I’m a shameless lover and wearer of impractical beautiful shoes (like these rainbow boots). I can still wear high heels at my age, but I have a feeling this won’t last much longer. Luckily over the past several years, fashion has delivered a strong offering of flat shoes for women. These are worn INSTEAD of heels in an intentional, too-cool-for-stilettos kind of way. In fact, the worse they are, the more stylish they are if that makes sense. After vintage-style Adidas Stan Smith trainers were embraced by everyone from fashion editors to school run mums (courtesy of Phoebe-Philo-era Celine), Balenciaga correctly read the crowd and wheeled out their ‘ugly trainers.’ The point was to wear a girly dress and juxtapose its prettiness with a pair of geeky Dad-style white chunky sneakers. Did I buy into this trend? No. Definitely not. I’m wary of any fashion trend that doesn’t involve lots of colour or sparkle, in much the same way I’m wary of people who don’t like dogs.
Last summer, rubber pool slides, flip flops, and Birkenstock sandals were all over the runways as well as the streets, along with embellished colourful sneakers. This summer, in the battle to incorporate both comfort and shock value in one shoe, designers are copying Teva hiking sandals, velcro straps and all. The ‘tourist sandal’ has officially stepped into the fashion pantheon. Yes, Marc Jacobs and Tommy Hilfiger did their versions but neither of these designers registers even a blip on my personal fashion radar. However when Miuccia Prada does something, I do the equivalent of folding my newspaper down and staring intently over the tops of my reading glasses. Dear reader, I present to you the Prada Nastro hiking sandal…complete with shouty can-see-from-space logo. If you’d like to be parted from £540 or $685 of your money for them, you can do so here.
For my own money, I’ll stick with the OG, the REAL Tevas. Relaunched by Teva through Outdoor Voices, you might fall for these jellybean coloured ones like I did. Just imagine the pedicure possibilities!
I can see them working particularly well with a simple loose white maxi dress or a long tiered skirt. The colour-clashing plus extreme comfort sold me. I bought the coral and lilac pair and had them shipped to my Mom’s house in the US. She opened them and said, “Well, they ARE BRIGHT!” I asked her to walk around in them and apparently they are indeed super comfortable (phew!). I’m planning to live in these when I get back to the US this summer (expect a “How To Style Hiking Shoes– From Overalls to Ball Gowns” post in late July, haha).
I do love heels, but do I wear them all the time? No. Will I walk around in heels in the heat of New York and Savannah this summer? Also no. Collectively, I sense women aren’t keen to give up comfort and step back into high heels again for everyday wear just yet.
A flat shoe is stylish, age-friendly, comfortable, and after years of platforms and vertiginous stilettos, they feel like a well-deserved fashion break. In many cases, a flat can look MORE stylish than a heel; a heel can sometimes look a bit dated and try-hard, depending on the outfit. I’ll be wearing flats this summer to run around in for everyday and to add a bit of laid-back style to my fairly structured wardrobe. I’ve already been wearing the flats in this post on repeat. Sneakers have their place in my wardrobe, but like ripped jeans, they just aren’t my style. I think I’ll feel more at home in my new bright ugly sandals than an ugly sneaker!
The key thing to remember if you wear an ugly shoe is to keep the rest of the outfit stylish. They only work with something like a sweet dress, a sharp suit, or an edgy colourful skirt. It needs to look intentional. Ugly shoes don’t work terribly well with jeans and a tee shirt. If you wear a relaxed outfit like jeans and a tee, go the opposite direction on the shoe– a sparkly flat, a rainbow mule, or a bright bow-embellished sandal. It is the strong contrast of casual with elegant that looks fresh and modern.
I solemnly swear this is the only pair of hiking sandals I’ll ever buy. Subscribe below if you’d like to make up for all the people who will break up with me over these Tevas!
linking to: notdressedaslamb