Hi. You may know me. But if you don't, my name is Ryan O'Bryan. I'm a 44-year-old father of a 16 and 14-year-old who solidified my place as a middle-aged dad during a recent shopping trip.

I have never been one to sacrifice comfort for the sake of style. Fortunately, my job has a pretty flexible dress code. It's basically don't show up to work naked. Other than that we're pretty much free to wear whatever (within reason, of course). For me, that's t-shirts, shorts, and sneakers in the warmer months (sometimes even sandals if I'm feeling frisky and want to let me feet breathe a bit). When it's cold, the t-shirts hide under a sweatshirt, but the jeans and sneakers remain. Honestly, I'm not sure how I'd handle a job where a button-down shirt, dress pants, and a tie were required. I've never had one where that was necessary.

With that said, I like to think I look pretty decent most days. The shirts aren't stained. The jeans don't have holes in them. And the shoes, while they aren't dress or casual shoes, are usually some type of athletic shoe with some color to them. Not like the typical "dad shoe," like these from Shoe Carnival, my 16-year-old keeps telling me I need to buy.

Shoe Carnival

Don't get me wrong, I'm sure this is a fine shoe, but I'm not quite to that point in my life just yet. However, I took one step closer recently during a family shoe shopping trip to the aforementioned Shoe Carnival.

See on the weekends, if I have nothing going (which has been the case most weekends over the last year thanks to the pandemic), I have no problem sitting around in my pajama pants, a t-shirt, and my house slippers. Oh, my house slippers. They keep my feet warm in the winter and more importantly, they're super-easy to put on and take off. Just slide on, slide off. If there were a discipline for laziness like there are for martial arts, I'd be its Mr. Miyagi.

For whatever reason, the thought of wearing regular, everyday shoes that are easy to take on and off like house slippers never crossed my mind until our shopping trip. So, for the first time I can think of, I skipped past all the aisles I had wandered up and down so many times before and looked for shoes without laces. That's when I found these bad boys:

Ryan O'Bryan

Part athletic shoe, part house slipper, all comfort. No laces to tie that you may accidentally step on, or get caught in the wheel of your office chair when you tuck your feet under you (please tell me I'm not the only one that happens to), just slide on, slide off. Which to me, screams "I'm a dad and I don't care what you think. I'm comfortable." I'm not sure I'll ever wear shoes with laces again.

Are they the most stylish footwear ever created? No, but I like to think they're not completely hideous either. I think I found a good balance between some sort of style, comfort, and laziness. And if I didn't. I'm good with that too. I'm a dad. It's who I am.

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