Oliver: What's the deal with chunky shoes?

First it was the Balenciaga sock shoe, then it shifted to the chunky dad shoe. I am not talking about the classic $20 New Balance. Luxury brands like Gucci, Louis Vitton and Kanye’s Yeezy have turned a regular looking shoe into high fashion by altering the shape, color and texture. The shoe, often recognized for its oversized look and thick sole, emboldens wearers to express their own sense of style. 

Streetwear, has redefined what “cool” means. The focus recently shifted from minimal looking Balenciagas, slip on Vans or a Yeezy Boost, to a chunkier shoe. With this change in style, wearers began experimenting with oversized clothing in contrast to prior skin-tight looks. 

Musician and fashion designer Kanye West, who is well known for his streetwear brand, Yeezy, set off this oversized chunky fashion trend with Adidas. In combination with his earth-toned clothing line that includes many hole-filled hoodie and sweatpant combinations and baggy shirts, the voluminous shoe adds depth to an otherwise simple fit.

Oversized puffy jackets paired with ripped jeans and the Yeezy Boost 700 Wave Runner allow wearers to push the boundary of fashion with every clothing item. 

Walking around a college campus, I see that lots of students have joined in on this trend. 

University of Oregon student Claire Gillies enjoys observing the trend from afar. “I can appreciate that they are trying out a bold look,” Gillies said. “I think some people can really pull it off if they have the full outfit together. 100% of the time you can always make fun of them for wearing dad shoes,” she concluded. 

Seventeen year-old pop star Billie Eilish is a big fan of funky looking shoes. In an interview with COMPLEX, she said, “People fucking hate that shoe, [in reference to the Air Jordan 15’s] they hate it. It’s my favorite shoe. No one really wears 15’s because it’s such a weird… I love things that people hate,” Eilish said. 

There is a strong draw to alternative shoe styles because people are tired of looking normal. Experimenting with bold shoes allows individuals to make other risky choices with aspects of their outfit. 

Many who follow this trend aren’t limited by gender norms. The androgynous style of the shoes and clothes make this trend accessible to more people. The prices vary, ranging from more reasonably priced Filas at $60, to luxury lines that are thousands of dollars. One can hit up a thrift store and find ripped pants, oversized jackets and beanies to complete the outfit. 

With the chunky shoe trend, you can raid your dad's closet and grab a pair of his sneakers, grab a pair of your mom's jeans and walk out of the house feeling like yourself. The style is all- inclusive.