In Defense Of the Ugly Sandal

Words by Jody Hume | 6.21.17
One minute you’re texting a picture to your best friend mocking a crazy trend you saw some model rocking at fashion week, and the next you show up in matching furry slides and admit that maybe it’s growing on you. We’ve all been there; this is the nature of fashion trends. The “ugly” sandal surely isn’t the first of its kind to be snubbed for years only to become one of the biggest trends of the season. If you’re still on the fence, unconvinced by all the runway shows and major fashion influencers who have given in to the controversial styles, we’ve broken down the most polarizing footwear choices and our tips on how to make them work for you.

Bottega Veneta Gladiator Sandals, $145Prada Floral-Embellished Flatform Sandals, $525MM6 by Maison Martin Margiela Flatform Sandals, $180
Your outdoorsy aunt may have discovered Tevas long ago, but this style has been disregarded by anyone considered fashion-forward until the very recent past. Comfortable, durable and simple, they provide lightweight support and were created by a river guide in the ’80s for water-adjacent activities and travel. From an introduction in Spring 2014 shows, like Marc Jacobs’s which glamorized a kind of beach-goth chic, to the normcore movement to Miuccia Prada donning a pair during her final bow at Miu Miu’s Spring 2017 show, the no-frills sports sandal acts as a sort of a blank canvas open to reincarnations and collaborations galore. Nike, Prada, Marni and Opening Ceremony are just a few who have embraced the comfort and rule-breaking cool factor these sandals bring to the beloved athleisure trend. The strappy structure can read masculine, so this style is best offset with feminine silhouettes like midi skirts or floral dresses, but some sporty references like a striped bag add dimension to the look without going overboard.

Louis Vuitton 2017 Checkpoint Slide Sandals, $725Stella McCartney Platform Canvas Sandals, $200Alexander Wang 2017 Jac Slide Sandals, $175
From a humble and practical beginning, the original pool slide (the Adidas Adilette sandal) was designed in the ’60s for locker rooms, showers and as an overall sports utility shoe to keep feet protected from wet floors and uninviting surfaces. Even with a resurgence in the ‘90s, this slide remained largely worn by the collegiate and athletic sets, not necessarily parading around fashion week both on the runway and snapped on street style stars. But flash forward to now, and you’ll see some of the biggest influencers like Gigi and Kendall rocking the ultra-comfortable, jet-set approved shoe. As soon as Rihanna’s Puma X Fenty versions saw the light of day, we knew this trend was here for the foreseeable future. Even iconic brands like Chanel are jumping into the ring with their Tropiconic slide. The best part of this shoe is that it goes with practically anything from a sundress to athleisure, as long as you’ve got the attitude to match.

Chanel 2017 Tropiconic Slide Sandals, $650Miu Miu Shearling Espadrille Sandals, $395Fendi Flowerland Crossover Sandals, $475
After a recent wave of minimalist influence, fashion has retaliated with maximalism in full force. Fringe and rhinestones remain fairly typical for an avant-garde loving industry, but even our most adventurous editors did a double-take at Miu Miu’s shearling crossover slides. Fashion is always looking to test the boundaries and designers know that shock value still counts for something. When it comes to this summer’s sandals, it seems that nothing is off limits, so why not embrace it? If you’re feeling brave (hey, all our favorite street style stars sure are!), pile on the chains, flowers, feathers and shine. We love a crazy shoe paired with something extra polished, like a tailored suit, so your high-impact piece looks chic and intentional.

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