ICYMI: There’s A New “Ugly” Shoe In Town

Polarizing yet cool.

Originally Published: 
Salomon sneaker trend
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In 2016, Bloomberg released an article titled “The Billion-Dollar Race for the Ugliest Shoes.” The headline was undeniably fitting, as the outlet reported affordable retailers (see: Zara’s furry sandals) and luxury designers (i.e., Gucci’s Fall/Winter 2015 fuzzy slides) alike were releasing polarizing footwear, making it almost a competition of who could design the most contentious look. Ever since, new controversial styles have continued to steal the fashion scene. Balenciaga’s chunky dad sneakers, for starters, surged in popularity in 2017. Meanwhile, Ugg boots continue their triumphant comeback from the early 2000s. And like it or not, another “ugly” shoe is entering the chat: Salomon sneakers. In short? Hiking has officially gone high-style.

Though, yes, the French footwear brand’s kicks fully hit cult status in 2023, the sneaker trend has been quietly emerging since 2019 thanks to Rihanna, who shared an image on Instagram wearing the hiking shoes. You’ve also likely spotted celebs like Bella Hadid, who loves the XT-4 Advanced Sneakers, and Emily Ratajkowski (she’s a fan of the XT-6 Skyline) working the style into their off-duty looks over the years. And in recent months, a host of influencers have jumped on the Salomon train, too.

RiRi, once again, helped propel the footwear to It sneaker territory with her halftime performance at the 2023 Super Bowl, where she wore a red pair plucked from the label’s collaboration with MM6 Maison Margiela. Viewers across the country clearly took notice of her shoes, considering internet searches for Salomon surged 4000%, according to Vogue France. (Honestly, though, we wouldn’t expect anything less from a Rihanna-approved piece.)

Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images Sport

Other buzzy brand partnerships, including with downtown cool label Sandy Liang in May, have contributed to the sneakers popping off. Featuring two styles, the now-sold-out collection blended the footwear brand’s best-selling silhouettes with Sandy Liang’s signature quirky, whimsical designs. To no one’s surprise, the looks were an instant hit amongst influencers, including Ryan Norville (see below) and Michelle Li, who both snapped pics in the kicks.

Keep scrolling for six ways to wear the omnipresent sneakers, courtesy of the chronically online set.

Outdoor Fun

If pairing the athletic kicks with your everyday look isn’t for you, don’t sweat it. You can still join in on the fun by wearing the shoes for an outdoorsy activity — that’s what they’re made for, after all. Might we suggest a bike ride with friends? Or perhaps a laid-back hike? Regardless what excursion you land on, consider coupling the shoes with your cute workout styles.

Summer In The City

Embrace the final days of summer (sad, we know) in your favorite itty-bitty silhouette and lively prints. And if your afternoon requires a lot of walking, skip the sandals for the brand’s slip-on sneakers.

Too Cool For School

You need not be enrolled in prep school to wear a plaid skirt. Give the piece a fresh, modern spin by wearing it with a slouchy bag and athletic footwear.

Transitional Lewk

As the forecast cools down, pull out some of your go-to in-between season pieces, such as a midi skirt. Wear the bottom now with a crochet top and kicks; come mid-September you can add a lightweight jacket and socks into the mix.

Cozy & Cute

For relaxing weekends wandering your neighborhood or enjoying picnics in the park, keep your look laid-back with a comfy yet elevated outfit, such as lightweight knit separates. And if there’s a pool or ocean in walking distance? Throw said styles over a bikini JIC.

Preppy Cool

Salomon sneakers are guaranteed to garner attention, especially when worn with non-workout pieces. But should you want to draw more eyes to your look, try working an unexpected vibe into your look — say with something preppy? You can’t go wrong with a polo top and a pleated skirt.

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