A headline that we thought we’d never actually write, let alone a round-up that held some prestige. If you’re anything like us, then you’ve looked back on the year that was and had a momentary, “what the heck was that?” A bold but equally true statement, 2018 has been by far the ugliest year of fashion, and while we continue to look to social media stars for a bout of inspiration, it was ultimately the industry disruptors that shifted the fashion climate.
Thanks to the likes of Virgil Abloh, Alessandro Michele, Kim Jones and Hedi Slimane, 2018 has seen the weird and the wonderful in the form of accessories and ready-to-wear threads but if there was anything that had us hyped, it was sneakers. Fusing meme fashion, dad style and sport luxe was the fruition of some bizarre looking sneakers and they continued to be a sell-out all-year long.
While the slew of designs were quite literally endless, we’ve rounded out the 10 ugliest sneakers that made an impact in 2018.
fila disruptor ii
When the Fila Disruptor II was first released in mid-February, the affordable silhouette had become the most sought-after sneakers for high-street lovers. Sold out literally everywhere, it wasn’t until later in the year that the Disruptor could be purchased in almost every store across the globe.
Fila Disruptor II / $120 AUD SHOP NOW
BALENCIAGA TRIPLE S
So technically a 2017 invention, the Balenciaga Triple S silhouette lead the way for chunky sneakers within the luxury realm. Once again it was a knockout success amongst consumers and with a layered midsole, overlapping upper and experimental combination of colour and texture, it was well and truly the OG in the chunky sneaker trend.
Balenciaga Triple S Trainers / $1,290 AUD SHOP NOW
GUCCI FLASHTREK SNEAKERS
Gucci has long been known for pushing the boundaries – especially in footwear – and while 2017 was the age of fur mules, it was the Fall/Winter Flashtrek sneakers that took the cake in 2018. Inspired by the ’80s, the fashion house commissioned the SEGA logo on what was a sneaker cross hiking boot, all finished off with contrasting crystals.
Gucci Flashtrek Sneaker with Removable Crystals / $1,930 AUD SHOP NOW
adidas yeezy desert rat ‘500’
Teaming up with Adidas on a number of occasions, Kanye West’s namesake label Yeezy was the father of new-age “Dad sneakers”. Often sold out with a huge resale value, it is the Yeezy Desert Rat ‘500’ sneakers which were by far his ugliest. Reminiscent of the white, mesh sneakers we were reluctantly made to wear as a child, 2018 saw its rebirth in true hyped form.
Yeezy Desert Rat 500 Sneakers in “Blush” / $907 AUD SHOP NOW
VETEMENTS X REEBOK metal sneakers
It is hard to choose just one of the ugliest sneakers from the Vetements range, so we thought we’d go with its most iconic. The sock silhouette was a favourite amongst high-fashion brands this season and the collaborative effort behind Reebok created one of the most avant garde. Quite literally a sock placed upon a segmented sole and punchy print, only the brave would attempt to rock the style.
Vetements x Reebok Metal Logo-Jacquard Stretch-Knit Sneakers / $854 AUD SHOP NOW
LOUIS VUITTON ARCHLIGHT
First introduced during the Spring/Summer 2018 runway, Louis Vuitton boasted its Archlight silhouette. Inspired by ’90s basketball as well as the concept of futurism, the French fashion house produced the statement look of early 2018. With a waved-shaped outsole and extended tongue, the sneaker created a strange proportion that was loved by fans of the brand.
Louis Vuitton LV Archlight Sneaker / $1,460 AUD SHOP NOW
Valentino hEROES tribe
Okay, if we’re being honest these are very cool, but as ‘ugly’ is judged by the eye of the beholder, it deserves a worthy spot in the top 10. Ushered into the Valentino offering following the Fall/Winter 2018 runway, the Heroes Tribe sneakers take inspiration from its namesake and feature multi-colour piping, fringing and other embellishments amongst the range along with bold colours and layered textiles. Set upon a chunky sole, its quintessential to the 2018 aesthetic.
Valentino Heroes Tribe Sneaker / $1,310 AUD SHOP NOW
PUMA THUNDER SPECTRA
An affordable option for those who are a fan of the Balenciaga Triple S, Puma released its anticipated Thunder Spectra silhouette in April. The next stage in Puma’s collaborations with McQueen, its futuristic branding and expert colour blocking also inspired an entire range of chunky dad sneakers, with drop of the Thunder Desert rendition later in the year.
Puma Thunder Spectra / $180 AUD SHOP NOW
There is a lot going on with the Versace Zelus Sneaker. Drawing inspiration from the Greek God Zelus – the personification of emulation, zeal and dedication – the bold silhouette combines velcro straps, zippers, high-top design and chunky sole for a super-hybrid of edgy athleticism. Not thrust into the mainstream universe like other styles, you can still cop the look for a different approach to the ugly trend.
Versace Zelus Sneakers / $POA FIND IN-STORE
TOM SACHS X NIKE MARS OVERSHOE
Following up on his 2012 collaboration with Nike, American artist Tom Sachs is known for his quirky take on the sneaker. While his latest iteration is still not available to the public, it still deserves a spot in 2018’s most ugly, because well, it is. Creating the Mars Overshoe, the silhouette pays homage to outer-space, contemporary art and NASA, who worked with the team to create fully technical kicks. We can’t really say we’d wear these on the streets but the functional fastenings and waterproof collar would keep us plenty dry during the wet season.