Calling all sk8er bois! The next Y2K throwback trend is for you. We’ve seen the revival of everything from low-rise jeans to toe ring sandals, but now, the skate shoes of the early 2000s — in all their puffy, chunky, padded glory — may just be the next big sneaker trend to watch.
If you need a refresher, allow me to set the scene: you’re home after school watching Avril Lavigne on TRL, admiring her grungy, emo aesthetic. You throw out your butterfly clips because you, too, are now filled with angst.
Next thing you know, you’re roaming the mall with your friends, who are all wearing chunky DC and Etnies sneakers in varying colors (none of which have ever touched an actual skateboard). The sneakers are huge, the tongues are fat, and the laces loose. It’s a vibe, you’re a rebel, you blast Blink 182 on your iPod Mini to complete the scene.
Skater shoes like the Osiris D3 2001 and DC Court Graffik ruled the early 2000s, ushering in a new wave of skateboard sneakers that were a far contrast from the Vans Old Skools or Tony Hawk’s Airwalks of decades past. Celebrities like Avril Lavigne and Ashlee Simpson got in on the trend too, making the chunky skate shoe a unisex style.
With the rise of lug-sole dad sneakers, it’s no surprise that big skate shoes may be the next throwback style to be revitalized. The “skater aesthetic” has been trending on TikTok and #SkateTok — and if past TikTok aesthetics like coastal grandmother, cottagecore, and soft girl are any indicators, a larger takeover is coming.
Bella Hadid has already adapted the style, topping off a grunge, ‘90s-inspired outfit with black skate shoes that featured a chunky tongue and that classic, puffy silhouette.
Ahead, shop the full-on puffy skater shoes of the early 2000s or a more classic and subtle skateboard shoe, shop these sneakers to live your best skater boi life — and cross your fingers that jelly bracelets and pacifier jewelry will be next.
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They’re bulky, they’re padded — there’s no missing these statement sneakers. Introduced in 2001, the super-chunky Osiris Men’s D3 2001 helped define the Y2K skate shoe aesthetic, which was basically ‘bigger = better.’ Take them for a spin with a minimal look to really let them shine in a Bella Hadid-inspired, model off-duty type of way.
eS’ Koston 1 sneakers were another skate shoe that ruled the early aughts. To recreate the look in 2022, you can shop the brand’s similar Accel Skate Shoe, which has the wide tongue and laces that are key to the skater shoe look.
I can’t explain the absolute chokehold that DC shoes had on the skater scene in the early 2000s. It was impossible to go to a mall without seeing that crew of mallrats with laces so loose, it’s a miracle they stayed on their feet. Whether you’re actually skateboarding or just into the look, the Court Graffiks are a staple.
Another essential skateboarding shoe: Etnies. If we’re going to commit to bringing back the chunky skate sneaker, this one must come with it — sorry about it. With a wide, padded tongue and collar, these skateboard shoes are a surprisingly cool way to top off a minimal ‘90s or grunge outfit.
Though black-on-black styles were abundant, many skate shoes of yore featured bright pops of color, whether on the tongue or the (sometimes mismatched) laces. We’re talking random accents of bright purple, shocking red, or bright blues. The bright teal detailing on these DVS feels cool and unexpected, without going overboard.
If the super puffy and chunky skate shoe feels a bit extreme for you, go with a more classic skate style, like Vans SK-8 Hi. Proving their icon status, Vans have transcended every decade, from the ‘80s to today, and have been worn by everyone from Avril Lavigne to Rihanna to Hailey Bieber. These are one of the brand’s most famous styles and a favorite on #SkateTok.