The Ugly Sandal Is King. Long Live the Ugly Sandal!


Looking to put your trendiest foot forward? This spring, the hottest thing going is hideously ugly sandals. The uglier, the better. The podiatric equivalent of normcore, even. And frankly? This is fantastic news. UGLY SANDALS FOREVER.

The ugly sandal revival started last summer, when outlets like Vogue began praising the Birkenstock, of all things. That enthusiasm has sense flowered into a full-blown, morning-show-worthy trend. Just today Good Morning America featured a segment on the matter. Everyone’s sick to death of uncomfortable shoes and hence the flight, en masse, to styles traditionally associated with hippies, grandmothers and kayakers (or some combination of the above):

Fashion blogs are now flooded with the damn things. This Racked list of 42 pairs of “ugly chic” sandals, ranging from $850 metallics by Givenchy to cheap-ass Adidas slip-ons. Isabel Marant’s fugly “Holden” sandals are sold out at Net-a-Porter, among other places, and they’re already beinghawked on Ebay. Tevas are downright chic right now. Tevas haven’t been considered trendy anywhere but Vermont and Colorado since the Clinton presidency!

Here is a Daily Mail guide to the trend which explicitly includes a pair of orthopedic sandals. As a large woman with high arches who’s prone to achy feet when walking great distances, this is the most glorious fashion development in years. My big summer footwear purchase this year was a pair of Kork-Ease, which look like something stolen from a retirement community and wheeze gently when I walk. And they were right in the front of the store, not tucked away in the back of Sears! After several summers trying to find the least ugly option at Aerosoles, I could weep with relief.

It’s almost too good to be true.

Not that you should take this as a sign that anything goes: “You should always have a beautiful pedicure when you wear shoes like this,” says Lucky‘s Eva Chen. My God. The horror. The un-manicured horror!

Sure, you can wear “ugly” shoes without fashion signing off on the trend. But let’s get real: It’s just easier to find whatever’s in style, and not everybody can spend their days ransacking Zappos for something with half-decent cushioning. This summer you won’t have to sift through dozens and dozens of sandals with all the arch support of corrugated cardboard! Plus, you’re likely to see more comfy shoes at a broader array of price points, as opposed to simply shelling out for Birkenstocks.

But, of course, just as soon as this trend filters through the relieved college students of middle America, the fashion elite will hide their indiscretions in the back of their closets of their Hamptons houses, buried next to the Crocs and underneath a battered old poncho. So go ahead and stock up while the selection’s good. Nothing gold can stay, and all too soon DSW will be trying to foist high-heeled gladiator bullshit on us once more.

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