Fugly shoes – will you or won’t you?

When I was at law school, my friend and I shared a house with four lads. They were very funny and, being typically laddish, had several phrases to which they introduced us. On one of our frequent trips to the pub, they introduced us to the phrase ” Fugly” – as in – “Blimey, that girl over there, she’s REALLY fugly.” For those not familiar with the phrase, I’ll say no more, but let’s just say that it’s not a compliment.

It’s not often that such a phrase would come to mind but in the case of some of the shoes that are appearing this season, it’s a perfect fit. It started with the furry lined Birkenstocks which I first wrote about here over a year ago now and it just seems to have continued on from there and it’s spreading to….

Whistles, who has this pair for £220. I’m trying to be open minded – really I am.

Then of course there are the faithful old Birkenstock £44.95 which I’m sure many of us own already and which, I’m fairly sure, many of us thought had had their last hurrah! I could make out that I’m way ahead of the fashion curve and say how many pairs I own and for how long I’ve owned them. But I have concluded that that doesn’t make anyone – least of all me – sound ahead of the fashion curve. No, it just makes me sound old.


Unsurprisingly, Zara are getting in on the act with this Rose Gold pair, which aren’t yet available on-line. Much as I hate to say it, I will be investigating these more closely when they arrive in store. They do have some kind of appeal, which may translate in real life – although I’m prepared to accept that it may not.

And even Boden have their own interpretation, with the Serrana sandal, so maybe they are becoming more mainstream after all.

I’m going to commit to paper (or the ether, or whatever this whole internet business is) my thoughts on these shoes just so that in a few months, I can check back and see whether I’ve been swept along by the tide of fugly shoes or not. So here goes:

For once fashion has produced something that, despite its inherent bad looks, is both comfortable, practical and affordable. This means that, whilst it shouldn’t automatically be jumped upon like the latest designer range for H&M, it shouldn’t just be written off as a “no-go”.  There may be a place for them in my life. In fact if they’re comfortable, there may be a huge gaping hole for them in my life, which leaves me very slightly concerned.

The metallic versions make them slightly more attractive, so they may be worth investigating and some styles (I think I’ll leave the plastic and furry ones out of this) worn in the right way and with the right things, could really breathe life back into things that have been lurking at the back of the summer wardrobe for too long.

The slightly chunky versions can also have a slimming effect on the leg, so that’s worth considering too – though Birkenstocks can create cankles where there are none! On the whole, whilst I wouldn’t like to say that I’m there just yet, I do have an open mind on them but I may skip this particular look altogether, being fearful that, just as  in the case of Uggs, if ever I put a pair on, I wouldn’t want to take them off again and that, however you look at it, is not good.


  1. I won't wear sludge brown
    January 26, 2014 / 10:20 pm

    Oh dear I really don't warm to this style. Skinny ankles and chunky sandals, not a great combination for me so I'm in your camp x

    • StyleGuile
      January 30, 2014 / 7:58 pm

      I think you've got a good deal there. I'd happily trade skinny ankles and leave the chunky sandals at home any day of the week! Thanks for dropping by! x

  2. Anonymous
    January 26, 2014 / 10:45 pm

    I bought some birkies last August and cant wait to wear them this spring. Better with trousers in my opinion. Hx

    • StyleGuile
      January 30, 2014 / 8:00 pm

      Yeah – a Birkies fan! I hope that you enjoy wearing them. I may not invest in a new pair but I think my hardly worn ones will definitely make an appearance somewhere – if only in private!

  3. Lynne51
    January 27, 2014 / 9:11 am

    No these won't suit anyone. Very few people have attractive feet and any shoe/sandal that does not at least try to give some shaping to the foot or toeline ( like a neckline for your face, a V or scoop is more flattering that straight across) is not going to look attracetive.

    • StyleGuile
      January 30, 2014 / 8:02 pm

      Hi Lynne – oh I think that some people have lovely feet and some people are naturally beautiful so can pull anything off – but they are probably fairly few and far between! Love your strong views on the shoes!

  4. Lulu G
    January 27, 2014 / 1:14 pm

    I am in a struggling with shoes phase. I used to live in heels, but they aren't practical for all the walking I do. I sort of want comfort….however, practical shoes make me shudder. I need comfortable elegance!Louisa @ My Family & Abruzzo

    • StyleGuile
      January 30, 2014 / 8:03 pm

      Great phrase – "comfortable elegance". I think that pointy flats, brogues, loafers, smoking slippers, converse and trainers are the way to go – not sure that many of them quite constitute "comfortable elegance" though!

  5. Natalia | Fashioned by Love
    January 27, 2014 / 7:00 pm

    One either have to be a model or incredibly stylish in order to wear these… I know several designers sent this style down the runway, but personally I can only imagine them as gardening footwear… You know, to pup them on when I take a bin out… :Dx

    • StyleGuile
      January 30, 2014 / 8:04 pm

      or for wearing whilst doing the ironing???!

  6. Mrsmac2000
    January 28, 2014 / 6:31 am

    Must admit they look a bit clumpy! Couldn't wear with a nice summer frock! Maybe for casual hols with shorts in Cornwall!

    • StyleGuile
      January 30, 2014 / 8:06 pm

      Hi Mrsmac! Now I think that we'll see them with nice summer frocks – but probably only on 20 year old models. As you say….everyone else…..dossing around on the beach in shorts!

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