The Brief: For better or for worse, ugly (and expensive) sneakers are in style.
While what is and isn’t “ugly” is subjective, there’s something unmistakably ugly about the latest on-trend sneakers. These chunky sneakers with double or triple soles are also known as “dad sneakers.” Hypebeast streetwear culture has long-incorporated elements of intentional ugliness into its style. Celebrities and models including Bella Hadid, Kendall Jenner, Kanye West, SZA, and Jaden Smith have been sporting the latest dad sneakers.
Balenciaga makes some of the most notoriously expensive and ugly kicks on the market. Other high-end streetwear and sneaker brands including Yeezy, Nike, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and Off-White, have their own versions of dad sneakers.
In addition to ugly sneakers, ugly sandals – often worn with socks – are en vogue as well. These include athletic slides, Crocs, and Birkenstocks. Notably, Croc has collabed with Balenciaga and Post Malone to create foam shoes at the most extreme intersection of practicality, high-fashion, impracticality, and the bizarre.
The exact reasons for this trend are unclear. These shoes allow wearers to be comfortable while making a bold fashion statement. They’re worn by both men and women.