Why chunky velcro sandals are the must-have fashion staple of 2020


Chunky platform sandals with velcro straps that once sent shivers through the fashion industry have been declared the ‘must-have’ shoe of 2020. 

In a rare fusion of fashion and functionality, style insiders turned shoes commonly worn by long-distance hikers and middle-aged fathers into the perfect accessory for skirts, denim shorts, jeans and dresses.

Even Chanel gave the style its esteemed seal of approval in 2019 by releasing $1,250 (AUD) velcro sandals in a rainbow of colours including black, purple, pink and cobalt blue, which have naturally been seen on some of the biggest names in fashion. 

British model turned designer Alexa Chung wore a black pair with a beige trouser suit in 2019 and Italy’s reigning Instagram queen Chiara Ferragni styled a purple pair with pink cargo pants and a floral top during lockdown at her Milanese penthouse in March. 

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'Daggy dad' sandals got Chanel's esteemed seal of approval when the French fashion house released these chunky velcro slip-ons in 2019
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‘Daggy dad’ sandals got Chanel’s esteemed seal of approval when the French fashion house released these chunky velcro slip-ons in 2019

British model turned designer Alexa Chung wears the $1,250 Chanel velcro sandals in London in February, 2019

British model turned designer Alexa Chung wears the $1,250 Chanel velcro sandals in London in February, 2019

Online fashion magazine L’Officiel dubbed Chanel’s ‘dad slides’ the ‘must-have’ of 2020 while Hello! hailed them this year’s ‘unexpected summer hit’. 

A blue pair of Chanel's $1,250 chunky sandals

A blue pair of Chanel’s $1,250 chunky sandals

The French fashion house’s range is sold out everywhere but there’s plenty of quality dupes to be found in Australia.

Close imitations include Dr Martens $199.99 ‘Voss’ sandals and Melissa ‘Cosmic’ sandals which are currently reduced from $139.95 to $97 on The Iconic. 

The trend for ‘ugly but cool’ sandals started with the 2015 comeback of Birkenstocks, whose ergonomic design has become a cult classic for fashionistas almost two and a half centuries since it was founded in Germany in 1774.

Lois Opoku wears Chanel 'dad' sandals in Berlin, Germany on June 24, 2020

Blogger Sonia Lyson wears the sandals in Berlin after COVID-19 lockdown was lifted in May 2020

Bloggers Lois Opoku (left) and Sonia Lyson (right) wear two colours of the Chanel ‘dad’ sandals in Berlin, Germany after COVID-19 lockdown was lifted in May 2020

Italy's Instagram queen Chiara Ferragni wears the Chanel sandals in purple during lockdown at her Milanese penthouse in March 2020

Italy’s Instagram queen Chiara Ferragni wears the Chanel sandals in purple during lockdown at her Milanese penthouse in March 2020

Melissa 'Cosmic' sandals currently reduced from $139.95 to $97 on The Iconic, a quality dupe of the $1,250 Chanel velcro slip-ons

Melissa ‘Cosmic’ sandals currently reduced from $139.95 to $97 on The Iconic, a quality dupe of the $1,250 Chanel velcro slip-ons

But it wasn’t until November 2019, with the spectacular resurrection of popular yet ‘daggy’ Maseurs, that ugly sandals really exploded in Australia. 

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Would you wear ‘daggy dad’ sandals?

  • Yes 13 votes
  • No 20 votes
  • Only in the house 1 votes

Chemists and online retailers restocked the sensible slip-ons and thousands of millennials took note, flooding Instagram with carefully curated photos of the $56.99 shoes.

Maseurs were created in 1989 by Sydney designer Gabriel Eber to help people suffering from chronic foot pain.

Mr Eber claimed many ‘aches, pains and circulation problems’ were linked to nerve endings in the feet, and made it his mission to design a shoe that would alleviate those issues.

The sandal correctly positions feet to relieve pressure on the knees, hips and back region – just like a built-in physiotherapist – and while once seen as a ‘dad shoe’, is now a stylish statement just like the Birkenstock.

And they’re not the only practical piece to be reborn as a must-have accessory. 

The $56.99 Maseur slides, popular yet notoriously 'daggy' in Australia throughout the 1990s

The $56.99 Maseur slides, popular yet notoriously ‘daggy’ in Australia throughout the 1990s 

The sandals (pictured in an Instagram photo from November 2019) were created by Gabriel Eber in Sydney in 1989 to help those suffering from aching fee

The sandals (pictured in an Instagram photo from November 2019) were created by Gabriel Eber in Sydney in 1989 to help those suffering from aching fee

Chunky zip-up fleeces that once epitomised fashion failure are this winter’s hottest style of outerwear.

Previously confined to the wardrobes of middle-aged men, the practical – and until recently, downright ‘daggy’ – jumpers have been hijacked by fashion industry giants who transformed them into a must-have staple for stylish women.

The versatile design, which is characterised by zips that stop one quarter or halfway down the front of the jumper, looks equally chic paired with leather skirts, relaxed-fit ‘mum’ jeans or skintight split-leg pants.

‘Half-zip’ knits have been worn by Hollywood icons and catwalk megastars – even becoming a firm favourite of the ‘world’s most beautiful woman’, Bella Hadid.

The rise of ‘daggy dad’ fashion 

From woollen fleeces and over-sized suits to chunky trainers and platform sandals, clothing that once committed crimes against fashion are now the darlings of the most notoriously cutthroat industry on earth. 

But how did that happen? All thanks to Spanish fashion house, Balenciaga.

The trend for ‘dad chic’ – or ‘dadcore’, as Vogue prefer to call it – dates back to autumn 2017, when Balenciaga released its now-iconic $1,290 Triple S sneakers.

Designed by Balenciaga’s creative director, Georgian-born Demna Gvasalia, the chunky shoes with padded, triple-stacked soles quickly became the most popular sneaker in the world, spawning countless copycat styles and the fashion industry’s obsession with ‘ugly’ shoes.

On the back of that success, Gvasalia injected his distinct brand of stylish ugliness into Balenciaga’s spring 2018 collection, which saw models sashay down the runway in baggy denim jeans, over-sized trouser suits and purposely garish accessories.

Months after the collection debuted, American fashion historian Elizabeth Semmelhack declared the ‘dad’ trend to be ‘the perfect antidote to fashion’s seriousness’ and an ironic way for women to make a statement.

‘They [the women] are super fashionable and beautiful themselves,’ she told the Wall Street Journal in June 2017, noting that wearing aesthetically jarring, edgy clothing creates a clever contrast to the feminine physique.

And so it is that many of the world’s sexiest women now incorporate flashes of ‘dadcore’ into their everyday wardrobes. 

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