Toe-Tally Artistic: Exploring 35+ Funky Footwear Masterpieces
Shoes: They weren’t just made for walking; they were also made to be works of art displayed in a museum! Today, ladies and gentlemen, we will show you the most unique pairs of shoes by amazing designers that were collected and showcased in the Virtual Shoe Museum by connector, collector, and curator Liza Snook.
This museum has got it all: wooden crocs, boat-shaped platform mules, boots made from a recycled IKEA bag, and many more one-of-a-kind footwear for all the fashion and art lovers out there to enjoy. You are not gonna see these shoes at your local mall anytime soon, so we invite you to take a seat and have a look at this list. Get ready, set, scroll!
Let Them Wear Cake!
The late fashion designer Vivienne Westwood once said, “Shoes must have very high heels and platforms to put women’s beauty on a pedestal.” These pink heels, designed by Joyce De Gruiter, are definitely high enough to do so. Wow, we’re not surprised they’re called ‘Killer Heels.’
These shoes look pretty hard to strut around in, but if we were given the opportunity to try them on, we wouldn’t hesitate to say yes, please! The color is so pretty in pink, and the cake is such a cool design. Whoever does get to wear them better have a good balance, though.
We present to you Wooden carved Crocs clogs by designer Ruben Lekkerkerker. They’re probably not as comfy as a plastic pair of Crocs, but we’re not gonna lie; these look more fashionable. We wish we could buy a pair of these bad boys in-store.
You know what would make these shoes even better is if they came with wooden charms to personalize them. Other than that, these are very creative and excellently carved. The only direction this designer’s career is going in is up!
Boots with Roots
This pair of boots with roots sculpture called “Uprooted” is the work of artists Martin & Muñoz. Here, we thought that boots were just the ultimate fashion statement, but now we can see they are also the ultimate art piece.
Unlike the boots in Nancy Sinatra’s hit song, these boots weren’t made for walkin’. These boots are to be looked at, and we are perfectly happy to stare at this incredible sculpture that, according to the website, was inspired by a painting by Belgian surreal artist René Magritte.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Your Shopping Bag
Ooh la la, look at these boots made from recycled IKEA bags created by footwear designer Hideki Sato. We love an eco-friendly king. Another thing that we love is the bows made from the bag’s handles. We wish we could click and add this to a shopping cart!
We’re pretty certain there are plenty of folks out there with a stash of those iconic IKEA shopping bags lying around at home, just waiting to be transformed into a fabulous pair of open-toe shoes. Let’s turn those bags into chic footwear!
Aww, look how adorable and fun these shoes are. The creative mind behind these shoes that are part of a collection called ‘Giant-baby’ is talented designer Lyujie Liu. These colorful shoes to us just scream pure joy and comfort. Shall we compare thee shoes to a Summer’s day?
If we could walk in these for a day, we would feel like, to quote the hit song, “I’m walking on sunshine, woooah, and don’t it feel good!” It would be really hard to be in a bad mood while wearing shoes called ‘Optimistic Personality.’
Helping the Environment One Step at a Time
Marilyn Monroe once said, “Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world.” Well, these give a girl the right shoes, and she can make the world green. These ‘Rewild the Run’ outsoles were designed to pick up seeds and redistribute them wherever the wearer goes.
These outsoles were designed and 3D printed by London-based designer Kiki Grammatopoulos to go over a person’s running shoes. They are not actually on the market, but it would be super-duper cool to have them to help out the environment.
Off With Their Toes
Here we have Viva La Death by Designer Into Into. Long live the death shoes! We know what scary time of year these heels would be perfect for, and that would be Halloween. These could turn any outfit from drab to fab-ulously spooky.
Christian Louboutin said, “If you look at a shoe and immediately say it looks very comfortable, in terms of design, it is not going to excite me.” Well, we think it’s safe to say these are far from boring and comfortable— they would probably really impress the French designer.
We are head over heels in love with these Flower Boots! Thomas Devos is bringing the outside onto boots with this design inspired by flower artist and botanical sculptor Makoto Azuma. Warning: These may not be real flowers, but they might still attract bees.
The designer has many models on his Instagram rocking his creation, and we must say these boots elevate an outfit. It would be incredible to see these shoes strutting down a runway and getting their time to shine during a Spring fashion show!
