Fashion’s ugly duckling
I’ll admit it: the appeal of the shoe of the moment was lost on me at first.
Confession: I think I might be falling for the “ugly sneaker”. I’ve tried to resist its curious charms and utterly unseductive siren call, but it appears the arrival of Puma’s Thunder Desert style in New Zealand a couple of weeks ago has tipped me towards the dark side.
If you’re not already familiar with the term, ugly sneakers are a new breed of fashion shoes, and as the name suggests, they are far from pretty. A fashion Frankenstein if you will, which falls somewhere between 90s sneaker, Crocs, hiking boot, aqua sock, Noughties Reebok EasyTones and Skechers Shape-Ups, those towering platforms worn by the Spice Girls and footwear from some imagined future.
Multiple colours, textures, panels and dimensions are a must, in any combination the twisted minds of those devising them can conjure up.
While the most coveted pairs are by the likes of Balenciaga and will set you back well over a grand, Puma (as mentioned above) and adidas both do eye-catching, more affordable takes, not to mention the trickle-down effect that’s seeing them now pop up in high street stores, such as Zara and Topshop for under a hundy.
What’s the appeal? It’s very hard to say. Perhaps it’s a subversive reaction to the troubled times we live in, to the pressure of trying to reach an unachievable level of perfection and polish. Demure and ladylike be damned.
But I for one can testify that once you look at enough of them, you may very well start to like them.
The garish, often clashing colour palette definitely appeals to my magpie eye – it’s almost like wearing a big, beautiful, gaudy pair of earrings on your feet.
They’re playful, and they don’t take themselves seriously (they couldn’t really, looking like that), so they’ll put you in the same mood.
They are surely comfortable, and theoretically something that bulbous and chunky will serve to slim the ankle – not to mention deflect attention from any other part of your outfit.
Because you’re liberated from the qualms of finding an outfit that will “work” with them (nothing will), what you wear from the ankles up is entirely down to your imagination. Get creative.
If you do need a starting point, they offset a pretty, feminine skirt or dress to perfection, and also add something (very) special to good old jeans.