There’s hardly been a time in recent memory when the best sneakers around were also the most comfortable. But now, enter: the chunky sneaker. Also referred to as the “dad” sneaker by its legions of adoring fans—Hailey Baldwin, Kaia Gerber, and Bella Hadid among them—the in-your-face silhouette has become a mainstay in the sneaker world for years. But since there are new styles and shades dropping all the time, I spoke to an expert about how to find the best chunky sneakers for yourself in 2023.
Whereas traditional chunky sneakers—ones with enlarged details like an oversized rubber sole—were popular in the past, a classically sporty look is trending for this year. "2023 will be the year of the runner," says Ryan Kleman, Director of Non-Apparel at Moda Operandi. "While not as large in scale as some chunky sneakers, this silhouette is unbelievably wearable. From casual to the club, this footwear option will take you anywhere in 2023."
When it comes to colors and combinations to shop for this year, prioritize wearability over a statement-making palette. "The customer is looking for a shoe they can wear every day, without thinking, what we are dubbing the 'daily driver,' says Kleman about what new shoppers should look for when browsing this year. "Winning color combinations is going completely neutral or pairing bold shades with looks devoid of color otherwise."
Ahead, we broke down all of the best chunky sneaker styles for 2023, from the bold to the only slightly chunky. Our list includes a few of the cutest white sneakers that are a little chunkier around the edges, a few great black sneakers, and even a few designer sneaker options that are worthy of your investment. Plus, this list includes a few of our all-time favorite Nike sneakers, too. Kleman even pulled a few of his favorites for the season, so keep scrolling to shop the best chunky sneakers to get your hands on (and your feet into) this season.
The Best Chunky Sneakers
Best Bright Chunky Sneakers
Nike’s Vapormax Plus sneakers are like their original slick counterpart, only a little chunkier. A combination between the original Vapormaxs and the '98 Air Max Plus sneakers, this day-glo bright pair is to die for. You can also shop them in other bright colors like orange, neon yellow, and lavender. However, they also come in black if you're not feeling that adventurous. The nearly 2,000 five-star reviews say that they're comfortable all day long, ship quickly, and go with everything.
Customer Review: "Brand new out the box feels like they are your favorite shoes you've forever. The comfort level is through the roof. Im gonna get them in all colors. Great for walking. No complaints here go out and get yourself a pair. Well worth the price. So many colors to choose from" — Nike
Best Sleek Chunky Sneakers
If you want a pair of chunky sneakers that don't feel overwhelming on your foot—especially if you have feet that are on the bigger side—consider this pair from ALLSAINTS. The platform adds chunk, but the otherwise slender shape keeps it looking low-key. They're available in this white shade and an olive green. They're also only available in full sizes, so the brand recommends sizing up if you're between sizes. Some reviewers note that there is a break-in period with these shoes.
Customer Review: None available.
Best Chunky Running Sneaker
Running sneakers can also be fashionable, I promise. This top-rate and cult-favorite pair from HOKA comes in a bunch of colors and prints and is comfortable enough to wear while running errands or running for miles. Reviewers say they run true-to-size and they're available in tons of bright colors like this purple-and-pink combo, plus a cute coral pink color and a mint-green-and-baby-blue option, too. The cushioning in the show is designed to absorb impact and evenly disperse it across your feet as you move for maximum comfort.
Customer Review: "I’m in the middle of training for a half marathon and these are great! They have just the right amount of cushion and are lightweight." — Nordstrom
Best White Chunky Sneaker
If you’re looking for a chunky white sneaker with a touch of something special, consider this pair from Alexander McQueen. The backs of each pair are outfitted with a different pop of color. You can pick from classic shades like red and navy blue and blush pink, plus a few more fun metallic shades like a gunmetal silver-gray. Reviewers do say they run small and recommend sizing up.
