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Great Ugly-Pretty Shoes You Might Already Own

Robert ClergerieUnless you’ve been living off the grid, you’ve probably seen the ugly shoe trend stomping up a storm this spring. From clunky white Nurse-Ratched-style loafers to impossibly high platforms, clodhoppers have been popping up on street style blogs, fashion magazines, and trickling into mainstream stores.

But this new trend doesn’t have to cost you anything, because there are plenty of ugly-pretty shoes that stand the test of time. The best part is, they might already be hiding in your closet.

These clodhopper have been around for ages—you can probably excavate a pair from your parents’ attic that your mom wore during her hippy phase in the ’60s.

The idea that clogs represent dirty hair and musty armpits is totally false. Clogs have found their way into the closets of the new bohemian types and even the most chic of downtown ladies. You can’t throw a wooden heel in NYC without hitting some stylish creative director dropping her kids off at school before her first coffee and conference call.

Even the clunky kitchen clog from Dansko can look stylish with the right outfit (and not just in Seattle). If you’ve got some extra cash to throw at your new-found clog fetish, No. 6 has an updated and chic line of clogs ranging from $265-$430.

Lotta from

If you want to try clogs without spending a fortune, there are plenty of affordable Swedish options: I can’t help but love these peep-toe Lotta from Stockholm gems (under $100). The photo above is from bohemian-chic blogger Rubyellen Bratcher’s blog She is practically a Lotta brand ambassador and features plenty of fabulous clog-friendly outfits you will want to copy.

Worishofer is the like Dr. Scholl’s of Germany but chic—if perforated leather in flesh-tones can be chic. Ummmm, of course they can.

I have been wearing Worishofer for years, and not because I think they’re super trendy (although I’m sure a cute picture of Maggie Gyllenhaal traipsing around Brooklyn in red Worishofer sandals surfaced several years ago and stuck in my head.

The desire to wear Italian grandma sandals is more for comfort than fashion. Don’t get me wrong, I think ladies’ legs look gorgeous in the Barbie position. But with 80 percent of your attention focused on the pain in your feet and trying not to fall, how are you going to have fun?

no 6 nonna animal print

No.6 also makes an updated wooden version of the Worishofer sandal, the Nonna (which is Italian for Grandmother—how perfect?!), available for $265 at Steven Alan.

No shoe is more notoriously associated with hemp clothing and head shops than the Birkenstock. But they have one major thing going for them: comfort! And longevity. I think I still have a pair of Birkenstocks from high school squirreled away in my closet. They get better with age.

The thong-style Gizeh and delicate one-strap Madrid are all well and good, but let’s just stick to the basics with the Classic two-strap sandal for $120. Black oiled-leather sandals paired with a simple black dress (with a fresh-off-beach-vacation glow) make for a stunning look.


If you’re more interested in designed duds you can always try the Floral-Print, Birkenstock-like sandals by Givenchy for $795.

slip ons

There is also modern version of this slip-on style. They might remind you of your grandpa’s steam-room shoes. The Bio sandal at Zara is $79.90 and the buttery, soft-looking Isabel Marant Holden sandal is $510 at Barneys.

Active Sandals
Imagine running barefoot with no risk of a dirty, disease-laden shard of glass puncturing your skin and causing a raging infection that even the strongest antibiotic can’t fight. Dreamy, right?

When you strap on an active sandal, like a Teva, you have the toe-wiggling freedom of bare feet or flip flops with the security and functionality of a sneaker. No, I’m not pedaling Tevas; I truly believe that unless you’re planning a river-rafting adventure trip there is no need to purchase a sport sandal.


But there are some stylish new versions of the active sandal that are worth a second look. Even Prada has reimagined the active sandal in a fun way with their Suede Clorblock Strappy Sandal available at Saks ($675.)

So ugly they’re pretty?
No, this concept is not limited to dogs and babies. If you can find the most horrifying shoe and pair it with a sleek monochrome outfit (preferably black), you might just rank a street-style blog pic. When the look is “all about the shoe” (in an ironic way), that shoe can be elaborately and fabulously ugly. Like these Marni Sandals for $870.

Marni Sandal

Check out more Ugly-Pretty Shoes on Pinterest!


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