Frightful Footwear Fails: 40+ Questionable Shoe Designs

By Jhoana C

The earliest form of footwear can be traced as far back as 7,000 B.C., and although they are not as stylish as the footwear of today, they gave the wearer protection from the elements. The Romans were the first to design right and left-foot shoes, and thank heavens for them, or else we would never know the joy of putting on that fabulous pair of heels. Without a doubt, footwear design has come a long way, although we can’t help but notice that they seem to be getting weirder nowadays.

If you don’t believe us, just check the items on this list, and you’ll be shaking your head in disbelief and disgust. From shoes with teeth and hair to ones with little dolls, we have things here that will make you grateful you aren’t the one wearing these footwear fails.

#1 Would you like some chains on your feet?

Footwear, we believe, should be, first and foremost, comfortable, especially if you’re someone who’s on your feet all day. You need all the support you can get, and you certainly don’t want to end up with corns, calluses, or bunions.

Image courtesy of Aware-Contract-1862/Reddit

If your footwear is both comfortable and looks nice, you can consider lucky because only a few offer both. Countless footwear out there is not only uncomfortable, but they also look hideous. A case in point is what you see in the photo above.

#2 We hope these don’t bite

The world must be coming to an end soon because we’re starting to see hideous footwear creations left and right. Have people run out of brilliant ideas, and now we have to settle for atrocities such as these? Is there nothing better?

Image courtesy of LotusRepublic/Reddit

If this is meant to be a joke, then we’ll have you know it’s not funny. Heaven forbid we meet someone on the street wearing these. Who okays these shoes, anyway? Were they drunk when production was given the go-ahead? At least these things don’t have cavities; that’s something to be thankful for.

#3 A gum permanently stuck on your shoe

If you’re someone who wants to walk through life with gum stuck on your shoes, this is the perfect gift to give yourself. If you want to give yourself a nice treat, then you better hurry to the footwear store that carries these.

Image courtesy of thebayallday/Reddit

Seriously though, this looks like something a Kardashian would wear. We’re not sure if it’s the color or the design, but yep, it has Kardashian written all over it. We can imagine them right now discussing how they skinned their knees while walking on these shoes.

#4 Fancy this Balenciaga ankle boot?

Luxury brands cost a lot of money. Some designer luxury bags are even worth more than what a person earns in a month! However, if it gives you happiness and won’t put you in debt, then go ahead and treat yourself.

Image courtesy of Jiin666/Reddit

Just keep in mind that because something is designer fashion doesn’t mean it’s fashionable and doesn’t mean it’s something worth buying. A very good example of what we are saying is this pair of horribly designed ankle boots by Balenciaga.

#5 Put the dolphins back in the ocean

Dolphins are some of the cutest creatures on Earth! Aside from being adorable, they are highly-intelligent social creatures that help humans in danger. They have been saving people as far back as ancient Greece. What more could you ask for in an animal?

Image courtesy of charlottee963/Reddit

 As much as we love dolphin stuffed toys and souvenirs, we can’t wrap our heads or feet around these dolphin shoes. Even if these were footwear with a porpoise, wink wink, they still don’t look or feel comfy enough for us to wear.

#6 We’re gonna be outbalanced with these

Would you fancy wearing heels without heels? One look at this thing, and we have a new appreciation for our center of gravity. We’re probably gonna end up with an injury if we had this on our feet. Not only are these hideous, but they’re also dangerous.

Image courtesy of canhazreddit/Reddit

Again, we’d like to stress that footwear is not only meant to look good on your feet; they’re meant to give your tired feet the support they need. If the footwear you love can’t give you both, you can forget about them.

#7 Stop horsing around

If you like being the centaur of attention, you’re gonna need these shoes. See what we did there? This footwear will help you release your inner demon or horse. You know what they say about men with horses’ hooves as feet, right?

Image courtesy of rzt___/Reddit

If you’re a designer looking to shock the public, something like this will get people talking, but we doubt it will make your sales skyrocket. After all, how many people would go near a person with horse hooves at a party?

#8 Omg, we can’t look away!

What is happening in the world right now? Looking at these hideous creations, we’re half expecting the Earth to open up and for Satan to appear with his pitchfork from the depths of hell because that’s where these shoes belong.

