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The Best Chunky/’Ugly’ Sneakers You Can Buy In 2021

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The Best Chunky/'Ugly' Sneakers You Can Buy In 2021

Like it or not, massive trainers are here and they aren’t going anywhere fast. Not that they could even if they wanted to, mind you.

To the casual observer, it may have come as a bit of a shock when the fashion elite suddenly appeared to be taking their style cues from Sporty Spice in a pair of Sketchers circa 1995, but it’s actually a pretty natural progression. Think of it as footwear’s answer to the loosening and widening of silhouettes we’ve been seeing in fashion for some time now.

After several years of clean, white minimalism and slim, sock-like fits in the world of trainers, it was only a matter of time before things swung around and began going in the opposite direction. The Raf Simons X Adidas Ozweego was one of the first ‘ugly trainers’ to really kick things up a gear, but it was with the release of Balenciaga’s much-hyped Triple S sneaker that this clumpy footwear craze really took flight.

“In terms of fashion, footwear was about low profile, simple shoes, like Stan Smiths, Roshe Runs or Common Projects Achilles Lows,” explains Andrew Brines, buyer at renowned premium fashion e-tailer, Oki-Ni.

“In 2015 the New York Times ran an article entitled ‘Forget barefoot: the new trendsetter in running shoes is cushioning’, focusing on a particular brand of relatively new running shoes that featured platform-esque soles. Naturally, it didn’t take long for designers to take notice of what the performance brands were producing.”

The End Of The Minimalist Sneaker?

So does the chunky trainer movement spell disaster for minimalist footwear? MatchesFashion’s Ben Carr doesn’t think so, but he’s not surprised that there has been a shift.

“While I don’t think the clean sneaker is going anywhere, there is certainly a ubiquity to their presence in modern menswear. Think about it, if you are a teenager and your dad is wearing a minimal sneaker then you’re not going to want to adopt this style are you?

“I think fashion in its purest form is always, and always has to be, a reaction to what has gone before.”

How To Style Chunky Sneakers

Chunky trainers are currently shattering paving slabs at fashion weeks across the globe, but incorporating them into a workable, everyday wardrobe can understandably present a little bit of a challenge.

“My first tip is not to wear them with a minimal look,” says Carr. “They become the sole focus [no pun intended] of the outfit and that’s never good.” He also suggests wearing several layers on top to help balance out the look and to experiment with bright colours and pieces that will distort your silhouette. He adds: “cropped trousers, track pants and oversized sportswear work well… and the chunky sneaker can anchor this.”

Oki-Ni’s Brines believes that going sockless with chunky trainers is never a good idea and stresses the importance of wearing the look with confidence. “Wear the shoes, don’t let the shoes wear you,” he explains. “If you’re just wearing them because they’re on trend, and you’re not that into them, the fashion cognoscenti will smell you out a mile away.”

So, blame Raf Simons, blame Balenciaga, blame your dad – whoever is truly responsible for the rise of the beetle crushers is irrelevant. The fact of the matter is that trainers are titanic now and you should probably join the party before it’s too late.

The Best Chunky Sneakers You Can Buy

Ready to embrace one of the most divisive trends to emerge from the murky depths of Lake Fashion since the return of the bowl haircut? These are the best sneakers at every price point if you want to join the chunky trainer club.

Balenciaga Triple S

Okay, let’s get it out of the way. You can’t talk about chunky trainers without mentioning Balenciaga. Since the appointment of Vetements boss Demna Gvasalia as creative director back in late 2015, the luxury Spanish label has become one of the most forward-thinking names in fashion and the now-iconic Triple S sneaker is without doubt its crowning glory.

Taking inspiration from orthotic footwear and the type of trainers favoured by tourists, the Triple S eclipsed its stripped-back predecessors and quickly became a regular sight at fashion weeks as well as a grail purchase for hypebeasts and high-fashion disciples alike.

Buy Now: £595.00

Reebok Insta Pump Fury

A British sportswear brand with a background in chunky trainers. This latest trend has thrust the Bolton-born label back into the spotlight and many of the silhouettes from its archives are looking more relevant today than ever before.

This innovative shoe featuring Reebok’s ground-breaking ‘Pump’ cushioning system was first launched in 1994 but in recent years has found a place on the shoe racks of fashionistos as well as Mr Motivators. The Insta Pump Fury has been reimagined by brands ranging from BAPE to Vetements and has earned a cult-like following in the process, making it one of the coolest chunky sneakers you can have in your rotation.

Buy Now: £89.00

Raf Simons X Adidas Ozweego III

The Balenciaga Triple S may have kick-started this whole thing but would it have even come into existence if it hadn’t been for the long-running collaborative effort between German sportswear giant Adidas and Belgian tastemaker Raf Simons? Well, perhaps not.

