7 Best Chunky Trainers in 2024

Jaydee
Jaydee on
7 Best Chunky Trainers in 2024
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Love them or hate them, chunky trainers are undeniably one of the popular trends to date. These beefed-up kicks are a constant to almost all fashion runways, events, and several influencers' social media accounts. 

Whether you are a true-blue trend lover or simply enjoy the cosiness of these bulky kicks, we've tested several chunky trainers so we can fact-check claims by brands and endorsers. We don't recklessly believe every hearsay - we actually see it for ourselves. As a result, we have curated our highly recommended chunky trainers to suit every taste and budget level. 

How we test sneakers

We carefully scrutinised 200+ chunky trainers to help you find the best stocky solemate. To give you honest and fair reviews, we:

  • Buy these chunky kicks using our own money. 
  • Thoroughly test these trainers to check their comfort, durability, and many more specs. We wear them in our daily activities and even on special casual occasions. 
  • Finally, we wield our calliper, durometer, drill, and other instruments to measure the different parameters of the shoes. We also carve up and segment the shoes using our knife to grant us a more intensive view of their parts and techs.

Best chunky trainers overall

Nike Air Max 97
89
Good!

What makes it the best?

After conducting different sets of tests inside and outside of the lab, we concluded that the Nike Air Max 97 is second to none when it comes to the chunky bracket of sneakers. We found that its chunkiness allows it to have a mighty build that is reliable come rain or shine. Moving on to its interior is an overly comfortable confine with inch-perfect sizing, that isn’t affected by the hefty construction outside.

Through our Dremel test, where we test for the sneaker’s durability, we observed that both the woven mesh and synthetic parts of the upper seemed untouched. This confirmed the great level of toughness of the Nike Air Max 97.

Even though the mesh covers considerable sections of the upper, we discovered that water does not easily seep through the Nike Air Max 97. What we did was pour water all over the sneaker’s upper, which resulted in an almost entirely bone-dry interior. Also, we found that sockless wear is not a problem with Air Max 97. That being the case, we recommend this kick for all-year use.

On the other hand, after fastening and bending Air Max 97 using a bar clamp to test for its flexibility, we discovered that it has a slightly rigid construction. We figured that what added to its stiffness was its sturdy and extra supportive rubber outsole.

This sneaker is perfect if you prioritize support, but if you lean towards flexibility, the Nike AM 97 isn’t the one. 

Pros

  • Good all-season sneaker
  • Good for sockless wear
  • An identifiable piece of fashion history
  • Fits true to size
  • Near indestructible
  • Lightweight
  • Feels as athletic as it looks
  • Great even for winter

Cons

  • Takes some time to wear in
  • Attaches to stains easily
Full review of Nike Air Max 97

Best chunky trainers for summer

What makes it the best?

No other bulky summer sneaker can rival the Air Max 270, thanks to its iconic 32mm stack height that towers over its competitors. With their massive exposed air bubble and mesh weave upper, these kicks are unmistakably designed for the sunny season. After conducting thorough lab and real-world tests, we can confidently say that the Air Max 270 is the ultimate summer companion, offering impeccable breathability and remarkable comfort even without socks.

Inspired by the Air Max 180 and Air Max 93, designer Marie Odinot took it a step further by elevating the heel height of the silhouette to an unprecedented 32mm, securing the AM270's place in the history of chunky sneakers. Surprisingly, despite the substantial midsole, the kicks are incredibly lightweight. When we wore them around the city, they did not feel bottom-heavy AT ALL.

The superbly breathable mesh, combined with the gentle neoprene material, allowed our feet to stay cool and comfortable all day long. We confidently rocked these kicks without socks, and the experience was divine. 

