The Oakland Post

The ugly sneaker: A fashion trend that shouldn’t work, but somehow does

Katarina Kovac, Staff Reporter

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Remember the time you used to go out with your dad and he’d wear his sneakers, the New Balance 407’s that were white, chunky and which he often wore with … jeans?

Well, just when you had finally recovered from your embarrassment, the ugly sneaker is back.

I never thought something featuring the word ‘ugly’ would be a trend.

It’s safe to say fashion is no longer playing by the rules. In the midst of similar styles being sold across all stores, people still manage to cultivate an image for themselves that is different from the rest.

Fashion comes in cycles, and given that we’ve just had several years of minimalism and slim-fitting garments, it was only a matter of time until the chunkiness of the ugly sneaker prevailed, whether you like it or not.

On the runways during Fashion Week, some of the most influential designers in the business and the ones behind some of the biggest brands—including Prada, Dior and Rick Owens—showed off new takes on the ugly sneaker trend.

But unlike your dad’s New Balance kicks, these intentionally ugly sneakers are meant to be worn with elegantly tailored trousers and oversized jackets, making for a look that’s equal parts normcore and modern streetwear.

There’s no doubt that the start of this new high fashion sneaker scene originated from the Adidas x Raf Simons collections. In 2013, the two brands joined forces for the first time to create a now iconic ugly sneaker, the Ozweego. It’s been through several iterations now, and has had many colorways.

At first, reactions to the sneaker were mixed, but now it’s widely accepted that it was ahead of its time.

In fall 2017, Balenciaga’s intentionally ugly Triple S sneakers became an instant hit with the fashion crowd, and the shoes gained a slew of celebrity followers.  Luxury fashion house Louis Vuitton displayed ugly sneakers on the runway at the house’s women’s wear show in Paris for Spring Summer ’18, which immediately sold out.

Balenciaga and Louis Vuitton’s sneakers are not the only ugly sneaker style’s that have caught the attention of the celebrity set as of late. Adidas Yeezy collection includes the dad shoe-inspired 700 Wave Runner has been seen on the likes of Gigi Hadid, Kaia Gerber, Kendall Jenner and Chance the Rapper.

Why do so many people find “ugly” sneakers, well, ugly? Is it the color combinations? The thick soles? The shoe laces or the multiple seams? I can only assume that it’s a combination of all of the above.

If you don’t have the cash to dish out on a pair of these high end ugly sneakers, no worries. Brands like Zara have already launched many of the same styles with reasonable prices. You can even go grab a pair of Skechers D’Lites which will certainly do the trick.

Or maybe you can just borrow your dad’s old ones!

Many fashion enthusiasts are wondering, are these associated ugly kicks here to stay in 2018, or are they just another blip on the trend radar?

Only time will tell whether we’ll remember shoes like the Balenciaga Triple S as a design classic or a puzzling fashion fad. One thing is for sure — now’s the time to wear them.  This trend shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

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