The Original Ugly Sneaker Is Back

In the end, no ticket was issued: Ms. Marant drove away scot-free. Indeed, the sneakers in question had proved traffic-stopping on several levels. Named the Bekett, the style is a high-top with an exaggerated, puffy tongue. Velcro straps, its definitive — and ultimately divisive — design detail, concealed a three-inch wedge heel.

Credit…via Isabel Marant

Yes, a high-heeled sneaker — a concept deemed genius, heinous, anathema, so-wrong-it’s-right and oh so very, very wrong all at once. “It was like lightning had hit my head,” said Sasha Charnin Morrison, the style director at CBS Watch. “I was so enamored by this ugliness.”

She wasn’t alone. The Bekett was everywhere — in street-style shots of Gisele Bündchen, Miranda Kerr, Kate Bosworth, Jessica Alba, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Joan Smalls and Leandra Medine, the influencers of a pre-influencer age. Beyoncé wore a black suede pair in her 2011 “Love on Top” video. The sneakers sold out everywhere and spawned six-month wait lists.

Ms. Charnin Morrison, then the fashion director of Us Weekly, remembers dispatching a desperate email to Ty Hunter, Beyoncé’s stylist at the time. “I said: ‘I know Beyoncé’s only going to wear the sneakers once. I don’t even know what size she is, but if she’s done with them, you have to send them to me.’” Alas, Ms. Charnin Morrison endured the wait for her pair of gold Beketts.

Like the Juicy Couture tracksuit, low-rise jeans and Uggs, the orthopedic-looking wedge sneaker was the kind of design you either professed your undying love for or wouldn’t be caught dead in. It transcended fashion and became culture. It was emblematic of a moment, just before social media took over our lives and millennials took over the narrative.

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Written by bourbiza

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