This pair of gold leather balanced boat-shaped platform mules brought to you by designer Amara Hark-Weber are out of this world. It’s part of a collection she has named ‘Muscle Memory’ that delves into how movement can evoke memories of past events and emotions.
If someone ever utters the word boat shoes, we will no longer be thinking of the leather shoes designed to be worn on a boat; we will be picturing these unique boat-shaped shoes that were given the name Balance. These are beautiful!
Red Suede Shoes
This “Equilibrium” shoe over here is, in the words of DJ Khaled, “Anotha one” of Amara Hark-Weber’s designs that is included in the ‘Muscle Memory’ collection. In this picture, it may look like the model twisted her ankle, but don’t worry; that is just another way to walk with the shoe. It’s so cool, right?
We are going to change Elvis Presley’s lyrics to; “Don’t you step on my red suede shoes” ’cause they are amazing. It would probably take a while to learn how to walk in these, but if we got the chance, we would practice for hours to show off these futuristic ankle boots.
Gimme, gimme, gimme, these half stiletto and half brogue shoes! We are truly mesmerized by this design. Who knew it was possible for two shoes to be combined to make one stylish shoe—the brilliant and creative designer Kobi Levi that is who!
‘Counterpart’ shoes; added to wish list even though Kobi’s shoes are limited edition, but one can dream. The fashion world would be an even better place if more of these shoes were created, don’t you think? We will shout this from the rooftops; these shoes are gorge!
Snow White and the Shoe Design
Mirror, Mirror on the wall, what’s the fairest shoe of them all? It is this Snow White shoe inspired by the fairytale Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs that was designed by Tran Ngoc Yen. This creation is absolutely breathtaking!
This shoe has got the poisoned apple, the glass coffin, the queen’s collar, and her crown in the collar from the story included in the design. Wow, just wow, these shoes are just as magical as the fairytale. Bravo to the designer.
What can a person do with lace, satin fabric, glitter, and a casted heel? They can make this masterpiece! This is part of designer Marjolijn van Agt’s lovely ‘SPLIT’ collection that displays her girly-girly and rebellious side. Are you impressed ’cause we certainly are.
These shoes may just look like pretty sculptures, but they are actually wearable. One might assume that they are almost impossible to walk in, but it can be done—models did, and we would also volunteer as tribute to walk in them.
The Shoe of Music
Introducing: 1,2 play on my shoe! 3,4 Oh wow, how we adore the name and design created by Elisabeth Thorsen. This shoe is included in her collection, ‘music shoes,’ and was made using embroidered vintage tablecloth and chair legs. How stunning!
People say you can’t buy happiness, but if we could buy this art piece, then we say it could be possible! Who wouldn’t be content if they owned a shoe with harp strings attached to it? It is so awesome.
Dripping with Paint
Put your hands together for another divine design by Kobi Levi. Forget saying yes to the dress; we would say I do if we were asked if we wanted to buy this shoe that took inspiration from the acrylic pour painting technique for its flowy design.
If loving these shoes was a crime, then we would be found guilty. These slip-on shoes titled ‘Spill’ are just so fun and vibrant. We can see, like all of these shoes, they were crafted with love by a creative genius.
“What’s this? It’s an art project. Okay, I like it, Picasso.” That sound that went viral on TikTok comes to mind when we look at these abstract handmade leather men’s shoes known as ‘Mondrian shoes’ by Ike van der Plas.
For the abstract design and geometric pattern on the shoes, the footwear designer Ike actually looked to artist Piet Mondriaan for inspiration. Well, the design is equally captivating on a canvas as on a pair of men’s shoes. Color us impressed!
This is ‘Disassemble Me #2’, designed by Amber Ambrose Aurèle. It’s made of recycled plexiglass leather strapping and has a rainbow sock shoe that you can remove. Hmm, we wonder if it is possible to order five pairs of these?
You’ll be amazed when we tell you that, according to the designer, you can take it apart and reassemble it yourself. That sounds like fun; it’s almost like Legos but for fashion-loving people. Ooh, that would entertain us for hours.
