“Ugly” sandals, chunky sandals, Trek sandals, track sandals, footbed sandals, call them what you like- they are a must-have and once again take Summer by storm.
Dad sandals started timidly making their way into everybody’s closets back in 2014 when suddenly wearing Birkenstocks became trendy. Not too long after, in 2019, this comfy footwear received the blessing of no other than Chanel confirming its fashionable status and hasn’t really left since.
Once associated with retired tourists strolling around in chunky Birkenstock sandals and socks through the rocky streets of Rome and Seville, these unpretty, but undeniably cool and comfortable shoes have come a long way since. Fashionistas, from models to influencers and celebrities, can’t get enough of them. Across different brands, from the top luxury labels to the affordable, everyday online stores, there are designs going out of stock and waitlists for the most sought-after pairs.
And for good reason: from a technical point of view, dad sandals generally tackle most of the problems that come with wearing open shoes in blazing hot weather: wide space for the toes, preventing chafing and hurtful bumping; large straps that will not bite into your skin, avoiding welts and blisters; cushioned footbed to protect the soles during longer walks; arch support and a raised toe bar: a true ergonomic treat!
Style-wise, these are versatile shoes that look cool with jeans or streamlined outfits and can break a too prim ensemble by adding an edgy twist.
With so many different brands taking part in the trend, there are plenty of designs to pick from in a multitude of colours, models, materials, and prices. We chose the best within different categories, paying special attention to clients’ reviews so that you can choose wisely. Whether you are trying these chunky sandals for the first time or are looking to add one or more pairs to your shoe closet, you are sure to find those which suit your comfort and style needs.
— Ponly picks products that we think you’ll love the most. We may earn commission from the links on this page.
1. Affordable Chanel dupe: ALDO Eowiliwiaquilted sandals
Sold in black or white quilted faux leather, these ALDO sandals are an inexpensive way to treat yourself with a high-end look. The design lets the quilted, Chanel-inspired effect speak for itself with little to no embellishments, making these dad sandals ideal to mix and match with cropped jeans, frilly sundresses, slouchy trousers or even suits and blazers.
With a slight platform and raised arch support, it makes a trusty choice comfort-wise: 100% of ASOS clients recommend this ALDO pair, deeming it “amazing for such price”.
2. Comfy luxury: Gucci rubber sandals with double G
If you are seeking luxury and comfort, go no further than Gucci: among high-end brands, the iconic Italian fashion house is well known for being at the top of comfort when it comes to footwear, making shoes that are buttery soft and adapt to your feet- not to mention highly durable.
Dad sandals made by Gucci are a match made in shoe heaven. This rubber model with a slight flat platform, reimagined from the brand’s 1970s archives, sports a discreet Gucci logo and comes in five colours, including pastel pink, red and black.
Youtuber Cymone Williamson recommends these if, like her, you have sensible arches: “I have an arch issue but this was very comfortable” she comments. On Tiktok, @vicnicolson swears they are “so good”.
3. Cult classic: Birkenstock Arizona
Considered to be last year’s most popular shoes for women and with millions of dedicated fans worldwide, the versatile Arizona, introduced in 1973, is Birkenstock’s best selling item.
Currently, this two-strap version of the dad sandal comes in a variety of colours, details, and materials, including a vegan option. Arizona was designed to be comfortable even for long-distance walks, and is beloved by backpackers and fashionistas alike, with the brand describing it as “a sandal like no other”. “It’s both a fashion statement and a fashion anti-trend – depending on the look the person wearing it is going for. For some it’s a provocation and a calculated style rule breaker, for others it’s an expression of a certain lifestyle”. Online buyers can’t praise the iconic sandal enough. Liz swears it’s “THE comfiest and supportive footwear I have ever bought”. Rosie stresses that “the quality is so evident”. “The leather is of the very best quality, and the manufacture is the same, which you would expect from a company that has been making footwear as long as Birkenstock has!”
