Odd Ones Out

Why odd and even ugly sneakers are one of 2017’s hottest trends

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Words: James Nash | Illustrations: Eva Faerch

Now that sneaker culture has taken the world by storm, it seems like the only way to really draw attention to your kicks is either to have something truly covetable (and likely pay absurd amounts or wait in lines that stretch all the way to your local Vida for it) or to just go in entirely the opposite direction. Here’s why you should enter these uncharted waters.

There’s precedent

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The Raf Simons Ozweego 1 were reviled by sneakerheads upon release, hailed as the ugliest sneakers ever made. Ten years later, they’re among the most sought-after shoes on the market, fetching absurd resale prices – further proving Raf is the herald of any new and important trends and that the average sneakerhead really knows nothing at all.

They’re a statement

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In a pared-down outfit they can serve as a visual counterweight. Be careful though, combined with the wrong styles and you’ll look like someone’s confused dad, not the avant-garde fashion god you are at heart. Not interested in being too ahead of the game?Just want the edge on your local adidas Superstar squad? Then go get some sneakers they haven’t even heard of. Then laugh like Rihanna as they whisper, “What are those?”

They’re an accessible trend

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At nearly any price-point you can find a pair of weird shoes. You don’t need to drop R20 000 on a pair of Balenciaga hospital shoes, when you can buy a pair of peculiar Nikes or New Balance. The key is finding something that others won’t have the guts or gusto to rock, then doing just that.

There are a variety of ways to pull it off

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Clashing colourways that make eyes bleed. Construction so out there that it hardly looks like a shoe anymore. Freaky prints and crazy lacing. Even drawing on your canvas tekkies. There’s a million different ways to differentiate yourself. Whether your look is normcore or street goth, there’s a way to incorporate them into your steez.

It’s not actually about ugly, it’s about unique

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Ultimately, this trend wants you to be you. Express yourself with no holds barred and let your freak flag fly. It’s about being an individual, and that’s something everyone can get behind. Something ugly or unusual when paired with an on-point outfit says you’re your own person. So go out there and express yourself.

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Justin Ronne | Bubblekoppe
South African sneaker collector