May 08, 2015

5 Things I Like and Musings: Ugly Shoe Edition

Ugly Shoe is in every look for much of DKNY's S/S 2015 campaign.

The Ugly Shoe is having a major moment right now. But just because a shoe is ugly doesn't make it "Ugly Shoe". Defining characteristics of Ugly shoe are:

  • chunky
  • flat or stacked platform with no lift
  • lacks any sense of gracefulness whatsoever
  • toe can be round or square, but is always wide 
  • often borrows from athletic, slipper or clog forms
  • can take on a few different vibes/aesthetics such as sporty, minimalism/normcore, healthgoth, 70s, meanswear or loungewear
Before I show you more Ugly Shoe, here's it's opposite, by Oscar de la Renta, to provide a point of reference:

Quite a few S/S 2015 collections and campaigns featured ugly shoe very prominently. Here are my

Top 5 Ugly Shoe S/S 2015 Moments: 


Can't realistically see myself wearing this.
I mean, these are some pretty hideous, athletic inspired shoes. The bright colors and geometric accents give these a retro, almost mod feeling I appreciate. 
I'd wear this.


I'd love to wear these platform slipons which are clearly inspired by Dr. Scholl's sandals.
Ok, so this mule does have a bit of a cutout and lift to the heel which is not exactly Ugly Shoe but... it is executed so clumsily as to somehow create not just a deficit of gracefulness. I actually would love to wear these paired with vintage floral dresses, especially those from the 70s for a boho vibe. 

 Burberry Prorsum

What I most appreciate about this collection's footwear is the neon/bright colors that are very en vogue in the gym right now. As a secret gym rat (Gold's Gym, no less, the mecca of gym rattiness FYI), I'm pretty into neons (especially polish) right now so... yeah, I'd wear the sandal below for sure. 

Peter Som

Gosh, these shoes are just so... very ugly to the point of absurd that like surreal art, it makes sense by not making sense, amirite?!

Circus by Sam Edelman 

Wow, Mr. Edelman 's got quite the range of both Ugly and non-ugly Shoe alike. 
And of course I love silver shoes/anything. 


We all recognize this shoe's reference thanks to our 3rd grade teachers. Hence, I dub this, the Teacher Shoe. Normally I despite teacher shoe, but the addition of the woven platform heels and metallic leather make this palatable.

Not Quite Ugly Shoe

Some shoes are not quite Ugly Shoe all the way, but certainly evoke the aesthetic with a certain chunkiness.
By Chanel, this platform has a bit too much lift and curve in the platform. That plus the elegance of the straps give this shoe a hint of gracefulness which veers away from pure Ugly Shoe.


These big wedges by Bally have rivets and wood, common features of Ugly Shoe, but again, the curved wedge and slightly tapered toe make this shoe slightly graceful. Also, they are almost too obviously borrowing from 70s disco platforms to qualify as Ugly Shoe. All that said, can I just say I simply swoon over these? 

OG Ugly Shoe

Fashion is incredibly referential so of course there are predecessors to Ugly Shoe, predominantly 90s trends. 

Dr. Scholls Sandals 


This brand was founded in 1906 and has been a household name since at least the 1970s. But for me, these shoes most evoke the mid-90s when they were especially trendy and came in various colors. (I never had any, though, nor do I especially want any now.)

Reebok Pumps

The Pump has been in production since 1989 and has resurged in popularity recently thanks to various fashion collaborations like atmos and Titolo. It's been endorsed by athlethes, too, but we all know the most iconic Pump moment of all time:




Well, I would have assumed that living in Eugene would have made me allergic to these shoes, but strangely I do like knockoffs that are slightly less wide and not brown/tan. 


Teva began in Arizion in 1984 and has remained a popular outdoors brand. They've since entered the arena of high fashion with collaborations like Nasty Gal (pictured below) and Opening Ceremony. At $40 a pair, the original versions are actually pretty affordable but not for me. 

Adilette by Adidas

A personal favorite which I covet, the Adilette was released in 1963, the first sandal design by Adidas, a German company that goes back to 1924 and whose 1936 Olympic partnership with Jesse Owens was the first Olympic sponsorship of an African American athlete. The Adilette was originally designed for the locker room, but I also like them paired with minimal, monochrome outfits. 

Ugly Shoe within Reach

Though my examples so far have been from high end designers, there are quite a few knockoffs out there. These examples are all currently available at Target
Space shower shoes. 

Leopard is always a good look for Ugly Shoe, no?

Gotta say this shoe is the most hideous pictured here. So hideous it comes around to neutral and harmonious. 

Obviously I love silver shoes/anything. 

Farm to table is so 2014. 2015 is all about shower to street. 
Ok, not quite an ugly shoe because of the lifted heel, the front of this shoe definitely meets the Teacher Shoe profile. 

I recognize this is not a new trend nor am I the first to report on it. Ugly Shoe as I've defined it appears to have been a noted trend since at least 2013 that continued into 2014 and the present. Oh, and about Uggs: Uggs do not pass "go" the way Ugly Shoe does, where it transcends hideousness and enhances the cuteness and/or sleekness of the rest of your look. Nope, Uggs are just plain ugly shearling bags for your feet. Sorry, but not sorry, I hate them and they have no place in fashion. 

What do you think of Ugly Shoe? Would you wear it and if yes, how would you style it? Me, I'm obviously a fan or else I wouldn't have gone to the trouble of writing an entire blog post about it. I would pair this with both sporty and very feminine looks for casual occasions. I'm also a big fan of the banded-slipper style for doing stuff around the house and yard. 


  1. Some of these ugly shoes are my favorite things to slip on when I don't feel like getting dressed or when my feet are dead after wearing cute shoes.

  2. Fearless April BrownJune 18, 2015 at 8:48 PM

    Totally with you on the matador sleeves of the black dress.


looking forward to hearing from you!