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Best Funky Shoes For Retro Vibes Reviewed

last updated Dec 31, 2018

There comes a time when we all want to break out of our bonds a little. We get tired of the same old designs, silhouettes, the same sensible colors which go well with everything. Perhaps you wish to refresh your personal style a little, to reinvent yourself and present a new image of yourself to the world.

What better way to achieve that than to indulge in a pair of funky shoes? Indeed, why not reach for a design that doesn’t conform to fashion rules, that stands out either in terms of construction or color, or both? If you’re the type of person who wishes for something bold, something that will draw attention and make you fearless in your style, then a quirky footwear design is just the right way to go.

In a Hurry? The test winner after 6 hrs of research

icon
Steve Madden Cliff
95/100 our score
Upper
100
Comfort
100
Style
90
Versatility
100
Durability
85
Steve Madden Cliff
Why is it better?

With Jeans and Leggings

Multiple Prints

Color Blocking

Adjustable Lace-Up Closure

Sporty Design and Comfort

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
Steve Madden Cliff
Test Winner: Steve Madden Cliff
Researched Sources
2
Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
1600
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
6
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
10
Products Evaluated
Sorting Options
Upper Comfort Style Versatility Durability By Default
Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95
Upper
100%
Comfort
100%
Style
90%
Versatility
100%
Durability
85%
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.01.19)
$74.25
2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90
Upper
65%
Comfort
95%
Style
100%
Versatility
95%
Durability
95%
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.01.19)
$77.24
3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86
Upper
95%
Comfort
75%
Style
90%
Versatility
100%
Durability
70%
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.01.19)
$69.99
4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
83
Upper
100%
Comfort
70%
Style
95%
Versatility
85%
Durability
65%
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.01.19)
$72.97
5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
80
Upper
85%
Comfort
100%
Style
75%
Versatility
60%
Durability
80%
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.01.19)
$79.95
6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
76
Upper
65%
Comfort
80%
Style
60%
Versatility
90%
Durability
85%
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.01.19)
$125.00
7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
75
Upper
70%
Comfort
95%
Style
55%
Versatility
55%
Durability
100%
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.01.19)
$29.96
8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
73
Upper
85%
Comfort
75%
Style
75%
Versatility
75%
Durability
55%
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.01.19)
$120.00
9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
72
Upper
60%
Comfort
70%
Style
70%
Versatility
65%
Durability
95%
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.01.19)
$239.95
10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
69
Upper
80%
Comfort
45%
Style
95%
Versatility
65%
Durability
60%
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.01.19)
$14.49
In Depth Review Top 10
  • Steve Madden Cliff
  • Calvin Klein Fernanda
  • T. U. K. Kitty Anarchic
  • Nine West Nimah
  • Ariat Fatbaby
  • Birkenstock Arizona Papillio
  • Crocs Clog
  • Sam Edelman Oda
  • Sorel Joan Rain
  • Jessica Simpson Joselle
Table of contents
  • Criteria Used for Evaluation
  • Other Factors to Consider
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Sources

Our Favorites

1. Steve Madden Cliff

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95
Steve Madden Cliff
Upper
100
Comfort
100
Style
90
Versatility
100
Durability
85
best offer for today
$74.25
Pros:

With Jeans and Leggings

Multiple Prints

Color Blocking

Adjustable Lace-Up Closure

Sporty Design and Comfort

Cons:

Not for Wide Feet

Strange Seam Placement Inside

Even at first glance, it is obvious that the Steve Madden Cliff is one wacky sneaker. This designer does not shy away from experimenting, from combining classic with trendy and bold, as evidenced by this unusual collaged construction. The Cliff features at least two different prints and two colors, which sounds like it would be over the top, but it surprisingly works very well for this design.

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The Steve Madden Cliff is made from a combination of genuine leather, fabric and synthetic leather, depending on the color option you go for. It has a lace-up closure at the front for maximum adjustability and a soft twill fabric lining on the inside which doesn’t cause any chafing or blisters.

