The Ugly Sneaker Appeal


The clunky sketchers we all wore as kids have gotten an upgrade—and have hit the runways. From Balenciaga to Dior, ugly sneakers have found their way into the closets of high-fashion models and fashionistas alike. Even though they shouldn’t, they somehow still manage to look so cool.

The rise of the ugly sneaker can be traced back to the Adidas x Raf Simons 2013 collection. Simons’ version of the Adidas Ozweego, essentially the godfather of ugly sneakers, was released to the public during this surprise collaboration between the iconic sportswear brand and the former Christian Dior creative director. Removing the well-known Adidas three-stripe design and instead inserting translucent side inserts, Simons won overall sneakerheads with the now legendary sci-fi inspired footwear.  

For those of you wishing you could pull off the look that’s currently taking over street style, we have good news—you can. All that’s needed is confidence, a tailored pair of trousers and an oversized jacket. Wear the outfit; don’t let the outfit wear you. A little bit of confidence goes a long way and elevates a look. The straight hem tailored trousers offers balances out the huge sole of the shoes and is typically a better alternative to skinny jeans paired with ugly sneakers. Remember that balance is key, which leads us to the necessity of an oversized jacket.

Perhaps it’s the magic of the fashion industry that inspires us to take items we’ve, as a community, decided was unacceptable and reconsider them. A pivotal moment for this was when Christopher Kane sent platform, bejeweled Crocs down the runway. While the opinions over the Kane x Crocs movement is still split 50/50, there’s no denying we’ve seen many more pairs of Crocs in the high fashion world than we would’ve seen five years ago.

This is what keeps the fashion industry interesting. Every year, a designer sends a look down the runway that catches the eye of the press and the public alike, and makes us think, “Why this? Why now?” Take Alessandro Michele with his most recent Gucci showcase, for example, sending his models down the runway carrying sculptures of their own heads. After the initial moment of shock and awe, it was something new and interesting.

In the end, fashion and style are all about individuality. And there’s nothing wrong with showing off your uniqueness with some equally unique footwear. Will they last after the trend dies out? Who’s to say at this moment in time. But for now, let the ugly sneaker be a gentle reminder that fashion shouldn’t be taken too seriously, and above all, dress to express your unique self—it’s always on trend.