New Balance, Birkenstock: The most stylish dad shoes actual dads wear

We spoke to three fathers about their favorite footwear, so listen up if you’re trying to mimic that dad swag.

New Balance 992 Grey

We’ve made our fondness for dad shoes well known here at Input, be it boat shoes, Crocs, or relatively plain sneakers. But there’s no better time to celebrate the footwear choice of actual parents and the stylish folks than invoking them in the lead-up to Father’s Day this weekend.

Dad shoes are popular amongst both crowds because they’re always comfortable and usually fuss-free enough that you don’t need to think much about what to wear them with — clearing up precious headspace for concerns like the state of the lawn or if too many lights have been left on inside the house. To highlight some of the best of them, we pulled together some of the most stylish dads we know to pick their favorites.

Matt Halfhill

Matt Halfhill is the founder and CEO of Nice Kicks. Matt Halfhill

Brandblack Specter 2.0 ($250)


“These have quickly become a regular in rotation. I’m a huge fan of off-white and slightly aged look, but these are complete with a vintage-like unfinished edge on the slip-fit tongue and are unbelievably comfortable. These are the shoes that turn the heads of all the other dads.”

Under Armour UA Flow Velociti Wind ($160) and Nike Metcon 6 ($130)

“I have four kids who follow my every move and for the past couple of years, those words have a lot greater meaning. Running, swimming, and training are all highly important to me personally and for my kids to learn healthy life habits. Dad jokes > dad bod.”

Timothy Grindle

Timothy Grindle is the co-owner of Canoe ClubTimothy Grindle

Birkenstock Boston ($115 and up)


“Long before the mulement, I saw Daiki Suzuki from Engineered Garments stomping these at their showroom with big vintage fatigues on and I've never scooped a pair of shoes faster. Since then, I always keep at least two on hand. Taking my daughter on a walk, hanging at the park, or popping over to Whole Foods to buy the most expensive bottle of water they sell to feel rich, these are the shoe. They look weird, they feel great, but everyone I know that joins the cult can't quit them. If these are a bit too crunchy for you, their newer model, the Kyoto is another go-to for me in the summer. They are a bit more stylish and streamlined and work while I save up for a pair of Row Sabots.”

Hoka One One Clifton 8 ($130)

Hoka One One

“I am a long-time fan of shoes like the New Balance 990s or a classic Larry David Simple Shoe. Really any sleeper boring shoe that has the if you know, you know vibe. That being said, I have become a Hoka loyalist. The Clifton in particular works for me well. I can take the kid on a quick hike, run errands, or fit in a run in these. The reason these have risen to the top is the funky colors and the super lightweight construction. I don't feel like these are weighing me down when I am running around. Plus you find a pair of the purple, pink, orange or any of the other colors that sell out quick and everyone wants to know what they are and where to get them. Don't get me wrong though, a 990 and Simple are always on deck for when things need to stay classic.”

Ryan Swanger

Ryan Swanger is an executive for a technology company and style influencer. Ryan Swanger

New Balance 992 in grey (price varies)

End. Clothing

“Perfect combination of style, simplicity and comfort. Most of my sneaker collection is composed of grey New Balance. Out of many models that I love, the 992 looks perfect in grey and is the most versatile to wear. I’m a big fan of the Steve Jobs uniform wardrobe, and no combination was better than the black Issey Miyake turtle neck, Levi’s, and 992s for me.”

Sneakersnstuff x New Balance 1500 RGB Pack in green (price varies)


“The 1500 has the best shape of any New Balance model in my opinion, and this particular pair has my favorite shade of green. I also prefer mesh on the toe box, and this pair utilizes my favorite version of NB mesh. Part of my preference for New Balance over any other sneaker brand is for their classic styling and simplicity. This pair maintains those traits with a perfect pop of color.”