The Ugly Shoe Guide: The comfort shoe trend is going strong! Check out the Birkenstock influence at Celine and more

Fugly to some, chic + cool for the rest! The Birkenstock comfort ugly shoe trend is one Spring 2014 runway highlight to take advantage of this season & the next 

It’s all a matter of how you put together this runaround trend.

Call it a rerun, but for the moment we’re calling it a homerun where comfort is key. And if you were around the first time, we can only imagine your collective gasp at the thought of the Birkenstock sandal, that quintessential 90’s era shoe going high fashion. But it’s true, they’re back, and most importantly maybe not a bad option after years of skyhigh heels dominating the runways.

Looking for French Chic style tips? Right this way with one inexpensive but stylish comfort shoe that the French can’t live without!

A surprise, Birkenstock’s infamous two strap Arizona flatbed sandals made an appearance at many of Spring’s top 2014 runway collections including Giambattista Valli, Prada, Christopher Kane, Celine and Chloe. New York designer Trina Turk even used custom styles to maximize the effect of her casual and wearable Spring range.

[highlight]Don’t miss our shopping section below… see if you can tell the high price designer versions apart from the iconic classics![/highlight]

But without exception, our favorite take was from Celine. Who’d have ever thought you could take something so banal, so common, and make it look so appealing? Let’s just hope Crocs don’t have this kind of resonance one day down the road. Please!

What to consider before trying a slide:

  • Be sure that your foot will find solace on a flatbed sandal such as the Birkenstock Arizona -they aren’t for every foot
  • While Celine’s sandals are mega cool, you can find a simple pair of pool slides of any kind for around $25!
  • When not wearing socks, remember to keep your feet pretty with a perfect pedicure
  • Whatever you do, do not pair your sandals with anything even remotely earthy/hippe -those days are long gone!
  • Look to the sartorial takes by the Parisian’s who’ve been bringing them back in rotation over the past several years

Don’t get caught up in only the designer versions, we pulled some stylishly ugly shoes for you to try in every price point! Story continues after the shoes.

From patent leather to python, Celine’s updated flatbed sandals added a minimal sense of sport to another homerun of a collection for Spring 2014. Best of all, who would have ever thought such a basic, sporty shoe could look so covetable when paired with crisp classics such as a trench coat and organza dress. But oh did the shoes fit!

>>DISCOVER: Spring 2014 Top Runway Highlights

Stylish sneakers from Max Mara
Stylish sneakers from Max Mara

But if the simplicity and references of a classic Birkenstock Arizona inspired slide aren’t for you, we’ve noticed another smart shoe style also popping up on many a runway…

Comfort sandals aren’t all that will keep you up to date and swathed in practicality this season. The stylized sneaker is also back big time! And like many a runway trend, what started at Balenciaga under the helm of Nicolas Ghesquiere has quietly made a influence at many of the recent collections.

Celine Spring 2014 slides
Celine Spring 2014 slides

Take Max Mara’s ultra-chic pair of tonal trainers (left) as a cue for sneakers that can be both easy on the wear and elegant. Just like the sandal trend, we suggest looking for a pair with luxurious detailing to be worn unexpectedly with tailored classics for low-key glamour by day. But, do avoid going completely ‘Working Girl’ with them. The trick here is to keep it modern by making sure your look is substantial. Think an oversized coat paired with cropped pants for starters.

Plus unlike the many issues a flatbed sandal can plague one with, there’s no need to worry about the contour of your foot becoming an issue as anyone can benefit from the added bounce from the sole of a sport shoe.

Just be sure that with both comfort shoe trends, you keep your look grounded in today and avoid going too far with sporty/hippie-chic references. –Naveed Hussain


Photos: Max Mara & Celine

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