Which New Balance Shoes Are Dad Shoes? Our Top Five Picks

In an era where Air Jordans, Air Max and Adidas Ultraboost have focused on innovation, ground breaking designs and improving cushioning technology. New Balance went the opposite direction, bringing focus to their archive “Dad” classics. This incredible move has propelled the Boston-based sportswear brand to new heights over the last years and has taken the sneaker world by storm.

The resurgence of the New Balance Dad Shoe began to return to popularity in the late 2010s when old-school New Balance’s retroed and became a fashion trend. This momentum help launch shoes like Kanye West’s Yeezy 700 Wave Runner, which took the Dad shoe trend to the mainstream.

What set New Balance apart from other kicks with that similar look, was that they were authentic, they were the undisputed OG Dad Shoes of eras past, that carry the desired look with ease. Thick and chunky soles, iconic New Balance branding and a focus on comfort over aesthetic helped old school New Balance gain a lot of attention. Which they began capitalising on.

New Balance has always been an icon for many. Shoes you can wear for all occasions that offer uncompromised comfort, with that classic Dad grilling at the BBQ style. This was picked up as a throwback opportunity for the new wave of sneakerheads, who have completely embraced the thriving period of bulky shoes over the last few years. NB worked with this, using their initiative and reintroducing chunky shoes to a whole new audience.

These bulky, yet comfortable shoes are usually classic revival silhouettes from the 80s and 90s. Think New Balance 990vs, New Balance 2002r or the New Balance 550 as prime examples. The colourways that tended to dominate were all-white styles, worn without fear of getting them dirty or tarnished with ketchup splatter. Back then it didn’t even matter how much mud you got on those creps! They would be rocked anytime and anywhere, regardless of the activity.

Why do Dads love New Balance?

Unlike sneakerheads who usually go for the most hyped and extremely limited pairs, New Balance Dad shoe’s have typically been marketed for those who value long-lasting comfort and durability over aesthetic. That’s exactly what these chunky New Balance shoes do best.

The likes of the New Balance 624 are also extremely affordable, while the New Balance 990x series offer a more premium look. Other selections offer a mix of both, making the brand a solid option for a wide range of activities and looks. 

New Balances are also easy to cop. Excluding limited-edition releases, you usually don’t have to join raffles or wait in long lines for 90% of their drops. A good New Balance Dad Shoe is a great all-around durable trainer, perfect for cookouts, office parties and the school run. What more could a Dad want?

How New Balance Dominated the Dad Shoe market

The New Balance 99x and 990x series are mainly responsible for the resurgence of dad shoes. Their signature Grey makeover set the tone for the minimalist and inconspicuous trait popularised by these sneakers.

While the dad shoe trend seemed like a meme to some, many embraced the effortless and chunky focused look of the Dad shoe. New Balance pioneered the trend in the modern era, and the next thing we know even luxury brands following suit. Balenciaga’s Triple S sneaker and Louis Vuitton’s unique trainers being among the more premium trends in the Dad shoe market.

Even Nike has their own Dad shoes lines, the Air Monarch and the M2K Tekno headlining their chunky sneaker selections. The 700 and 500 leading the way for Yeezy.

However the crown still belongs to New Balance due to the brand having unrivalled history with the look. The New Balance brand is the icon when it comes to the Dad shoe aesthetic. Because they dominated past decades with the look, they have been able to bring back archive styles effortlessly to a very warm audience, ready to embrace that Dad look.

The Top Five New Balance Dad Shoes

Below we have listed five of the top New Balance Dad shoes that should be on your radar. Some of these are incredibly popular today, so should be instantly recognisable and rightfully so as New Balance climbs the sportswear race once more.

New Balance 990v5

The New Balance 990x series is definitely an undisputed king of the Dad Shoe line for New Balance. This 990v5 is the latest model in the long-standing line inspired by running shoes. While it’s much simpler in design than previous models, the Dad shoe vibe is very strong with this one.

Dads and many new wave “Non-Dads” have embraced the New Balance 990v5. If you don’t know this shoe by now, you’re definitely missing out on one of the most finely-crafted trainers from New Balance.

Where to Buy?