Image courtesy of LJayEsq/Reddit

Who would be crazy enough to wear these? Well, aside from Lady Gaga and Buffalo Bill, who would want these anywhere near their feet? These creeped us out, so how do we unsee this abomination? It is the stuff of nightmares.

#9 Going to the rodeo or the basketball game?

This pair has a serious case of identity crisis or perhaps an existential crisis. It’s as if it can’t decide if it wants to go to the rodeo or the basketball game. It can’t make its mind, so it figured it might as well look as if both are on the itinerary.

Image courtesy of hivemund/Reddit

Rodeo clowns, apparently, wear something that looks like this because they need to help get animals back in the stalls and need to be mobile at the same time. Well, nothing like a cowboy that can run like a sprinter, right?

#10 Time for a shave

Wear these shoes, and you need not worry about people intruding on your personal space; you will see people keeping their distance. Why? Because they might just start getting ticklish or start scratching themselves. There’s just too much hair there!

Image courtesy of fitzpame/Reddit

These shoes are badly in need of a shave, so we hope you have some razors and shaving cream ready. No words to describe just how tacky these are and just how much we hate them, so on to the next footwear fail.

#11 This shoe is having a good day

What in the world has gotten to the minds of the designers over at Adidas? All the money in the world couldn’t get brains smart enough to design shoes that don’t look like a horse and cousin It from The Addams family combined?

Image courtesy of Cgi22/Reddit

If you do decide to wear these, you’ll be spending a good amount of your time making sure that people don’t step on your shoe’s hair. The folks you meet on the street are also gonna be wondering what your shoes are smiling about.

#12 Things are growing on your shoe

Fancy yourself an environmentalist? These shoes might just be what you’re looking for. How can anyone accuse you of not giving Mother Earth the love and attention it deserves when you’re doing your best to grow plants, even when on your daily commute?

Image courtesy of SmooK_LVR/Reddit

This pair brings a whole new meaning to the term “plant your feet,” and we bet she has never bean more comfortable. Okay, enough of the lame jokes for now. We hope the little bean survives the daily trip from home to work.

#13 These are the real crocs!

Forget Crocs; what you see below is the real deal. Made of 100% crocodile leather and shaped just like miniature crocodiles, these fellows are either going to impress people profoundly or make them run for their lives. We would probably choose the latter.

Image courtesy of reckless150681/Reddit

Are those crocodiles growing on your feet, or are you just happy to see me? We hate to tell you, but the answer to that question is the former. A few people did point out that these would be great when sand surfing in the desert, but we don’t know about that.

#14 Would Kenny G approve these?

Do you think Kenny G would approve of these saxophone shoes? They might not make the same sweet music as the instrument that made him famous worldwide, but they look like they could give real saxophones a run for their money.

Image courtesy of BigAl1117/Reddit

You have to be careful when wearing these because you could end up hurting the people in front of you, or you might end up poking them in all the wrong places, which can lead to an assault charge. Those shoes are not worth the trouble.

#15 Do these play fetch too?

Without a doubt, these are cute, but what we want to find out is if they play fetch. If they do, they might just become the hush puppies of the new generation, but we do have one character in mind who will be over the moon with this creation.

Image courtesy of emmeevee/Reddit

We are getting Cruella DeVille vibes, and we can envision her telling her servants to fetch her Dalmatian coat and her dachshund shoes. What do you say to these? Are these something you could see yourself wearing or not? We think not.

#16 Why on Earth did they make these?

Why would anyone want to wear transparent shoes? Erm, so they can see their feet sweating? Gross! We can already imagine how the air would smell once the shoe is taken off the sweaty feet, and we tell you it’s not going to be pleasant.

Image courtesy of monkeyfetus/Reddit

What we find more disturbing than the plastic bag hobo design of the footwear is that the person in the photo is not wearing socks. Socks can’t be that expensive, right? Or are you not aware that people nowadays don’t wear socks when wearing sneakers?

#17 When you leave home without charging your phone

Have you ever left the house without charging your phone? You’re confident that you brought your power bank, but you didn’t bring your phone cord. What do you do then? That’s not going to be a problem if you’re wearing these USB shoes.

Image courtesy of Sensitive-Bear/Reddit

One of the cords there will probably help you get your phone charged. Just don’t be surprised when one of the passengers on the train tells you that they are at 6% and they need to borrow your shoes real quick.