The Cliff comes with a bit of a platform sole, with a 2.5-inch heel in the back and a half an inch platform in the front, for a slightly elevated yet still comfortable ride. There is a rubber sole on the bottom which provides traction on a multitude of surfaces.

This design marvel is definitely not meant for those who just want to blend in. The Steve Madden Cliff is a daring mixture of prints and color blocking, one which will definitely draw attention to itself wherever you go. But! Seeing as the purpose of unconventional designs is just that - to shake things up a bit, we feel like the Cliff is a great choice for that.

2. Calvin Klein Fernanda

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90
Calvin Klein Fernanda
Upper
65
Comfort
95
Style
100
Versatility
95
Durability
95
best offer for today
$77.24
Pros:

Genuine Leather Upper

Unusual Silhouette

Adjustable Buckle Closure

Padded Footbed

Low Wearable Heel

Cons:

Size Runs Small

While most of the items on this list are categorized as funky because of their wild color or print, the Fernanda is that due to its unusual silhouette. Calvin Klein is all about minimalism and simple beauty, which is what we can see in the Fernanda, but we can also see a construction that is not often found in any type of footwear.

Read more

This is a sandal made entirely out of genuine leather. It features a two-part upper in neutral, earthy colors combined with a snakeskin pattern. There is a thin strap around the ankle, with a buckle closure which you can customize to a width that you like. Other than this business chic version, it also comes in black, and white/yellow color combinations.

In terms of comfort, the Calvin Klein Fernanda has a lightly padded footbed for that all-day wearability and a low, square heel of about one inch in height. The rubber sole on the bottom ensures that you remain well-balanced no matter what surface you find yourself on.

While the Fernanda does belong in the open toe category, we feel like this is a sufficiently covered design to be appropriate for wearing around the office. It is anything but standard, and it will serve as a great way to elevate both your business and your party looks while keeping you comfortable at the same time.

3. T. U. K. Kitty Anarchic

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86
T. U. K. Kitty Anarchic
Upper
95
Comfort
75
Style
90
Versatility
100
Durability
70
best offer for today
$69.99
Pros:

Genuine Leather Upper

Adjustable Buckle Strap

Height Boost

Cat Applique

Cute and Grunge Design

Cons:

Possible Chafing and Blisters

Stiff Upper Material

At a first glance, the T. U. K. Kitty Anarchic may seem like a kid’s shoe. And it does have features that a nice kid’s shoe would have - a comfy round toe, a wide strap across the instep, an overlay of a cartoon kitty at the front and its cute tail in the back. However, the Kitty Anarchic is not a kid’s option, and now you can too enjoy this quite unusual feline design!

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This Mary Jane is made from genuine leather for a smooth, breathable experience. It has overlays with a cat theme both at the front and at the back and a polyurethane lining inside. There is a wide strap across the instep, with a silver-toned buckle that you can adjust to however tight or loose you’d like it to be.

The Kitty Anarchic provides an elevation in height as well, with a one and a half inch heel and a one-inch platform to make prowling more fun! The outsole is made out of rubber, with a playful pattern which makes sure that you don’t slip or skid on any type of surface.

While the T. U. K. Kitty Anarchic can easily be interpreted as childish, there is also something undeniably grunge about this almost-creeper. It is dark, but also adorable, and if that is your aesthetic and you are finding it hard to dig up footwear that matches it - we are glad to say that your search is over! Slip on the Kitty Anarchic to be both rebellious and deceptively sweet at the same time!

