How To Actually Wear Chunky Sneakers

Photo by Jordan Tiberio, Design by Vero Romero.
"Step into spring on the right foot!" "Put a little spring in your step!" When you're bombarded with advertisements and emails about spring footwear around this time of year, you probably picture strappy sandals, barely-there heels, and easy slides. But one of the most ubiquitous shoes trends of the season isn't strappy or barely-there at all. In fact, it's quite the opposite. We're talking about the chunky sneakers you're seeing all over your Instagram feed. They're cumbersome, they're quirky, and they're going strong for spring.
The thing about this style is that you either love it or you hate it, there isn't much in-between — these oversized sneakers, from Louis Vuitton and Ganni to Skechers and FILA, get just as many haters as they do fans. Of course it's because they go against everything we're told about footwear (especially in spring and summer); we're supposed to want our footwear to be sleek and elongating, not clunky and bulky. And still, there's something about these larger-than-life sneakers that the fashion world just can't quit; take Balenciaga's sold-out-everywhere Triple S sneakers, for example. Sure, "ugly" footwear is far from a new thing on the runways and in street style alike, but this season, it's back with a vengeance.
Before you brush them off as yet another look reserved for trend-chasers and sneakerheads only, here's four ways to ease into the trend instead of watching from the sidelines.
Welcome to MyIdentity. The road to owning your identity is rarely easy. In this yearlong program, we will celebrate that journey and explore how the choices we make on the outside reflect what we’re feeling on the inside — and the important role fashion and beauty play in helping people find and express who they are.
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Photo by Jordan Tiberio, Design by Vero Romero
The Spring Set
Most of the chunky sneakers on the market feature some pretty intense color-blocking. If you're not ready to dive into the more colorful variations just yet, we recommend starting off with a classic white or nude sneaker. Pair those with spring's take on a suit, like this denim-on-denim set, a white tee, and a bright bag for a look that feels fresh yet classic.
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Photo by Jordan Tiberio, Design by Vero Romero
Top off the look with a sheer sock — a fun change of pace from the typical athletic or ankle sock — and you'll elevate these chunky sneakers to Insta-worthy status.
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Photo by Jordan Tiberio, Design by Vero Romero
The Throw-On Dress
The easiest way to off-set a chunky pair of sneakers? A midi-dress, of course. While a full-on athleisure look is all well and good, a puffy-sleeved frock helps balance things out. Not to mention, any one-piece outfit is considered a win in our book.

ASH Addict Sneakers, $279, available at ASH.
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Photo by Jordan Tiberio, Design by Vero Romero
The frilliness and movement of an airy dress juxtaposed against a next-level running shoe offers the perfect contrast. It's a look that works just as well for a long day of running overdue errands as it is for a casual Friday at work.

ASH Addict Sneakers, $279, available at ASH.
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Photo by Jordan Tiberio, Design by Vero Romero
Suit Up
Like we said, the most important thing to keep in mind when styling "ugly" sneakers is contrast. And a dress isn't the only way. Rather than wearing them with leggings or running shorts, go with something that feels the total opposite of what they're "meant" to be worn with, like a suit.

Les Coyotes de Paris T-shirt.
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Photo by Jordan Tiberio, Design by Vero Romero
The suit-and-sneaker combination has been a mainstay in street style for the past two seasons (at least), because it's just as polished as it is trend-forward (and not to mention practical). It's business on the top, party on the bottom.
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Photo by Jordan Tiberio, Design by Vero Romero
Just Run With It
We'll call this the gym-teacher ensemble. Once you've got a grasp on the sneaker that works for you, you can lean into the athleisure aesthetic full-force, with equally-as-chunky socks, classic track pants, a vintage crewneck sweatshirt, and some clear specs The only thing that's missing is a whistle around the neck, and frankly, we're not opposed to that either.

Vintage Champion sweatshirt; Eytys sneakers; Être Cécile track pants.
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Photo by Jordan Tiberio, Design by Vero Romero
Don't be afraid to play up the ugly-shoe vibe with other athletic-looking pieces that do the trend justice.

Eytys sneakers; Être Cécile track pants.
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