8 Chunky Sneakers That Are Both Comfortable and Stylish
The '90s chunky sneakers trend is back and better than ever, and our soles feel oh-so-good.
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Trends come and go—there are some styles that date you—and there are others whose return makes us downright giddy, like chunky sneakers. In fact, they just might be our favorite resurrected ’90s trend. They’re practical, stylish and almost as comfortable as your favorite slippers. Now we’re not saying it’s time to say goodbye to those trusty walking shoes, but we wouldn’t be surprised if it comes to that after trying on a pair of these supportive sneaks.
To be sure that jumping on this trend isn’t one of those shoe mistakes that hurt your feet, we spoke to Dr. Suzanne Levine, an aesthetic podiatrist, foot surgeon and founder of Millennium Podiatry in New York City. According to Dr. Levine, there are several benefits to wearing chunky sneakers. First, these shoes aren’t as flimsy or bendable as other styles, and many offer more cushioning. Plus, they tend to have a good heel cup, which provides motion stability for people who over-pronate.
“Overpronation,” Dr. Levine explains, “is when your foot rolls in and flattens too much when walking. This puts extra stress on tendons, muscles and joints. It can cause problems higher up the leg, and maybe sometimes hip and knee problems.” If this is a familiar struggle, you’ll be happy to know that chunky sneakers give you more balance. Not only that, but “this style shoe provides more room in the toe box and, therefore, it’s great for people with existing problems in the forefoot, including bunions, hammer toes, neuromas and corns,” she notes.
Whether you’re a millennial who wants to relive their youth in the most comfy way possible, part of the Gen Z crew and younger demographics keeping up with latest trends, or a member of an older generation simply seeking comfortable footwear, you’re in luck. “Generally speaking, chunky sneakers can be worn by most people,” says Dr. Levine. So take a look at these doctor-approved, supportive sneakers. And since you’re already shoe shopping, check out these rain boots, winter boots and snow boots to stay warm and dry all season long.
How We Chose the Best Chunky Sneakers
As shopping experts, our only job is to help you find a winning product. We start with the research and reporting basics—what products are made of, what they look like and how much they cost—to ensure that we’re only recommending the buys that are worth your time and money. Then, we research the features that speak to the product’s quality, taking advice from industry insiders and subject matter experts on what makes a product a smart value (or worthy of a splurge). Finally, we do the work of combing through user reviews to see how real people interact with the product, and if it stands up to the test.
Best overall chunky sneakers
Nike Zoom Air Fire
Dr. Levine recommends the Nike Zoom Air Fire because it’s lighter than other chunky sneakers. Not only that, but its substantial foam midsole provides dependable cushioning. These shoes have a supportive and durable rubber sole with a layered upper, which features a light, breathable open-mesh design. They also have a padded, low-cut collar that looks sleek and offers extra comfort. Pair these with joggers for a casual, cool look you can wear all day long.
- Lighter than other chunky sneakers
- Available in sizes 5 to 12
- May run small
- Colors sell out fast
Best value chunky sneakers
Skechers Sport D’Lites Sneaker
Not everyone wants to spend big bucks on a pair of sneakers and luckily, you don’t have to. This versatile Skechers style costs less than $50 and are reliable for everyday wear, whether at work or at the gym. They feature an all-leather upper, which has toe-cap perforations on either side; and a mesh lining so feet can breathe.
They also have a heavily-padded tongue, collar and insole, as well as a stabilizing outsole that fully supports the foot. Shoes this comfortable at this price are sure to become a new favorite in constant rotation, so prevent them from getting stinky with these smart tricks to keep shoes smelling fresh.
- Available in wide and medium widths and six colors
- All-leather upper can be wiped clean
- Some reviewers note a lack of arch support
Best splurge chunky sneakers
Ba&sh Veja Sneakers
These vintage-style sneakers are part of a special collaboration between Parisian fashion label Ba&sh and European footwear brand Veja. Thick-notched soles make these shoes an excellent choice for the outdoors, and the golden yellow and off-white hues scream style.
The sneakers are made primarily of Alveomesh, a material derived from recycled polyester, and feature leather accents. They contain recycled rice waste and sugar cane, making them a sustainable pick. Pair them with your best jeans for a classic, retro look.
- Part of a special capsule collection of sneakers from Veja and Ba&sh
- Made mostly from recycled materials
- Can be hand-washed and put in the dryer or dry cleaned
- Slightly heavier than other styles
- Runs small
Best white chunky sneakers
Michael Michael Kors Nick Trainer Sneakers
Finding the perfect pair of all-white chunky sneakers only to have them marred by a bright tab or logo can be frustrating. Dr. Levine recommends this pair because its solid heel cup helps prevent overpronation, and it also offers a very supportive midsole. We especially love the white snakeskin detailing that adds a little pizzazz to the shoe. Keep them looking brand-new with the best ways to clean white sneakers.
