The Case for the Ugly Shoe


“Who would wear Birkenstocks?” my friend wondered the other day as we were shopping.  She held up the offending sandal and frowned at it angrily.  “Tree-huggers, that’s who”. 

 I pointed out that I, hardly a tree-hugger, wore my Birks to the sole last summer and have my eye on a white pair for this season.  She stared at me unbelievingly. 

“It’s true” I assured her.  “And when you style them right, they’re super dope”.   

“But they make your feet look so ugly” she said sadly.

That point, I can’t argue with.  They don’t exactly enhance the daintiness of a woman’s foot.  Nevertheless, they add an edge and cool factor to so many outfits.  It’s no wonder that the trend caught on like wildfire a few years ago and has stuck around season after season.   The Birkenstock isn’t the only ugly shoe that’s trending right now.  Read on for my 3 favorite iterations.

1.       The Flatform

My husband loathes this clunky shoe.  Every new version that the second love of my life (aka The Fed Ex Guy) drops off at our apartment he sighs heavily in resignation.   This doesn’t necessarily bother me.  As I stated in my article about Dressing for Work, his lack of understanding of my outfit equals a successful look as far as I’m concerned.  But I see where he’s coming from.  Not walking like you’re stomping around in a huff takes some practice in these shoes.  But, seriously, how great are these Chloe dupes I just scooped up from Topshop?  Or these Dries Van Noten silver leather beauties?  I mean, come on.  And don’t get me started on these black Vince sandals.  I’d wear all of them all Spring and all Summer with denim cutoffs, overalls, mini skirts…the possibilities are just endless.

2.       The Pool Slide

Also a shoe that doesn’t exactly flatter the female foot.  And since when is footwear that used to only be appropriate when walking from your hotel room to the pool and back acceptable for daily wear?  Since Isabel Marant started making rad ass versions like these, that’s when.  And thank goodness she did.  A great alternative to my beloved Birks, I heart a pool slide almost as much.  Worn with slouchy leather joggers, this shoe says “Whatevs.  I hardly thought about my outfit this morning yet I still look amazing”.  I rock these Tibi slides with pride and challenge anyone to tell me they aren’t dope as hell.

Stella McCartney Binx Loafers

Stella McCartney Binx Loafers

3.       The Chunky Clunky Loafer

Preferably with a lug sole so as to make them extra clunky.  Again, this is a shoe that takes practice walking in them so as not to clomp around like a horse yet is still so, so cool.  The perfect shoe to juxtapose with something more feminine but just as awesome with jeans, a great tee and blazer.  This Alexander McQueen pair gets bonus points for having both studs and fringe and these Robert Clergerie loafers have a flatform sole which is a total two-loves-in-one-gorgeous/ugly-shoe score.  This pair from Asos has a retro vibe I’m digging and they will be on the way to my house as soon as I’m done typing this article. 

So who else loves an ugly shoe?  Who’s with me?  Hello?