For as long as I can remember, I've had a soft spot for shoes that most people, if they were being kind, would call "not beautiful". At school I was the proud wearer of Buffalo platforms (the six-inch kind) and camouflage Dunlop trainers; in secondary school I shuffled around in Adidas slides. When it comes to the visual assessment and aesthetic classification of my wardrobe, I almost have a metre-thick protective armour. My sharpest critic is myself, and it probably always will be.
But back to ugly/dad/chunky trainers (or whatever you call yours). When I look at Balenciaga's Triple S', I immediately think of the scene from Crazy, Stupid, Love where Ryan Gosling throws Steve Carell's New Balance 407 over the railing. Still, I think they would look great with a cool pair of jeans and an oversized jumper. So why do so many people find chunky trainers more appropriate for uncool dads? Is it the colour combos? The thick, naked soles? The shoe laces or the many seams? I can only guess that it's a healthy combination of all of the above.
So what's the allure for me? Man Repeller went as far as to assert in the analysis of 'Dad Sneakers,' as they are called in the US, help ground us in times of unrest — and that might just be the reason for their rise. I, however, feel like we are surrounded by so much false perfection that it's time to go back to the basics. I'm at a point now where I prefer something real to all of the selfies, acai bowls and minimalist apartments on Instagram. And perhaps that's why these shoes are so appealing...and enduring.
Chunky trainers are still in. They continue to be a favourite of the street style set, seen this season at London and Berlin fashion week. It's a trend that refuses to die down – and for good reason, according to Max Schiller, founder of Swedish cult sneaker brand Eytys. "People want comfortable shoes that they can wear all day without compromising on style. Our generation doesn't have the same dress code as our parents: business suits have been replaced with streetwear, so naturally the shoes complete the look."
So, for spring, here's a few of — in my opinion — some of the most beautiful ugly chunky trainers on the market.