kicks.
Stylish ladies have been known to pair their white New Balance dad shoes with chic dresses and skirts, giving their outfits a funky street style appeal.
What are New Balance dad shoes?
New Balance has been known for dad-style footwear due to the comfort and style of some of its most popular models. These “dad shoes” are so called it is mostly older males who wear them. While they have deemed uncool in the past, New Balance’s best dad shoes have been able to transcend this reputation by having fresh and relevant colorways and styles.
What is the price range of dad kicks from New Balance?
New Balance is dedicated to keeping part of their company production in the U.S., which is why many of the brand's kicks have costlier price tags compared to other brands. However, the quality that they bring has often been said to be worth it by the label's fans, especially when it comes to the sought-after New Balance white dad shoes. Prices can range from affordable to very expensive, from $99.99 up to $200 and up.
How do dad sneakers from New Balance fit?
Dad shoes from New Balance often come in men’s and women’s sizes. The size range is in men's 6-13, and women's 5-12 offered in medium width. They generally fit true to size, but several users have also been known to note that a particular sneaker runs big, small or narrow.
Where could one buy New Balance dad footwear?
As with many other kicks, New Balance dad shoes can be bought both online and in-store. There are many New Balance stores in the U.S. and other countries. The company also has an online shop where there could be promos and sales. Similarly, the label's kicks are sold at different shoe retailers, both online and in physical shops.
Do New Balance dad sneakers look too bulky?
Dad sneakers are highly popular due to their bulky look. The key is to balance things out so that the shoe will not look too clunky. Matching the shoe with similarly flamboyant styles would also work. To make the chunky look work, people have been pairing the shoes with straight-cut jeans and other pieces with clean, straight lines.
What is the dad shoe trend from New Balance and other brands?
Retro is in when it comes to fashion these days, such as the resurgence of crop tops, mom jeans, and even neon color palettes. Ugly New Balance shoes that were deemed undesirable in the past could be resurrected to become the next trendy thing, which is precisely what happened.
It all started with high fashion brand Balenciaga and their Triple S sneakers. The monster shoe incorporated retro colorways and a triple-sole design, which became a hit with other style personalities and celebrities. Soon, other brands were releasing their version of the dad shoe.
For New Balance, dad kicks are not a new thing. In fact, the brand has always had a reputation for being a dad brand. Dad sneakers prioritize comfort over chic styles, and most of the brand’s kicks offer just that.
Are all New Balance models considered as dad shoes?
Although ugly New Balance sneakers are a favorite among many dads, not all kicks from the brand can be classified as dad shoes. The label creates different styles for different categories, be it the lifestyle, running, training, and others. There is a variety of footwear for various activities, with comfort and innovation being the focus.
What are the features of dad sneakers from New Balance?
Specific characteristics set dad shoes apart from other types of footwear. The number one requirement is the comfort, as dads like to be comfortable more than to look good, according to the stereotype. Dad-style footwear is also known for their massive soles, weird retro patterns that may have come from the ‘90s, and thick uppers. As such, ugly New Balance shoes are considered “hot” today.
Dads themselves do not necessarily wear recent dad kicks that have been released by many brands. These shoes just have the same features that many dad kicks have been known to have. Even luxury brands and sports brands are getting in on the trend.
However, in New Balance’s case, their dad-style models have been preferred by many dads over the years due to their comfort and straightforward style. The brand decided to up their game and keep up with this trend by releasing retro-inspired colorways.
Are dad shoes from New Balance suitable for everyday wear?
The first thing that one may think when looking at dad kicks is that they must be very heavy because of their thick soles. However, dad shoes from New Balance have been known for being surprisingly lightweight and highly comfortable. As such, these kicks would be suitable for wearing every day. They are also deemed fashion-forward right now and have been known for being versatile and easy to style.