In the past couple of years, things that people used to hate just a few decades ago are now making a comeback. Everything from vintage 80s clothing and accessories to reboots of just about anything we watched in the 90s, are now popular and in high demand. Even the ugliest sneakers you have ever seen have found a way to turn itself into a wanted commodity. Shoe collectors are literally going out of their way to get some of those, once ugly, shoes that no one ever wanted.
Nike and Adidas have been at the forefront of some of the most outrageous shoe designs since the late 80s. For the most part, it is not about creating ridiculous shoes, but building a sneaker that has something that none of the others have, helping it to stand out. These are the designs that failed miserably when their designs fell flat on the general public.
20 Nike Zoom Sharkley (2008)
You are about to hear the term hybrid design more than you have ever heard of before. That's because Nike decided they were out of fresh ideas and started combining shoe designs into one, like the Nike Zoom Sharkley's.
These shoes are a combination of the Charles Barkley CB Max 94's and Dennis Rodman's Air Shake NDestrukt. That just sounds like a mess to begin with.
19 Adidas KG Bounce (2006)
Kevin Garnett is nearly seven foot tall and is going to be in the Hall of Fame one day very soon. He was a dominate force in the paint, and had one of the prettiest jump shots from the elbow and on the baseline that we have seen in a long time.
His Adidas KG Bounce shoes were designed with this Bounce technology in the rear of the shoe to help with propelling off the ground. They are ugly and it is funny to think he ever needed these shoes to help him jump.
18 Nike Air Foamposite One (2013)
Nike has never had such an ugly shoe that has had as many colorways as the Air Foamposite One and no matter what color you bought, it was still the same ridiculously nasty shoe as all the rest.
There was even a weatherman design that featured a radar image of an incoming storm— what?
17 Adidas JS Roundhouse Mids (2012)
Sorry Jeremy Scott, but you should have realized that putting shackles on sneakers was not going to end up being something well received by others. In fact, this shoe was shut down the moment it was announced and images hit the internet.
In fact, Adidas cancelled them following public outcry over the shackles that wrap around the ankles of the person wearing them.
16 Nike Air Force 1 "Invisible Woman" (2006)
Fantastic Four was never considered a great film and is part of the reason Sony's already made another one with a completely new cast. But back when the film first came out, Nike was selling Air Force Ones like hotcakes so they decided to get involved.
But no one wanted to see the film and no one wanted to wear shoes that had see-thru windows, showing off your foot for all to see.
15 Adidas JS Wings "Totem" (2012)
They can be groundbreaking, revolutionary, eccentric, flamboyant, or just about any other analogy they can think of but it will never change the fact that these shoes are just plain horrible.
If you have to ask yourself whether or not it is racist than there is a very good chance that it is. These shoes are full of disrespect and hate, not honor, towards the American Indians that they are representing.
14 Nike Air Carnivore (1993)
The Nike Air Carnivore is the oldest shoe on our list, dating back to 1993 when it was re-released. It was like the Air Trainer Huaraches, only more outrageous and ridiculous. It featured a strap, some neoprene, nylon, plastic, and even suede.
The fact that Jurassic Park came out the same year isn't a coincidence, right?
13 Adidas RS Replicant Ozweego (2018)
The Adidas RS Replicant Ozweego is masterfully designed— if you are the merchant. That's because they finally found a way to force people into buying additional socks for their shoe purchase.
And not just any socks, the ones that match the design of the shoes. If not, you will be left with a pair of shoes with huge holes in them.
12 Nike Air Max A Lot "Rasta" (2010)
Who decided to start combining the designs of multiple shoes and call them hybrids?
This isn't MTV, that is not a good idea for sneakers. The Air Max A Lot is something that bring us back to the early 90s when Scottie Pippen's shoes were flying off the shelf. But then they combine it with the Air More Uptempo's and color it red, yellow, green, and white, it turns into a crazy mess.