4. Best deal for real leather: M&S Leather Quilted Footbed Sandals
While there are countless designer inspired affordable dad sandals in the market right now, real leather ones are not so common. M&S offers a true bargain with this sustainable leather version that is likely not only to be extra foot-friendly but to last beyond the season. Customers consider it a “best buy”. Online client Lnmill recommends these, saying “Amazing. Well priced, comfortable, good quality”.
5. Best selling leather Chanel dupe: Dune London Lockstockk
An absolute best-seller, these classically chic dad sandals are in constant demand, with rumours of frequent restocks and waiting lists.
With its recognisable quilted texture, made of soft leather with pretty turn-lock straps (golden or black) and an ergonomic sole, they are indeed a favourite of influencers and customers. Buyer Maggie B. describes them as “fabulous. Very stylish, super comfy and exceptional quality. Love love love them”. Another client, Starr, affirms that these are “one of the comfiest sandals I’ve ever had and yet stylish too. Goes with everything I own – great purchase”.
For those looking for different colours or textures, the Lockstockk design also comes in a nude brown and has two tweed-like fabric versions (one neutral, one black) that are all the rage on Tiktok.
6. Legendary: Dr. Martens Women’s Voss
A sturdier take on dad sandals- if that’s possible- this version from the iconic English brand that pledges comfort as a core value is unexpectedly flattering. The shape of its platform naturally elevates the ankle and elongates the legs more than the traditional dad sandals, making it easier to wear with skirts, classic trousers, or skinny jeans. Made out entirely of pure leather, the Voss sandal comes in three shades of black, plus white and yellow.
Buyer Hetty praises them for the extreme comfort since the first wear: “Love these sandals! Comfortable from the off and fantastically versatile. I’m a baggage in my 50s but my 22 year old daughter thinks they’re ‘cool’! Perfect with jeans and long dresses – festival shoes you can live in”.
7. British fine Chanel Dupe: Barbour International Paris
If you are after a Chanel-inspired design from a premium brand that it’s luxurious in its own right – and well versed in everything quilted- Barbour, the mythical British label, offers you the best value for money.
These exquisite, beautifully crafted chunky sandals are made of supple leather to assure perfect comfort and come with adjustable rip tape fastenings for perfect fitting without metal pressuring your skin and toes.
Buyers praise its excellent quality, with one detailing “I ordered 4 different brands of these type of flat, chunky, black strappy sandal, but by far these Barbour sandals were the most comfortable, best looking and very well made. They are so much softer than the others I tried both for cushioning and the straps. They don’t have that pre-formed shape on the inside so my foot fits perfectly, I have high arches and flat shoes can sometimes cause my feet to ache, but these are perfect. True to size the cross-stitching makes them look very high end, absolutely delighted with them. More colours please”.
8. Elegantly fluffy: Hush Naxos Knotted Leather Footbed Sandals
Known for its buttery soft, ergonomically correct footwear designed for longevity of wear, Australian-British brand hush stands true to its fame when making dad sandals.
These footbed sandals are as elegant as dad sandals can possibly come, and have a slightly more feminine look due to their knotted design that embraces the feet.
Sitting on a flatform heel with arch support, they are figure-flattering and ideal to elongate the legs. Their refined design makes them perfect to wear with frilly dresses, adding some edge without creating a too harsh contrast.
Buyers like Jenny love their smoothness above anything else: “the sandals are true to size and will look good with cropped trousers and dresses -so versatile. They are extremely comfy as leather is soft. Chunky and stylish.”
9. Girly Glam: Carvela Jeo
A glamourous take on quilted dad sandals, this dainty blush pink design embellished with silver gemstones is the perfect day-to-night option, and ideal for long summer nights out.
Set on a 3cm chunky sole and with an extra supportive footbed, these are a sensible but glitzy choice for holiday seaside gatherings and dancing the night without compromising comfort or style. Client Kathy D. guarantees to be “delighted with them”. “A great looking pair of bling sandals that are also extremely comfortable. Wearable during the day or for evenings.”
