7 Best Dad Shoes in 2024

Jaydee
Jaydee on
7 Best Dad Shoes in 2024
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While their aesthetics can be polarising, we can’t deny the fact that dad trainers are a huge street fashion trend. Whether you're in search of your next or planning to purchase your first pair of dad trainers, we've rounded up a bunch of cool iterations from various brands that will surely increase your street cred.

To get your search started, we've subjected dad trainers to heaps of tests and comparisons. We even wore them in our daily undertakings to see what it's really like to be in them during a typical day out (or stay in). We came up with our top picks for various categories to help you choose which one suits you the best. 

How we test trainers

To help you find the best solemate, we are here to make things easier for you. 

  • We purchased these trainers to avoid any biased reviews. We are very committed to delivering only facts about the shoes, and this includes both the good and the bad.
  • We've put these trainers through loads of indoor and outdoor tests and comparisons. We used the shoes regularly for a long time to garner significant and well-founded information about them.
  • We do not want our claims to be baseless, plus we want our experiences in the field to be backed with evidence so we also measured the parameters of the trainers, including waterproofness and durability. We also took the testing up a notch and sliced the kicks in half to reveal all its components.

Best dad shoes overall

New Balance 1906R
94
Superb!

What makes it the best?

The New Balance 1906R was judged as the best dad sneaker on record because of the level of comfort that it afforded us. Its midsole was thick and with a well-balanced cushioning capacity. It also allowed us to enjoy a lot of airiness which kept our feet fresh for a long time. We also appreciated that it was quite stable because of its wide platform and twist resistant base.

Our calliper in the lab measured the thickness of the midsole to be 37.1 mm at the heel and 25.6 mm at the forefoot. These numbers significantly dwarfed the average figures, which are 31.3 mm and 20.0 mm, respectively. Aside from being thick, the midsole also delivered well-balanced plushness. Our HA durometer gave it a rating of 32.0 when the average was at 30.9.

The breathability of the NB 1906R also contributed a lot to the comfort that we enjoyed. Both smoke and light passed through the upper materials without issue, so we gave this shoe a breathability score of 4 out of 5. 

Great stability was a function of the wide platform, which our calliper measured to be 113.3 mm wide at the forefoot and 87.6 mm at the heel. The average measurements for these points were 108.9 mm and 83.4 mm, respectively. 

The New Balance 1906R was close to perfection. What turned us off was the flimsiness of the heel padding. It got the lowest 1 out of 5 for durability because it got destroyed just by a few seconds of Dremel drilling.

Pros

  • Fabulous comfort for all-day wear
  • Exceptionally breathable
  • Appealing throwback style
  • Premium quality and real suede
  • Highly durable upper and outsole
  • Very comfortable in-shoe feel
  • True to size and fit

Cons

  • A bit heavier than average
  • Pricier than average
Full review of New Balance 1906R

Best dad shoes for all-day wear

What makes it the best?

When it comes to spending a full day on our feet, we found that the greatest dad sneaker is the New Balance 2002R. It blends the retro vibe with modern technologies—delivering amazing arch support, remarkable stability, and all-day comfort with its flexible build. The icing on the cake is that it easily matches many of our outfits!

The ride feels extremely protected and surefooted thanks to the firm platform. Our durometer confirms the ABZORB midsole is 6.5% denser than average, yet it still feels cushioned enough for impact protection. Firm doesn’t mean uncomfortable. In fact, we could use this pair for hours due to its superb underfoot support and stability. Even the outsole reinforces support with its two technologies: the N-ergy for shock absorption and the Stability Web for additional arch support.

2002R emphasises (New) Balance as its stiff upper held our feet in place. To make up for comfort, this sneaker adds flexibility longitudinally. Our bend test reaffirms the natural feel as it emerged 8.5% more malleable than average.

Unfortunately, this shoe lacks ventilation for warmer temperatures. Our lab tests reveal its real suede upper only scored 2/5 in terms of breathability. 