Shine Bright Like a Diamond
Daisies,’ designed by Joe Snacken, has our whole heart. These boots, which include Japanese artist Takashi Murakami’s smiling flowers and a mirror finish, would probably feel like you are wearing disco balls on your feet. Who wouldn’t want to put their best foot forward in these?
People always say that diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but scratch that, these perfect shiny boots would be the new best friend if they were for sale all over the world. All we want for Christmas is your boots!
Roxanne Lieckens came to impress with her heelless boots that look like a teabag with a tea cup-shaped mule. You will find these in her collection ‘Rox, you’re on mute!’ We would be lying if we said we wouldn’t want to take a stroll in these.
According to Roxanne, this collection was born during her time at home during the pandemic, as she gets inspired by her surroundings. So, one good thing came out of those hard times: this fantastic design. Anyway, now we want these shoes and a nice warm cup of tea.
Next up we have got an egg-cellent pair of shoes to show you. This crackle-patterned shoe with the color of an egg yolk is the work of designer Daniel Charkow. These ‘Nonsense’ heels are part of his ‘Evolution to Absurdity’ collection.
We are “cracking up” at the ‘egg cup’ in the wedge—now one can walk on eggshells around people in a shoe that actually has an egg on it. Ok, we’ll stop with the egg puns, but we won’t stop admiring this design.
Christian Louboutin said, “For me, there ain’t no heel high enough.” Well, we think this heel attached to this ‘Babylon’ shoe designed by Amber Ambrose Aurele and Judith van Vliet is the perfect height. If someone were wearing these, we would make shoe contact before we made eye contact.
You might be interested to know that the two shoe designers who collaborated on this project utilized leftover materials from prior collections, including pink fabric from recycled PET bottles and flowers made from plastic bottles. Those are two sustainable queens.
Here we have the cutest pair of platform mules we have ever seen. No need to call the fashion police today as these are a fashion do! These ‘Hana’ shoes are the brainchild of designer Karin Maas and are one of the four pairs in her graduation collection, ‘K [ar] instugi.’
There is a cute caption, “My fashion motto? When in doubt, wear fabulous shoes.” These would be the shoes to pick, in our opinion, because roses are red, violets are blue, and we love the flowers on the design of the shoe!
Get ready to see the most glamorous, quirky shoes by shoe designer Mihai Albu. These wearable optical illusion ‘Mirror Boots’ are a real showstopper. We are obsessed with these boots, especially the fabulous green and gold color: Hashtag, shoe goals.
Victoria Beckham once said, “I can’t concentrate in flats.” Well, then, someone ought to send her a pair of these stunners. They would certainly turn more than a few heads if one had to walk around in them. They aren’t regular shoes; they are cool shoes. Wink-wink.
Pretty as a Picture Frame
The designer; Joline Vandenheulen, the design; shoes with canvas found at a flea market. This is what you get when a creative person has a recycling material study for their first-year assignment. Wowee, we would love to see more of her designs—we bet they would be just as astounding as this.
There is a quote, “Life is too short to wear boring shoes.” Yeah, we can safely say that these shoes are far from boring. They are quirky, and we are here for it—three cheers for the designer and these ‘Framed’ shoes.
What do you get when you mix fashion and science? You get ‘Sweat’ by Alice Potts. These ballet pointe shoes have crystals made with sweat—yep, you read that right. Who knew that could make something so beautiful? Science is cool, guys.
We know the saying this was made with blood, sweat, and tears, but we never thought that someone would take the sweat part literally. We’re not mad at it, though, it is so stunning. We love Sweat—that sounds weird, but it’s true, we love these shoes.
The Stone Shoe
Have you ever gotten a stone stuck in your shoe? It’s most uncomfortable. Well, this design, ‘Bondage’ by Caroline Verbruggehe, does not have one in a shoe; it has it wrapped around the bottom. Now that we can live with.
The designer Caroline made this for a recycling study for the Academy of Fine Arts. She did a great job. People say that laughter is the best medicine, but to that, we say no sir, the best medicine is looking at quirky shoe designs like this one here.
Meet Ice Berg, the stellar handiwork of designer WXY. Is it just us, or is this reminiscent of a ski lift? Hmm, we’re not sure if that is what they were going for, but it looks really cool either way.
The designer used two materials for their awesome creation: vegetable-tanned Italian leather, ooh fancy, and metal. The print on the heels is just breathtaking, we love it so so much. Now say it with us; “Shoe love is true love.”
