Fash­ion’s ugly duck­ling

I’ll ad­mit it: the ap­peal of the shoe of the mo­ment was lost on me at first.

Sunday Star-Times - Sunday Magazine - - TREND REPORT WITH JOSIE STEENHART ENHART -

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.

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