A few seasons ago, we were preaching the wonders of a certain chunky trainer, also known as the ‘dad sneaker,’ thanks to Balenciaga. With the transitional season kicking in, one needs to switch from sneakers to something that can help you navigate the monsoons. Enter the dad sandals.

A dad sandal is exactly what you’re picturing — it is much like those pairs you see middle-aged men wearing during hiking, running errands in the middle of the day, or just casually with socks. Think supportive straps, velcro fastenings, and slightly foamy soles. Brownie points if they’re a bit worn in too.

What separates the dad sandals from the sloppy slip-ons your dad wore? It’s all about finding that perfect balance of form and function. You want a pair of sandals with plenty of arch support and cushioning, but they also need to stand out. Whether they’re dressy and cut from high-quality leather or outdoorsy with a practical rubber sole, the absolute best sandals for men should be versatile enough to take you from the beach to the bar, and never feel out of place.

Favoured by everyone from the high street to the more experimental styles of Balenciaga, Gucci, Dior, and Prada, among many others, this is the kind of sandal that oozes off-duty cool, best worn around the house or on casual meet-ups. Then comes the classic leather sandal — the kind that makes you want to throw on a linen shirt and book a holiday to the northern side of Italy.

Balenciaga is not new to bringing out dad fashion. Like the house’s iconic dad sneaker, creative director Demna Gvasalia has rolled out the Balenciaga Track sandals, the take on velcro-strap dad sandals. This unique piece is also familiar, which is a deconstructed take on the Insta-famous Balenciaga Track.2 silhouette. If you are looking for a more printed factor, Versace’s snakeskin-print kicks should be your go-to option.

These sandals are embossed with the brand’s quintessential Greek-inspired pattern — an ideal piece for long-haul flights, boujee shopping trips, and long brunches. Another classic brand is none other than Birkenstocks. These classic German sandals are renowned for their cork footbeds, said to have orthopaedic properties, and leather straps that hint at the high-quality workmanship that goes into every design.

Ader Error Birkenstock Group

The best way to style dad sandals is to start by wearing them with suit separates. In traditional circles, the idea of tailoring and sandals being worn together is a sartorial disgrace but with changing times, you need to be alert to the change in the rules. The first rule is no socks, obviously, especially not the white ones designed for sport. The other way to wear dad sandals would be with chinos — it’s the easiest way to wear them, casually perfecting the art of the lazy day style as well. Opt for shades of blacks, olives, brown, and other colours in the earthy palette. For this look, the safe way to play would be to choose the good old Birkenstock. What better than wearing comfortable yet functional footwear that goes with everything? Opt for some light wash jeans along with some graphic shirt or loose summer knitwear, and finish it up with these chunky sandals for the wow effect. If you’re looking to set your toes free in style, you know how to do it.