You might think of high heel shoes as beautiful, sexy or elegant, but that’s before you saw the ugliest pairs of high heel shoes ever. Some are made from bizarre materials, like actual animal hooves and human hair, while others are made to look like weird things, such as fins and tree roots. Or how about a pair of teeth snapping out at you from under your toes, or a leopard stretching across your feet? Yep, these ugly high heels will make your toes curl in horror.
Some of the ugliest shoes are made by bona fide fashion designers. So you’d think they’d know better. But those couture catwalks have a lot to answer for. Jean Paul Gaultier created a solution to a problem literally nobody has ever experienced: how do you keep the same pair of heels on if you’re going straight from a cocktail party to a snorkeling event? Iris van Herpen took inspiration from nature to create a pair of 3D-printed heels that look more like worms or noodles than the natural form she wanted to recreate. And Gianmarco Lorenzi took denim to a whole new horrible level with a pair of knee-high, peep-toe wedge-boots that go beyond bad taste. When amateurs have a go at crafting a pair of shoes, the results can be pretty horrendous too.
Artists also have fun making seriously ugly high heels. Iris Schieferstein uses dead animals to create the kind of weird hoof shoes Lady Gaga loves. Add in some pistols for heels, and you’ve got the type of shoes you’d imagine ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’ fawn Mr Tumnus would wear if he became a gangster. It’s no surprise Lady Gaga is a fan. And the pop star also likes Kobi Levi’s wacky designs. If you ever wanted to capture the moment you step in chewing gum and wear it forever in your heels, this is the designer to see.
Some artists want you to question the sexy status of high heels, and they do this by creating some of the ugliest shoes you’ll ever see. Zhu Tian’s hairy heels will make your stomach turn. And Svenja Ritter’s maggot shoes will no doubt have the same effect. As for Scott Hove’s monstrous pair, you’ll get nightmares just from glancing at them.