8 Obscenely Popular Shoes With Questionable Aesthetics, Explained!


8 Obscenely Popular Shoes With Questionable Aesthetics, Explained!


There is one thing women love more than finishing a particularly overhyped literary offering from the male species and, three 450-thread-count Egyptian cotton sheets to the wind, tossing it at the wall and saying, “Whatta dump!”

And that thing is shoes.

But while women cut to the chase when it comes to the puffery of male authors, their taste in what belongs on their trotters can require some decoding. Why do gals foam at the mouth over Louboutin giraffe hooves? Why do they morph into chupacabras over Valentinos that look like the stuff of a Hot Topic fantasia? I reveal all!


Charlotte Olympia Kitty Embroidered Slippers, $595-$695
Charlotte Olympia’s best-selling flat is…goofy, so cat-lady-aunt with a cedar closet full of muumuus upstate: an embroidered kitten face floats in Cheshire articulation on a velvet, satin, glitter, or pony-hair smoking flat. There are even little ears. They are the price of two sessions of standard Freudian analysis on the Upper West Side. But these feline flats are the meat to every blogger’s PS1 potatoes, and are on the feet of every twenty-something fashion mag gluten-free breadwinner as she runs her Saturday errands. The answer here is easy: the cat has gone from the internet’s go-to cryptographer to high fashion’s it-pet. So $700 cat flats are how fashion industry fat cats show they live and breathe and die and tweet for fashion!


Isabel Marant Pierce Suede, Leather and Calf Hair Wedge Boots, $1,560
Isabel Marant has a knack for making a jolie laide shoe: an odd silhouette, alien-like shades, dubiously flattering, usually just plain weird. These are the shoes that you begrudgingly let sign your yearbook, and they wrote, “Stay mlerg-phon! Your friend, Power Stephanie.” And yet here is Power Stephanie all these years later, giving you just what you always wanted to wear to herd goats on the moon.


Christian Louboutin Daffodile 160 Crystal-Embellished Leather Pumps, $6,395
“Covered with a dazzling array of candy-colored crystals!” says Net-a-Porter of, categorically speaking, the ugliest shoes I’ve ever seen. With a bazonga-like 2.5-inch platform and garish Ice Capades-esque sparkle, it’s confounding that anyone covets these 6.5-inch heel monstrosities, and at $984 an inch! But covet they do. They’re sold out in all the most popular sizes, and in the smallest (35), meaning there’s probably a 4’10” woman who wears these while her husband pushes her around Los Angeles in a Fisher-Price wagon with “MERCURY IN RETROGRADE BUT I’M STILL STUNTIN’” painted on the back. Her daughter just beat out Kylie Jenner for Homecoming Queen. When you think of them that way, I sort of want them, too.

Rock Stud, Strap Flats

Valentino Rock Studs, $895-$1,195
The shoe that launched 1,000 blogs looks like something Hot Topic is selling next to $19.99 t-shirts for a four-bass one-guitar band called SINNERZ N SLAVES. In truth, its power comes from a delicate potion of contrasts: a bondage-like cage of straps leads to a lynx-y pointed toe, the feminine taupes and pinks are covered in gritty pyramids of heavy metal. That kind of juxtaposition sells, baby, and is the reason you can’t open a magazine for dopes without reading stupid phrases like “desk to dinner” or “uptown meets downtown” (can’t we just dress for 14th Street and call it a day?). Admittedly, there is something marvelously medieval about them; they’re what St. Margaret the Barefooted would have put on to do penance.


Repetto Ballet Flats, $275-295
“The ballet flat is chic chic chic,” said a source I just totally made up. In truth, the ballet flat, to paraphrase Critical Shopping genius Alexandra Jacobs, is a proven ankle-fattener. Why do women pay nearly $300 for flimsy flanks of leather, which they frequently then pair unflatteringly with skirts? Probably for reasons so boring they’ll give you a headache–like, “to look pretty.”


Waffle House Double Angus Cheeseburger, $4.15
After police caught Rachel Gossett in a booze-fueled flight of amorous fancy outside a Georgia Waffle House this past weekend, she took several minutes to get dressed, then struggled to get a cheeseburger on her foot. This is because she thought her Double Angus Cheeseburger was her shoe.


Stuart Weitzman 5050 Thigh High, $598
Every winter proclaims itself to be the winter of the thigh high boot. But I think this is actually the winter of the thigh high boot, if the 40 minutes I spent observing at Stuart Weitzman last weekend are any indication. An average of two women every ten minutes came in and bought the iconic thing, which is now being hawked by Kate Moss in a glitzy ritzy ad campaign, even though only two people on the planet look good in thigh high boots and both of them are Kate Moss. (What, you thought there was just one?) Plus, now that Gossip Girl, CW’s beloved diamond-studded bag of discarded weaves, has been off the air for a few years, nostalgia levels are at an all-time high, I think, and women are chomping at the bit to flip their hair and think, “Am I Upper East Side teen dream Serena Le Der Hosen? Or is it just me?” Don’t worry, it’s just you!


Balenciaga Combat Boots, $1,275
Though they’ve been around for over five seasons, these pret-a-porter punk-ish clunkers sell out faster than you can say, “I’ll have a glass of Clorox, and make it neat.” They’re basically souped up Doc Martens, except like Sarah Palin’s waterfront view of Russia, you can see the wearer’s foot through the shoe. Sexy! And yet subversive. Here we are again with that fashion black magic called “contrast.” The sleepy copy writes itself: “the tension of a combat boot with the sensuality of a cut-out sandal!” “Our editors are pairing them with a frothy white dress and a cropped leather jacket!” “The chunky hardware and sleek black leather give any outfit a dose of understated snarling cool!” And scene! Folks, we’ve just written the entire next issue of your run-of-the-mill fashion magazine. We can all go home now.