During our testing in the lab, we assessed the sneaker's flexibility by subjecting it to a compression test using a bar clamp. The polyurethane foam demonstrated decent flexibility. However, due to the oversized air pocket, the foam lacks support around the heel area. As a result, the Air Max 270 can become uncomfortable when worn for extended periods. Sneaker enthusiasts seeking supportive summer kicks should consider exploring other options.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Instantly comfortable
  • True to size
  • Durable
  • Can be worn without socks
  • Flexible
  • Super breathable
  • Sleek modern looks
  • Crazy number of colorways

Cons

  • Heel height might need adjusting to
  • Not the best for standing all day
Full review of Nike Air Max 270

Chunky trainers with the best durability

Nike Air Max 90
90
Great!

What makes it the best?

The Nike Air Max 90 is considered the grandfather of all chunky sneakers. Tinker Hatfield took the silhouette of the Air Max 1 and amplified the air pocket, giving birth to one of the first chunky Air Max sneakers. Through rigorous lab and field testing, we also discovered that the AM90 is legendary when it comes to durability. The mesh and leather upper provide resilience that truly upholds the sneaker's legacy.

In the lab, we scratched the sneaker using a Dremel drill fitted with a wire brush. The AM90 handled the test like a pro, exhibiting minimal signs of wear and tear. In our opinion, the distressed appearance further enhanced the chunky aesthetic of the sneaker. This is especially significant given that many other sneakers that we tested in our lab got destroyed a lot more, with mesh turning to dust or tiny chunks of leather falling down. 

Additionally, we conducted a flexibility test on the soles. We placed the sneakers between the jaws of a bar clamp and squeezed the trigger until it met the handle. The results revealed that the rubber is not very flexible. This aligns with our experience during our walk, where we noticed that the soles require some time to wear in. For those in search of instantly comfortable chunky trainers, we recommend exploring other options.

Pros

  • Very durable
  • Breathable
  • The stuff of legends and rightly so
  • Huge amounts of colorways
  • Great price for a statement shoe
  • Fits true to size
  • Quality materials
  • Easy to clean
  • Stain resistant

Cons

  • So stiff it asks for an adjustment period
  • Normal and wide feet find it too narrow
Full review of Nike Air Max 90

Best futuristic chunky trainers

What makes it the best?

For a sneaker that has been existing for a quarter of a century now, it is confounding to see a future-forward aesthetic. Nike Air Max Plus is exactly that, making it our number one for futuristic chunky sneakers. Not only that, but this chunky yet refined-looking kick offers incredible comfort and stuns in various colorways that make it even look and feel ahead of its time!

Nike Air Max Plus boasts a shank that gave us a totally supportive yet inflexible feel underfoot. In the lab, we compressed the sneaker using a bar clamp to test for its flexibility, and it didn’t bend much except in the toe area. However, on our walks, this stiffness translated to responsiveness.

With regard to function, we approve the use of Nike Air Max Plus during light rains and cold weather. We found from our waterproofing test, that the sneaker didn’t completely keep off the water we poured over it. The good news is, the upper dries off quickly, and its synthetic leather panels and toe cap make the Nike Air Max Plus great for tiny amounts of water.

Another test we did is the Dremel test which determined the kick’s toughness. While the other parts of the upper were unaffected by the friction caused by a wire brush attached to our power drill, the toe cap in particular acquired scuff marks. So, we suggest looking for other alternatives if this worries you. 

Pros

  • Supreme comfort
  • Fits true to size
  • Surprisingly lightweight
  • Supportive and responsive
  • An incredible choice of colorways
  • Durable

Cons

  • Toe box susceptive to scuffs
  • A bit pricey
Full review of Nike Air Max Plus

Best chunky trainers for winter

Nike MX-720-818
88
Good!

What makes it the best?

Nike MX-720-818 reigns supreme over all the other winter-ready chunky sneakers in our database. This is because its beefiness isn’t there just for the looks, but it is ultimately derived from the sizeable air pockets on the midsole and the liberally padded insulated upper. Thanks to its construction, it is the quintessential winter kick. The deal capper? This sneaker fits true to size despite the chunky build.

On-foot testing of the Nike MX-720-818 provided us with an unbelievably soft in-shoe feel, as well as relaxing warmth during chilly days, thanks to its sleeping bag-like upper! In our lab, we realized that this sneaker is not only coldproof but also water-resistant. The liquids we poured over the upper only glided down without being soaked up by the material.

