The Next Wave of Ugly Sneakers Is So Ugly

Bad news for anyone who already spends too much money on their sneaker collection: The trend for ugly sneakers is set to continue with gusto, morphing into its most aggressive form yet. So 2019 will see a new, challenging wave of styles making a bid for your feet, and whilst it might take a while for some of us to catch up, sneaker freaks we follow on Instagram are already showcasing their ahead-of-the-curve credibility, being photographed wearing the most radical, fresh kicks.

The signs for this shift have been there for a good six months or so (if you were willing to look). This past year saw a few boomerang styles find their way back into fashion favor, and they're helping to shape the vibe for the new year. We spotted girls wearing Skechers again, adopting Buffalo boots once more and delving into the world of Fila.

The latter brand's Disruptor sneakers provided big business for many a retailer, and they were just named our It item of the year for 2018. For those with more cash to splash, it was Balenciaga's Triple S sneakers that carried on ruling the designer roost, alongside anything and everything that came from Yeezy. In particular, it was the Yeezy 500 that spiked in Google search terms year over year by 1550%.


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All of these popular styles have influenced the silhouettes, finishes, and colors that are taking ugly sneaker trends to the next level for 2019. From neon to genuine mountaineering lace-ups, keep reading to discover the new gen of truly cool kicks.


Just ask the buying team at Browns Fashion about their key sneaker purchases for 2018, and they'll respond with one of two names: Mizuno or Salomon. If those are complete unknowns to you, you're not alone. These European labels are purveyors of high-tech mountaineering gear, so we're talking super-practical, performance kicks, complete with all of the weird "dad" paneling, trekking-ready soles, up-turned toes, clashing laces and comfy support that you'd usually balk at and turn away from.

The more obscure and old-school your brand choice, the better. The more bizarrely you can wear them, the better.


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From Eytys and its popular chunky lace-ups to the return of thick-soled, super-stacked Buffalo boots, this could be the answer to anyone who likes their sneakers to be extra bouncy and add a few inches to one's height. We've seen girls pairing them with smart clothes—like trouser suits—for a more modern approach than how we styled them the first time around in the '00s.


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Last year saw soft pastel colors come to the footwear fore, but as spring/summer 2019's runways are so vibrant, it's perhaps no huge surprise that neon hues look like they'll be next to dominate in this sporty realm. From highlighter yellow to ultra-punchy pink, sneaker fans are using these bright shoes to punctuate more sombre outfits. However, once the new season kicks in, I wouldn't be shocked to see the Scandi set trying them out with printed dresses or colorful suiting.


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Hannah Almassi
Editor in Chief

Hannah Almassi is the editor in chief of Who What Wear UK. Hannah has been part of the the Who What Wear brand since 2015, when she was hired to launch a UK sister site and social channels, localise content strategy and build out the editorial team. She joined following a seven-year tenure at Grazia magazine, where she led front-of-book news, fashion features and shopping specials as fashion news and features editor. With experience in both print and digital across fashion and beauty, Hannah has over 15 years in the field as a journalist, editor, content strategist and brand consultant. Hannah has interviewed industry heavyweights such as designers including Marc Jacobs and Jonathan Anderson through to arbiters of taste including Katie Grand and Anna Dello Russo. A skilled moderator and lecturer specialising in the shift to digital media and e-commerce, Hannah’s opinion and work has been sought by the likes of CNBC, BBC, The Sunday Times Style, The Times and, among many others.

Hannah currently resides in Eastbourne with her photographer husband, incredibly busy toddler and highly Instagrammable cat.