The ugliest shoes Summer ever did see.

September 28 2014

If you’ve recently gone shopping for summer sandals and left questioning everything you thought to be fashionable – you’re not alone. The Spring/Summer 14/15 collection of shoes is the most hideous I’ve ever seen. As a shopaholic, shoeaholic and passionate retail patron, this is not something I say lightly.

Or see lightly. Trawling through the regular, mainstream sites looking for summer sandals was an emotional journey. Here’s the pictorial breakdown:

Oh yes indeedy. Shock, disbelief, denial, anger, depression. Looking at this season's shoes was a grieving process.

Oh yes indeedy. Shock, disbelief, denial, anger, depression, disturbia. Looking at this season’s shoes was a grieving process.

I wondered whether to ignore the trends and hope they go away. I wondered if it were better left in the ‘if you can’t say something nice…’ category. But they’re everywhere. And even though summer’s top sandal trends are far from easy on the eyes, what they lack in aesthetics, they make up for in comfort.

And lord knows our lady-feet deserve a little comfort.

So I’m tackling this one head-on and bringing you simultaneously the most ugly and comfortable summer shoes you’ll ever see and a few tips to avert attention away from your feet style them.

The Birkenstock

This German sandal came from the 1960’s and has been a favourite of flower children. It’s come in and out of popularity since then, and is currently in. Apparently.

The Birkenstock - Ugly Summer ShoesLeft to right: 1. Steve Madden 2. Stuart Weitzman, 3. Jo Mercer, 4. Steve Madden, 5. Kurt Geiger, 6. Birkenstock, 7. Rubi Shoes, 8. Tony Bianco, 9. Target, 10. Witchery 11. Lipstick

Styling tips:

Match with a floaty skirt, some comfy printed pants, or distressed denim. The rest of you will want to be as comfortable as your feet. If you can afford it, invest in the real deal Birkenstocks. They are the only ones that will be forgivable in seasons to come (although possibly not in camo-pink). Avoid a platform sole… like the plague.


The Slide

The Slide - Ugly Summer ShoesLeft to right: 1. DKNY via Kurt Geiger, 2. Betts 3. Kate Spade, 4. Seed Heritage, 5. Portmans 6. Rubi Shoes 7. Tony Bianco 8. Zu 9. Wittner 10. Witchery, 11. Instep via Williams

Styling Tips:

Pair with a floaty kaftan or cover-up for a poolside look. For day, chose an above-the-knee skirt or dress. Pick a metallic pair to take you into the evening.  Avoid slides with platforms!


The Orthopaedic Shoe

Look familiar? You’ve seen this one before at your grandmas.

The Orthopaedic Shoe - Ugly Summer ShoesLeft to right: 1. Betts 2. Betts 3. Corelli via Wililams 4. Witchery 5. Tony Bianco 6. Steve Madden 7. Kurt Geiger 8. Witchery 9. Wittner 10. Wittner 11. Zu Shoes

Styling tips: None. I just. No. Cannot.

Talk with your Gran. (And in case your Gran doesn’t mention it, avoid velcro. And the platform!)

The kids sandal, circa 1990

These ones are familiar too, if you grew up in the 1990’s.

The Mary Jane Sandal - Ugly Summer ShoesLeft to right: 1. Colorado 2. Zensu 3. Corelli 4. Betts 5. Rubi Shoes 6. Windsor Smith 7. Sportsgirl 8. Rubi Shoes

Styling tips: try it out with a floaty midi skirt and a button up blouse, or go for a mod-con 60’s look and pair them with a shift dress. Avoid the platform!

Mary Jane

Yes, I realise we can’t see her shoes, but lets use our imagination!

The Espadrille

Now look, truth be told I don’t mind the ol’ espadrille, in fact I think it’s going to be my ugly-comfy summer shoe of choice.

The Espadrille - Ugly Summer ShoesLeft to right: 1. Seed Heritage 2. Stuart Weitzman 3. Asos 4. Rubi Shoes 5. Christian Louboutin via Saks 6. Burberry via Saks 7. Asos 8. Zu 9. Witchery 10. Tony Bianco 11. Tony Bianco  

Styling tips:

1. Absolutely, do not buy a pair of espadrille boots, under any circumstances. Death before espadrille boot.
2. Wear with a pair of slim leg pants or jeans, rolled up at the ankles + a loose fitting tee, button up or knit. Also cute with shorts and a just-returned-from-Greece style tan.
3. If possible, make your espadrilles Chanel.


