If you saw that the ugly sneaker trend from last year had carried straight over into 2018 and thought to yourself, “What fresh hell is this?” it’s okay, you’re in good company. Ugly sneakers – part of the “dadcore” trend popularized by “It” girls like Bella Hadid and Kendall Jenner – feel almost like fashion is giving up. Blame Demna Gvasalia of Balenciaga if you want, because he started something that has picked up steam across hundreds of brands.
Upon closer examination, there is something compelling about the ugly sneaker. An aesthete’s natural reaction might be to criticize, reject, or balk at these clumsy-on-purpose designs, convinced that a certain amount of good taste has been compromised. For example, the wildly popular Louis Vuitton ‘Archlight’ sneaker looks like an accident, like it was stretched and distorted by a computer program and then manufactured without oversight. Yet, at Fashion Week, everyone who’s anyone was wearing a pair.
But, who says everything has to be polished and pretty all the time? Fashion represents all tastes, all perspectives, all desires. There’s something almost punk about the hideous rebellion of the ugly sneaker, something that makes us want to reject the status quo and reach for a pair ourselves. We picked through the best of the best (or best of the worst?), and we’re not sorry to say that the Christopher Kane crocs didn’t make the cut. There has to be a line somewhere!