10. Denim Chanel-inspired: Dune Lockstock
Another nod to one of the most sought after shoe designs in recent history – denim quilted dad sandals- this budget-friendly pair makes a pretty alternative to the high-end version. Adding the comfort of denim shoes in hot temperatures to all the pros of chunky sandals, the denim version sold out instantly when it launched last year. These blue chunky sandals are , of course, a favourite of Instagram influencers, who praise them for being “totally worth it cost per wear” and “so so comfortable”.
11. Low profile trend -setter: Teva W Original Universal Sandal
These unassuming spartan shoes were a key player in the rise of dad sandals, when suddenly Instagram fashionistas started showing them off in a myriad of stylish outfits.
Eco-friendly, made for long nature walks and a darling of festival-goers, this quintessential dad sandal (known for its trademarked Universal Strapping System that allows multiple points of adjustability to achieve the absolute perfect fit) promises extreme support and durability.
Clients like M.G. especially love the adjustable straps, which are a life-saver for wearers who have trouble with nailing the correct fit and size:“excellent quality, beautifully made. Love the adjustable velcro straps that can be adjusted to my size. They look great, and are the most comfortable pair of sandals I’ve ever had. Light and very durable. I love them!”.
12. Metallic: hush Woodstock
Few things flatter a summer glow better than golden footwear, so it makes sense to consider buying a versatile shoe like dad sandals in such colours. They look amazing with any beach wrap or sundress for the holidays, but will also go perfectly with chic city outfits such as smart cut linen trousers accessorised with a chain bag.
This design from hush is a clever option: beautifully designed, soft and well crafted with just the right shade of gold to go with your tan (but it also comes in silver, if you favour cool tones instead). Buyers highlight its comfort and fit. According to Marsha, these provide “comfort from first wear”. “Great for dressing up a BBQ outfit or just a plain shorts and T-shirt” and Fay says she absolutely loves them. “I have worn them almost every day this summer! I find them really comfortable – even walking 2-3 miles or so, after a full day in them on holiday
They are fab quality, stylish, go with everything and very comfy…love them!”.
13. The chunkiest luxury: Balenciaga Track
It would be unforgivable to talk about chunky footwear without including Balenciaga. The beloved high-end brand that coined the “dadcore” trend and pretty much got everyone wearing dad shoes couldn’t go without having their say when it comes to dad sandals.
And as could be imagined, Balenciaga came up with the chunkiest of chunky sandals, in an ultimate “ugly-cool” fashion that couldn’t be more stylish if they tried.
Considered an extension of the fashion powerhouse’s Triple S design, the Track sandal is made with leather and rubber, featuring the iconic over the top rubber sole -which is surprisingly figure-flattering – and velcro straps.
It is also important to mention that Balenciaga is skilled in making even sky-high heels feel cosy, therefore we can expect nothing but dream-like comfort from their version of walking sandals. Client Joanne confirms: “everyone needs to try these on! I’ve bought 2 more pairs since buying these (different colours). The comfiest shoe ever!!!!! I can see myself living in these in the summer!”.
14. The real deal: Chanel
Finally, we have the dad sandals that most other brands model theirs after. Currently, Chanel offers a few variants of their iconic rendition of the dad sandal: a knitwear or colourful denim version and a printed leather one, as well as a mesh and patent calfskin design with cord sole. However, if you are keen on getting your hands on a classic Chanel quilted dad sandal and cannot wait until they are made available again, do not despair: you can always turn to a sustainable solution and search pre-loved luxury e-commerce stores like Vestiare Collective, that has a vast selection from sellers across different countries. It might take a bit of patience to find your desired model in the right size, but good things come for those who wait. The opinion on these icons across the internet is well-known, but blogger Yuki Evoy summarises it all by calling them “ugly delicious”.