Fashionable or Faux Pas: “Ugly” Designer Sneakers |

by Lydia Tan

It’s said that “all that glitters is not gold”, but sometimes the opposite can be true as well. These days, designers are getting more experimental with their designs and this time, they seem to have latched onto the highly lucrative sneaker trend; and people are still willing to pay thousands of dollars for these “ugly” designs. Here are some ugly designer sneaker looks – which you can ogle at the Shoppes at MBS – that have graced the runways.

The bedazzled look

If the designer label doesn’t scream “expensive” enough, you just need to up the bling factor. Take, for example, Gucci’s Flashtrek series, with removable crystals that rival the Infinity Stones on Thanos’ gauntlet. Fun fact: The Gucci branding on the tongue is inspired by the classic SEGA logo font

Another example of blinged-up sneakers is Dolce & Gabbana’s Sorrento sneakers, with fake gemstones of different sizes sewn all over the shoe, surrounding the big branding plastered on the front like a kindergarten student’s arts-and-craft project.

SGD 1,500
via Dolce & Gabbana

The “trashy” look

Some designers have taken the phrase “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” very literally by creating “distressed” shoes that are purposely made to look worn out or destroyed. Maison Margiela is one brand that clearly favours the distressed look, as seen with their Fusion series, where the soles look like they have been messily glued to the base of the shoe.

€1,510 (about SGD 2,320)
Screenshot via Maison Margiela

You can also see the distressed aesthetic in Yves Saint Laurent’s sneakers, with their Converse-looking sneakers “designed” to look dirty or old.

Bedford sneakers in destroyed leather, SGD 1,320
via Yves Saint Laurent

The retro look

With retro fashion making a comeback, chunky “dad sneakers” reminiscent of the 80s and 90s are becoming trendy again. The trailblazer of this style is Balenciaga’s Triple S series, which became immensely popular in late 2017.

SG$ 1,330
via Balenciaga

Another icon of the “ugly dad sneaker” revolution comes from Louis Vuitton with their Archlight series for women, featuring ridiculously arched soles.

Available at LV MBS, SGD 1,560
via Louis Vuitton

Dior Homme is also offering the classic “dad sneaker” with their B22 series for men in a more sedate look.

Available at Dior Homme stores in ION Orchard and MBS
£770 (about SGD 1,340)
via Dior

Christian Louboutin is also riding this trend with their running sneakers, some even decked in bright flashy colours, spikes and holographic panels – bring on the punk 80s!

Funfor-Run Neoprene, SGD 1,850
via Christian Louboutin

The avant-garde look

Of course, there are some designers that prefer to go off the beaten track with their sneaker designs. From the quirky designs like Christopher Kane’s Looner sneaker…

SGD 1,145
via Christopher Kane

…to the fusion designs like Jimmy Choo’s Michigan sneaker that combines a strappy sandal with a running shoe.

€625 (about SGD 960)
via Jimmy Choo

These designs border on the edge of dysfunctionality, as they leave people wondering “how do you even run in those?!” I mean, take a look at Dolce & Gabbana’s thigh-high Sorrento sneakers…in glittery leopard-print, no less!

SGD 1,300
via Dolce & Gabbana

In the last century alone, you’d never expect to see designer brands selling sneakers — they only gained high fashion status in the late 90s to early 2000s. With sports brands like Adidas and Nike becoming cult, some designers have formed collaborations to produce their sneakers, like Jeremy Scott’s long-running collaboration with Adidas and the edgy Vetements x Reebok series.

This caters to a new market of premium-buying sneakerheads and could revolutionise the sports apparel scene as brands constantly try to differentiate themselves with more “unique” sneakers. If you’re already wishing for the end of this fashion nightmare, don’t hold your breath; after blowing up in 2018, experts foresee it continuing well into 2019, so expect to see more celebs and wannabe-fashionistas showing off their ugly designer kicks in the year ahead.

All prices listed are taken from the brands’ respective Singapore sites (unless stated otherwise) and can be bought in or shipped to Singapore.