The Rise Of The 'Ugly Shoe' Means We're Finally In The Era Of Not Caring What Others Think

We have entered a new era of footwear. The "ugly shoe" is here to stay, and we're relieved, really. Consider what the ugly shoe represents; it stands out for all of the right reasons. The ugly shoe is non-conformist. It is comfortable. It is long-lasting. The ugly shoe can also be just plain garishone that might make members of the old fashion guard gasp in disgust. But this is why we love the ugly shoe, and why we're glad to see it stick around. We're sick of the same old fashion rules, of the tired tropes that women must bear the pain of heels to feel beautiful or feminine. We're done with the constant demand for the shiniest new shoe. The ugly shoe tells us to forget all that and be free from the demands of fashion. 


Besides, there is something about the ugly shoe that we cannot resist. Even the most stalwart fashion purist has to admit: The ugly shoe gets people's attention. And why should every shoe on the market have to be pretty? Ugly shoes offer wearers yet another way to express themselves, and we will always be thankful for that.

The rise of the ugly shoe

Ugly shoes come in a plethora of possibilities. There is the comfy-ugly shoe (think Uggs, Crocs, and Birkenstocks); the granola-ugly shoe (think Danskos and Tevas); the sporty-ugly shoe (think HOKAs, Nike New Balances, and the original Balenciaga sneakers); and then there are the just plain weird-ugly shoes (think those freakish toe shoes from Vibram, the Big Red Boots from MSCHF, and the broken-egg stilettos from Loewe). While we could argue that, because of their sheer ugliness, each of these shoes is ironically chic, they all share one critical common factor: Each of these shoes is for the individual. They belong to those who are unafraid to own their own aesthetic, have fun with fashion, and perhaps most of all remain comfortable while doing so. 


This could be considered a broader trend in fashion, in general. Living in a (semi) post-pandemic world, many people do not want to go back to dressing in a way that perhaps maintains the status quo, or dressing in a way that would meet the expectations of others. The ugly shoe represents a move toward self-expression that is rooted in one's own authentic experiences. And there is nothing more stylish than being completely yourself. 

How to step into the trend

Embracing the ugly shoe trend is, at its core, about bracing your authenticity. It's about leaving behind the idea of having good or bad taste, and simply wearing what makes you feel good. It's about making choices based on what works for you, rather than what works for others. But because wearing an ugly shoe is almost sure to garner some attention, be prepared for stares when you step out into public. (And don't forget about us when you become a local celebrity!) 


TikTok is full of incredible ugly shoe inspiration. User @jacvanek shows off her robust collection of ugly shoes in her TikTok video. "Everybody makes fun of me because my shoes are so ugly," she says, "But I also think it's like, part of my identity now. The uglier the better."

We also love a TikTok video from @someposhprick in which they show off their ingenious ugly shoe collection. From boundary-breaking designers such as Maison Margiela and Vivienne Westwood, these shoes represent pure, individual style. Remember that, when it comes to wearing ugly shoes, the beauty is that you truly cannot go wrong.