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Sinead Ryan: Yes, they may be comfortable but ladies, they're also really ugly

What is the stubborn perversity that keeps the ugly shoe fashionable? Every season, despite a stunning range of gorgeous, slim, strappy heels, along comes a flat plain shoe, like a carbuncle, to ruin the trend.

The latest is the Worishofer. A cross between an orthopedic wedge and something out of granny's wardrobe, it was first designed 70 years ago, in a small Bavarian town called Bad Worishofen.

And there it ought to have stayed. In fact, calling it the 'Bad' might have been closer to the mark.

And yet it's gracing the catwalks, worn by the likes of uber-cool actresses Maggie Gyllenhaal and Kirsten Dunst. And you know, there's something okay about it being seen on someone who looks good in a sack, but for the rest of us ordinary mortals ... puh-leeze.

Tragically, the Worishofer seems set to join the ranks of the Ugg (or Ugh); Birkenstocks, which still haven't gone away, and probably won't until outdoor music festivals are banned, and that ultimate ugly shoe -- the Croc. Truly, there should be a piece of legislation against them unless you're a chef or a five- year-old, in which case they're practical for wearing into puddles and pools. Pink plastic does not look good on anyone else. For women they're a complete no-no.

In fact, so are all of the above. What is in the psyche of a woman who will spend a fortune getting her hair done, a week's wage on a new outfit and then spoil it with a pair of Dr Scholls? Couldn't you find a nice pair of heels? Even of the kitten variety? Or a sandal with straps thinner than a belt?

The blame lies, as for most things, with Victoria Beckham. Papped coming through an airport earlier this year in flat ballet pumps was actually the beginning of the end for the glamourous foot. There should have been an immediate ban against picture editors printing the images. Now, having said that, it's one thing when a glamorous stick-insect WAG dons an ugly-shoe. It's not about comfort at all -- it's a cultural statement -- "I am so gorgeous that I can get away with it". And they sort of can. If you're young, tall and skinny enough to wear a pair of Uggs or crocs with a Givenchy minidress and an oversized Chanel bag, cool.

If you're an ordinary size 14 wearing a below-the-knee wrap dress you'll just look like a 60-year-old cleaning lady from the back streets of a Greek island.

And before you start banging on about the value of comfort and how sensible shoes are important for the feet, here's the thing: if that's what it's all about, why not just spend every day in a shell suit and no makeup? Super comfy and better for the skin. You don't, huh? Well then don't do the ugly shoe song either.

If there were more nuns we'd have better shoe sense. In my day anything other than flat black shoes were banned in school. As in, Taken-off-you-until-end-of-term and a beady eye kept on you until then. Around 1981 a strange shoe called the Chinese Slipper became cool. It was flat, black and made of a velvety fabric. They were everywhere and cheap enough to own several pairs. We wore them to school where they were, naturally, instantly banned.

The 'flat black' rule was of course, a ruse. It was anything in fashion that was doomed. The nuns won every time, thus creating a generation of women who determined, never again, to wear flat sensible footwear. Have we lost the message girls? Have we forgotten so quickly?

It's not too late. Shun your friends who own Uggs. Ignore everyone in cork wedges. Spit in the eye of the Birkenstock-flashers. And as for the Worishofer? Well, put them on a plane back to Bavaria without delay.


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