Zendaya Masters Fashion’s Most Infamous “Ugly” Shoe

Zendaya, recipient of the Star of the Year Award, attends the CinemaCon.
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Every now and then a certain shoe choice polarizes the fashion world. There’s been the Dad sneaker. Recently, even the towering heights of platform heels have ruffled some feathers. But nothing has divided the style community quite like Maison Margiela’s Tabi shoes. Whether it’s the boots, flats, or sneakers, the Tabi has been deemed a collector’s item by some and “ugly” by others.

Pulling off the split-toe shoe takes some courage and a certain styling know-how that not many possess. So it may not come as a shock, then, that someone like Zendaya would try their hand at styling the controversial shoe.

In an Instagram story posted on Thursday, the actress shared a snap wearing the ballet flat Tabi in white leather. While we couldn’t see past Zendaya’s waist, the shoe was certainly the focal point of the post. Unlike the more popular boot style, the ballet flat Tabi is fairly minimal—there is a single stitch motif and a small bow-like detail at the toe.


However controversial Zendaya’s choice may be, it actually taps into two footwear trends we’ve seen recently. Chalk it up to comfort or, perhaps, the influence of “Stealth Wealth” but ballet flats have been everywhere and on everyone—from Jennifer Lawrence to Sofia Richie, Katie Holmes to Bella Hadid.

And, of course, the Tabi silhouette has seen another rise in popularity over the past few years—especially amongst a younger crowd and a select, but stylish, crew of celebrities. For some time, the shoe was reserved for a more avant-garde client (Chloë Sevigny has long been a proponent), but it also has become a go-to for Cardi B, Kylie Jenner, and Rihanna. They even made an appearance during season one of Emily In Paris.

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The Tabi’s split-toe look has been dubbed everything from “ugly-chic” to “camel-toe couture,” so it’s only fate that it has become one of Margiela’s best-selling designs nearly three decades after its inception. Add in Zendaya’s seal of approval, and it seems like the Tabi isn’t going anywhere.

Shop Zendaya’s Look