We also appreciated how this mighty-looking kick mirrors its robustness. Through our Dremel test, we found that MX-720-818 is a tank. We applied a drill with an attached wire brush to the sneaker’s upper, and except for the frayed stitchings, it remained unimpaired. 

Although this sneaker is incredibly comfortable, we found it very rigid. Upon bending the MX-712-818 in our bar clamp, we observed that it barely budged and is indeed very stiff. Unless you do not mind a sneaker’s inflexibility, we do not recommend this pair.

Pros

  • Flashy design
  • Fits true to size
  • Sleeping-bag like upper
  • Abrasion- and stain-resistant
  • Year-round wear

Cons

  • Too warm upper
  • Too stiff for all-day wear
Full review of Nike MX-720-818

Best high-top chunky trainers

What makes it the best?

For the high-top chunky division, the sneaker that we consider unequaled is the Converse Run Star Hike. Aside from the out-of-the-typical flair that its hefty construction gives, this hightop provides us with the best stature boost, ankle support, and overall fit out there! And have we mentioned, unlimited attention from the onlookers? 

Thanks to the well-fitting high-top structure of the Converse Run Star Hike, unprotected and unreinforced ankles are the least of our worries. Our feet are safely enveloped in this sneaker and we loved how it effectively eliminated the chances of our ankles wobbling and slipping out. Despite its tall silhouette and tremendously thick midsole, we found this sneaker unexpectedly light. We bore no load in Run Star Hike and it is so easy on the feet.

Overall, we felt so comfortable in this sneaker. However, upon wearing it multiple times, we discovered that it quickly picks up dirt. Unless you’re okay with cleaning it regularly, we suggest seeking shoes with lower upkeep.

Pros

  • Stylish
  • Uniquely-modified Chucks
  • Comfy
  • Elevated
  • Lightweight
  • Pairs well with any attire
  • Supportive

Cons

  • Gets dirty easily
  • Its laces are too long
  • Lacks traction
Full review of Converse Run Star Hike

Chunky trainers with the best comfort

PUMA RS-X
91
Great!

What makes it the best?

PUMA RS-X is not only big on looks but also big on comfort, which is why it is our indisputable choice for the chunky sneaker with the most exquisite on-foot experience. We discovered that it’s chunky on the outside and the inside with a very thick yet plush midsole, that incidentally also buffers shock.

With the bountiful padding and cushioning this sneaker offers, we found it a delight to wear the whole day. We didn’t encounter any foot displeasure with this kick. Rather, our feet remained so at ease inside the pair and every step we took felt bouncy. We learned that another thing that eliminated soreness from the equation is the featherlight weight of the PUMA RS-X. Our walks couldn’t be more stainless.

However, we found that this sneaker was a little bit over a hundred bucks at £120, which is slightly pricey. Although it is actually 6.3% cheaper than most sneakers, we suggest keep exploring other much inexpensive options especially if you want something that costs less than £110.

Pros

  • Retro charm
  • Numerous vivid colorways
  • Very comfortable step-in feel
  • Plenty of cushioning for all-day wear
  • Breathable, summer-ready upper
  • Very stable platform
  • Highly durable outsole
  • Reasonably priced

Cons

  • Heavier than average
  • Stiff forefoot
Full review of PUMA RS-X
Author
Jaydee
Jaydee
Jaydee dispels the myth that women can't be experts when it comes to sneakers. With hundreds of sneaker articles under her belt, she gained a surefire edge over others claiming to be experts. Since joining RunRepeat in 2017, she’s published formidable arrays of sneaker write-ups - some covered in lifestyle magazines. Interested in scrutinising a pair of sneakers? Jaydee is the best person to talk to as she can intuitively chew it over with you even while doing her laundry. When she’s not writing, you can catch Jaydee playing with her two kids, online shopping, and spending far too much time on Instagram.