Kirstie Clements: Ugly shoes are all the rage, but sometimes not so cool

The Hoka slide - ugly but comfy. Photo: Hoka

The Hoka slide - ugly but comfy. Photo: Hoka

The ugly shoe trend has been a thing for quite a few years now.

Shoes like Crocs, and fluffy clogs and plastic slides. You can wear any of these and make it fashion. The more lurid and oversized the better.

But it feels different when you have to wear them for health reasons. A recent visit  to the podiatrist for various issues with my feet resulted in a suggestion to buy a pair of Hoko slides.

I was given a map to a local store that sold shoes for runners and there was the Hoko stand.

I am an editor. I can edit any wall of goods, no matter what price point. But jeez, Hokos are ugly. Once you remove the irony, they are hideous.

I opted for a plain black pair of platform slides which look like they’ve been trimmed off a tyre. And I have to admit they are very comfy.

ugly shoes

The Hoko slide looks like it’s cut from a tyre, but it is comfy. Photo: Hoko

I tried wearing them around the house, giving myself a small electric shock every time I touched a kitchen appliance. I posted a photo of them on my Insta story, asking people to take a minute’s silence in sympathy for my style regression, and got a phenomenal amount of likes, which means people are either fully into ugly shoes or also have creeping podiatry issues.

Someone told me that the kids on TikTok are fully on board with Hoko, but these are young good-looking people who don’t have dropped arches yet.

Cruising for fashion

I am currently on a cruise ship touring in the Kimberly region and my fellow passengers are mostly senior, well, more senior than me. This is  where the ugly shoe peaks.

There are shoes that have never been on my radar before, but I am now studying assiduously. Health sandals, reef sandals, orthopaedic runners, weird Camper sandals with crisscross straps which I am suddenly coveting.

We are all embracing the comfy sensible shoe with no shame and are happier and more stable for it.

The problem comes with the gala dinner. We are on a French ship, so gala to the French means something very different than to the Aussies.

They all have gowns and heels, and silk scarves, and blazers with crisp  white shirts. Enter the Australians and it has to be said it’s a bit of a quelle horreur moment. We aren’t great at galas, but we look absolutely ace in a Zodiac boat.

ugly shoes

Not great at galas, but ace in a Zodiac. Photo: Kirsty Clements

We always have the right shorts, with the right amount of pockets, and the right hat that doesn’t blow off when we are chasing crocodiles through the mangroves. But don’t make us go all gala at night. It’s not fair, and it’s definitely not necessary. 

It’s the rare person that can pull off a sequinned short dress with a Camper Mary Jane. No one looked any good except the captain. I blew it as well, having packed a lovely blue silk dress, but forgetting to pack an evening shoe, and I could do a white Adidas so I had to wear my Hokas. Unironically.

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