#18 When you don’t want to be too formal

The general public wears leather shoes during formal events such as business meetings and weddings. You won’t see someone of the right mind wearing formal leather shoes when playing tennis or basketball. But what if you don’t want to be too formal?

Image courtesy of teorosso/Reddit

Well, perhaps you could wear something like this. It will allow people to imagine what your toes look like even if you’re wearing leather shoes and have a suit on. However, we won’t be surprised if you don’t close that business deal.

#19 Can this even be called a shoe?

We can’t even call this thing a shoe because look at that! This was found in a secondhand shop, and there’s a good reason why it’s there: nobody wants to wear it, or the person who previously owned it suffered from a major accident while walking the streets.

Image courtesy of katefromthenorth/Reddit

People may call these mojito heels, but we’re not going to spend money on them. We’d rather spend our hard-earned moolah on something that we can actually drink, not stare at. Plus, we don’t want to risk our ankles with this one.

#20 A shoe fit for ladies and knights?

These shoes look like they came straight from medieval times when knights and ladies were all over the land. Just make sure you don’t get too close to the person wearing this, or you might end up hurting yourself and having to pay for medical expenses.

Image courtesy of cricklecoux/Reddit

We cringe when we think of how heavy these shoes are, but they would make the perfect footwear when dining in medieval-themed restaurants. All you need is a joust and some armor, and you’re ready to live your medieval dreams.

#21 Plastic shoes, so your feet sweat like crazy

These days, plastic bottles are recycled and made into shoes. Using recycled polyester is better for the Earth than using new polyester, and though we have nothing against this noble practice, we are not big fans of wearing plastic shoes.

Image courtesy of lovexdavis/Reddit

Why? Because they make your feet sweat like crazy, and where there’s sweat, there’s most likely bad odor. And no, we are also not fans of malodorous feet. That’s the reason why this pair isn’t something we want to own.

#22 Beautiful but uncomfortable

This may look absolutely gorgeous, but it’s something you won’t see us wearing to work, school, business meetings, or other events. As much as we love the red and white stripes and the elaborate design, it doesn’t look comfortable at all.

Image courtesy of StrawKBerry/Reddit

Although we want people to admire our choice of footwear and fashion sense, we don’t want to fall on our knees while walking in these. You have to hand it to the designer, though, for the over-the-top concept and execution.

#23 For when you can’t float

This shoe might be the comfiest, but we just can’t see ourselves wearing it because, frankly, it’s hideous. People would be staring at us and silently judging our footwear choice if they saw us in this. Don’t deny it because we know you’d do the same.

Image courtesy of KevGold/Reddit

A shoe may be the comfiest, but if it doesn’t have the slightest hint of style, it’s not going to sell. Perhaps Crocs are the only exception to that rule. Nobody wants to be told that they have atrocious taste in shoes.

#24 A pair of shoebaccas

When we look at this, we can’t help but think of Chewbacca. Both hairy and hideous, they would make an excellent pair. It could be the most frigid winter in decades, but you still won’t see us dipping our toes in these.

Image courtesy of NoahWilsonMagic/Reddit

Imagine the upkeep this shoe requires! You’re gonna need a ton of shampoo and conditioner to make sure the hair is in top shape. And what if it rains? Goodness forbid you walk on a puddle. We just can’t; it’s too much work.

#25 Don’t get saucy with these shoes

If you decide to wear this pair, we only have one wish for you, and that’s for the weather to remain warm and dry because your feet are going to be swimming if it rains. This would make a good pair with the spaghetti and meatballs shoes that are coming up.

Image courtesy of super_corndog/Reddit

You can probably imagine the pastabilities with these things on your feet, but we’d rather not because we can’t imagine having these monstrous creations on our feet. But there is always someone who has a deep admiration for pasta.

#26 Tell me you’re working for Ikea without telling me you’re working for Ikea

If you think this was a publicity stunt of some sort, you’re mistaken. Yeezy shoes were some of the most popular items from Adidas, at least when there was still a relationship between the two. You could expect to spend more than $1,000 for a pair.

Image courtesy of lusvig/Reddit

But would you be willing to part with the aforementioned amount when the shoes in question are the Ikea Yeezy shoes? The person responsible for this creation is Dan “Mache” Gamache0. His cream pair of Yeezies got damaged, so he thought it would be a good idea to salvage them.

