The Ugly Shoe Manifesto

That’s right, an Ugly Shoe Manifesto.  Unfortunately, Karl Marx cornered the market on the “M” word and people don’t always want to use it in every day vernacular.  After all, who wants to be on a watch list?  🙂  A Manifesto is defined simply as, “a public declaration of intentions.”  The plural of manifesto is “manifestoes.”  What better term to use when talking about ugly shoes?  Get it, Manifes-TOES…. 🙂

Did you know that in my real life I’m an English teacher?  It’s true.  So I can appreciate the poetry that’s involved in fashion.  Yes, poetry.  Shoes in and of themselves contain plenty of it.  Shoes can personify the wearer, preppy, biker, hippie, etc.  They can also convey opposite meaning.  Irony.  Unexpected.  Like, what in fact makes a shoe ugly?  Usually the very components that make it a man repelling choice of footwear are precisely the reasons why women want to wear them.  They’re comfortable and we feel good all day.  Why is that ugly?  Is it ironic, or smart?

Suddenly “ugly” is beautiful.  There’s a sense of irony in a big bulky strapped on shoe with a delicate summery dress.  Beautifully tailored cigarette pants with a big old pair of clod hoppers is chic.  It’s a hyperbole in that it’s an obvious and intentional exaggeration.  Not just big sandals, Big.  Clunky.  Sandals.  Don’t believe me?  Look here, and here, and here.

There is much debate, ironically over who started the resurgence in the popularity of the Ugly Shoe Movement.  J. Crew offered hideous pieces that flew off the shelves.  The houses of Celine, Michael Kors, Chloe and Prada to name just a few have embraced not only the ugly shoe, but it’s near blood relative, the sock.  So while really no one can truly take credit, we can all benefit.

Ugly shoes suddenly are oxymorons…two seemingly unlike things that are paired together.  (Jumbo Shrimp, Deafening Silence, Tevas and lace.)  They become a metaphor of the women who will wear them.  Reliable, making an impression, resilient.

It’s unexpected and refreshing.  Instead of teetering around in those beautiful strappy sandals that make my toe bed bleed, I can wear big dogs…and my own aren’t barking at the end of the day.

Personally, the clean line of a simple, yet large sandal appeals to me.  It’s visually interesting against any type of clothing you may choose to wear.  Hopefully this becomes a trend that will last into the fall.  Have you seen some of the big chunky heeled brogues and oxfords that the men get to wear?  Love.  Them.