The 9 most controversial “wrong” shoes of 2023

By Alex Kessler

From flip-flops on the red carpet to Victoria Beckham’s “Croots” – this is the definite list of the most eyebrow raising shoe choices of 2023

We all know the age-old saying, “So wrong, it’s right”. Well, in the world of fashion, this sentiment holds true. When it comes to crafting an outfit, even the tiniest curveball detail can transform a classic look into an unforgettable fashion statement. Thanks to stylist Allison Bornstein, the “wrong shoe” theory, which gained traction on TikTok, has swiftly become the year’s most popular styling tip. The formula is simple: pair any look with the most unlikely footwear choice – the wilder the shoe, the better. “What makes a look feel interesting and personal is the addition of accessories that feel slightly ‘off’ or mismatched with the vibe of the rest of the look,” Bornstein told Vogue.


Naturally, this viral fashion theory was embraced by celebrities all year long. Victoria Beckham paired a sleek midi-dress with contentious Mschf X Croc boots, Dua Lipa elevated a classic white shirt and jeans with a polarising pair of Maison Margiela Tabi Mary Janes, Jennifer Lawrence raised eyebrows by pairing her Dior couture gown with black flip-flops at Cannes, and Jacob Elordi made the biggest splash earlier in the summer, when he eschewed footwear altogether while out and about in LA.

Below, see all of the most controversial “wrong shoe” moments from the year.

Jennifer Lawrence in Cannes wearing flip flops

Photo: Getty

Jennifer Lawrence’s flip-flops

The Cannes Film Festival is a celebration of truly opulent fashion, but Jennifer Lawrence delivered a plot twist by wearing her Dior haute couture gown with controversial flip-flops.

Elsa Hosk naked shoes

Photo: @elsahosk

Elsa Hosk’s naked slippers

Love naked dresses? Then a naked shoe might be the next literal step for you. The term describes footwear fashioned from perforated or see-through material that, much like a sheer LBD, exposes everything underneath. Elsa Hosk’s Alaïa mesh ballet pumps are a firm favourite among Vogue editors.

Pharrell’s red clogs

Photo: Getty

Pharrell’s red clogs

Just days after his runway debut for Louis Vuitton men’s in Paris, Pharrell garnered attention when he attended his pal Nigo’s Kenzo spring/summer 2024 show in a bold pair of clogs. He teamed them with white socks and a navy Kenzo robe shorts suit, proving that these scarlet shoes are definitely not for the timid.

Victoria Beckham’s “Croots”

Photo: @VictoriaBeckham

Victoria Beckham’s “Croots”

Mschf, the provocative brand known for its cartoonish Big Red Boots, recently partnered with Crocs, an equally polarising brand, to release a special shoe. When the always polished Victoria Beckham paired the “Croots” with an elegant midi-dress, the reaction on social media was predictably huge.

Katie Holmes

Photo: Getty

Katie Holmes’s teeny-tiny kitten heels

Katie Holmes took the concept of the kitten heel to new extremes, wearing a pair of Le Monde Beryl’s blue satin knotted mules with a barely-there 35mm heel.


Photo: Getty

Irina Shayk’s trainer-mule-hybrid

Martine Rose’s off-kilter pieces are both chic and thought-provoking. Her Nike collaboration, featuring the Shox MR4 mule, symbolises her ability to blend creativity with commercial appeal. Supermodel Irina Shayk wore a striking red and black pair at the Cannes Film Festival – a rogue move, but we love to see it.


Photo: Getty

Kylie Jenner’s anatomical shoe

Kylie’s Schiaparelli outfit for the brand’s haute couture show in Paris exuded Old Hollywood glamour, but she added a unique twist with unconventional footwear. She wore a pair of nude anatomical heels moulded to resemble human feet. An ingenious styling choice or super weird? Either way, she had everyone talking about this look for days.


Dua Lipa’s Tabi Mary Janes

Maison Margiela’s Tabi shoes have long been a go-to for fashion enthusiasts who err on the if-you-know-you-know side of style. This year, though, the Japanese-inspired, cleft-toe shoe has been trending among A-listers. Dua was seen in London elevating her jeans and white shirt with a black leather pair of Mary Janes, while dining with her film director boyfriend, Romain Gavras.


Photo: Getty

Hailey Bieber’s fisherman sandals

The fisherman sandal itself isn’t groundbreaking, but wearing them with white ankle socks feels fresh. Hailey Bieber has made the flats her 2023 go-to – worn with jorts and a crop top, naturally.

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