The Ugliest Pictures On The Internet (but click on them)

Before this, I ran the FB group for a few years.  That job was/is an exercise in a few things – the hardest of which was to pick the right level of snark with those who disagreed with me.   I wanted to be funny, but also get the point across, but maintain dignity.  Right?  So I would pick my battles in terms of feedback (Joe Rogan says he never reads the comments, Eddie Murphy says he never reads the reviews, and Beethoven couldn’t hear if there was applause or not anyway) and look for opportunities where I wouldn’t hurt someone’s feelings but could still flex a little.

Then the worst possible thing happened.


Somebody posted a picture of themselves in those brown sneakers (shoes?) with the white soles, and I saw it.  Patience, I counseled myself.  Let someone else go first.  No one wants a monologue, they want a dialogue.  I leaned back, laced my fingers behind my head.  And stared.  It would have been a better look if I was sitting in one of those gaming chairs they sell at Staples (do grown men buy those – gaming chairs are the brown sneakers (shoes?) of the office furniture world).  My desk chair is frigging awesome, I am not as wide as I used to be but even when my sides ran over the yellow line in the middle of the road, this chair was big.   You want comfortable shoes, and you want a comfortable desk chair.


So I lean back and am staring, and somebody goes first.  “Those shoes look like you stepped in bird poop with cheap sneakers,” they wrote.  Or something like that.  I just made that up, but it was something like that.  Then another.  And before I could even get my snark out there, the derby was over, hundreds of comments about those sneakers (I will stop with the shoes? thing) had poured in and even the OP (original poster) wrote and said, “You all are probably right, I gotta ditch these,” or something to that effect.  All while I was trying to craft my first line.

Well consensus ain’t funny.   Rare yes, funny no.  But we have it anyway, here.  On this issue.

The research on this post made me a little sad.   Here:

L.L. Bean calls these shoes, which right out of the gate is an admission that they know they are into something they shouldn’t be. Here they are, though, at $109. I was looking into getting an L.L. Bean bag again to replace the one I use at the gym but now I cannot subsidize them. Although – I do have one of their oxfords that is striped and I gotta say, that shirt is pretty nice. When I saw this, I was reminded of that first date you have where you are really stoked about being out with the other person, you never thought they would even say yes, and they are giving all the right signals, but then they snap at the server. And you are like, “Now I can’t, even if I wanted to, and now I don’t even want to.”


The next shot is from a company that I don’t think you all are gonna like but that I love.  The company is OluKai, and for serious surfers with jobs (serious surfers break into two equal categories, employed and otherwise) for the longest time these were the go to flip flops.  I wear flip flops on weekends if it gets over 90 or I am at the beach.   If for some reason you are in the market for flip flops (I know you won’t, but you could admit it in the comments and we could have a family discussion) you gotta treat yourself.  Anyway, OluKai sells these monstrosities, because they are a tacky surf company, duh.  But they are smart enough to camouflage it .

See what they did there? They offered them in other colors. Which is totally fine. Yes, they led with the brown, but at least they were smart enough to distract you with other colors. This image is a link to the latest flip flops that are on my birthday list.


And here, this is the ugliest pair I found.   These look like somebody gave leprosy to the already ugliest shoes possible.   Go ahead, look, then click on that image and browse around at some beautiful things as a form of eye rinse.


I play this game in my head to keep sharp. I see something that I wouldn’t buy under any circumstances, or something really stupid, and I imagine that I was pitching advertising creative to the company that made whatever it is. So I see these, and right after I squint to make sure none of those lesions are oozing puss, I try to play my game. And… I got nothing.


One more, just because you need to see these pictures of the ocean:


That’s not even a nice weave for a basket.


So why do we hate these so much?  It’s easy.  They violate one of the fundamentals.  They are inauthentic.  They are not sneakers because even if they get the materials right they get the intention wrong.   They are not shoes, and it isn’t the white soles that disqualify them.  Boat shoes have white soles.  It is that, unless you are L.L. Bean, they are marketed as sneakers.   Instead, they are throwing footwear on the wall to see what sticks.   You want sneakers, we can be sneakers, you want shoes, we can be shoes.  You want to love your dog but eat her, of course you can do both!

We know better.  Pick your favorite Ivy piece that you own.  It is a firm statement.  Even if it is a firm statement about testing firm statements, it is a firm statement.  These things, there is no message other than…


“Igor, I have taken parts and actually created a lesser that is lesser than the sum of its parts.”  But click on this. We have no affiliation with Michael Kahn, have never met or written or anything, but he does photograph sailboats very well.

42 Comments on "The Ugliest Pictures On The Internet (but click on them)"

  1. whiskeydent | June 27, 2022 at 8:39 am |

    They’re made in the Devil’s workshop and worn by dullards and poltroons.

    • John Burton | June 27, 2022 at 12:11 pm |

      Ever notice no one on the internet admits they don’t know something anymore? Instead they silently google it and then act like they knew all along? I will not do that. I am about to go google “poltroon” because while I don’t know what it means yet I already love the word.

      • whiskeydent | June 27, 2022 at 1:16 pm |

        If I remember correctly, H.L. Mencken often used poltroon to describe people he despised. I too had forgotten what I meant and had to look it up before using it. I decided that a “spiritless coward” would almost surely wear the godawful things.

        I’ve always loved poltroon simply for the sound. You don’t need to know what one is to know you don’t want to be one. I have a similar affection for festering, and I will endeavor to use it soon. Could you write something about Gus McCray’s gangrene-ridden leg in Lonesome Dove?

  2. the passenger | June 27, 2022 at 9:23 am |

    I’m less bothered by the OluKai shoes than by the fact that their heels are made to be folded down so they can be worn as slides. THAT is an abomination.