Pros

  • Comfortable for all-day wear
  • Protective cushioning technologies
  • Durable upper materials
  • Snug and supportive fit
  • Reliable arch support
  • Stable platform
  • Grippy, running-inspired outsole
  • Feels lightweight with a padded interior
  • Stylish classic look that matches many outfits

Cons

  • Not for wide feet
  • Pricey
Full review of New Balance 2002R

Best breathable dad shoes

Nike Zoom Vomero 5
96
Superb!

What makes it the best?

With its retro aesthetic and extremely comfortable ride on our wear tests, we couldn’t stop reaching for the Nike Zoom Vomero 5s. A breath of fresh air, it offers a well-ventilated and effortless ride through its thin mesh upper and light construction. Among dad trainers in the lab, Vomero 5 undoubtedly tops breathability.

Crafted from a thin mesh with extra wide chain links, Vomero 5 brings an unmatched level of airflow. With zero sweat build-up, we had no worries of hotspots and unpleasant odours. In our smoke test, the air escaped in seconds, receiving a well-deserved 5/5 rating.

What keeps the experience light, quite literally, is its airy build. Our scales reveal a mere 11.1 oz (316g), 21.2% below average. On top of that, the sneaker bends easily with our foot flexion and matches the average flexibility score of trainers in our lab.

Vomero 5 surprisingly feels more cushioned than its moderate stack height. Upon cutting the shoe in half, we discovered why: two Zoom Air units contribute to a gentler and bouncier ride. Our durometer also reveals at 28.0 HA, it’s 9.7% softer than average, spoiling our legs even during extended strolls.

However, this sneaker requires an investment of £170, £50 above the average low-top shoe. Those who prefer budget-friendly options should explore further.

Pros

  • Nostalgic 2000s aesthetic
  • Excellent breathability for summer
  • Cushioned like a running shoe
  • Lighter than average
  • Very comfy in-shoe feel
  • Flexible and forgiving on foot
  • Wear-resistant outsole and inner lining
  • Better lockdown with a gusseted tongue

Cons

  • Mesh is easy to tear
  • Not for flat feet/overpronation
  • Pricey
Full review of Nike Zoom Vomero 5

Best dad shoes for wide feet

ASICS Gel 1130
94
Superb!

What makes it the best?

There is simply no better dad sneaker for sneakerheads with wide feet than the ASICS Gel 1130, and we can vouch for this! Even the broad footers among us are two thumbs up with this sneaker, not only for the non-restrictive fit but also for the excellent level of comfort this sneaker bestows upon our feet.

The steadiness that this sneaker delivers is top-notch. We have the freedom to shift from side to side while being safe from ankle injuries. We uncovered that the reason behind this is and it is the TRUSSTIC technology which effectively bolstered our feet and arches.

We discovered that ASICS Gel 1130 is also non-suffocating because of its mesh upper that promotes enhanced air circulation. Our feet stayed dry and odour-free. However, we found that the visibly perforated mesh also accommodates fine dirt. If you find this a drawback, we suggest looking for other wide trainers that are permeable to air but not to particles.

Pros

  • Top-notch materials
  • Excellent craftsmanship
  • Comfortable for all-day wear
  • Supportive foothold
  • Stable platform
  • Grippy, running-inspired outsole
  • Feels lightweight with a padded interior
  • Roomy at the big toe
  • Wide-feet friendly
  • Real suede and leather
  • Cool 90s dad shoes retro vibe

Cons

  • The leather version lacks breathability
  • Quite stiff
Full review of ASICS Gel 1130

Best lightweight dad shoes

New Balance 530
92
Great!

What makes it the best?

We strutted the streets in the retro-looking New Balance 530s and could do so comfortably because of its ultra-airy yet cushioned midsole. Despite its chunky look, it surprised us by being our top lightweight dad sneaker, which is backed up by our lab. Not only that, its £110 price is 36.7% cheaper than average—what a steal!

Walking in this pair literally feels like a breeze. Our scales reveal a feathery 10.9 oz (308g) build while the average sneaker weighs 14.1 oz (399g). On top of that, the mesh lets our feet breathe freely, making the 530s a great place to be in all day. Our lab confirms our sensation with a remarkable 4/5 breathability score.

