Maybe it all started with Céline’s $900 fur-lined, orthopedic-looking sandals for Fall 2014. Everyone seemed to agree they were ridiculously expensive and kind of hideous … and yet, bizarrely, they also became one of the most coveted It-shoes of the season. (Kanye West apparently bought Miley Cyrus five pairs.) Whatever the reason, the “fabulously ugly” phenomenon has become a runaway trend for spring when it comes to designer shoes.
The concept of “ugly-pretty” is something the fashion world is more than familiar with: jolie-laide (French for “pretty-ugly” has been a term used in fashion for decades in relation to, say, the imperfect beauty of Sofia Coppola or Charlotte Gainsbourg.
When it comes to footwear, the trend has translated to a whole host of kind-of-hideous-kind-of-amazing shoes, from white platforms that look like something from a nurse’s uniform to Doc Marten-inspired lug-sole brogues to high fashion takes on a classic Birkenstock sandal silhouette. (Would you believe Givenchy made a $900 pair of floral-print Birkenstock-like sandals? Yep, it happened.)
Perhaps most intriguing, the “fugly shoe” phenomenon is a decidedly high fashion one—you’ll have a much easier time getting in on the fug trend by raiding the racks at Barneys than you will at more mid-range department stores. That said, we found plenty of well-priced fugly shoes at fast fashion emporiums like Zara, H&M, and ASOS.
From white platform wedges to plastic jelly sandals, here are 50 of some of the most fabulously ugly shoes you can shop for spring—from Zara’s white court shoes and Marni’s fringe sandals to Prada’s Tevas-inspired athletic sandals and Proenza Schouler’s woven platforms. If you’re like us, you’ll probably look at each one and think, “Are they hideous? Or are they kind of everything?”