If you have been “sole” searching for the perfect pair of psychedelic heels, then look no further; we’ve got ‘Psychedelic Dreams’ designed by Floor Hermes over here. These shoes are one of four pairs in their ‘Psychedelic Dreams’ collection. They are totally groovy man.
The late French designer Roger Vivier once said, “To wear dreams on one’s feet is to begin to give reality to one’s dreams.” Right on! If we had to wear these psychedelic dream shoes, then our dreams would come true.
Who are we? Shoe lovers! And what do we want? We really want to purchase these ‘Button boot—Brussels’ designed by Rémi Vergnanini. These chunky sneakers with vintage leather, plastic bags, buckles, lace, metal studs, straps, and paint are very fashionable.
If the designer were to announce these were for sale, we bet a bunch of sneakerheads would line up around the block to buy these. Who would say no to styling these babies with their streetwear? We wish these could magically make its way from the screen to us.
This is ‘Shoetribe 1/5’ created by Marlou Browaeys; it is part of her wonderful ‘SHOETRIBE’ collection. Marilyn Monroe once said, “If I ever let my head down, it will be to admire my shoes.” That would be us if we wore these.
The designer used three materials: patent leather, EVA [Ethylene – vinyl acetate], and pearls to make a design that, according to her, was inspired by various ethnic masks. This is just incredibly striking. We are entranced by what she has made.
This is ‘Lateral thinking’ designed by René van den Berg. It is the very first sculpture in his ‘OH. MY. EVOLUTION’ 2017 collection. This shoe-related sculpture is marvelous. There is a quote, “When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece.”
René is like a wizard, but instead of using a wand, he uses Carbon fiber and PU [Polyurethrane] hard foam to create magic. He slayed this design—we wish they were wearable; they would look sublime with a pair of jeans.
Ankle Boots with a Twist
Earlier in this post, we showed you 1, 2 play on my shoe designed by Elisabeth Thorsen. Now we get to marvel at another creation of hers; ‘Orthopedic’, an ankle boot with a gorgeous, embroidered pattern, a metal brace, and a calf cuff.
Ankle boots have been a wardrobe essential for a long time, but we’ve never seen a designer attach a brace to it. Well, we shouldn’t be that surprised by such a quirky design, this is a list of one-of-a-kind shoes after all.
Here we have ‘Eccentric,’ a shoe that most definitely lives up to its name, by designer Suhandan Özay Demirkan. Her Fantasy Shoes Shibori [ Japanese dye technique] collection includes this design. To us, these look like a sculpture of cowgirl boots with tissue paper; it is eccentric and extraordinary.
There is a quote by American painter Jackson Pollock that goes, “When I say artist, I mean the man who is building things, some with a brush, some with a shovel, some choose a pen.” In this case, the artist chose paper. The late designer honestly had a gift.
What do we have here? Oh, it is just the coolest boots in the world! Guess love at first sight does exist—yes we are in love with these hand-painted boots, and we have designer Chris Francis to thank for making these punk-rock beauties.
These patterned boots would make such a fantastic accessory to wear with any outfit to go to a rock concert, you know if it is not that hard or painful to walk in, but like people say, “Beauty is pain.”
Fashion editor Carine Roitfeld once stated, “Always wear high heels. Yes, they give you power.” These heels that are part of designer Ying Ou’s LCF graduation collection, ‘Awakenings,’ would make us feel powerful and stylish if we had to put them on.
We know we were all taught growing up that it is rude to stare, but if we had to see someone wearing this gorgeous footwear in public, we would not be able to help ourselves. These shoes are a thing of beauty.
This here is ‘Aladdin’s shoe,’ by Bar Siloni. These clogs with the pointy tips were, telling by the name, inspired by the Disney character Aladdin’s pointy shoes that he wore as Prince Ali in the film. We adore Aladdin and clogs, so we want a pair of these cool thangs.
It’s fascinating to know that these shoes were created with veg tan leather and Aniline dye and made at a course held by Eliora Lemmer Ginsburg. We just wanted to say that if someone does wear these wet molded leather clogs out and about, they must be careful not to get too close to people. They’re still gorge, though.