4. Nine West Nimah

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
83
Nine West Nimah
Upper
100
Comfort
70
Style
95
Versatility
85
Durability
65
best offer for today
$72.97
Pros:

Leather and Textile Upper

Half-Brogue Half-Sandal

Adjustable Ankle Strap

1.25 Stable Heel

Elegant Quirky Design

Cons:

Can Cause Blisters

Not Enough Cushioning

Nine West is a brand which does a quick scan of the runways, and then translates the hottest, most sought-after designs into constructions which are more affordable to the everyday person. They specialize in chic and current, and also high quality. The Nine West Nimah is definitely an unusual silhouette, one which starts out as a men’s dress shoe, and kind of ends as a sandal? Either way, it is surely something you have never seen before.

Read more

The quirky upper of the Nimah is made out of a combination of leather and textile. It has a pointy toe shape, and the front half of the design is similar to a brogue, with its smooth finish and different side panels. There is also a lace-up accent at the front, which only serves for decoration.

However, the back of the Nimah is entirely open, with only an ankle strap fastening this flat to your foot. The strap has a buckle closure, which you can easily adjust to the right width. The Nimah also has a 1.25-inch heel for only a hint of elevation, and a synthetic, rubber sole to provide good balance and slip-resistance.

Given the theme of this guide, we appreciate that the Nimah is something that defies all that we know about shoes. It is a blend of two styles in one but done in such a classy, elegant way, that you can’t help but admire it. This refined flat is suitable for both work and play, and you will find that it is a wonderful option to have in mild spring and summer weather when you want to look polished, but don’t want to expose your toes.

5. Ariat Fatbaby

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
80
Ariat Fatbaby
Upper
85
Comfort
100
Style
75
Versatility
60
Durability
80
best offer for today
$79.95
Pros:

Genuine Leather Upper

4LR Cushioning Technology

Everlon Stabilizing Outsole

Intricate Fun Stitching Detail

Good for Wide Calves

Cons:

Stiff Abrasive Shaft

Poor Arch Support

Ariat is a brand dedicated to equestrian athletes. It focuses on technology and innovation to deliver balanced, high-quality footwear and apparel for this noble sport. The Ariat Fatbaby is one of their bestselling designs, a cowboy boot which outdoes itself in terms of design. We attribute its funkiness to the intricate stitching detailing all over the upper which immediately catches the eye with its bright blue color.

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The Ariat Fatbaby is made from leather for both the upper and the outsole. It has that classic western style which is great for a fun day out, and it also comes with a special comfort system that is unique to this brand. Namely, the Fatbaby has a 4LR footbed with four layers, a stabilizing lightweight shank, and which provides all-day comfort and performance.

On the bottom of this cowboy boot, there is an Everlon outsole. It combines the cushioning effect of EVA with wear resistance of rubber for a flexible, lightweight experience that doesn’t suffer from compression over time. Despite the fact that Ariat is famous for equestrian designs, the Ariat Fatbaby is not approved for horseback riding.

However, just because you can’t take these boots out on the saddle, doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy them for your other casual outings. The Ariat Fatbaby breathes that western appeal into your looks, and you will easily pair it with jeans and a denim shirt. Why not even go all out and get a cowboy hat as well, for a full-on western adventure!

6. Birkenstock Arizona Papillio

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
76
Birkenstock Arizona Papillio
Upper
65
Comfort
80
Style
60
Versatility
90
Durability
85
best offer for today
$125.00
Pros:

Birko-Flor Upper

Adjustable Buckle Straps

Anatomically Contoured Footbed

Flatform Sole

Ditzy Colorful Print

Cons:

Needs Breaking In

Not Stylish

You have probably heard of Birkenstock, a German footwear manufacturer that has been in operation for almost 250 years! Their trademarked sandal is recognized everywhere in the world and widely lauded as one of the most comfortable footwear styles in existence. The same is true for the Arizona Papillio, a version of the famous sandal that is a bit more colorful than usual.

Read more

While Birkenstocks come in a great number of colors and patterns, the Arizona Papillio doesn’t hold anything back with its vibrant print of geometric shapes and vivid colors. This sandal has an upper made from Birko-Flor, which is a Birkenstock patented synthetic leather. It is gentle on the skin and very easy to clean with only a damp cloth.

