If there’s one thing I hate, it’s when fashion tries to dupe the fashion hungry into buying something that already exists on the cheap for hundreds or thousands of dollars. That shit makes me so mad.
The latest version of that? The Balenciaga (dad) Trainers, a pair of shoes that look like the lumpy footwear my father wore to do yard work when I was a kid, shoes that I begged him not to wear in public. They are so bad. The less tech-y version of the Reebok X Vetements Fury Sneakers, the Balenciaga shoes are a funny riff on normcore culture lifted from, well, normals like dads. It’s bonkers to me that one wouldn’t do their research to get the referential design joke being made and that they would fork over money for something so expensive because they’re a sneaker freak. People are so disconnected from the real world, I tell you.
To help you hashtag get the look, I’ve scanned through a few discount and department stores to deliver you a selection of ten dad shoes that more or less look like the Balenciaga ones. No, the color ways aren’t as exciting and, yes, you should invest in a slicker pair of laces to make them pop but – Again. – the difference is money in the bank: if you are that trend hungry, consider these stupid dad shoes so you don’t end up being the stupid one, stupid.
And, if you are completely confused as to what I’m talking about, refresh yourself by looking at the show and ad campaign this is based on here and find it on the street here, here, here, and here, which is from the designer of said dad shoe.
Tredsafe Mario Slip-Resistant Athletic Shoe
These are worn by people who work in restaurants or hospitals who need an effective, affordable shoe that won’t slip on surfaces that are constantly getting shit on them. But for you? Hold this close to the breast, goth fuccboi and fuccgurl: you have the perfect shoe to match with your high water cutoffs or metallic pleated skirt.
Dr. Scholl’s Sprint Wide Slip Resistant Sneaker
As you will see, this type of sneaker is a “type” and this type offers more comfort because it was made by a department store doctor. This shoe features a few more intricate design details – a tortilla chip at the toes, an embroidered maxi pad at the arch, a stretched guitar pick at the heel, etc. – that elevate this $40 shoe. Consider spray painting the sole or something to give it a little flair.
Starter Memory Foam Wide Width Athletic Shoe
In a turn toward the truly referential and potentially cool, this Starter shoe balances that high-low athletic collab that big brands have been doing. The gray/blue/white color way offers some intrigue too as it’s a little more versatile than basic black. I would honestly maybe wear this with neon laces.
Starter Jogger Athletic Shoe
Like the other Starter pair, this white shoe has cute little red details that offer a pop that you can play with. Imagine this with a red monochrome outfit? Or if you color blocked with primary colors? This would be the shoe you pair it with.
Starter Athletic Low Trail Hiker
This shoe is fucking ugly but so is the Balenciaga one. Please, cool kid, consider this so that it goes into less hands of same sex urban hikers in the Pacific Northwest.
Avia Jag Trail Shoe
Literally, this shoe is perfect. It’s the only one on the list that I wouldn’t suggest adding modification to as it appears to hear everything that I’m saying and wants to punch Demna Gvasalia in the face for ripping them off.
Pacifica Trail Running Shoe
Similar to the Avia shoe, this “Pacifica Trail” shoe is quite nice and comes in three different color ways with nary a mention of a brand name. I like that.
Rocky TMC Athletic Duty Oxford Work Shoes
The most expensive shoe on the list outside of Balenciaga, this strange tech dinosaur was designed with people like postal workers in mind. It’s not completely disgusting and its dramatic sole draws me in. You may have to embellish or scuff it to make it look less, you know, like a worker bee shoe but you can make it work.
Fila Memory Workshift Walking Shoes
Slick rick with the Filas, right? Exactly. Do that thing, goth girl. I have no idea what I’m even saying at this point. All these shoes are bad, even the Balenciaga ones.
Skechers Ascender Performance Athletic Shoes
This list would not be complete without a fucking Sketcher. Moreover, it’s the only shoe that adds an interesting textural element a la faux velvety finishes courtesy of Target. The Sketcher logos are actually quite discreet and you could certainly paint in some details on this, if you like.