Isn’t everything better with Chanel?


That’s a wrap, sublime seekers!

In a nutshell, navigate the ugly-comfy shoes by doing this: choose finer, less chunky designs for seasonal longevity. Choose metallics for a chic look that goes from day til night. Roll long pants up a little with summer shoes. Choose loose tops for relaxed warm weather vibes. Steer clear of the orthopaedic shoes and espadrille boots at all costs.

If your feet need a little summer holiday, this is the season to embrace the ugly-comfy trend and do it!

Will you don the ugly-comfy shoe this summer or not? Do you disagree entirely and think they’re all fabulously desirable? Is it everything your feet have been waiting for? Tell us your thoughts below! 


  • Hannah says:

    Your faces.. I just… too good!!

    Also, quote of the day “If possible, make your espadrilles Chanel”.

    Thanks for making me giggle x

  • Ness says:

    Uglier than crocs? Same category perhaps? Hmm… I don’t think I can do it, but I love your styling tips. They make me feel that if I can’t, someone else will, and they’ll rock it. With a lo(oooo)ng skirt. 😉

  • Janice says:

    There are some really scary shoes here – oh Style – where have you gone? The espadrille boots are so disturbing they are hilarious!
    Good tips on making the best of the ‘comfies’!

  • Oh my LORD can the orthopaedic shoes just not? The only ones I’ll be able to go near are the espadrilles, but I’ll keep your ‘death before espadrille boots’ in mind hehe x

  • careeragogo says:

    Thank God – I thought it was just me who was looking at this seasons shoes and wondering where the style fairy went. The 1990s school shoe is just the worst. I managed to find some slip on silver sneakers from Seed Heritage which are going to have to get me through summer. Alternatively I guess its bare feet – at least the nail polish colours for spring are nice!

  • You are hilarious, my dear – the pictorial breakdown of your reaction to the season’s shoe is one of my favourite things on the internet this week; top find this week is the Reasons My Son is Crying blog – have you seen it? Hilarious!

    Your reaction was similar to the one I had when I had a fall and the podiatrist told me I have to orthopedic shoes – SO SAD!

    Anyhow I digress, yet again! What I’m trying to share is that I was disturbed to see many a fashion campaign styling the slide with a suit – I fretted that regular folk were going to start thinking that slides could be worn INSIDE the office which would be SO WRONG! Right? So I wrote a post on how it could be worn to and from the office – like you said, comfortable footwear come the sunny weather season! Link is over on my blog should anyone like to see it 🙂

    • I just checked out Reasons My Son is Crying – hilarious! My favourite: “couldn’t see the moon while sitting on the potty”!
      Being told by podiatrist that you’re into the orthopaedic shoes sounds TOUGH Cheryl! If anyone can make it work, I am certain you can. Completely agree that slides are not for in the office. Unless you office is… not an office at all? Just read your article, agree, it pays to switch out when arriving at work!
      Thanks for stopping by Cheryl! x

  • Sarah says:

    What an awesome post Andrea! Loved it. Is it just me or do some of the slides look a bit like hotel slippers? Oh and the school sandals and orthopaedic shoes? Too funny – but SO TRUE! Great post. Ugly shoes. 🙂

  • shirleyb says:

    Saw you at Problogger & happy I clicked on your site. I’m here to tell not much has changed in a year. Just went searching for shoes – hours and hours and hours.

    Anyway, just want to say, I love your post. It’s hilarious!

  • Yana says:

    Love all the ugly shoes, especially the Birks! I wouldn’t be so harsh on the espadrilles though 🙂 And what even ARE espadrille boots?

    • Right!? I ended up in the deep google image spiral trying to find an outfit out there somewhere that espadrille boots looked good with… but no. #deathbeforeespadrilleboot! Thanks for swinging by Yana! x

  • A little Chanel goes a long, long way – in almost every way…although the jury is still out on the Espadrille – I like the look just cannot find them comfortable…let us see what summer holds…x

  • Dannie says:

    I agree! it’s hard to find chic and comfy pairs, especially when you live in Florida where every day is summer, sigh!

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