We’re in awe of how this sneaker maintains its light construction despite being generously cushioned. Our calliper shows an above-average 37.3/25.4 mm stack, ensuring each stride feels gentle to avoid muscle aches. Featuring a dual-density setup, the top layer is a plush 25.8 HA for relief, while the bottom is a firm 31.0 HA for surefootedness. 

The wide platform of 113.4/88.1 mm provides exceptional stability, ensuring our ankles are firmly supported and minimising the risk of imbalance. We found ample grip on various terrains during testing, but we warn caution of wet and icy paths to prevent slips.

Pros

  • Incredibly breathable
  • Comfortable firm but cushy midsole
  • Extremely lightweight with a padded interior
  • Durable outsole
  • Wide-feet friendly
  • Excellent value for money
  • NB's classic style
  • 90's retro and chunky vibe
  • More colorways than a rainbow

Cons

  • Not for cold weather
  • Could be grippier
Full review of New Balance 530

Best premium dad shoes

What makes it the best?

The New Balance 990 v6 stood out in our lab and wear tests as the epitome of premium quality in the dad sneaker category. It provides an unparalleled in-shoe sensation, offering a cushioned experience reminiscent of clouds, without compromising stability and weight. It’s made of high-quality materials with a classic look, making it versatile for various styles.

Our evaluation of 990 v6's comfort spanned everyday scenarios and extended day-outs, revealing its suitability for prolonged wear. Notably, it provided excellent arch support with its tall and reliable FuelCell foam. This is used in many elite running shoes from the brand, known for its soft and springy sensation. Our durometer confirms a softer-than-average 28.3 HA.

Despite its plush platform, 990 v6 delivers remarkable arch support with its vast landing base and rigid construction. It has an ENCAP rim around the heel, leaving no room for ankle rolls, and provides further protection by keeping it stiff longitudinally. Our bend test confirms it’s 17.1% less flexible than average.

It’s hard not to love this sneaker! The main drawback we see is its £210 price point. Honestly, we think it's worth the investment since it's made of high-quality materials—premium foam, real suede, breathable upper, and robust outsole. However, those on a budget should explore other pairs.

Pros

  • Unexpectedly lighter than average
  • Real suede and quality materials
  • Extra thick cushioning for all-day wear
  • Comfortable and springy FuelCell foam
  • Mind-blowing arch support and stability
  • Exceptionally hard-wearing outsole
  • Fantastic breathability
  • Well-padded all around
  • Six(!) widths available

Cons

  • Very delicate toebox mesh
  • A bit stiff
Full review of New Balance 990 v6

Best budget dad shoes

What makes it the best?

New Balance 997H embodies a versatile dad sneaker design and outstanding support that lasts us all day, all at a reasonable price of £100! It is our top contender for the budget-conscious out there, not only because it is 23.1% more affordable than the average sneaker but also because it is the definitive dad sneaker style!

We found the New Balance 997H a breath of fresh air from the usual chunky-looking dad kicks, as this one displays a sleek silhouette, which we truly loved wearing everywhere with almost anything. As we expected from its profile, we confirmed that this sneaker doesn’t slow us down with a heavy weight. What surprised us was the fact that it fits wide given its streamlined look. We adored how we could spread our toes inside the shoe without feeling squeezed. 

Unfortunately, given its low price, we noticed that the quality is mediocre. It didn’t take long for us to see indications of wear, as well as detachment of materials from the sneaker. If durability is your biggest concern, we suggest searching for tougher and more reliable trainers.

Pros

  • Sleek dad shoe
  • Amazingly durable
  • Affordable version of 997
  • Retro vibes
  • True to size
  • Feels light to the foot
  • Easy to style

Cons

  • Not so breathable
  • So-so stability
Full review of New Balance 997H
Author
Jaydee
Jaydee
Jaydee dispels the myth that women can't be experts when it comes to trainers. 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 trainers? 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.