6 New "Ugly" Shoe Trends Descending on the Fashion World This Year


(Image credit: Courtesy of Bevza)

There’s nothing that fashion loves more than subverting expectations and flipping the script on antiquated fashion rules. The new prevailing fashion mentality puts unique personal style front and center, inspiring people to dress for no one but themselves.

That ideology is exactly what sparked the sartorial world’s obsession with "ugly” fashion. "Ugly" fashion is one big tongue-in-cheek response to dressing for one’s body or choosing "flattering” clothing. What was once considered lowbrow has become cool and is now worn both ironically and unironically. If you’re still confused, just think back to how Birkenstocks, once the premiere middle-class dad sandal of the century, became a fashion-girl staple, inspiring a legion of high-end designer copycats.

As is the way of fashion, even ugly fashion trends are cyclical, with a new crop coming in and out with each passing season. Narrowing in on the footwear styles from the S/S 2021 runways, we’ve rounded up six "ugly” shoes that are going to be big for the whole year and especially this spring. Read on to see which styles you should keep on your radar.


(Image credit: Courtesy of Sportmax; Courtesy of Acne Studios)

We spotted this trend on the S/S 2021 runways at ACNE Studios, Khaite, and plenty of others, which tells me that it’s one to watch. With elements like complicated straps and asymmetrical cutouts, no one will be able to take their eyes off of these.


(Image credit: Courtesy of Acne Studios)

Acne Studios S/S 2021


(Image credit: Courtesy of Sportmax)

Sportmax S/S 2021

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(Image credit: Courtesy of Bevza; Courtesy of Chanel)

As we know well know, the pandemic nearly obliterated tall heels, making way for these ultra-low floor-skimming pumps. They remind me of the sensible heels my grandma used to wear—comfortable and practical—placing them squarely in the ugly-cool category.


(Image credit: Courtesy of Chanel)

Chanel S/S 2021


(Image credit: Courtesy of Bevza)

Bevza S/S 2021

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(Image credit: Courtesy of Jacquemus; Courtesy of Kenzo)

Who else remembers those platform flip-flops from the early 2000s? These are like the elevated version of those retro sandals with cushy soles and extra-wide straps.


(Image credit: Courtesy of Jacquemus)

Jacquemus S/S 2021


(Image credit: Courtesy of Kenzo)

Kenzo S/S 2021

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(Image credit: Courtesy of Jason Wu; Courtesy of Sea)

It’s confirmed: Chunky sandals are here to stay. The spring runways were littered with sporty Velcro sandals (fashion’s take on elevated Tevas) with updates like colorful fabrics and whimsical embellishments.


(Image credit: Courtesy of Jason Wu)

Jason Wu S/S 2021


(Image credit: Courtesy of Sea)

Sea S/S 2021

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(Image credit: Courtesy of Balenciaga; Courtesy of Molly Goddard)

How could we forget house slippers? These cozy flats are what kept us the most comfortable last year, and they’re about to serve their purpose all the way through 2021 as well with luxurious updates like faux-fur and pretty pastel tones.


(Image credit: Courtesy of Molly Goddard)

Molly Goddard S/S 2021


(Image credit: Courtesy of Balenciaga)

Balenciaga S/S 2021

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(Image credit: Courtesy of Hermès; Courtesy of Bally)

Love them or hate them, you can’t deny that clogs are having a moment right now, and dare I say, they’ve never looked cooler. From cow-print clogs to patent leather, they’re completely taking off.


(Image credit: Courtesy of Hermès)

Hermès S/S 2021


(Image credit: Courtesy of Bally)

Bally S/S 2021

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Speaking of "ugly” trends, see every unconventional trend that will dominate this year, from clothing to shoes.

Senior Editor

Anna is an editor on the fashion team at Who What Wear and has been at the company for over five years, having begun her career in the Los Angeles office before relocating to New York, where she's currently based. Having always been passionate about pursuing a career in fashion, she built up her experience interning at the likes of Michael Kors, A.L.C., and College Fashionista before joining the team as a post-graduate assistant editor. Anna has penned a number of interviews with Who What Wear's cover stars over the years, including A-listers Megan Fox, Issa Rae, and Emma Chamberlain. She's earned a reputation for scouting new and emerging brands from across the globe and championing them to our audience of millions. While fashion is her main wheelhouse, Anna led the launch of WWW Travels last year, a new lifestyle vertical that highlights all things travel through a fashion-person lens. She is passionate about shopping vintage, whether it be at a favorite local outpost or an on-the-road discovery, and has amassed a wardrobe full of unique finds. When she's not writing, you can find her shooting street imagery on her film camera, attempting to learn a fourth or fifth language, or planning her next trip across the globe.