Customer Review: "I can’t get enough of these McQueens. Been wearing it everywhere. The size 9.5 is perfect for my usual size 9." — Nordstrom
"With its lived-in feel, and a nylon leather fabrication, this pair will take me anywhere I am going. From sweats to tailoring, these shoes give a laid-back, casual vibe that fits my personal style. Being a high-top is a big plus, as it works well with any silhouette of pant as well as shorts." — Ryan Kleman, Director of Non-Apparel at Moda Operandi
Customer Review: None available
Best Sustainable Chunky Sneaker
Veja makes some of the cutest (and most sustainable) sneakers on the market right now. This pair of tan and white chunky sneakers from the brand has a retro feel and are surprisingly lightweight thanks to its mesh base. The brand notes that these sneakers do run small, so they're great if you have a smaller foot that doesn't fit into the smallest size from other luxury brands. The rubber sole also adds grip for stability.
Customer Review: "This is by far my fav sneakers . Very soft and light . I love the look and style . Compliments every casual outfits . The downside is just the sizing . I am a US size 7 but i down size to US 6 and it is a perfect size for me." — Nordstrom
Best Iconic Chunky Sneaker
There was a time, maybe five years ago, when everyone and their mother were wearing Fila’s original Disruptor sneaker in white. Since then, the silhouette has been revamped time and time again to fit the new trends and styles, but it’s impossible to deny just how pervasive these sneakers are. The treaded sole provides comfort if you're running around outside in the snow or rain; they're designed to be lightweight despite their thicker silhouette; and they fit true to size.
Customer Review: "I love these sneakers. They are so comfortable. I wear a size 9 and they fit me great." — Shopbop
If you love high-top sneakers but are looking for a pair that doesn't hug your foot too tightly, check out this pair from fashion-insider-approved brand Anine Bing. You can wear them laced for a sleek appearance or undone for a chunkier look. Keep them clean for wearing to the office with trousers or a maxi skirt, or give them a lived-in look as you wear them over time.
Customer Review: None available.
"Although I prefer sleeker sneaker styles over chunky ones, I am OBSESSED with my 530s. To me, they have the perfect amount of chunkiness without crossing too far over into "dad sneaker" territory. I love to wear them with extra baggy jeans or leggings and tube socks for a sporty chic look to run errands in. And if I know I have an extra long walk ahead of me, these are the sneakers I throw on because they are SO comfy." — Brooke Knappenberger, Editorial Fellow
Customer Review: None available.
"These sneakers from FILA turn any otherwise bland outfit into a fashion statement, and they're one of the most comfortable pairs of shoes I own. True to fit, easy to clean, and vibrant, they come in a number of fun colorways, but my personal favorite is baby blue. When I wear them, I can never walk more than a few steps without receiving compliments!" — Gabrielle Ulubay, E-Commerce Writer
Customer Review: "Perfect Size and Width. These are padded a little inside so the size that I always take in Sneakers similar to these is exactly the same. In regular shoes I wear a 7 1/2 to an 8. So the 8 1/2 was a perfect fit for me both in size and width. I got them in the Scuba Blue and they are BEAUTIFUL!! I LOVE THEM : )" — Zappos
Best Retro Chunky Sneaker
This under-$100 pick from Nike comes in 8 different color combinations—including this sleek white-and-gray option—and is inspired by the iconic Air Max 90 sneaker. Reviewers love them because they run true to size and go with everything they own, from leggings to jeans to trousers. The thicker sole adds all-day comfort while looking great.
Customer Review: "I absolutely LOVE these shoes! The basic black & white goes with everything, the fit is perfect, & they are stylish. The fit of these is so great that I actually have two other colorways, too. I will note that I found them to fit pretty true to size, & they are supportive of my high arches." — Nordstrom
Meet The Expert
Ryan Kleman has worked at Moda Operandi for five years and is currently the Director of Non-Apparel. Born and raised in Ohio, after attending Bowling Green State University, he began his fashion career at Saks Fifth Avenue, later spending time working at Amazon and Gucci. Ryan currently resides in New York City.
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Julia Marzovilla is the Fashion E-Commerce Editor at Marie Claire, where she covers everything from the latest beauty and fashion launches and sales to celebrity outfits and news. She also creates shopping guides that span every vertical on the site. Prior to joining the Marie Claire team, she contributed similar shopping stories to sites such as Bustle, InStyle, The Zoe Report, Who What Wear, and STYLECASTER. In her spare time, Julia can be found creating shopping guides for all of her friends, spending too much money on yet another pair of black boots, and cooking in her far-too-small kitchen.
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