U-G-L-Y, you ain’t got no alibi, you ugly! Blame it on the Birkenstock, but the accessory du jour is bringing ugly shoes out into the light of day and on to the street and feet of every fashion editor and street style star alike. What the French would refer to as jolie laide, the sturdy, sensible sole stormed the runways in unflattering and universally ugly fashion for footwear that is hefty, flat and defiantly unsexy. Reclaiming rather pedestrian-looking footwear and Teva sandals from tourists, the ugly shoe phenomenon is giving strap-laden shoes a new lease on high-fashion life.
Complete with orthopedic-style soles, pool slide straps and ultra-utilitarian fastenings like Velcro, models marched the catwalk in cushy wedges, clunky square heels, squishy cork footbeds, roomy toe boxes and thick-soled sandals for a lesson in comfortable cool. Encapsulating a variety of styles, so far the ugly-chic sandal spawn has included a sequinned hiking shoe-and-sock combo at Prada, neoprene pool platforms at Marni, futuristic high-tops at VPL, spongy shower shoes at MSGM and actual Birkenstocks at Edun.
Whether you feel excited, disgusted or plainly perplexed about fashion's sweeping shoe trend, it's a look that's stomping on full speed ahead. See some of the sandal's most memorable incarnations below and, while they may not be for everyone, at least they are comfy!
3.1 Phillip Lim
Dries Van Noten