New Balance SHOP HERE


Sevenstore SHOP HERE

New Balance 550

One of the most popular kicks from New Balance is recent memory. The New Balance 550 officially came out way back in 1989 as an old-school New Balance basketball shoe. Revived in 2020, the shoe has gained mainstream success through hyped collabs with Aime Leon Dore etc. The bulky look of the shoe makes it a classic dad shoe, think Air Force 1 or Puma Slipstream but with New Balance. If you’re feeling more hardcore, the high-top New Balance 650 also deserve a look!

Where to Buy?

New Balance SHOP HERE

Foot Locker SHOP HERE

Offspring SHOP HERE

New Balance 2002r

This shoe is another classic reimagined for modern times. The New Balance 2002r is a spin-off of the original model from 2010. Marketed as a luxurious running shoe, the 2002r is one of the best-looking Dad shoes because it’s not as bulky as other models.

It wasn’t that popular when it first came out, but the second time’s the charm as the shoe is one of the best-sellers for the brand. Multiple collabs from various brands and designers keep the New Balance 2002r under the spotlight. Whether you’re going loud or sticking to monochromatic tones popular with Dad’s, the NB 2002rs are well worth a look.

Where to Buy?

New Balance SHOP HERE


Offspring SHOP HERE

New Balance 624

Young ones and hypebeasts probably won’t know too much about the New Balance 624. But if you’re chatting to a seasoned griller, they’ll probably tell you a legendary story that references this reliable sneaker. Just take a look at this shoe, this is the pinnacle of Dad shoe style.

Aside from all Grey colours, iconic Dad shoes are also commonly worn low-top cross trainers in White with Midnight Navy accents. That’s exactly what the New Balance 624 looks like. It’s a simple cross-trainer capable of providing long-lasting comfort for the knees.

Where to Buy?

New Balance SHOP HERE

Sports Shoes SHOP HERE

New Balance 608 v5

The New Balance 608 v5 is another reliable cross trainer from the brand worn famously by Dads across the globe. Its Abzorb cushioning brings much-needed cushioning for everyday routines and would have been a common site on an 80s school run or during football practice.

Where to Buy?

New Balance SHOP HERE


Three of the best non New Balance Dad Shoes 

Aside from New Balance, other brands have their own classic Dad shoe entries, that we can’t end this article without mentioning. Some of these pairs came out long ago and also benefited from the Dad shoe resurgence of the late 2010s. Let’s check out these best non-New Balance Dad shoe styles.

Nike Air Monarch IV

Fun fact: the Nike Air Monarch IV is one of the best-selling shoes in Nike history, arguably the most popular Dad shoes not from the New Balance brand. First released in 2009, the Air Monarch IV eventually became a staple lifestyle option for Dad’s, sneakerheads and just about everybody in between.

The shoe features a leather upper with a chunky aesthetic headlined by a Nike Air unit in the heel. It’s available in plenty of colours too which helps make this classic an extremely popular pair even to this day!

Asics Gel Kayano

With its running DNA made it a suitable trainer for Dads seeking a lot of cushioning and support. Unlike most of the models in this article, the Asics Gel Kayano is still a great running shoe and one of the longest-running footwear lines of the Japanese sportswear brand. 

These running trainers come in various colourways, versions, and width options to give you all the comfort you need! You can rock these for gym workouts, outdoor running sessions or as a simple casual lifestyle shoe. The versatility of this mare makes it a very practical Dad shoe.

Birkenstock Arizona Sandal

If you’re tired of wearing a classic sneaker, how about a pair of uber-comfortable sandals instead? The Birkenstock Arizona is a tried and tested classic across the globe. Unlike any sandals you’ve worn before. Its cork footbed provides a soft step-in comfort that lasts as long as you wear this sandal, molding to your foot shape over time. You can also opt for EVA versions for variety.

The Birkenstock Arizona is perfect for hot summer days when slides start becoming more commonplace. Also, a great option if you need maximum comfort any time of the day. Rock them with or without socks, this sandal packs softness to the core! Dad Style 101!

Final Thoughts

Dad shoes are back. FACT. There’s no denying this! This article gives you five solid New Balance options to look into as well as some non NB Dad favourites. If we had to be pushed to a personal favourite, it would most likely be the New Balance 550. A few honourable mentions that missed our list would be the Yeezy 700, the adidas Ozweego and the Saucony Shadow 5000.

If you’ve dodged the trend so far, there has never been a better time to jump in a join the Dad shoe hype train. All Aboard!