In Spenny vs Penny we compare the products we love, with those following in their (sometimes pricey) footsteps. Are they worth the cash? Here, we try to find the best chunky white trainers – trying them out for a day (each) to see the results. Catch up with the rest of the series here.
The chunky trainers trend is a welcome throwback to the 90s when the Spice Girls reigned supreme, but it’s also pretty bold trend – if you sport these trainers, it’s like directing neon lights towards your feet. There’s no missing ’em.
The prices can also be striking – Balenciaga, for instance, is selling a much-coveted pair which will set you back £615. We’re not even going to pretend we could afford those. So what’s the next best thing?
Spenny: Fila White & Silver Disruptor Iii Premium Trainers, Schuh, £85.
Fila has released a sizeable range of chunky trainers this winter, however I wanted to stick with the classic Disruptor trainers – all white, with fairly minimal branding. When they first arrive on my desk, I have a fairly mixed response: these are not trainers I would usually wear, and to be honest, they look pretty ugly. But once I get them on my feet, something changes. I realise that, actually, they don’t look that silly – I could quite easily wear these every day.
The Disruptors are definitely clunky but they manage not to be overly heavy, meaning I’m not taking big booming steps when I walk around the office. (Spoiler alert: this is not the case for the Urban Outfitters equivalent). They’re also super comfy with plenty of cushioning around the ankle area.
I try a size 4 (I tend to flit between a UK 3 and 4) and would say they’re a snug fit length-ways, but they’re also quite wide. The sole reaches 4.5cm at points, which is slightly outrageous but also good news if, like me, you’re on the smaller side and like height without heels.
All in all I’m impressed with what Fila has to offer – surprisingly, I find myself wanting to buy a pair.) So will I find a better alternative for less money?
Penny: Chunky Dad Trainers, Koi Footwear, £30.
The first thing I notice is how light these trainers are; it’s like there’s nothing to them. The design is simple, there’s a netting effect interspersed with a faux leather material which the brand tells me is vegan-friendly.
The shoes are relatively comfy but they feel quite loose and I’m worried at some points that I might just step right out of them. Even when you tie them firmly, there’s still quite a bit of give around the ankle area.
They do also feel like their price point – the tongue, made from a netted fabric, bunches up when you tie the laces, and the finishing isn’t that great either. (The lace holes, for example, look like they’ve been pushed through using a pencil.)
I’m not really sure that these shoes would be durable in the long-term, but they do bear a resemblance to the Balenciaga ones with their patterned lace – and for a fraction of the price, you might just be willing to forget about the finer details. Would I buy them? Probably not.
Penny(ish): Tyson White Faux Leather Chunky Trainers, Urban Outfitters, £55.
The chunkiest of all the trainers I try – I grow multiple inches – to the point where I wonder if it’s bordering on ridiculous. “You look like a clown,” one colleague kindly tells me. Other people in our large open-plan office are more enthusiastic, however, and I also get a few compliments from people I don’t know.
The trainers, all-white and made from faux leather, are heavy; with each step it sounds like Big Foot is coming. They feature the world’s biggest soles which have a cog motif planted on each, clearly taking their inspiration from the Spice Girls’ favourite Buffalo brand.
I’m not sure these shoes are really made for a day spent walking around. Wearing them is similar to standing on blocks of wood or wearing a flatform shoe with an inflexible sole, because there’s absolutely no movement in the base of the shoe.
That’s not what I’m looking for, so I definitely wouldn’t buy these. For me, they’re just too much.
Penny: Colour-Block Chunky Trainers, Primark, £14.
With their splash of colour, these don’t fit the all-white brief but I thought them a worthy (and cheap) addition to the test. Personally, I think they look fine, though I’m not that keen on the bright yellow trim, but others in the office are less enamoured.
They come up the biggest of all the trainers I try, and while only £14 do seem better made than the Koi trainers – although they also feature mesh around the toes so probably aren’t waterproof. They are also, surprisingly, the second comfiest pair of trainers I try after the Fila originals, and the chunky sole feels less overdone that the Urban Outfitters shoes.
At this price, they might be a way of trialing the chunky trainer trend if you’re unsure, ahead of upgrading to a pair of Filas?
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