We are also in love with the two straps with buckle closures which you can adjust to fit you the way you’d like.

The best feature of this design, however, is its footbed. This is where centuries of honing the craft of footwear production come into play. The Birkenstock Arizona Papillio has a cork footbed, anatomically molded to fit the contours of your foot sole. Cork is a wonderfully pliable and moisture-wicking material; it needs a little bit of break-in time, but once it takes the shape of your foot, you won’t know a more comfortable sandal.

The Birkenstock Arizona is a legendary design. It is not the most fashion-forward, that is true, but there is something endearing in its practical style, that makes countless fashion bloggers flock to this sandal. You can try it out as well, to see what the fuss is all about. We promise that you won’t regret it.

7. Crocs Clog

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
75
Crocs Clog
Upper
70
Comfort
95
Style
55
Versatility
55
Durability
100
best offer for today
$29.96
Pros:

Signature Croslite Material

Odor Control

Water Drainage Ports

Lightweight and Bouyouant

Rotating Back Strap

Cons:

Questionable Style

Tie Dye Paint Wears Off

We are well-aware of the world-famous Crocs Clog silhouette, but for this guide we are introducing it in a print which hasn’t been seen before - a tie dye graphic version of the Clog! It is loud, it is a little crazy, but also a lot of fun at the same time. You won’t be able to resist going to the beach in these colorful clogs!

Read more

The Crocs Clog is built out of a material called Croslite, developed by the Crocs brand itself. Croslite is a closed-cell resin foam material, that is similar to both plastic and rubber and yet is neither of those. It makes sure that you are properly cushioned on all sides, and that there are no bad odors after a long day of traipsing around the city in the Clog.

This design comes with large holes on top and in the sides, which serve to provide breathability and as drainage ports, in case you decide to swim in the shoe.

The Crocs Clog is water-friendly. It won’t stretch out or lose shape in wet conditions, but it is also exceptionally lightweight; in case you lose a clog in the water, rest assured that it will float to the surface and slowly drift back to the shore. There is a strap in the back to secure your foot inside the design, but in case you’re not a fan of this, you can always rotate it to the front and wear it as a slipper.

By talking any longer about the Crocs Clog we would be venturing into gushing territory. This really is the go-to option when you’re planning on spending a lot of time on your feet in hot weather. It keeps you sweat- and odor-free, is amazingly comfortable, and with the tie-dye print, it also throws a party for your feet!

8. Sam Edelman Oda

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
73
Sam Edelman Oda
Upper
85
Comfort
75
Style
75
Versatility
75
Durability
55
best offer for today
$120.00
Pros:

Non-Abrasive Upper

Interesting Knot Accent

Multicolored

Blocky Heel Shape

Easy Slide-In Design

Cons:

3.5 Inches High

Not so Versatile

Sam Edelman is a designer who is all about affordable luxury, about combining youthful aesthetics and business sophistication. The Oda mule walks that fine line between tasteful and cute, and completely unconventional. This is mostly thanks to its upper, which is both multi-colored and made from a type of material that is not often found in footwear.

Read more

In fact, we are inclined to say that the Sam Edelman Oda is made from something that is akin to carpet material. It is a type of textile, designed as a large knot tied over the foot that will definitely catch the attention of your surroundings. At the same time, this upper is soft on the skin and easy to wear for longer periods of time.

The heel of the Oda is about three and a half inches high. This may not be comfortable for everyone, but with a little bit of practice, there is no reason you shouldn’t be able to walk in this mule for hours on end. The reason we think so is that its heel is blocky in shape, providing you with more than enough stability as you go about your day.

The Sam Edelman Oda is not a design that you can wear to work. The fact that it exposes so much of the foot, along with its interesting color choices make it more of a chic, casual mule that you can wear on a lunch date with your friends, or for a fun night out at the club. The Oda will complement all of your more stylish outfits, and you will love how easy it is to wear it!