Walking on Stilts
Calling all platform and clog lovers, check out these wooden platform sandal clogs that have leather strapping that was inspired by Chopines. We bet designer Amara Hark-Weber would have a fan in people who like walking in shoes that are like stilts.
Did you know that chopines were popular in the 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries amongst women to protect their long dresses and shoes from getting dirty? If it weren’t for that shoe design serving as the designer’s inspiration, we probably would’ve never gotten this splendid creation.
Stepping into Comfort
Behold Roxanne Liecken’s avant-garde toe-knob sandals that are part of her ‘Rox, You’re On Mute!’ collection. We are really digging the sphere foam heel and the blue bathrobe straps that have her collection name embroidered onto them. We would one hundred percent wear these.
We seriously think that all designers should look to Roxanne for shoe inspo. Instead of designing a shoe with leather straps, they should use terry cloth like she did. Not only is it comfortable, but it looks quite stylish – that’s all we could ever want in a shoe design; comfort and style.
Sculpted With Love
This is ‘A mirror with no surface,’ a sculpture crafted by visionary footwear designer Masaya Kushino for his collection ‘Flowers of Fading Memory’ The shoes are very chic, and the feet are just wow – look at that attention to detail!
Albert Einstein once said, “Creativity is seeing what everyone else has seen, and thinking what no one else has thought.” Yeah, we wouldn’t have looked at this shoe and thought to attach it to a foot sculpture. We are looking at the work of one creative individual.
Want to see an eccentric shoe inspired by traditional Mongolian garments? Here you go; this is Nomads crafted by footwear designer Oyundelger Mashbat. English musician Graham Coxon said, “I’ve always looked at shoes as being immensely beautiful things.” These raised platform shoes are indeed immensely beautiful.
If you had told us a couple of years ago that someone was going to design a platform shoe with decorated leg garters and a metal pendulum at the heel, we would have never believed you, but here we are. It is quite a sight to behold.
Boots on a Silver Platter
If you were dazzled by Oyundelger Mashbat’s ‘Nomads’ shoes, then get excited because we have another design that is included in the collection. This time Oyundelger made cut-out boots on a silver platform inspired by Mongolian patterned silver plates. These are some stylin’ boots.
This is our favorite pair of shoes in the designer’s collection. Don’t get us wrong, we still really like the other shoes we showed you, but the heart wants what it wants, and we would want this pair with the leather patchwork and silver patterned platform.
“Shoes are like books every pair tells a story.” ‘She’ by Deborah Kiwi illustrates how many women still don’t have equal rights in society today and how they are often silenced. The protruding tip of the shoe represents a straitjacket, which alludes to controlling and holding back women, and the laces on the shoes add a sense of insanity.
Woah, when we first looked at this design we just thought, oh wow we love the color and the laces with the bows are so cute. But this shoe is more than the quirky design. We heart this designer.
Yaas queen, slay – designer Ying Ou is clearly an expert in her field of work. These metal shoes that are part of her collection, ‘Awakenings,’ are gorgeous, stunning, amazing, and, well you get it, they are wonderful. We bet we’ll see her name on a list of top shoe designers one day.
People say chase your dreams – our dream is to have these ‘Awakenings’ shoes, so then we must make it our mission to try and get our hands on a pair of these. To quote the corn kid from TikTok, “I can’t imagine a more beautiful thing.”
Writer Lailah Gifty Akita said, “There is beauty and power in unity.” Yes, that is true – we are sure designer Jo Cope would strongly agree with that as she has designed this ‘Human Race – Walk with me” shoe for her project, “Skin Sale.”
You know the saying, “Teamwork makes the dream work.” Well, we believe that now more than ever after seeing this shoe designed for three people to walk in. Hey, this is actually like a shoe version of a three-person bicycle, that is so awesome. Love it.
Stuck in the Corner
We are wrapping up this post with ‘Spaces of Corners 4’ by designer Shanshan Yang. It is one of six pairs of casted concrete shoes that are included in the LCF graduation collection. If you like to take refuge in a corner space, then you’ll like this design.
This collection was inspired by how the designer feels about being in the corner space. Someone might wish this had a bit of color or sparkle, but this wasn’t designed to impress fashionistas. “The aim of art is not to represent the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.” – Aristotle.