awkward shoes

The comeback of awkward shoes (and our thoughts on it)

In this section, we discuss the revival of trends or it-pieces we’d never expect to make its comeback. We elaborate on the particular trend, tell our thoughts on it and offer you the best items for those who are convinced. And because we totally accept that this trend might not be for you, we also offer some alternatives. This edition: awkward shoes. We can’t longer deny their revival.

Cover photo: ©

Awkward shoes

“Made for walking” doesn’t apply to most of today’s designer shoes. The bolder, the better seems to be the main point of focus. Together with getting bolder, most of these shoes are getting uglier as well.

Awkward shoes aren’t actually new, but they’ve made a major comeback this season. Martin Margiela saw their potential decades ago, when he develop the renowned Tabi Boots – a classic ever since. With their awkwardly cut out big toe, they instantly became a big hit.

But there’s more. Recently, Diet Prada accused Balenciaga of copying a shoe shape of Paula Canovas del Vas. On Instagram, they stated:

Love @balenciaga , but that’s a hella specific toe shape to have magically come up with on their own lol. The image on the left is from @paulacanovasdelvas , a London-based designer who launched her brand one year ago after graduating from Central Saint Martins MA program. Her “Diablo” shoes, part human and part animal-inspired, were in her MA collection since AW18 and are currently selling at @h_lorenzo in Los Angeles following an exclusive with @doverstreetmarketginza . Perhaps Demna’s got a thing for under the radar London designers. It’s widely known that he brought @martine_rose to consult on his inaugural SS17 Balenciaga menswear, having been a long-time admirer of her work. It ended up boosting her profile big time. If the idea for these shoes did come from Paula Canovas del Vas, it’s a bummer Demna didn’t invite her to consult. Dieters, is this too close for comfort or is the shoe industry on a hoof wave?

To be honest, we think Paula Canovas del Vas’s shoes aren’t actual shoes, but rather a descendant from The Gringe. During last season’s Paris Fashion Week, Thom Brown surprised many with their dolphin shoes. Can anyone please tell why this happened?

History of the awkward shoe

Looking at the 16th century, awkward shoes were already hot topic. Back then, clumsy footwear inspired by cow’s noses were the norm. These type of shoes formed a counteracted against the poulaine, the pointy shoes that created an illusion of twice as big feet.

Back in 1368, these pointy shoes got prohibited in Paris, because they were associated with the devil. However, they soon became an instant hit in England until their exile in 1465. Wondering why these shoes were so popular? Well, because people wearing them showed they simply didn’t have to walk and therefore were rich. Soon after, though, square toes became the new norm. And, as you might expect, these took on such large proportions, that the rich couldn’t walk on them either.

Today, both pointy and square-toed shoes are popular. Square toes dominated Prada’s latest collection and also fashion labels like Acne Studios and Gucci have made square toes the new norm. This is interesting, because trends like these used to be more specific and exclude each other. But why should you choose when life has become more convenient than ever? Why not buy awkward shoes and let yourself be carried around in an Uber? At least that’s what Thom Brown must’ve thought when he designed his dolphin shoes, just as Alexander McQueen when he created his monstrous platform ankle boots. Can’t get enough of these ugly, inappropriate and above all, awkward shoes? Then check out the video below.

Where to shop awkward shoes?

In case you’re on team awkward, we’ve collected some of the most awkward exemplars.

1. Dolce & Gabbana sandal

awkward shoes
© Farfetch

No explanation needed.

2. Dolce & Gabbana sneakers

awkward shoes
© Net a Porter

D&G embraces awkwardness with these babies. However, we have to credit the designers for this comfortable take on the awkward shoe.

3. Maison Margiela Tabi boots

awkward shoes
© Farfetch

Classic, but awkward.

End note: we want to be honest with you and therefore we have to admit: we’re definitely not on team awkward shoes. Form over function holds for us in this case, with exception of Margiela’s classic Tabi boots.

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