9. Sorel Joan Rain

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
72
Sorel Joan Rain
Upper
60
Comfort
70
Style
70
Versatility
65
Durability
95
best offer for today
$239.95
Pros:

Waterproof Rubber Construction

Breathable Mesh Lining

Removable EVA Footbed

Hidden Wedge Heel

Slip-Resistant Outsole

Cons:

Stiff Upper

Heavy

Not to be confused with the Sorel Joan of Arctic, the Sorel Joan Rain is a completely different design from the same, Canadian outdoor gear brand. The Joan Rain is not a model we are used to seeing, mostly due to its rubber upper that is surprisingly stylish, and its hidden wedge heel. This option puts a twist on the classic rain boot silhouette, and we couldn’t be more taken by it.

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The Joan Rain is entirely made out of vulcanized rubber, that is tougher and more durable than regular rubber. It is completely waterproof and features a mesh lining on the inside, which promotes air circulation through the design and increases breathability.

On the inside of the Joan Rain, there is a removable EVA footbed that is perforated for even more ventilation and moisture-wicking. The outsole provides exceptional slip-resistance on wet surfaces, as it has siping and is made from a specific rubber compound for maximum traction. This bootie comes with a hidden wedge heel of almost three inches in height, and a half an inch platform in the front.

You will hardly find a more stylish rubber rain boot than the Sorel Joan Rain. It is hardcore and edgy, but also trendy and cute, especially if we take into account how it provides a height boost and elongates your figure. If you are tired of wearing the standard, bulky Wellingtons, try going for something a bit more elegant instead, like the Joan Rain.

10. Jessica Simpson Joselle

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
69
Jessica Simpson Joselle
Upper
80
Comfort
45
Style
95
Versatility
65
Durability
60
best offer for today
$14.49
Pros:

Secure Cage-Like Upper

Adjustable Ankle Strap

Open-Toe Silhouette

Rainbow Color Combo

Sweet Yet Sexy

Cons:

Four Inch Stiletto Heel

Not for Everyday Wear

Jessica Simpson is a fashion icon known for her playful, flirty, and somehow still down-to-earth style - a perfect representation of the sweet yet sexy girl next door. It is no wonder then, that she pours her vivacity and feminine style into her designs as well, as evidenced in the Joselle strappy sandal! While this design comes in several different color options, we went for this vibrant rainbow which best showcases funkiness.

Read more

The Jessica Simpson Joselle is entirely man-made. This is an open toe sandal with straps across the instep in the form of a cage which holds your foot in place. The cage prevents it from sliding forward as you walk, and your toes from spilling over the front edge of the sandal. There is also an ankle strap with a buckle closure to help make the fit right.

The heel of the Joselle is a bit high - four inches - and stiletto in shape, not making it the most comfortable to walk on for extended periods of time. However, what this sandal lacks in wearability, it certainly makes up for in looks and the wow effect it leaves on the surroundings.

The Jessica Simpson Joselle is not a design for every day. Rather, it is for a special event, such as a night out at a club, a party, or even a formal gathering - a wedding or a prom - as long as the rainbow gleam isn’t too distasteful for the hosts. While the heel height will take some getting used to, we can’t imagine a sassier statement pump than this one.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Upper

The entire point of this guide was to look for footwear that is unusual in some way. We looked for designs which are outside the norm, which make us keep glancing their way, thinking wow those are some shoes. This funky element can be achieved in two most common ways: through color and through construction.

Unorthodox color is probably the easiest to achieve. Manufacturers take a regular design, one which we know and love, such as the Crocs Clog for example, and infuse it with vibrancy, with loud, bold hues that demand attention. This is also the case with the Sam Edelman Oda, the Steve Madden Cliff, and the Birkenstock Arizona, among others - all of these options can also be found in regular color variations, aside from these crazier ones.

