Love’ Em or Hate’ Em—A Complete Guide to the Ugly Shoe

Turns out, the ugly shoe is not one size fits all.

Ugly shoes: We like ’em clunky, clompy, and clacky. Maybe so big that they can even moonlight as a weapon. Just when we think the tastes bulbous clogs or crunchy kicks are coming to an end, and that we will once again revert back to dainty, pretty strappy heels, they rear their charmingly heinous soles once again.

They come in all different shapes and sizes. A Birkenstock in sawdust hues, a Dansko that looks like a legume, and a Balenciaga version of a Vibram FiveFingers that comes with a heel. It doesn’t stop there either: There are Crocs, earthy shoes for the eco-lovers, and of course, Ugg (a name that says it all!) Want an ugly shoe? We’re sure there is one for your beautiful personality.

Here, see our ultimate guide to ugly shoes at every price point.


Let’s take a trip down memory lane and visit the original ugly shoes. Back in 2016, granola-chic Birkenstocks were quickly adopted by the Olsen twins and fashion gals. Later, Rick Owens came out with his hirsute-goth take, Valentino churned out a logo-fied pair, and Jil Sander reshaped them into a suede slip-on. The sandals are still all the rage, whether worn with bare toes or paired with socks.

Rick Owens black Birkenstock edition Boston sandals

$500SSENSEShop Now

Birkenstock unisex Arizona high arch open-toe sandals

$90AMAZONShop Now

Birkenstock x Proenza Schouler Arizona slides

$420BANDIERShop Now

Birkenstock 1774 TooGood the Forager canvas sandals

$380NET-A-PORTERShop Now


Of course, there is the iconic Croc. Shaped like a thick duckbill, this perforated rubber clog has long been a closet staple for nurses and cooks. More recently, it’s been adopted by fashion labels. We’ve seen Balenciaga put out Crocs with fat stacked platforms and spindly heels; Christopher Kane has stuck some colorful rocks on his own; while Takashi Murakami created a version in intergalactic hues. Call it a cornucopia of Crocs.

Crocs classic clogs


Christopher Kane crocs sandals

$1,100YOOXShop Now

Takashi Murakami x ComplexCon crocs classic clogs

$900STOCKXShop Now

Crocs classic Fur Sure clogs

$70CROCSShop Now

Ugg Boots

Behold, ye olde Ugg boot. The shoes are noughties to the core, beloved by Paris Hilton and her cohorts. Slipping into that cushy lambskin feels like your toes are being coddled by rice pudding. Fashion is obsessed with the boot, as well. In 2018, Y/Project put out a Jabba the Hut incarnation that slid up to the groin, an extreme take that even caught Rihanna’s eye.

Ugg ultra mini classic boots


Ugg classic mini II genuine shearling lined boots


Ugg classic cow-print fur booties


Ugg women's classic short II fashion boots

$170AMAZONShop Now

Vibram FiveFingers

It’s still raining ugly shoes. Balenciaga has taken Vibram FiveFingers and transformed them into heels. The French house has also created sock sneakers with rigid, chunky soles reminiscent of a Mars exploration. Don’t want to shell out for the haute phalangeal footwear? Those grippy Vibram FiveFingers come without the Balenciaga heel and pricetag.

Balenciaga x Vibram Five Finger leather booties


Vibram women's KSO EVO-W trainers

$90$40AMAZONShop Now

Takahiromiyashita Thesoloist black Suicoke edition Five Finger sneakers

$325SSENSEShop Now

Balenciaga x Vibram Five Fingers high toe ankle boots

$1,350FWRDShop Now


My colleague Emily Farra lovingly refers to tried-and-true Danskos as “kidney bean” shaped. They are durable, strong, and will serve your foot well with everyone clomp.

Dansko Kane black Eva clogs

$80DANSKOShop Now

Dansko Brenna tan burnished suede shoes

$140DANSKOShop Now

Dansko Brenna tan burnished suede shoes

$140DANSKOShop Now

Dansko professional clogs


Earth Shoes

Kiss the ground but with your sole. Earth Shoes is an umbrella term to the crunchy shoes that are less buzzy than Birkenstocks, orthopedic-minded, and very eco-friendly. Lily-Rose Depp and Chloë Sevigny have long approved of the tenured liberal arts lady professor look.

Josef Seibel Tonga leather sandals


Rieker Amport womens slingback sandals


Hoy Shoes salt water sandals

$54ZAPPOSShop Now

Dr. Scholl's Originalist 2 wedge sandals

$30DSWShop Now

This story originally appeared on: Vogue - Author:Liana Satenstein