  3. Hardbopper | June 27, 2022 at 9:37 am |

    Would pair nicely with a mullet.

    • John Burton | June 27, 2022 at 12:13 pm |

      They are the mullet of shoes, you are brilliant. Business on the top party on the bottom.

  4. If they weren’t so hilarious, they’d be pathetic. Okay, both. God, the cultural blending of lazy, leisure-minded Boomers, slacker (as always) GenXers, and Millennials — what a laughably adolescent brew of lassitude and Boboism*

    * Bobos in Paradise by David Brooks

  5. also– appreciate your comments, JB. Indeed.

  6. Holyoke St. | June 27, 2022 at 10:32 am |

    perfect shoe to wear to a pig fight with a wife beater shirt

  7. This post gave me some laughs. Sneaker-shoes like these (snoes? sheakers?) never look quite right with the brown leather. Tiresome and biz-cazj. As Hardbopper notes, they evoke the mullet. And not the Bowie or Joan Jett kind. Disappointing to see LL Bean has gotten into the shoe mulletry game (though they still make a few redeeming items). But if I’m honest, to me these snoes look like they’d be pretty decent sneakers if they were simply all white or off-white leather or canvas. The shape is right. If only they were allowed to simply be sneakers…

  8. MacMcConnell | June 27, 2022 at 10:43 am |

    “MULLETS”? Most of the guys wearing these are clean cut news persons wearing tight suits with short jackets and low rise tight pants, many with Ivy educations. ( or guys with man buns )

  9. The Amazing Tom | June 27, 2022 at 11:27 am |

    The hybrid shoes run the gamut from trash to pretty decent. I have seen elderly Orthodox men wearing all black Cole Hahn Zerogrand wingtips on 47th St.
    I have seen more than my share of orthopedic surgeons and podiatrists. The knee Dr.’s say good quality running shoes all the time but not too light. The foot Dr.’s say substantial lighter weight leather shoes with a soft bottom.

    • John Burton | June 27, 2022 at 12:17 pm |

      Hey Amazing Tom, (1) sorry for all the doctors and (2) which are the decent ones?

  10. AndrewK247 | June 27, 2022 at 12:13 pm |

    I would theoretically be fine with hybrid shoes, but why do the soles have to be white? I would wear the first two in a “business very casual” setting if the soles matched the uppers. Would making them look nice hurt the functionality of the sole? Serious question.

    • John Burton | June 27, 2022 at 12:19 pm |

      I think it is two things. First, to convey that they are sneakers, not shoes. Aside from L.L. Bean almost everyone markets them as sneakers. Two, I bet some smartass designer thought of them as a derivative of boat shoes.

  11. MacMcConnell | June 27, 2022 at 12:27 pm |

    Cole Haan has fallen below zero. They once made great shoes in the 60s, 70s and 80s.

  12. The Amazing Tom | June 27, 2022 at 1:30 pm |

    Cole Haan Chukkas and Chelseas.
    I ordered a pair of the new AE Stand shoes. They were surprising heavy and I returned. A colleague who is a big AE fan returned his too. The fit was off from his traditional AE’s.

  13. @MacMcConnell

    You are correct, sir. In the beginning (now there’s a phrase) Cole Haan was good. Not amazingly awesome like Alden (yep, I’m an Alden snob) and C&J, but good. I gave up on Allen Edmonds a long, long time ago, but the Patriot was a reassuring return to classic style. And, then, after selling boatloads, AE brought this model to a halt. Good Lord. I blame “designers.”

  14. Ricky Roma | June 27, 2022 at 2:35 pm |

    Perfect for the month of June

    • John Burton | June 27, 2022 at 3:04 pm |

      I assume you are talking about the post and not the shoes. Sneakers. Whatever.

  15. The lowest form of “journalism” is a hatchet piece. Also, never use but twice in a sentence.

    • John Burton | June 27, 2022 at 3:03 pm |

      Good thing this was neither journalism nor a hatchet piece.

      The lowest form of commentary is the uninformed.

      • whiskeydent | June 27, 2022 at 4:36 pm |

        Actually, I agree with Richard somewhat. It is a hatchet piece. A much-deserved and much-needed hatchet piece. For these sheakers must be more than merely left to fester and decay in some forgotten warehouse. They must be destroyed. Your hatchet is fine for the job, though the Scot in me leans toward the battle axe.

        Richard, are you in the spirit(s) now?

  16. Neither, or? Yikes

    • John Burton | June 27, 2022 at 4:09 pm |

      Mine was a typo. Yours was just bad thinking. I am reminded of that Churchill story.

      Bessie Braddock: Winston, you are drunk, and what’s more you are disgustingly drunk.

      Winston Churchill: Bessie, my dear, you are ugly, and what’s more, you are disgustingly ugly. But tomorrow I shall be sober.

  17. NaturalShoulder | June 27, 2022 at 5:48 pm |

    These shoes or sneakers seem to be ubiquitous these days. I see them sported by baseball announcers and commentators when watching televised games and in person. They are also popular with the suit and no tie crowd. I will take a hard pass.

  18. Frederick Johnson | June 27, 2022 at 10:53 pm |

    I admit the first and second shoes remind me of my FootJoy spikeless golf shoes.

  19. The world is filled with ugly shoes. Not sure it’s worth fretting about these when there is so much beauty in the world to be celebrated.

  20. Gibson Gardens | June 28, 2022 at 8:26 am |

    Going to have to diaagree. The denigrated sneakers aee great when worn with a suit and a newsboy cap like John Simons and me and by pals Horace and A Fine Sad Man too.

  21. Too many ugly shoes!

  22. RaleighPrep | August 17, 2022 at 12:05 pm |

    Unfortunately, those monstrosities, once viewed, can’t be unseen…

Comments are closed.