The Rise of the Next Ugly Trend

It's time to raid Dad's wardrobe

Words by Joolie Collier
March 16th, 2018

Gimme all the ugly shoes!

Every now and then a trend comes around that celebrates the yuck. The wrong. The odd. The just-not-quite-right.

It creeps up on us slowly. From catwalk to sidewalk to social media frenzy. Once the early adopters are done being ridiculed and the status quo sets in, prepare for total high street domination. The new must-have item. The so wrong it’s gotta be right piece.

Enter, the ugly trainer.


A trend that has been brewing for some time now, with the cult rise of streetwear and the hype kids out hyping each other in every queue for every new drop, the boundaries were constantly being pushed. Breaking point was imminent. We thought we hit critical levels with the return of the bucket hat but nope, that trend has been surpassed. Greatly.

The ultimate Dad trainer. The chunky monkey of athletic footwear. Imagine the most Steve Jobs look Steve Jobs ever rocked. Now multiply it x 5. That is the Balenciaga Triple S, the Acne Technical sneaker. Did you ever hear the saying, “the higher the hair, the closer to god”? Well, this is the footwear equivalent; “The uglier the shoe, the closer to a deity.” You heard it here first.

We didn’t arrive here overnight though! No. Like any good cup of tea, this trend has been brewing for a while. Many hideous trainers have paved the way, the Puma Disc Blaze, Air Max 95s, Nike Air Rift, Vapor Max and Footscape. The long-running New Balance aesthetic culminating in the 990 frenzy, the Reebok Pump Fury, Raf Simons Ozweego, Rick Owens Island Sole. Many a hideous runner has become a real sensation.

The difference between all these and the latest wave of fabulously hideous, obsession-worthy trainers? Total market domination. They have filtered down from all avenues, across the entire fashion board. Starting with the highest of high fashion brands such as Balenciaga, Calvin Klein, Prada, Stella McCartney, MM6 Maison Margiela, Alexander McQueen and Emilio Pucci.


Selling out across every sartorial denomination, it’s a street style deluge. Editors, designers, models, bloggers, photographers, industry insiders and outsiders, children and grown-ups alike have put one ugly foot forward after the other causing waitlists and queues galore!

The mid-level brands have picked up and run with this trend too (pun intended! Running with runners? You get it!). Sandro Paris, APC, Ash and Ganni all the way down to the good old high street where this week Topshop dropped and promptly sold out of their own super fab ugly sneaker!

The people have spoken, the votes cast and the jury back. The verdict is in, it’s unanimous, it’s a landslide. Ugly trainers for the win!

Run and get yours now too. Make every Dad in the land proud of his super Dadness.

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