the most iconic fugly shoe hybrids in fashion history

Spoiler alert: there are a few.

by Laura Pitcher
06 July 2018, 1:51pm

A few weeks ago Dsquared2 debuted its hybrid heeled sneaker-sandal on the spring/summer 19 runway, and Vogue posed the question we were all thinking: is this the “fugliest shoe of all time”?

Clearly inspired by a long history of ugly mash-up predecessors, the shoes feature a fluorescent trim, sneaker-inspired frame, and buckle straps. The brand’s Instagram fittingly named these bad boys “The Giant Heels”, and they will be available in varying colorways and styles next year. The Transformers-style shoe further confirms a basic truth: fashion loves a shoe hybrid, and the uglier it is, the better.

A small portion of vomit and a few questions arise when looking through fashion’s long and perverted history with shoe hybrids. What is it about human existence that makes one type of shoe not enough? What compels us to crossbreed shoes like we did to achieve wrinkly dogs with breathing issues? And finally, have we gone too far? Or not far enough?

While we may need a deep psychological analysis of the human brain to begin to answer those questions, what we do know is that fashion's love affair with the shoe hybrid is here to stay. As for “The Giant Heels” being the “fugliest shoe of all time”, there are a few throwback options to consider before delivering that crown. Because fugliness is in the eye of the beholder, the following are ordered by year released. You decide, which one takes the cake?

Image via eBay

Adidas Kobe Two Sneaker
Labelled the “worst sneakers in history” by many, the Kobe Two was released in 2001 in collaboration with Audi. This sneaker was so ugly that Kobe Bryant himself reverted back to the Kobe One during the NBA Finals that year, and soon after switched to Nike as his sneaker sponsor.

Jean Paul Gaultier 1977 Les Plongeuses Fin-Heels
For his spring/summer 07 show, Gaultier recreated many of his greatest hits. One of those hits included the French designer’s 1977 hooded one-piece bathing suit. He paired this with these iconic but impractical high-heel fins in a beach-themed hybrid.

Image via Getty

Adidas x Jeremy Scott “Teddy Bears”
Jeremy Scott first partnered up with Adidas Originals in 2008, bringing the “Teddy Bears” to the runway in 2010. Scott is known for his wild designs, and the soft toy-sneaker hybrid was one of a kind.

Image via Getty

Custom-designed Giuseppe Zanotti boots for Rihanna
If anyone can pull off thigh-high boots held up with a belt, it’s Rihanna. Custom designed, taking nearly three months to make, she stepped out in these for her ANTI tour in 2016.

Photography Mitchell Sams

Balenciaga “pantashoe”
Balenciaga’s iconic “pantashoe” design is the perfect mix of chic and strange. Debuting at Paris Fashion Week last year, the 80s-inspired latex pant-shoe combo saves wearing two separate pieces.

Courtesy Yves Saint Laurent

Saint Laurent Stiletto Roller Skates
Anthony Vaccarello debuted these stiletto heels as part of Saint Laurent's fall 17 collection in his first season as creative director. Because walking in stilettos is hard enough, these may be the most difficult to wear hybrids yet. Worn by the likes of Rihanna and Céline Dion, these babies sold for $1,995 US.

Image courtesy Hood by Air

Hood by Air x Frye double boot
Why have one boot facing when you can have two? These double-faced western boots debuted at the Hood by Air x Frye spring/summer 17 show, featuring two pointy toes and brightly colored leather.

Image via Nordstrom

Gucci Patent Leather Sock Sandals
Gucci first dropped a short version of its "Ilse" boot on Nordstorm in the beginning of 2017, releasing a longer version later that year. Failing to recognize the many different shades of “nude,” this style was not inclusive and, frankly, pretty darn fugly.

Image via Getty

Christopher Kane padded heels
Think heels but with some colored sponge jammed in between your toes and the shoe. These hybrids debuted in the design house’s fall/winter 17 show.

Image via Getty

Balenciaga “Foam” platform Crocs
Who could forget when Balenciaga made Crocs chic by giving them a 4-inch platform for their spring/summer 18 collection. Called the “Foam”, this collab between the major prestige fashion house and the shoe manufacturer loved by Moms and gardeners alike was an iconic ugly fashion moment.

UGG / Y/Project thigh-high UGG boots
In another unexpected collab, this year Y/Project teamed up with UGG to make thigh-high shearling boots. The boots feature a stiletto heel, a wide leg, and the same cozycore lining we all know and love.

Rombaut Boccaccio Cowboy Sneaker
A few months ago, Rombaut debuted a sneak peak of these cowboy boot-sneakers on the Paris-based brand’s Instagram. Starting as a joke and recently worn on tour by Tommy Cash, these vegan leather hybrids are too wild for most people, selling very few in their first launch in Rombaut's showroom.

Image via Nike

Nike Banassi “Fanny Pack” slides
Nike well and truly jumped on the shoe hybrid bandwagon with the release of its Banassi “Fanny Pack” slides. Combining two of our favorite trends, fanny packs and slides, this mashup is a summer must-have.

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