When it comes to wackiness in terms of construction, that is where things get a little trickier: never-before-seen silhouettes are hard to come up with, mostly because almost everything has already been done before. Original ideas are few and far between - leading footwear manufacturers know how to recognize them and use them to their advantage, and as a consequence, this originality carries great value.

Designs which are funky in construction are those such as the Nine West Nimah, the Sorel Joan, the Calvin Klein Fernanda. These come with an unexpected silhouette that we might not have encountered before, and they pique our interest, make us wonder how this shoe was built, who made it, and where we can get one of those, too.

The purpose of footwear like this, which is unconventional either in color or in construction, or both, is to freshen your looks up a bit. It is meant to revamp your style, to help you express your quirky personality, and to make everyone around you smiles when they see how daring you are in embracing new and innovative footwear choices!

Comfort

Having a funky shoe is all nice and dandy. It may find a special place in your heart, and you may find a place for it in your wardrobe, but what happens if it’s uncomfortable? What if your beloved new footwear choice pinches your toes or has a seam which digs into the side of your foot, or causes blisters?

This is why we put just as much emphasis on the comfort of a design as we do on how wacky it is.

There are several different things you should be looking at, when you’re in the process of figuring out if a design is comfortable for you or not.

  • Footbed
    The footbed is arguably the most important part when it comes to footwear comfort. It can be cushioned, either with memory foam or EVA or a similar type of material, and like that it provides cloud-like comfort to your steps, as well as shock absorption. Shock or impact absorption is necessary to protect your joints from too much impact force when you strike the ground with your heel. This type of force can cause long-term damage to your ankle, knee and even hip, and a cushioned footbed helps distribute it evenly through the shoe, preventing the damage.
    Another feature that a footbed can have are contours, or molds. This we see most prominently in the Birkenstock Arizona Papillio, which is famous for the contours in its footbed. This type of comfort ensures that your foot is gently cradled within a shoe, and that it is supported from all sides as you walk.
    Something that should also be mentioned in relation to a contoured footbed is that it can also have arch support, which is another amazing feature. Arch support reduces foot fatigue when you want to cover long distances on foot, and it also helps prevent medical ailments such as flatfoot.
  • Materials
    The reason materials are important when it comes to comfort is because they come in contact with your foot, or even your skin if you are not wearing any socks. If the material isn’t suitable, it can rub you the wrong way, cause chafing, abrasions and blisters, and overall provide quite a painful experience.
    If you want to avoid these unpleasantries, something as soft and as malleable as leather or suede would be the best option. Genuine is better, but there are examples of synthetic leather which is just as comfortable, like in the Birkenstock Arizona. Lightweight materials, such as canvas, textile and mesh are also good choices, since they are gentle on the skin and don’t cause any friction.
  • Heel
    Finally, since a few of our items have high heels, we feel the need to mention this aspect in relation to comfort. Heels make us look elegant and elongate our figure, but they are also not very comfortable to wear for longer periods of time. However, there are things you can keep in mind when you’re choosing the best heel for yourself.
    Firstly, go for heels which are thick and chunky in shape. These provide stability and a good foundation for your steps, reducing your chances of stumbling and falling. The second aspect is that, if you want that all-day wearability, you should opt for heels which are three inches or lower in height. These don’t put too much strain on the front of your foot, and enable you to remain standing (and walking, and even dancing) for longer. Heels which are four inches and higher, and especially stiletto in shape, cause pain within the first two hours of wearing.
Style

As you undoubtedly noticed while going through our list, there is no shortage of different styles. We have boots (the Ariat Fatbaby, the Sorel Joan Rain), sandals (the Jessica Simpson Joselle, the Birkenstock Papillio Arizona), sneakers (the Steve Madden Cliff), and chic, business-appropriate flats such as the Calvin Klein Fernanda and the Nine West Nimah.

We also included a water shoe (the Crocs Clog), a mule (the Sam Edelman Oda), and a Mary Jane (the T.U.K. design). There is literally a funky style out there for everyone!

