Once upon a time, brands like New Balance were reserved for dads grilling at the barbecue. However, at some point, a transition transpired. Silhouettes such as the NB 990v5 and 992 have become must-have shoes for sneakerheads and fashionistas across the globe.
New Balance is now responsible for some of the most significant sneaker collaborations of the past several years, with the likes of Aimé Leon Dore, Casablanca, Joe Freshgoods and JJJJound bringing the heat consistently.
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Perhaps the entry-level starting point of rocking a pair of dad shoes is with some sweatpants. Cozy fits are essential for airport dressing and the work from home boom. I recommend grabbing a pair of Aimé Leon Dore or JJJJound sweats to nail the cozy outfit assignment. No need to kick your shoes off mid-flight with this look.
Complete the look with fresh socks. I have yet to find a better pair than Uniqlo's versatile offering, and at $12.90 for a four-pack, you really can't complain.
Taking smart casual to the next level
It is slightly more complex to pair a New Balance dad shoe with some proper trousers. Not only can it be done, though, but you'll make the smart-casual dress code look better than ever before.
The key here is to find some wide-fit pants that you feel comfortable in, be they a pair of chinos or some suit trousers. It’s also vital to ensure the pant leg doesn't completely overwhelm the sneaker beneath. Sure, this may mean a trip to the tailors to get that ideal length, but you will never regret doing so.
UK-based contemporary menswear brand Wax London currently offers some of the best options for merging affordability with high-quality garments. That competitive price point frees up some cash for you to get these tailored to perfection.
As temperatures begin to soar, most people will be opting for shorts over full-length pants for the summer. Luckily, this can play into your hand as you continue to style the versatile NB 990. A five-inch inseam is key to nailing this look. I would always recommend rocking socks, too. Some people opt for invisible socks, which may be more to your taste.
Patagonia baggies took over most cities across the globe a few years back, and they are still the best option when looking for a comfy pair of five-inch shorts.
I'd also recommend keeping your eyes on the Throwing Fits podcast, as co-hosts James Harris and Lawrence Schlossman have taken over the shorts space these last 12 months with their five-inch mesh shorts.
In your jeans
If you opt to pair your New Balance with some jeans, you may well have evolved into full dad mode — and that's no bad thing. This look was renowned by the late Steve Jobs but has been given a fashion uplift in recent years thanks to Emily Oberg and her ever-popular Sporty & Rich campaigns, as well as model Kaia Gerber’s eye-catching street style.
Cali-based surfwear-turned-streetwear brand Stüssy even featured their New Balance 990v4 collaboration alongside denim when the sneaker dropped back in 2017. This look has been a fan-favorite for years.
Stonewashed jeans are your best choice here, and you don't have to look any further than Levi's 501 jeans. The San Francisco-based brand has been perfecting the straight-leg jean since 1853. Something about the light blue wash sitting over the gray tones of a classic pair of New Balance 990s cannot be beaten.
Want to grab some 501s even cheaper? Head to your local charity store and thrift a pair — they'll look even better.
Track pants were once exclusively reserved for, well, the running track. Optimized materials such as Nike’s sweat-wicking Dri-FIT or the moisture-absorbing CLIMALITE offering from Adidas made track pants perfect for various sporting activities. That tide has changed though, as streetwear enthusiasts continue to adopt the trousers. Bella Hadid has embraced the movement and shows us exactly how to flex a pair of running trousers with the new Teddy Santis-led 990v3.
If you haven't already, it is time to welcome the uncuffed track pants to your rotation. Nike offers a pair crafted from recycled materials, lightweight fabric, and sweat-wicking technology to guarantee you stay comfortable all day. Throw these pants on with your New Balance and a plain white tee for an easy everyday outfit.
My final and perhaps favorite way to style a pair of running trainers is with cargo pants. The adaptable trouser usually offers you the ability to adjust the leg opening at the bottom of the pants, meaning you can wear them however you see fit. The hem will often have a drawstring fastening, so the option is yours whether you want a wide or fitted look.
Engineered Garments are true professionals when it comes to military-inspired apparel. The products on offer from the cult-favorite brand weave workwear and sportswear, making the cargo trousers the perfect companion for a pair of dad shoes. Inspired by vintage military pieces, the cargo pants come covered in an eye-catching olive green hue. Ripstop cotton guarantees durability, while the drawstring hems complete a tapered leg. Although Engineered Garments trousers aren't cheap, you really could not do any better if you’re looking to pick up your first pair of cargo pants.