Ugly Sneakers: Are They Cool or Just Weird?
Give a man the right shoes, and he can conquer the world. That's us paraphrasing Marilyn Monroe. If the past decade's shoe trends are anything to go by, clean, minimalist sneakers are everybody's best friend. Everyone has been on it. From indie retailer Common Projects to sportswear giant Adidas to fashion house Gucci, they've all made their version of the great white kicks—the Achilles, Stan Smith, and Ace, respectively.
Adidas Crazy 8 Aurora Borealis
Sure, clean sneakers let you get away with wearing comfortable shoes to the office. They tone down a suit or dress up joggers. We're in no way trashing them. But come on, everybody's wearing them. We think you're ready for some excitement: a bit of shock factor, courtesy of flat-out gaudiness, by way of the '90s redux happening on the runways. From the same grunge-cum-athleisure wave as bucket hats and tracksuits, the ugly sneaker is here for your consideration. We're talking about chunky shoes that look as if they're jet-propelled, like a spaceship that you can slip your feet into so you can dunk like Mike in Air Jordans.
Adidas Raf Simons Ozweego Bunny Sneakers
Ugly sneakers are essentially trainers, and elevating them beyond gym status isn't a new concept. You did so as a kid. Your trainers went against gravity, against distance, against everything that held you back. Sky was the limit.
Now that you're all grown up, ugly sneakers are about rebelling against the norm, even if your post-modern Raf Simons-designed Adidas Ozweego runners never pound terrain more rugged than a poorly repaired pavement.
Vetements x Reebok Instapump Fury
Vetements’ take on the Reebok Instapump Fury serves up serious pediatric nurse vibes with all the orthopedic benefits for nothing more arduous than your stroll to work. With wacky panel overlays, oversized soles, bulbous shapes, and function-over-form straps and ties, you've got a winner in Balenciaga’s Triple-S dad sneaker. When was the last time you wore something that made your heart flutter?
Ugly sneakers have personality. They're not for wallflowers. They don't take themselves seriously. They're a bold look that filters out the weak from the willing. Consider the ugly sneaker as an exciting splash of bad taste. Wear them with a pair of wide-leg trousers or track pants as they balance out the proportions of looser silhouettes. Anything tighter will look off and not in that cool Demna Gvasalia way.
Nike Air Monarch IV
Maybe they're not for the office, so don't chuck your white sneakers just yet. But Demna, in this season's Balenciaga, did style them with a business suit, with trouser hemlines pooling over shoes, signaling the era of Normcorporate, so it's really up to what you can get away with.
The best part is wearing them and then forgetting them (until some noob asks where they can cop yours). Ugly sneakers are low maintenance. Fussing over keeping them pristine robs you of that nostalgic charm of being dirty and worn—just like your kicks as a starry-eyed kid.