How to Style the Dad Shoe Trend

Once upon a time, brands like New Balance were just for BBQ dads. However, at some point, a transition occurred. Silhouettes such as the NB 990v5 and 992 have become go-to shoes for sneakerheads and fashionistas everywhere.

New Balance is now responsible for some of the most important sneaker collaborations of recent years, with Aimé Leon Dore, Casablanca, Joe Freshgoods and JJJJound consistently bringing the heat.

Below, I’ll show you a few ways to style the New Balance 990 franchise, which produces some of the best sneakers for dad, this Father’s Day.

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Comfortable fits

Perhaps the entry-level starting point for wearing a pair of dad shoes is with sweatpants. Comfortable fits are essential for dressing at the airport and the hustle and bustle of working from home. I recommend picking up a pair of Aimé Leon Dore or JJJJound sweatshirts to nail the cozy outfit task. No need to take your shoes off mid-flight with this look.

Complete the look with fresh socks. I’ve yet to find a better pair than Uniqlo’s versatile offering, and at $12.90 for a four-pack, you really can’t complain.

Taking casual chic to the next level

Pairing a New Balance dad shoe with proper pants is slightly more complex. Not only can this be done, but you will make the smart casual dress code look better than ever.

The key here is to find wide-leg pants that you feel comfortable in, whether it’s chinos or dress pants. It’s also essential to make sure that the pant leg doesn’t completely overwhelm the sneaker underneath. Sure, it might mean a trip to the tailors to get that perfect length, but you’ll never regret it.

British contemporary menswear brand Wax London currently offers some of the best options for combining affordable prices with high-quality clothing. This competitive price frees up money so you can customize them to perfection.

Go short

As the temperatures begin to soar, most people will be opting for shorts over long pants for the summer. Luckily, that can play into your hand as you continue to style the versatile NB 990. A five-inch inseam is key to nailing this look. I would always recommend wearing socks too. Some people opt for no-show socks, which may be more to your liking.

Patagonia bags took over most cities around the world a few years ago, and they’re still the best option when you’re looking for a comfortable pair of five-inch shorts.

I also recommend that you keep your eyes on throwing strokes podcast, as co-hosts James Harris and Lawrence Schlossman have taken over the shorts space for the past 12 months with their five-inch mesh shorts.

In your jeans

If you choose to pair your New Balance with jeans, you may have evolved into full-fledged dad mode — and that’s no bad thing. This look was renamed by the late Steve Jobs, but has been given a fashion boost in recent years thanks to Emily Oberg and her ever-popular Sporty & Rich campaigns, as well as model Kaia Gerber’s eye-catching street style.

Cali-based surfwear-turned-streetwear brand Stüssy even showcased their New Balance 990v4 collaboration alongside denim when the sneaker dropped in 2017. This look has been a fan favorite for years.

Washed jeans are your best choice here, and you need look no further than Levi’s 501 jeans. The San Francisco-based brand has been perfecting the straight-leg jean since 1853. Something about the light blue wash sitting on the gray tones of a classic pair of New Balance 990 is unbeatable.

Want to buy even cheaper 501s? Head to your local charity shop and save a pair – they’ll look even better.


Sweatpants were once exclusively for the running track. Optimized materials such as the sweat-wicking Dri-FIT from Nike or the moisture-absorbing CLIMALITE offer from Adidas have made the track pants perfect for various sporting activities. That tide has changed, however, as streetwear enthusiasts continue to embrace the pants. Bella Hadid has embraced the movement and shows us exactly how to flex running pants with the new 990v3 led by Teddy Santis.

If you haven’t already, it’s time to welcome cuffless sweatpants into your rotation. Nike offers a pair made from recycled materials, lightweight fabric and sweat-wicking technology to ensure you’re comfortable all day long. Pair these pants with your New Balance and a plain white t-shirt for an easy everyday outfit.

precious cargo

My final, and perhaps favorite, way to wear a pair of running sneakers is with cargo pants. Adaptable pants usually give you the option to adjust the leg opening at the bottom of the pants, which means you can wear them however you like. The hem often has a drawstring, so you have the choice of a wide or fitted look.

Engineered Garments are true pros when it comes to military-inspired clothing. The products offered by the cult brand combine workwear and sportswear, making cargo pants the ideal companion for a pair of dad shoes. Inspired by vintage military pieces, the cargo pants are covered in an eye-catching olive green hue. Ripstop cotton ensures durability, while drawstring hems complement a tapered leg. While Engineered Garments pants don’t come cheap, you really couldn’t do better if you’re looking to buy your first cargo pants.

About Shirley Dickson

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