Which begs the question: how to choose the right one?

Fortunately, this comes with an easy answer. All you have to do is to think about what the purpose of this footwear will be. Where will you wear it? To work? To the beach? For a casual shopping trip with your friends? On a date night out?

Wherever you’re going, make sure to keep in mind the potential dress code of the place, as well as your level of activity, and to put together an outfit accordingly. If your workplace is strict, perhaps open toes are not the best idea; if you want to be comfortable, choose flats instead of heels; if you’re going to spend time in wet conditions, definitely choose water-friendly footwear.

The second thing you should take into account is what the season is. If you are looking at colder months ahead of you, those which will be filled with rain or even snow, then boots are the way to go. Especially the Sorel Joan Rain which will keep you dry in the worst of rain showers.

But if you’re in the middle of a sweltering summer, then definitely reach for open toes, for maximum exposure of the foot. When you’re wearing confining footwear in hot and humid climates, you’re running the risk of developing bacterial or fungi infections. Lightweight, breathable and open footwear is what you need to prevent this and have happy feet all summer long.

Lastly, after considering the purpose of the design and in what period of time you will be wearing it, don’t forget to match the style of the option with your own personal style. Think about what you have in your wardrobe, and match the new pair of shoes accordingly. Even if you are going for more eccentric than your usual choices - it is still important to stay true to yourself and to put together an outfit that is well-balanced between standard and funky.

Versatility

When you have footwear that is all sorts of interesting and fun to wear, you are probably going to want to wear it anywhere you can, no? And we can’t blame you - when we’re in love with something, we want to have it with us as much as possible, and a great pair of shoes is no exception.

Versatility is thus another quality that we looked for in the items on this list. We wanted to make sure that you can enjoy your new shoes whenever and wherever you can, which is why we rated all of the designs according to this characteristic.

It is no surprise that the Steve Madden Cliff is the one which came out on top. Sneakers are ever the ubiquitous style, which you can easily match with any type of outfit - jeans, shorts, skirts or dresses - you name it! Sneakers work for practically any event, from the most relaxed of weekends all the way to an important business meeting, if it is a dress sneaker style.

Casual, laid-back designs like the Cliff, like the Birkenstock Arizona, the Sam Edelman Oda, the Sorel Joan Rain, are usually the ones which are more versatile than those clearly constructed for special occasions. These options are comfortable and can be worn in most situations, with most outfit combinations.

Less versatile is the Jessica Simpson Joselle. Its sexy, open style as well as its high heel don’t make it so practical for everyday wear, and you’d most likely enjoy this heel better in a fancy, party setting.

Of course it is a given that versatility, as many other criteria here, is a subjective matter. Nothing should stop you from wearing the footwear you want on an occasion you want to wear it on, as long as it is appropriate and won’t get you sent home from school or something similar. We encourage you to experiment, to push the boundaries a little, and to learn which footwear styles work best in which situations.

Durability

As the last part of our Criteria section, we feel that it is necessary to explain a bit more about what makes a design durable. Why do some items last longer than others? Is there anything that you can do to increase the lifespan of your shoe?

Durability depends on several factors: the type of materials a design is made of, the methods used in its construction, as well as how frequently you’re wearing it and how hard you’re being on your footwear.

Generally speaking, natural materials such as leather and suede are quite durable. They require a bit of care in the form of cleaning and conditioning, but footwear made out of these materials can last up to a decade.

Synthetic options, such as faux leather and suede, vary in durability. The Birkenstock Arizona, for example, is a very durable synthetic leather option, while most others are not, and are prone to creasing and flaking which no amount of conditioning could repair.

Lightweight materials, like canvas and textile, are even less durable; they fray easily, and tend to lose their form over time. In contrast, rubber and Croslite are extremely long lasting, and this is why rubber boots and Crocs remain in good shape for years.

