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The Clunky, Ugly Dad Shoe Gives Sneaker Makers a Swift Kick

  • Adidas, Puma, Skechers scramble to face a hot new luxury trend
  • Bestsellers rise and fall quickly as fashion overtakes sports
Balenciaga Triple S
Balenciaga Triple SPhotographer: Christian Vierig/Getty Images
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Dad shoes are clunky, ugly -- and the hottest trend in footwear, clomping down the runway at recent shows by luxury houses Louis Vuitton and Balenciaga. The bulked-up sneakers, which can retail for hundreds of dollars a pair, also represent a major challenge for athletic-shoe makers unaccustomed to the volatile world of high fashion.

Until recently, companies such as Adidas AG and Puma SE could count on steady sales of minimalist, retro styles such as Adidas’s Stan Smith and Puma’s Clyde. Increasingly, though, shoppers are turning toward chunky, runway-inspired sneakers including Vuitton’s $1,000 LV Archlight and Balenciaga’s $800 Triple S.