The Ozweego III is the latest design in the ground-breaking Ozweego line. Maybe you love them, maybe you loathe them, but however you feel about this beautifully ugly piece of footwear, you can’t deny it’s fun to look at.

Buy Now: £290.00

New Balance 991

Bostonian shoemaker New Balance has been doing its thing since the turn of the 20th century and has picked up a few tricks along the way. The brand produces the vast majority of its products either stateside in New England, or across the pond in, well, old England. The result is some of the most comfortable, highest quality sneakers available to buy – no wonder NB is such a hit with sneakerheads and athletes alike.

Apple co-founder Steve Jobs was onto something when he picked these bad boys out as part of his signature look. A true classic and bang on trend.

Buy Now: £160.00

Nike Air Max 95

You can’t think of sneakers without thinking of Nike. The sportswear heavyweight has been doing big trainers longer than most. In fact, some of its most iconic footwear designs – which could give the Triple S a run for its money in the chunkiness stakes – come from a time when Demna Gvasalia would still have been wearing nappies.

The Air Max 95 is nothing short of a classic and offers the perfect way to dip your toes into the chunky trainer trend without losing any mates in the process.

Buy Now: £129.95

H&M Mesh Trainers

Swedish fashion chain H&M is known for bringing a subtle touch of Scandinavian minimalism to the high street, but as the fashion landscape continues to evolve in unexpected ways, stripped-back is out and OTT is in.

These highly detailed, chunky kicks from H&M are in keeping with the trend while still managing to look clean and crisp at the same time. If you want a pair of big sneaks that will go with 99 per cent of your wardrobe – quite an ask even for regular trainers – then these might be your best bet.

Buy Now: £39.99

Zara Maxi Sole Trainers

If there’s something new bubbling away in the world of fashion, you can bet it won’t be long before Zara starts churning out its own version of whatever that may be. The trend for dad-esque footwear is no different and the Spanish high-street stalwart has already put out a number of designs.

With a thicker-than-thick sole and plenty of contrasting materials to the upper, it’s no mystery where this model took its inspiration from. However, with change left over from £50, this is one way to keep abreast of the trend while ensuring your wallet remains intact.

Buy Now: £49.99

A.P.C. Running Homme Trainer

Parisian label A.P.C. is famous for its high-quality, no-fuss wardrobe essentials. If we had to sum its output up in a word, it would probably be ‘understated’ – something which you probably wouldn’t have thought would gel very well with the current preference for sneakers that look like they’re on steroids.

But despite this little discrepancy, A.P.C. has churned out some of the most inoffensive, versatile and ultimately wearable chunky trainers we’ve seen. Clock the signature, subtle branding and a look that manages somehow to be both showy and restrained simultaneously.

Buy Now: £225.00

ASOS Chunky Sole Trainer

If you’re keen to give a new look a go but aren’t so hot on the idea of signing up for any medical trials to finance it then ASOS should be your first port of call. The online fashion mecca is full of the latest styles, with bargain options from its in-house line sitting alongside designer pieces from your favourite names.

With a thick, chunky sole and vibrant hits of green and blue, these eye-catching stompers from ASOS offer the perfect opportunity to get some heads turning for all the right reasons.

Buy Now: £30.00

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Fashion

12 Best Workout Shorts for Men That Look Pretty Great When You Aren’t Working Out, Too

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There’s probably a big difference between the best workout shorts for men and the stained sweatpant cutoffs you’ve been wearing for bi-weekly crunches and leg lifts in front of the TV this past year. And if you’ve paused your gym membership (and still haven’t been able to find any adjustable dumbbells in stock) the best use of your monthly stay-somewhat-in-shape budget right now might just be a fresh pair of performance shorts that will get you excited about the idea of moving your body vigorously outdoors on a regular basis.

Over the past several years we’ve sweated in a wide array of different gym and running shorts. To determine the best we’ve considered, price, durability, hand feel, and a host of other variables. Is the stretchy performance fabric actually breathable? If there’s a lining, does it actually stay put or does it ride up after the third deep lunge? Where are the pockets and can they actually succeed at holding the things one needs while doing different kinds of work outs? And, of course, do the shorts look good enough that you wouldn’t mind running some errands in them on the way to the run? Below, here are the 12 best workout shorts for men we’ve found. They should help you make some gains and look pretty good doing it. 

The Most Versatile Workout Shorts

Outdoor Voices Anytime workout shorts

Outdoor Voices’ workout shorts were the clear winner of our 2020 fitness awards for a host of reasons. First, a Tik-Tok-approved 5-inch inseam means no extra fabric getting in the way. Second, they’re constructed from extremely tech-y fabric which is both breathable and water-resistant, with a comfy protective built-in liner (that stays put) and plenty of pockets to hold all your essentials whether you’re on a run or lifting at the gym. Think of them as the gym-rat younger brother of the ubiquitous Patagonia Baggies. 

