My Style Is Pretty and Polished, So Why Am I Obsessing Over These "Ugly" Shoe Trends?
Being a fashion editor, I have a tendency to wear certain items, looks, or trends that appeal greatly to my industry pals, but not so much the general public. Voluminous sleeves? My favorite, though my Dad often asks me what I'm hiding "in there." Prairie dresses and high-neck silhouettes? Obsessed. But to my non-fashion friends, they're wondering if I'd be better suited to farm life in the '40s. When I channel a ladylike vibe via midi hemlines, prim heels, or a cardigan, my bestie loves to tell me how "school-teacher chic" I look. Which, sure, is a compliment, but a backhanded one (it's OK, her and I laugh about it endlessly).
Needless to say, I wear a lot of fashions that my friends and family make fun of me for. But no bother. I do it for me and am quite good with that. It wasn't until recently, however, that I found myself mulling over a new pair of boots and realizing that they weren't as clean and classic as I typically would go for. Instead, they were clunky and, dare I say, ugly. Yet I needed them in my life.
Was I . . . influenced somehow? Yes. But by what or whom? The "ugly" shoe movement that continues to permeate the fashion industry from all angles — influencers have unanimously chosen The Row's Gaia and Patty boots as bona-fide must-haves this Winter; designers from Tory Burch to Celine have sent clogs down their runways in recent seasons; New York-based designer Rosetta Getty has even teamed up with the Danish footwear brand Ecco to design a range of comfort-first footwear that uses the latest in comfort technology and environmentally conscious production (though it might not sound like it, these four styles are quite sleek with what I consider to be an inexplicable allure).
Now, of course, the word "ugly" is open to interpretation and undoubtedly an arbitrary way to describe something. But when it comes to some of the trendiest shoes of the moment like super-hefty lug-soles, overbuilt sneakers and hiking boots, and, yes, even clogs, for most, they're probably not something you'd expect a "stylish" person to be wearing. And yet, as of late, they are.
When it comes to pulling off these "ugly" shoes, the vibe is to oscillate between utilitarian and orthopedic-chic. I find that it's achieved both by trying and not. It might simply be the case of throwing on a comfy look like a leisure set, but finishing it off unexpectedly with combat boots; you could find yourself in a situation where adding a little grit by way of a hiking boot or clog to an outfit featuring a pretty or precious piece is the ideal offset; or, you may easily find yourself to be one of those pragmatic dressers who's not trying in the slightest, you have an innate and magnetic sense of style and purely piece together outfits for the ease and purpose of your day. I find all of the above applaudable and quite achievable with whatever "ugly" shoe it is you want to try. All it takes is a bit of willingness to experiment.
To illustrate my point and to help set you up for "ugly" shoe success, scroll on ahead to witness some of my favorite "ugly" shoe outfits that I found on Instagram and shop my edit of styles from boots to slides and clogs. Are "ugly" shoes here to stay? Perhaps! Though it could also just be a fad. Either way, consider me on board and influenced, because if you were wondering, I did indeed buy those aforementioned boots and am planning a few more "ugly" purchases very soon.
The "Ugly" Shoe Outfit: Combat Boots + A Sweatshirt + Utility Pants + A Bag
The "Ugly" Shoe Outfit: Lug-Sole Boots + A Cardigan + Long Skirt + A Bag
The "Ugly" Shoe Outfit: Clogs + Plaid Pants + A Colorful Top + A Jacket
The "Ugly" Shoe Outfit: Rubber Boots + Bright Pants + A Puffer Coat + Sunglasses
The "Ugly" Shoe Outfit: Combat Boots + A Blazer + A Turtleneck + Trousers
The "Ugly" Shoe Outfit: Hiking Boots + A Colorful Top + Printed Pants + A Bag
The "Ugly" Shoe Outfit: Platform Knee-High Boots + A Utility Shirt + Pants + A Belt + A Bag
The "Ugly" Shoe Outfit: Clogs + A Sweatsuit + Tall Socks
The "Ugly" Shoe Outfit: Clogs + A Feminine Dress
The "Ugly" Shoe Outfit: Overbuilt Sneakers + Tonal Separates + A Bucket Hat + Tube Socks
The "Ugly" Shoe Outfit: Combat Boots + A Sweater + Joggers + A Bag
Steve Madden Duggie Platform Knee-High Boot
Kenneth Cole Maddox 2.0 Matte Waterproof Hiker Bootie with Gore-Tex
Kenneth Cole Maddox 2.0 Matte Waterproof Hiker Bootie with Gore-Tex ($200, originally $250)