11 Adidas Five Ten Quantum (2016)
Designed specifically for climbing things, like mountains, the Adidas Five Ten Quantum is great for only one purpose, the idea that it works. Many of the reviews we read from climbers online stated that they lack to grip needed to be useful.
That said, can you imagine having to walk around in these bad boys? It might be comfortable but it is made for climbing and serves no purpose beyond that.
10 Nike Air Flightposite III (2001)
The entire foam shoe design was one of the ugliest mistakes Nike ever made. It was a futuristic approach to tennis shoes but turned into a horrible design with no true functionality.
If they could have justified the need for the foam pockets on the shoe, then maybe we could be on board with it. But knowing they serve no purpose except for the look, makes us worried about the original designer's thoughts.
9 Adidas Rick Owens Superstar Ankle Boot (2015)
Nothing says stylish like faux leather on shoes that feature no laces and are basically just slip-on boots with a rubber toe cap. The design of the Rick Owens Superstar Ankle Boot was just plain awful.
The toe cap reminds us of a shrimp boot and is not worth the amount of money people are spending on them today.
8 Nike Shox TL1 (2005)
The original Nike Shox were amazing. They were simple and had a minimal amount of cushions that were designed to help you bounce easier. There was four parts to the shoe that helped propel you into the air.
Then they got greedy and created a shoe that was just plain ridiculous. It looks like you could bounce to the moon if you wanted but that is not the case. All you have left is an uncomfortable shoe.
7 Adidas Deerupt (2018)
The Adidas Deerupt has been met with mixed reviews by both runners and collectors alike. Some of them love the combination of classic Adidas style mixed with a modern flare, but all we can see is a cheap shoe wrapped in a mesh blanket.
It almost looks as if you put some kind of mesh cover on your shoe to protect it and forgot to take it off when you left the house.
6 Nike Air Jordan XV (1999)
If you wanted a handbag, you should have bought the Air Jordan XVs. That is exactly what you got with them because of a ridiculous lip that serves zero purpose in the shoe itself.
Because it came out in 1999, a lot of Air Jordan collectors defend it as a futuristic approach to sneaker design, but we would rather just get something that has function over form.
5 Adidas Kobe Two (2001)
As far as legendary "ugly" shoes are concerned, the Adidas Kobe Twos were iconic for being so ridiculously lame that anyone who claims that they like them should be immediate branded a liar. Even Kobe Bryant knew they were a mistake and has admitted they could have been better.
That said, people still bought them because they were associated with Kobe Bryant in his prime. In 2001, you could have put his name on a cardboard box and people would have bought it.
4 Nike Air Rift (1996)
How many shoe designs can you create that stand out from the rest?
Back in 1996, Nike tried to answer that question by releasing the Air Rift, a shoe that featured their first ever split toe design. By separating the big toe from the rest, it was supposed to help with balance and articulation. Instead, it creates a better chance of you breaking a toe if you trip on a rock.
3 Adidas Springblades (2013)
The concept behind the Adidas Springblades is that the blades on the bottom of the shoe are supposed to help propel you forward as you run. It is actually a brilliant idea and the style is not bad— if it works.
However, they (un)surprisingly do not work and anyone that tells you otherwise must own stock in Adidas.
2 Nike Air Jordan XVI (2001)
At no point should a piece of your tennis shoe be in danger of falling off in the middle of running down the court. But that was a serious issue with the worst designed Air Jordans ever, the XVIs.
On paper, the galter they used to cover the shoe was cool but not functional at all. It was almost like they were trying to sell us on the idea of the galter, or shroud, for future horrible designs.
1 Adidas Mega Softcell Cowboy Boots (2012)
As competition for hybrid shoes continues to get tougher, designers like Jeremy Scott are being forced to come up with some really ridiculous styles to stand out.
But combining a basketball shoe and a cowboy boot is one of the worst ideas ever, regardless of functionality. Boots go with jeans and basketball shoes go with shorts. How do you handle that now?
Sources: adidas.com, nike.com, sneakerhead.com, solecollector.com, flightclub.com