While there are certain shoe styles that are universally lauded as beauteous and exceptionally flattering — Manolo Blahnik’s BB pump, Christian Louboutin’s So Kate and Chanel’s cap-toe ballerina come to mind — of late, fashion cool-hunters have been looking to left field. Instead of a refined stiletto or luxurious classic, the new motto appears to banish the banal in favor of “the uglier, the better.”
Blame Christopher Kane, who sent raw crystal embellished Crocs down his runway for spring ’17. If those aren’t polarizing enough for you, try Crocs’ new shearling lined version. Vetements, who has made even kitschy Western boots desirable again, recently collaborated with Lucchese on some luxury snip toes that also tick that so-wrong-it’s-right box.
Celine’s Phoebe Philo, whose debuted her version of the pull-on rancher boot last season (another ugly-cool comeback kid, this one inspired by Aussie label Blundstone), is most responsible for ushering in this era of quirky, comfortable shoes that are at first challenging to the eye but tend to grow on you. Remember her furry Birkenstock-cum-shower sandal style sandals of for spring ’13? Hotly influential, they were the brazenly unpretty precursors to fashion’s current ugly footwear craze: the Gucci fur-lined Princetown loafer mule.
For those looking to what’s next in the world of progressive, post-normcore shoes (and a serious sartorial challenge to boot), may we suggest Dansko’s beloved occupational clog (a favorite of chefs and medical practitioners), mall-rat shearling boots from Ugg (who else?), oddball oxfords by longtime on-the-fringe designer John Fluevog or gift shop-style rope sandals by Gurkees?
In this case, pick your poison and don’t tread carefully.
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