#27 The feel of grass on your soles

If you would like to feel the sensation of grass on your feet even when you’re indoors, then this pair is a must-buy. Don’t worry; they are not difficult to find. Go to the nearest dollar store, and you’ll find them there because, let’s face it, not too many would want those to be a part of their wardrobe.

Image courtesy of Altenalo/Reddit

The upside to these things is your feet won’t be itchy, and people who own a pair (yes, they exist) say that they feel good and are super comfortable. Well, if your feet are itching for a new adventure, you can start with this one.

#28 Your shoes are giving you the stink eye

If shoes could give you the stink eye, this is what they would probably look like. As hideous as these look, they are quite expensive because they are made of real leather and crafted by Italian shoemakers. Don’t worry if you don’t have the budget.

Image courtesy of SnapCrackleMom/Reddit

There are alternatives that are much cheaper, but for the love of all things holy, we can’t think of any occasion where these shoes would make a good fit. You certainly wouldn’t want people to think you’re giving them the side eye.

#29 We’re shaking our heads with this one

These may look pretty cool, but we don’t know how your feet will be able to survive an hour in this, let alone a day. Yes, people will stop to stare at your shoes and tell you just unusual they look, but that’s about it.

Image courtesy of TheKeen1337/Reddit

People won’t compliment you the moment you start stumbling and end up on the pavement face first because these fellows don’t offer any support and are a safety hazard. There’s a special place in hell for the person who thought of this.

#30 Care for some ramen?

As interesting as this design is, we can’t help but wonder where the foot goes. And where is the heel support? It’s missing. Wear these shoes and risk injury, but as long as you have ramen, then what the heck, right?

Image courtesy of Lulu_Antichrist/Reddit

The original poster of this photo said that this was their entry for a local shoe competition. As innovative as it looks, we can’t help but ask what happened to comfort. More importantly, are people nowadays foregoing comfort for design?

#31 For when elves want to join the marathon

This pair is a cross between running shoes and pointed shoes which we see elves wearing in books and in movies. We think this is suitable for when said elves decide to join the marathon or when they have to do some hardcore sledding.

Image courtesy of shizzleforizzle/Reddit

Santa must be ordering these by the dozen when they have to work overtime in making and delivering children’s presents all over the world. Would you wear something like this even if you’re not a part of Santa’s merry band of workers?

#32 Wearing hamburger on your feet

Did the designer of this pair not know that hamburgers are supposed to be eaten and not worn? They were made to be put in the mouth and not on the feet. Or did the designer want to demonstrate what fast food looks like?

Image courtesy of Siansian010/Reddit

Anyway, this real whopper of style thankfully didn’t take off because we don’t know how we’d react if we saw people on the bus or at work wearing this failure of a shoe. It’s bad enough that people are not eating healthily; we don’t need these to make the situation worse.

#33 If you could wear heels and sneakers at the same time

These shoes are for people who are having a hard time deciding what to wear. They want the comfort of sneakers and the style of heels, so a designer thought it would be an excellent idea to combine the two together.

Image courtesy of nalabolika/Reddit

Can you wear this to a business meeting and then head to a basketball game right after to cheer on your boyfriend? We’re not sure, but you tell us if this is a good or a bad idea. We love the color, though; we’re always fans of red.

#34 Shackled

This is a real design; however, it was not given the green light by Adidas after people complained that it evoked racism and slavery. An image of the product was first posted on the brand’s Facebook page, and that was all it took for people to be up in arms.

Image courtesy of b0nsley/Reddit

We can see how problematic this is, and we don’t even know why it was posted on the social media page in the first place. Heads must have rolled, and we are pretty sure that the first one to get the ax was the one who gave the approval for social media posting.

#35 Soup shoes

A must-have for everyone’s wardrobe, the Chuck Taylor All-Star is one of the most timeless and iconic shoes to have ever been made. Available for men, women, and even children, the Chuck Taylor also comes in various platform styles and wide widths.

Image courtesy of PoopEater10/Reddit

But would you be happy if your Chuck Taylor comes looking like it ate too much soup? Well, for us, yes. We love this pair, and it’s not as horrible as most of the shoes on this list. Yes, we can see ourselves wearing these.

#36 Do Toy Story characters no longer earn money acting?

Are Toy Story movies no longer raking in money at the box office that now the characters have to resort to being shoes just to earn money? How hard are times these days? More importantly, why are their chins inside their mouths?