The Best Workout Shorts for Getting After It at the Gym

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Ten Thousand Interval short

Ten Thousand makes a lot of workout gear, but it got its start back in 2014 with a simple pair of shorts and a shirt. We dug version 1.0, which we tried back in 2015, but the company has spent the intervening years making small tweaks and adjustment to the design that have made it even better. The updates retain the shorts extremely minimalist aesthetic, but add a bunch of little hidden touches, including hidden zipper pockets. The thing you’ll notice the most as you actually use the shorts though is how they move. Thanks to the un-bunchable, pinch-free waistband and extremely flexible shell, the short both somehow molds perfectly to your body and expands easily with your movement. If you’re looking for the best shorts for going absolutely nuts on the battle ropes, look no further.

The Best Workout Shorts for Runners

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Tracksmith “Ekiden” running shorts

Serious runners require serious running shorts. And nobody designs more serious running kits than Tracksmith, the Boston label that transplants Chariots of Fire–era aesthetics onto modern marathon-ready gear. Its latest concoction is these thigh-high split shorts inspired by Japan’s Hakone Ekiden—a legendary 218-kilometer relay race—fashioned from plush, antimicrobial mesh. You’re not going to be able to fit your phone into the 2.5-inch inseam, but the shorts manage to make space for two internal pockets that hold your keys or one of those race-day sports goo packets. 

The Best All-Around Workout Shorts

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Rhone “Mako” workout shorts

The Rhone Mako short is a little bit gymmier than you might want to wear on a day to day basis, but it’s all in service of performance. Their stretchy fabric feels smooth against your skin, and yields that satisfying swish-swish rustling noise with each successive stride. Its full-zip, standalone smartphone hip pocket is the best-executed and most secure version out of all the shorts we tested. They’re available in both 7-inch and 9-inch inseams, so are a good option for shorter guys and/or taller guys who want to show some thigh.

8 More Workout Shorts We Love

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Patagonia Strider Pro workout shorts

We wholeheartedly endorse doing HIIT in your 5-inch Patagonia baggies, but if you prefer a slightly techier Patagonia offering for working out, these fast-drying shorts are ideal for runners, thanks to a super streamlined design.
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Lululemon T.H.E. workout short

Lululemon’s shorts are made from a buttery smooth, cool-to-the-touch fabric that feels super luxurious. The shorts aren’t as substantial as the Outdoor Voices and Rhone shorts, but that also makes them plenty breathable.

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Adidas Squadra 17 workout shorts

An extremely cheap, classic option. These will not be your “forever” shorts, but they’ll hold up just fine for a few seasons.

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Brooks Sherpa split workout short

If the idea of 3-inch running shorts gives you pause, internalize this pair’s perfect tagline: “less short, more speed.”

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Satisfy short distance workout shorts

The liner on these lightweight shorts is just a tad longer than the shorts themselves, making the bold snakeskin print all the more striking. They pack an internal phone pocket, an external zipper pocket, and a key carabiner into one streamlined and stylish package.

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Rec Gen Type 2 lite workout short

If AirPod buds tend to fall out of your ears by the second squat or your simply remain devoted to your reliable fully-wired headphones, Rec Gen might be a good option. The brand’s shorts come with a small headphone pocket that corrals wires, leading them up to your ears along your back to ensure you don’t get tangled while doing curls.

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Nike Flex Stride workout shorts

Nike’s shorts include a breathable and supportive soft inner liner. They also have more than enough pockets to cover your PKW needs—two on the sides, and a zippered one just above the butt.

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Under Armour Locker workout shorts

Clean and unobtrusive, with a roomy 9-inch inseam, these light workout shorts come in about a billion colors.

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Why the Canadian Tuxedo Is the Perfect Style Detox

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pDennis Hopper during the filming of emThe Last Movieem 1971.p

There’s a common adage you hear about great masters in their fields: the Michelin-starred chef who, after a long day composing gastronomical wonders in the kitchen, comes home craving the simplicity of a grilled cheese; the musical genius who listens to nothing but white noise anywhere outside of the studio. No one would ever mistake me for a great master of anything, but even I—your humble middle-of-the-road menswear blogger—sometimes need a mental vacation from thinking about clothes after the endless hours of internet garm-wrangling I put in everyday. About every six months or so, I’ll open my closet in the morning and instantly feel like Rocky in the 14th round, bleary-eyed and overmatched and unable to piece together even a half-decent fit. I can’t see nothing. You gotta dress me, Mick! In those instances, I’ve come to rely on a uniform that helps me realign my sartorial chakras: denim-on-denim.

