The first sunday in January is known as Dating Sunday, apparently, and is a golden time to get on the apps. But it’s no secret that the world of online dating is a minefield.
If you’re tired of swiping through endless cookie cutter profiles (why is it that all men know the best spot in town for a negroni?) or having dead chat with someone you have nothing in common with, then niche dating is for you.
Instead of apps that allow you to meet potential partners from a variety of backgrounds and demographics, these niche apps let users get very specific; they’re categorically for people who have a type.
From apps that find you a lover with a beard to ones that match you by your birth-chart and sites that connect countryside folk who can bond over tractors, there is truly something out there for everyone.
Here, we take a look at the best niche dating apps for 2022.
For: dog lovers
Yep, if you love dogs and want a partner who feels the same then this is the app for you. Match with someone who’s got a dog breed that’ll get on well with yours, creators of the app advise — “not all dogs get along. So, search for someone currently with or without a dog, and check out the dog size.”
Even if you don’t have a dog, you can match with someone who wants to get one in the future. “Nothing matters more than finding someone who fits into your dog-forward lifestyle,” says the app description. I mean, maybe there are a few things that matter more? But if this strong statement chimes with you, sign up and get started. Dog walk first date?
For: veggies and vegans
Are you a veggie or vegan who draws the line at dating a meat eater? Instead of sifting through tons of profiles searching for one that mentions “plant-based” why not use an app where everyone shares your eating views. “Relationships with non-vegetarians tend to always hit some obstacles that we believe can be avoided altogether, if you find the right vegetarian match,” says the description. Makes booking a restaurant a whole lot easier, that’s for sure.
For: astrology nuts
Are you a Virgo seeking your soulmate Taurus? Or an Aquarius who couldn’t possibly end up with another Capricorn? Fear not, this is the app for you. By filling in details of your birth such as place and time the app will tell you your “cosmic personality traits” and issue you with a compatibility score for every potential match. “You’ll know before arriving at the coffee shop that your connection is star-crossed and fated,” says the description. At the very least you’ll know you’re both into astrology.
For: music aficionados
Wanna chat about techno sub-genres or discuss the acoustics of different gig venues? If so, Tastebuds, an app that brings people together through music, could be worth a go. Founded by two musicians who were new to London, the app is now used by 500,000 music fans worldwide. It’ll connect you with people nearby who like the same artists as you and what better way to break the ice than sending them your latest favourite song? It’s also a great way to find concert buddies.
For: countryside lovers
If you own a pair of mud-stained walking boots and like nothing more than green fields and fresh air Muddy Matches will help you find a like-minded date. “Made by country people for country people”, the founders believe it’s essential to find someone who shares your interests or lifestyle. It now has 200,000 users across the UK and Ireland.
For: beard lovers
Dubbed “Tinder for beards”, Bristlr “connects those with beards to those who want to stroke them”. It asks you a simple question before you sign up: “Do you have a beard — yes or no?” Simple, really. “We find all the local beard-loving singles near you and make magic happen. Beardy-magic,” says the description. “We’ve created more than half a million matches, several weddings, and at least one child. We’re beard-centric dating, on a global scale.” If you love a beard or want your beard to be loved, give it a go.
For: people who work in uniform or love those who do
It does what it says on the tin — match with men or women in uniform (always sexy) or find your dreamboat in uniform. On a serious note this app is actually really practical if you do work in a uniformed role — “We all have busy lives, especially those of us who work in uniform,” explains the app’s description. “That’s why Uniform Dating is here, to guide you through the world of online dating and help you find your hero. When you have unsociable shift patterns, a demanding job, or you’re stationed overseas, finding love can be tricky. But don’t despair, when you sign up to our UK dating site you’ll realise you’re not alone. Not only that, other singles looking to meet people in uniform will know just where to find you.”
For: single parents
Single parents may despair at traditional dating apps. It can be anxiety-inducing telling a prospective partner you have kids — in fact a survey done by the app found that one in five single parents said they have been “ghosted” by someone after they learned they had children. And as well as that trying to schedule dates around your children can be a challenge but on Stir everyone’s in the same boat. It comes from the parent company of Tinder, OkCupid and Plenty of Fish. “Having kids shouldn’t be a dealbreaker when dating,” Dinh Thi Bui, vice president of new verticals at Match Group, said. “We’re dedicated to giving single parents a dating experience where they are celebrated and feel like they can be themselves. With that, our hope is that they can truly focus on having a personal life beyond navigating parenthood.”
For: short kings
This dating site is exclusively for those 5ft 8in tall and under. If you’re 5ft 9in don’t even try. It connects shorter singles across the country and is free to join. “If you’re a short person, you’ll understand how short dating can be really difficult. Thankfully, we’re in the 21st century and Shorter Singles is a specialist site where you can meet short women and short men under 5ft 8in tall.” The site is also packed with tips for dating etiquette and the dos and don’ts when it comes to talking about height.