Image courtesy of Din_Gurevich/Reddit

These might not be made of solid gold design, but you can bet your bottom dollar that you have a friend in them. When you need someone to talk to, all you need to do is remove your shoes and start a conversation but don’t wonder when people refuse to go near you.

#37 These will hurt people when they bump into you

If you want people to avoid you when you approach them, wear these shoes. The solid metal tip is going to lead to injuries for toes that find themselves in front or near it, but they look like they are the life of the party.

Image courtesy of evil_tugboat_capn/Reddit

Going to your friend’s stag party? Attending a wedding? You might want to think about making this a part of your wardrobe. True, it’s going to be a struggle to pair them with a few shirts because of the color and design, but who even cares nowadays?

#38 Can you play tennis in these?

Do you think these look comfy? We beg to differ because we’ve broken some tennis balls before, and they are hard on the inside. We think it’s also going to be slippery and hard to walk with these on, so we’d rather stick to normal shoes.

Image courtesy of ReaganAbe/Reddit

We don’t know if people nowadays are more after shock value, but comfort is not at the top of their list. They would rather go for something that makes people take a second look sacrificing the ankles and toes of people everywhere. 

#39 These must feel disgusting on the feet

Do you remember the time when jelly shoes were the most fashionable thing, and people on the streets, young and old, were wearing them as if their lives depended on them? We do, and we don’t want that fad to ever make a comeback.

Image courtesy of Eric_The_Chicken/Reddit

Thankfully, these things didn’t take off because not only do they look like they came straight out of an alien movie, but they must also feel weird and disgusting on the feet. Plus, you’ll look like you’re wearing a sea creature.

#40 Did this design take off?

Looking at this creation, we wonder why it never took off. It has wings, and it has the face of a pigeon; what more could you ask for in a pair of shoes? These are cute, and although we’d never wear them, we’d display them at home.

Image courtesy of GNN_Contato/Reddit

We can already see guests ogling them—a pair of pigeon shoes as conversation starters at parties. But before we purchase this, we just want to be sure that there were no actual pigeons harmed during the making of this footwear.

#41 Female footwear armor

This looks like just the sort of thing we think Joan of Arc would wear when she’s resting from battle and has to go to a formal event. We doubt this is real, though; it could just be part of a costume made for entertainment purposes.

Image courtesy of bouzglouf/Reddit

We’re confident that armored pumps aren’t where the future is headed, and thank heavens for that. We can’t imagine our toes being constricted in something as tight and heavy as this monstrosity, and we don’t think they would look great when worn with dresses.

#42 Going bowling and attending a wedding at the same time

If you are required to go bowling with friends in the afternoon but have to attend a wedding reception in the evening and don’t have time to change your footwear, we suggest you wear this because it’s gonna fit in both events.

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The only problem we see is not being comfortable when bowling. You might not have a single strike but is anybody really paying attention, and are you really that competitive? Come to think of it, though; these shoes would look perfect on Harley Quin.

#43 When you go to school without a bag

If your mom forgot to buy you a new bag for the new school year and you can no longer use the old one, don’t fret, these shoes are coming to rescue you, and they are the perfect solution for your dilemma. Just put everything in your footwear.

Image courtesy of BoxBopChallenge/Reddit

This takes the phrase running with scissors to a whole new level, and it’s all fun and games until someone steps on your foot. Things are bound to get a little exciting when Sam from behind you steps on your foot.

#44 The shoe with dead dolls

If there’s an island of dead dolls, there’s also a show with dead dolls on the soles. Yes, we know; what the heck, right? The designer must have been so bored or had too many dolls that she thought, why not put them in shoes?

Image courtesy of ExpertAccident/Reddit

If you think this will delight little girls, let us stop you right there! These are going to give little girls nightmares for weeks, so if you have a daughter or a niece, you better not show this to them because they won’t be happy.

#45 Spaghetti and meatballs for your digits

We wouldn’t be surprised if the designer of this pair turned out to be Italian. It has pasta and tomato sauce, after all. We don’t know if anyone in their right mind would like to wear this ghastly creation, but that didn’t stop the designer from pushing through with his creation.

Image courtesy of UnicornArachnid/Reddit

If you love these shoes, don’t let us stop you from purchasing them, but we don’t think people in the street or people at work would take a liking to them. Hmmm, perhaps this would make a good choice if you were to travel to Italy.