Fashion

How to wear ugly shoes | Priya Elan


What is this look? Is it normcore? Is it pure sloth? Dad shoes? I really don’t know anymore. And frankly, I don’t care. As we drag our slovenly bodies through the first weeks of 2021, our feet are begging us to shield them. They don’t want hard soles. They can’t go back to heels. They want to stay earthbound, clinging to the grass, the floorboards, the carpet. And ugly shoes, which gained currency in fashion circles about five years ago, have risen to the challenge.

Flip-flops, Uggs, Birkenstocks, sandals and Crocs have crept out of their rabbit holes and become the shoes of the pandemic. The rules are simple: hard soles are bad, soft soles are good. Hard soles are for clacking down the pavement and running for the bus to the office; soft soles for sloping out of the back door to take the bins out. Hard soles for marching purposefully into your 9.30am ideas meeting; soft soles for sliding under your home desk.

And anyway, maybe those ugly shoes weren’t so ugly in the first place. Maybe it’s like the point in a romcom when the guy suddenly looks at his dorky, best girl-buddy a bit differently. When, misty-eyed, he thinks: “Actually, she’s lovely.” Yes, Crocs are the Rachel to 2021’s Ross.

Because you’re at home, there are no style dos and don’ts when it comes to these shoes. Today, I’m wearing a marl sock with some tie-dye Crocs – because if you’re going to go there, you better go there, right? They feel blissful, as if walking in a dream. I fully expected to write this column in a fit of giggles, but honestly, my feet have never felt better. There are little pressure points under my soles that make it seem as if they’re being gently massaged. Look, I know I’m not a 65-year-old retiree about to tend to his roses, but this feels really, really great. I might never want to go back.

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