They were most commonly found on the feet of trekkers and hikers, and those who needed all-terrain safe shoes. They had to be water-resistant, and provide support in rocky situations. As of late, however, they mainly need to look good with a cutesy pedicure.
“Ugly” sandals: they’ve graduated from trekking shoes to tourist favourite to Dad attire, and have now become an absolute fashion must-have. Even big luxury brands like Chanel have picked up on the flat strappy sandal trend, unveiling their own renditions of what was formerly dubbed too “ugly” to be fashionable.
We love it when tables turn this way.
[Hero and Featured Image Credit: Teva]
Of course, as more and more Bangkokians began to sport the trend, we couldn’t help but be intrigued. The world of these sandals is actually massive. Of course, you have your sporty and reliable structure, but there’s also a vast range of materials, designs, and embellishments to explore. What’s more, upon wearing a pair for at least a weekend, we realised that there’s something very timely about this trend.
“Ugly” sandals are awkwardly stylish. They’re easy to wear. They’re no real fuss. They’re comfortable, and they’re versatile. Maybe you go on a spontaneous road trip to Pranburi on the weekend. Maybe you just go grocery shopping. Ugly sandals feel like the perfect shoe for many of the new (normal) activities we get up to lately. Much like beaded jewellery, they’re the light-hearted and carefree energy we need during these times.
It’s Covid out there, man. Let us have the ugly sandals. Shop our current favourites below.
Starting off our list with a neat goes-with-everything pair, we’re loving this Arizona Love Trekky sandal for its plain and simple black colour — embellished with a row of glossy black beads because you only live once. Set on foam soles with velcro fastening, they’re easy to wear and a great beginner “ugly” sandal.
Pair with: An all-black outfit, if you really don’t know what to do with yourself
Wear to: A coffee meeting where you discuss your next eco-friendly business venture
Price: Approx. THB 6488
There’s trekking or hiking sandals that are meant for trekking or hiking, and then there’s this Roger Vivier pair, which is best for anything but trekking or hiking. For those who prefer to spend time in a concrete jungle, we love the crystal-studded buckles on the white straps here, alongside the snazzy suede footbeds.
Pair with: A big, crystal-embellished hair clip
Wear to: Rooftop brunch in the city (free flow, obviously)
Price: Approx. THB 39,160
If there’s one sandal brand that is making some noise in Thailand at the moment, it’s Teva. All the hisos — at least the ones who wear “ugly” sandals — are wearing it. We particularly love the brand’s collab with Polaroid, using colours from the classic Polaroid spectrum. Here in Chilli Red, the easy closure and fun design on the heel strap (made from recycled plastic, no less) make this both a bold and comfortable number to sport.
Pair with: Equally fun summer colours, like yellow, pink, and orange
Wear to: Somewhere you’ll be photographed (preferably analog)
Price: THB 2590
Raffia is all the rage this 2021, so why not bring a bit of this woven material to your shoe game? Set on chunky foam soles, here’s a sandal that is perfect for anyone who likes to dress a little bohemian. Rustic and charming.
Suicoke makes strappy sandals that have a really urban touch to them. They’re often paired with socks and have a strong streetwear vibe about them. For those who like to be big and bold, this faux leather pair of sandals screams all the right notes. Hot pink may not be the colour du jour anymore, but we said the same thing about sandals, so anything goes.
Pair with: A matte white pedicure
Wear to: Girls trip to Samui
Price: Approx. THB 6295
A more classic and traditional rendition, this sandal is one of Teva’s very first designs. Made using vegan, earth-friendly recycled materials and quick-dry webbing, it is suited to many weekend adventures. What’s more, once you’re done having fun with this pair, they can also be returned to the TevaForever recycling program so “they’ll never see a landfill.”
Pair with: An adventurous spirit
Wear to: Actual nature
Price: THB 1790
Having a little fun with fabric, these Buffollow sandals come in many different prints, and are a little clunkier than the others on our list. We like them for their playful feel, and how they can dress up a monotone outfit very easily — or compliment a colourful outfit (as pictured) too.
Pair with: Long satin pants, because you need to break the stigma of sandals only suiting shorts
Wear to: Dinner at bae’s beach house
Price: THB 940
If none of the items on this list could convince you to make the switch to strappy sandals, we believe this one will do the trick. Made from canvas, we adore the flower-like pearl-embellishments on these Arizona Love sandals. They’re the perfect fit for urbanites who don’t take themselves too seriously, but can’t live without pearls. Obviously, don’t wear these to climb rocks in Krabi, but do rock them all around the city.
Pair with: A colourful pedicure, and a colourful handbag to suit
Wear to: Running weekend errands about town, see you at Emporium
Price: Approx. THB 7798