Have you ever wondered who started the current “Dad Shoe” wave? Look no further to none other than Steven Smith. Apart from his hobby of racing, Smith designs shoes with a particular stamp, hence coining him the title “The Godfather of Dad Shoes”.
Starting out as a designer for New Balance back in the ’80s, Smith was a self-proclaimed “sneakerhead”—going back to when he picked up his first Converse for running tracks in highschool. After New Balance, he continued to design the “dad shoe” for Reebok, FILA, Nike, and other massive shoe brands before becoming the lead designer to Adidas’ subsidiary brand and YEEZY with Kanye West.
Here are some of the most notable invention from Smith that you can choose to “dad” up your style:
New Balance 1500
When we talk about Smith’s catalog of “dad shoe”, we have to revisit the one that started it all just to give you a better context and understanding. Not that we’d like to stereotype, but you’ll get the picture. This is one of his iconic creation during his two year tenure at New Balance from 1986 to 1988.
New Balance 997
Although he claims that he doesn’t “aim to create industry icons”, the 997 has proven it didn’t only become one of New Balance’s iconic shoe but also makes people from the 20th century relate in his design (this shoe was launched back in the ’80s when New Balance first introduced the 99X collection). The 997 is surely a timeless piece that could fit to your semi-formal suit, jeans, or even khakis.
Smith once stated that when he moved to Adidas in 1988, his works were influenced by “the performance drive from New Balance with a blend of New York City”. While Jordan’s are recognized world wide for pioneering the sneaker movement, we argue that this was the shoe that actually paved the way for upcoming high-top sneakers designs to come (Jordans did came first, but it wasn’t until 1989 it started having its now-famous silhouette). If you’re looking for a vintage alternative, you just found it.
Reebok Instapump Fury
Like all creations that’s way above its time, it should and did made some people question it upon its release in 1994. But for those who understand, it certainly amp their style to another level as it did to Reebok and Smith. Inspired by products and materials in the medical device and aerospace industry, also paying homage to the the New Balance Super Comp; Smith wanted it to look like “someone’s foot was on fire”, the Instapump Fury is what you get.
Nike Air Streak Spectrum Plus
It seems like Steven Smith has a thing with people’s foot being caught on fire. And this explicit manifestation of his design did became one of his iconic work at Nike. If you dig the whole “dad shoe” trend and want to take it up 10 notch above and you also want your feet looking like it’s on fire, this is the shoe for you…enough said.
Adidas YEEZY Boost 700
In 2016, Smith joined Kanye West starting his YEEZY empire—and what he had was the freedom to express himself like he never had. While it may look like a reminiscence of his New Balance days, his interpretation of modern day “dad shoe” surely did the new generation of his creation’s justice. This is your alternative for casual wear when you’re bored with plain white sneakers.
Adidas YEEZY 451
This is probably when Steven Smith’s fetish for burning feet meets whatever is going on inside Kanye’s head. All jokes aside, this is a mentally cool sneaker that sees Smith distance himself from his typical “dad shoe” designs and would potentially pave the way for another staple shoe design–even becoming the future of shoe itself.
Which one was your favorite of Steven Smith’s notable shoe creation? Don’t forget to share and comment.
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