- Features white snake-embossed leather
- Set on molded rubber soles for comfort
- Offers a very supportive midsole
- On the expensive side
Best black chunky sneakers
Steve Madden Possession Sneaker
Behold: We found the pair of black chunky sneakers your wardrobe has been missing. This lightweight dad sneaker has a mesh upper for breathability and a well-padded, removable insole to keep feet comfy all day long. Its textured sole provides grip and traction, so slipping and falling isn’t a concern here. Pair this option with your favorite loungewear set for an A+ athleisure look.
- Allover-black is sleek and stylish
- Available in nine other colors
- Breathable and lightweight
- Removable insole for added comfort
- Small white logo on an otherwise all-black shoe
Best chunky sneakers in extended sizes
Reebok Classic Legacy Sneaker
Whether you’re a size 5 or 15, these unisex chunky sneakers are designed to fit nearly every adult’s feet. This retro-style running sneaker has a chunky midsole that provides cushion and grip, along with a rubber outsole that adds traction and slip resistance. The textile upper allows your feet to breathe, while the leather overlay serves up a stylish look.
Of course, comfort is key. Just take it from the thousands of five-star reviews on Amazon, including verified purchaser Adilene Montoya who says: “It’s like walking on foam all day!” These shoes are noted in both men’s and women’s sizes and are available in 40+ different colors. His and hers matching sneakers, anyone? If you’re shopping for him, check out the best walking shoes for men.
- Available in women’s sizes 5 to 16.5 and men’s 3.5 to 15
- More than 40 fun color combinations to choose from
- Lightweight design
- Not water-resistant
Best chunky sneakers for hiking
Kodiak Brigden Shoe
Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast or a casual mover, these lightweight chunky sneakers were designed to go from the street to the trail. They’re crafted using 50% recycled plastic mesh and genuine suede, as well as 100% recycled plastic laces. They feature a lightweight, compression-molded midsole to absorb shock and a slip-resistant rubber outsole for safe movement on pavement.
The sneakers also sport the brand’s trademarked Comfortzone Eco footbed, which provides all-day support. Don’t worry about those muddy trails. These shoes are treated with Scotchgard Protector from 3M to repel water, oil and stains. You can snag them from the brand’s website or Zappos. And as we gear up for the colder months, here are the winter boots we’re buying from Zappos.
- Features a slip-resistant rubber outsole perfect for hiking
- Water- and stain-resistant
- Available in three trendy color combinations
- No wide sizes
Best chunky sneakers for running
On is known for its lightweight running shoes. The Swiss-engineered and designed sneakers give feet an explosive takeoff with a soft landing. These newly released sneakers feature the brand’s high-tech performance technology for off-the-charts cushioning and maximum rebound.
Whether you’re going for casual stroll, a quick sprint or a full marathon, these highly cushioned sneakers feel like you’re running on a cloud. They’re made with a breathable mesh upper, a soft sock liner and recycled materials in an easy step-in design. They are available in six colors, including all-black, come in both men’s and women’s sizes and fit true to size.
- Designed for long-distance road running
- Provide extremely soft landings and maximum rebound
- Each shoe weighs 8.11 ounces
- On the pricier side
What should you look for when buying chunky sneakers?
Above all, look for a good insole, says Dr. Levine. She adds that good arch support, a solid heel cup, a roomy toe box and confirming the shoes aren’t too stiff are also important considerations. Make sure your foot doesn’t rub and ensure there’s enough space for quality socks. Lastly, be mindful of the weight of the shoes. Chunky sneakers can be heavier than other styles, but if they’re too heavy and you tend to walk a lot, you can develop shin splints.
What do you wear with chunky sneakers?
You can style chunky sneakers with just about anything. Pair them with joggers, track pants or even house dresses for a casual look, or wear them with sleek trousers and a silk blouse for a more dressed-up ensemble. At the end of the day, pair them with whatever you feel most comfortable in!
Do chunky sneakers hurt your feet?
According to Dr. Levine, chunky sneakers that have a quality insole can be supportive, comfortable and even help with certain foot problems. On the other hand, a chunky sneaker that’s too heavy can create issues, so your best bet is to choose a pair that’s lightweight.
- Suzanne Levine, DPM, aesthetic podiatrist, board-certified podiatric foot surgeon and founder of Millennium Podiatry
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