Given that none of the items in our guide are meant for high-impact sports, you don’t have to worry about them wearing out too quickly. With regular wear, these options will last for a decent amount of time, especially those made from genuine leather. Don’t be afraid to use the most out of your refreshingly unique footwear! A shoe gets damaged sooner or later, there is no way around that, and you should enjoy it as much as you can before that happens.

Expert Interviews & Opinions

Most Important Criteria (According to our experts opinion)
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From Music To Footwear

Funk is actually a genre of music, which originated in the mid-1960s. African-American musicians created a new type of music by mixing jazz, soul, and R&B into something that is catchy and easy to dance to. Funky!

A Funky Icon

The queen of unconventional when it comes to fashion and style is definitely Lady Gaga. This quirky artist has been known for wearing downright shocking choices, not least of which was her meat dress. She is also famous for wearing outrageous footwear, most of which is from the brand Pleaser.

Other Factors to Consider

Ease of Use

One more thing that might be helpful when deciding what type of footwear is best for you is to consider how easy it is to use, or how easy it is to wear. There are choices which have complicated closures on them - such as the Steve Madden Cliff, which requires lacing - but there are also those effortlessly easy ones, which you simply slide into and are on your way.

What type of design you will get is entirely up to you. If you’re always in a hurry, or can’t be bothered with lacing or buckling up a shoe - opt for something easy, such as the Birkenstock Arizona Papillio or the Ariat Fatbaby. However, if you prefer more security in your design, then sneakers with lace-up closures and options with straps and buckles are better suited for you.

Bottom Line

Finally, choosing great funky footwear should be a fun and exciting experience! You get to appreciate all the bright colors and unique prints, to mix and match strange silhouettes with the volume and drape of your clothes, and you get to consider so many amazing options which you may have never encountered before.

While we laid out a lot of information in our Criteria part, don’t let any of it weigh you down. Shopping for footwear is supposed to be a stress-free, relaxing time, and this is no different. Just pick out a pair or two that you liked, consider their features and if they would fit you right, and commit to your decision! Later, when you step out in your new shoes and everyone starts raving about them, it will be more than worth it.

Frequently Asked Questions

q: What does funky actually entail?
a:

As we explained in the Upper section of our Criteria, this attribute is used to describe anything that is out of the ordinary. A design which is of a strange color, a strange shape, which is constructed in a way not often seen - which somehow draws the eye and makes us curious. This is what we mean by saying ‘funky’.

q: Can I wear these shoes to work?
a:

Some of the designs, absolutely, yes! We feel that the Calvin Klein Fernanda and the Nine West Nimah are more than appropriate for an office setting. However, not all of our quirky choices are suitable for the workplace, so make sure to use your sensibility and the potential dress code of your company to choose the right design for yourself.

q: I feel like some of these are too silly for me.
a:

Nonsense! There is no such thing as too silly when it comes to footwear. Or when it comes to fashion in general, either. Fashion is an artform, the same way music, art, writing and dance is, and as such, it is highly subjective. If anyone ends up thinking your footwear is silly, who cares? You are the only one who needs to be happy with your footwear choice, and that’s all that matters.

q: Are these shoes expensive?
a:

The items in our guide are not too expensive. They vary in cost, from medium to high, depending on their materials and brand names. However, none of them stand out from their footwear categories, and none of them come with ridiculously steep price tags of a high-end luxury brand.

q: Do top fashion brands make weird designs like these?
a:

Of course they do! In fact, we daresay that there are a lot more funky designs on the runway than there are in real life. Top fashion brands, such as Prada, Gucci, Gendi, Chanel and similar, are the innovators, the genius creators of new fashion trends, and that role carries with it a certain dose of eccentricity that is required to drive their point across. You will find plenty of ‘weird’ designs among the fashion powerhouses of the world.

Sources

  1. Ariat, 4LR Technology from Ariat,
  2. Wikipedia, Funk,