Have You Tried The Wrong Shoe Theory?

It turns out the wrong shoe, is actually the right shoe!

Image via Instagram, @allisonbornstein

Have you ever thought that your outfit is just a little meh? It all goes together, it’s comfortable, and it looks cute – it’s just missing that little something.

Maybe the right answer to your fashion struggles, is actually the wrong answer.

Fashion TikTokers have introduced a new styling tip to help you get that effortless street style look, called the wrong shoe theory. And they swear by it! With #wrongshoetheory getting over 27 million views, it seems like Gen Z are on to something.


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It’s actually a pretty simple concept. When you’re picking out an outfit instead of choosing the shoe that you think perfectly fits the colour palette and aesthetic of your ensemble, throw rules out the window and try something that would generally be thought of as “the wrong shoe”.

For example; you’re going out to brunch with the girls. It’s a warm summer afternoon and you are ready to finally break out your flowy floral dress. You decide to pair it with a dainty crochet cardigan to give the fit a little more detail. And then you put on a pair of simple ballet flats.

Now don’t get me wrong, this is a lovely outfit. But it’s safe. If you want to get that Hailey Bieber chic vibe, try swapping out the delicate pumps for chunky sneakers. Or maybe a statement cowboy boot. This fit is a lot more interesting and worthy of a paparazzi moment.

You can even flip it and pair a more dressy shoe with a casual look. Next time you are wearing a laidback jeans and t-shirt combo try out a girly sling back, or strappy sandal to give a little pizzazz to your look.

The theory originally came from the mind of wardrobe consultant Allison Bornstein. The idea is that by mixing and matching different aesthetics in one look, it makes the outfit dynamic.


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♬ original sound – Allison Bornstein

In a video of her showing off the wrong shoe theory Allison said;

“A shoe can really take a look from being obvious and straightforward to more interesting and unique.”

A lot of people will wear sneakers for comfort and convenience and then style the rest of the outfit around this need for functionality. Often, this results in a sporty dressed down look making the shoes look more like a need than a choice. By adding runners to an outfit you already like it makes them a choice, and integrates them into the outfit.

“This is why I think the wrong shoe theory is so important. It sort of signals that there is some intention and choice, and therefore it gives your look personality,” she said in a TikTok video.

Next time you’re pulling a look together, try to step out of your comfort zone and switch up your shoes. It may not work every time, but it’s a fun experiment that can really give you a fresh look. If being fashionable is wrong, we don’t want to be right!