Every season it seems there is a new ‘ugly’ shoe trend. A trend which quite literally divides a nation of fashion lovers into two camps, forces every shoe obsessed citizen to choose their allegiance and threatens to break up even the most loyal of fashion friends. The most famous being the Birkenstock debate followed closely by the platform Jesus sandal, not forgetting of course the Furkenstock a little down the line. Wedge trainers had a hit or miss effect when they first came around, and footwear such as heeled loafers, creepers, track soled sandals, jelly flats and pool slides still elicit horror in a large group of extremely stylish people.
Trends such as these are what I like to call Marmite trends – there is no middle ground, there is no sitting on the fence, you’ll never come across someone in the fashion industry who is ambivalent when it comes to one of them. When it comes to an ‘ugly’ shoe there is no indecision; you either love them, or you hate them. You are either guilty or not guilty. You either jump on that bandwagon and the Instagram the s**t out of it quicker than you can get the shoe on your foot, or you avoid it at all costs and defiantly parade your anti – ugly shoes as much as possible until the trend has passed.
And it’s serious business. That one friend you always turned to for fashion advice is now not looking like such a reputable source. That blogger whose style you’ve always adored has just majorly let you down and that Instagram account you spend your lunch breaks ogling is kind of threatening to be un-followed.
Yup, severe cases of un-friending and un-following have been reported following the admittance of an ‘ugly’ shoe trend allegiance. But everyone knows that once you’ve picked your side you have to remain loyal, stick by your convictions and own it. Because even if you lose half of your followers because of it you know there’s a whole group of friends on the other side just waiting to take you in.
But what do you do if your allegiance changes? If suddenly you find that ‘the shoe’s on the other foot’ and it feels good?
Because here’s the thing folks. I’ve always been team pretty. ALWAYS. I live for pretty shoes – give me pink, glitter and bows any day over fur, velcro and rubber. I swoon over a stiletto heel and I hate the term ‘comfort factor’. Sure I own trainers and flats but they’re always pretty trainers and flats – ones in pastel colours, or metallic stripes, with sequins all over or polkadot edging. Pretty shoes are my life. I’ve never once bought into an ‘ugly’ shoe trend.
Because the latest ‘ugly’ shoe has been unofficially crowned. The newest Marmite trend has engulfed as quickly as it appeared and without even realising what was happening, I’ve found myself on the opposite side of the divide, and worse still I kind of like the view.
‘Glove shoes’ as they’re now being coined, are the culprits of this dilemma. A part ballet pump, part kitten heel, part slip on hybrid, which you’ll probably have noticed a great deal of fashion bloggers parading on their Instas, while an equally great deal of other bloggers boycott them altogether. I’d only been home from honeymoon a few days, and only had to see a few of my Birka loving Insta-friends wearing them before I was welcoming the Topshop package in the post and finding myself guilty of my first ‘ugly’ shoe offence.
But I’m here to make my defence case because I’m going to go ahead and say it; I blaaadddy love the little weird looking, granny esque, comfort talking, hybrids. I can’t help it, I do. But here’s the real crux of the matter – I know why.
Because I don’t actually think the latest ‘ugly’ shoe is all that ugly. I might even go as far to say that I think my lil’ gloves are very pretty. I can see where the confusion lies of course. For one there’s no toe cleavage, a requirement for many in the definition of a pretty shoe. Then there’s the small matter of that soft leathery material which is so often used in the making of shoes for the elderly. Not to mention the heel – it’s neither a chic flat nor a sexy stiletto. It’s safe, comfortable and sturdy – all words which add fodder to the ugly claim.
But here’s my case for adding glove shoes to the pretty camp:
They’re available in metallic. Of course I bought mine in metallic. When faced with a so called ‘ugly’ shoe and given the choice of black, grey, red or gold I know where my heart lies. So while I can sort of see how some might be able to describe a black or grey soft leather pump as ugly, I defy anyone to describe a metallic gold or silver one the same way.
They have a heel. Yes ok it’s a sturdy low height block heel but it’s a heel all the same. There’s no moulded cork designed to fit the shape of your foot here. There’s no spring like support to aid your back problems. This is a, no apologies made, heeled piece of footwear which can screw your posture up and give you blisters just as easily as any stiletto.
They did give me blisters. Just in case you thought I was lying about that previous point and surmised from the look of the shoe that all they could possibly offer was boring, ugly, comfort, I’m hear to reassure you that pain is involved. I’m still nursing the blisters on my heel from my first outing at the weekend, and I haven’t yet got used to having a shoe come up that high on my foot. They’re painful, which can only mean they’re pretty.
They’re less granny, more girly. These pump/heels are being likened to the type of old lady shoes ones gran might wear. You know the type – with a pair of nude stockings underneath and a slightly too short pair of lady chinos on top. But for me they’re more of a reminder of the type of shoes I used to wear to the school disco before I was old enough to wear heels. The type of ‘pretty’ gold and glittery creations that made me feel like I was grown up and wearing heels like Mum’s because they had a slightly elevated back sole and a slightly pointed toe. I thought my shoes were the prettiest ones at the disco back then and I’m still championing them now.
I like them. I know, I know that’s probably not be a valid reason in the court of shoe law but I NEVER like ‘ugly’ shoes, I’m not even sure I have the capacity to like ‘ugly’ shoes. I live for the pretty. So if I like these, then I can only deduce that they must be pretty.
Either way, I’m in. I’ve picked my allegiance, jumped on the bandwagon and already Instagrammed the s**t out of them so there’s no turning back now. I might lose a few of you but I’m simply going to have to own it.
Glove shoes – you had me at gold metallic.
So tell me – are you in or out on this ‘ugly’ shoe trend? (If I’ve managed to convince you towards my side of the camp then you’ll find links to my favourite styles below!)