Dennis Hopper during the filming of The Last Movie, 1971.

Everett Collection

That’s right, the Canadian Tuxedo. When I first stumbled into this semi-regular habit a couple of years back, it was completely subconscious: every day for a week or so, without really thinking about it, I’d pull on my trusty 501s with my even-trust-ier trucker jacket, plucked for a pittance from the Club Monaco sale rack more than a decade ago in college and put through absolute hell ever since. What peculiar forces had drawn me to double denim, exactly? Perhaps it was a comforting nod to my roots north of the border, or a small tribute to the decades of style gods who have donned it before me: your Marvins, your Hoppers, your Meryls, your Kermits. But mostly, I think, I leaned on it for its quiet functionality. No matter what you wear underneath—a plain tee or a freaky camp shirt, a hoodie or a polo—there’s a purpose-driven clarity to pairing jeans and a jean jacket. A few days of palate-cleansing indigo, and I’m right back ready to furiously stunt on the world like post-baseball Mike.

Bob Marley in London, July  24, 1975. 

Michael Putland / Getty Images

Michael Douglas during the filming of Napoleon and Samantha, 1972.

Getty Images

Lately, I’ve taken to calling these occasional denim-heavy stretches my Style Detoxes. Even if you aren’t as enamored with the rugged ease of all-jean-everything as I am, it’s a useful practice to adopt from time to time. The next time you wake up sick of all your own clothes, too weary to decide what to wear, go with your gut and throw on something effortless and innocuous. Then wear it again, and again, and again, and again—à la Doug from Doug—until you’re ready to return to getting dressed with fresh eyes and renewed intention.

Eric Clapton and John Lennon perform in Wembley, December 11, 1968.

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Princess Diana with her sons in Lech, Austria, March 30, 1993.

Tim Graham / Getty Images

Maybe your Style Detox is wearing head-to-toe white like Andrew W.K. or head-to-toe black like a Chelsea gallerist. Maybe it’s the perfect tracksuit or the perfect suit-suit. Whatever you land on, I’ll be floating above it all in my dungaree-induced meditative trance. If you’d like to join me, here are a handful of hard-wearing ways to do just that.

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Levi’s 501 original shrink-to-fit jeans

Tough to beat the brand that invented the look.

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Uniqlo U cotton trucker jacket

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Uniqlo U regular fit jeans

Christophe Lemaire brings his artful Parisian eye to an all-American ensemble.

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Oni Denim 16oz natural indigo jean jacket

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Oni Denim 16oz natural indigo neat straight jeans

Ready to see what all the hype is about over Japanese denim? Let this gorgeous slubby set be your introduction.

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A.P.C. New Standard jeans

The label that introduced you to raw denim does the whole stonewash thing better than most, too.

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Everlane relaxed 4-way stretch organic jean

Rockstar-ify your Canadian Tuxedo with a little pitch black denim.

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Todd Snyder stretch denim jacket

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Todd Snyder slim fit selvedge jean

Trashed like a perfect thrift store find, minus the impossible-to-wash-out thrift store smell.

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Fashion giant H&M pauses placing new orders in Myanmar

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Fashion giant H&M pauses placing new orders in Myanmar

STOCKHOLM – Sweden’s H&M, the world’s second-biggest fashion retailer, said on Monday it was shocked by the use of deadly force against protesters in Myanmar and that it had paused placing orders in the country.

Police and military have killed more than 50 people to quell daily demonstrations and strikes against a Feb. 1 military coup, according to the United Nations last week.

H&M has around 45 direct suppliers in Myanmar, it said on its website, and has sourced in the country for seven years.

“Although we refrain from taking any immediate action regarding our long-term presence in the country, we have at this point paused placing new orders with our suppliers,” Serkan Tanka, Country Manager Myanmar, said in an email.

“This is due to practical difficulties and an unpredictable situation limiting our ability to operate in the country, including challenges related to manufacturing and infrastructure, raw material imports and transport of finished goods.”

Two protesters were killed by gunshot wounds to the head in Myanmar on Monday, witnesses said, while shops, factories and banks were closed in the main city Yangon as part of the uprising against the country’s military rulers.

Tanka said H&M was extremely concerned about the situation in the country and that it was in dialogue with UN agencies, diplomatic representatives, human rights experts, trade unions and other multinational companies.

“These consultations will guide us in any future decision in relation to how we as a company can best contribute to positive developments in accordance with the will of the people in Myanmar,” he said.

Myanmar’s garment industry is smaller than that of neighboring countries Bangladesh, China and Thailand. However, its around 600 factories are significant employers, providing jobs for around 450,000 workers in 2020, according to the Myanmar Garment Manufacturers Association

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