Companies and Brands

7 Worst Shoe Brands to Avoid

Hands holding different shoes on isolated background
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Many shoppers are willing to pay a pretty penny for their footwear, especially from luxurious designer brands or for vintage styles you can’t find anywhere else. However, some shoe brands simply do not deliver when it comes to quality, customer service, and affordable price points.

If you’re in the market for a new pair of shoes, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the right materials and costs that suit your needs as a shopper. Here are the top seven worst shoe brands you should avoid at all costs.

1. Skechers

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Many customers rely on Skechers for affordable shoes.
  • Parent organization: Skechers USA Inc
  • Founded: 1992

Poor quality materials

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With its cheap prices, Skechers does use lower-quality materials than some other brands.

Skechers has long been a household favorite when it comes to footwear. This affordable shoe brand is especially popular for its children’s shoes, sporty styles, and comfortable options. However, this multi-international footwear and apparel company — the third-largest footwear brand in the U.S. — is not without its faults.

While countless consumers praise Skechers for its comfort, others are turned off by its apparent poor quality and lack of sustainable materials. For example, some customers claimed that their Skechers shoes fell apart within just a few days of purchasing, while others noted the brand’s customer service was extremely unhelpful. These aren’t issues you’d want to run into as a paying customer.

2. UGGs

warm brown ugg boots on snow in cold winter
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Uggs are meant to keep your feet warm even in the coldest temperatures and winter conditions.
  • Parent organization: Deckers Brands
  • Founded: 1978

Bad arch support

Young adult male with his muscle pain during running. runner man having leg ache due to Plantar fasciitis. Sports injuries and medical concept
Source: Jo Panuwat D / Shutterstock.com
Plantar fasciitis is a common condition that can be caused by low-quality footwear.

UGGs are beloved boots known for their comfort and versatility. Not only do they keep your feet warm during the colder months, but they also give you the physical impression that you’re walking on a cloud. In other words, they’re extremely cozy and come in a variety of styles and colors.

UGGs were once one of the most popular shoes on the market, and they’ve recently made a comeback over the last few years. However, UGGs are actually not the best shoes for your feet. These fuzzy winter boots can negatively affect your feet because they offer little to no support for your arches. Over time, wearing UGG boots can lead to strained or overstretched ligaments and tendons, which can cause you to develop sore legs, tired feet, plantar fasciitis, and other painful conditions, according to a podiatrist.

If that’s not enough to turn you away, UGGs also use repurposed wool, which can give the boot a rough feel. Additionally, many customers have claimed they have ordered UGG boots only to never receive them or receive the wrong ones. When dealing with customer service, some of these shoppers were blamed by representatives and never received a full refund, according to several reviews. 

3. Michael Kors

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Michael Kors is a popular designer luxury brand.
  • Parent organization: Capri Holdings
  • Founded: 1981

Painful shoes

Woman with injured foot
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Wearing tight or poorly-made shoes can cause blisters and foot pain, which is often the case with Michael Kors shoes.

Michael Kors is a luxury designer brand that sells handbags, watches, shoes, clothing, and other accessories. The brand markets both women’s and men’s products. In terms of shoes, you can find sneakers, sandals, boots, pumps, and other footwear for a pretty steep price. While these items are eye-catching (as most designer products are), they have a bad reputation for being low quality — especially for the price you have to pay as a consumer. You would expect the expensive product to deliver in terms of sustainable materials and comfortability. However, many reviewers say the shoes are uncomfortable and not true to size.

While there’s a popular saying that “beauty is pain,” you shouldn’t have to suffer from deep blisters that make it nearly impossible to walk — especially not after paying a hefty price for your shoes. One of the top customer complaints stresses how much the shoes hurt, with some even saying they had such bad blisters that they never wanted to wear the shoe again, giving up after one single experience with it.

Not only that, but many customers also stated that customer service was a hassle to deal with. Attempting to secure a refund or fix a messed-up order felt like an impossible feat for some unsatisfied shoppers.

4. Kenneth Cole

Groom in black grey checkered wedding suit, white shirt, sitting on the chair and tied shoelaces on brown leather shoes. Business clothing, men's style.
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Kenneth Cole markets itself as a place to “find your urban uniform.”
  • Parent organization: Kenneth Cole Productions, Inc.
  • Founded: 1982

Steep price

Money
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Many Kenneth Cole customers feel the brand’s prices are too high for the products’ lack of quality.

Kenneth Cole is an American fashion brand that markets itself as a place to “find your urban uniform.” Kenneth Cole also sells footwear for both men and women — but their shoes are some of the worst on the market, according to many customers.

First, the prices are relatively high, with a pair of boots reaching over $300 and men’s loafers over $200. Not only that, but some people feel you aren’t getting what you pay for in terms of quality. At first glance, these shoes are attractive and trendy. However, many people claim they’re not made as well as other shoe brands. In fact, this is a common complaint for non-footwear companies. Ideally, if you want to purchase a great pair of shoes, you should look elsewhere rather than at a designer fashion brand.

More customer complaints mention the shoes suffer wear and tear after just a few months of use, so much so that they require replacement. For such expensive shoes, this isn’t as sustainable of a purchase as you can make with other, more reliable shoe brands. Furthermore, its leather products are made up of synthetic leather, with many items looking like a different color than portrayed online.

5. AND1

Toronto Raptors v Philadelphia 76ers
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AND1 was once a reliable and competitive sports shoe brand.
  • Parent organization: L2M Brands, LLC
  • Founded: 1993

Downfall of a top brand

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AND1 was once a major competitor to Nike, but the shoe brand has since lost its appeal.

AND1 was once a popular and thriving shoe brand, but many loyal customers have watched the downfall of this basketball apparel company over the years. From a lack of product diversification to financial restraints that prevented it from keeping up with its competitors, AND1 is not the brand it used to be. In fact, it went from rivaling Nike to becoming a Walmart shoe brand. And while there are many reasons to avoid Nike shoes, unlike AND1, the brand is still a top contender in its market. 

While you can purchase AND1 shoes in Walmart for a cheap price, you’ll likely notice the low quality and lack of support these shoes offer. In fact, some consumers recommended against playing basketball in these shoes (which is what they’re meant for!), as the outcome could be detrimental to your feet. However, some of the newer, more expensive varieties of AND1 shoes still appeal to many loyal customers.

6. ALDO

Hands holding different shoes on isolated background
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ALDO sells a variety of shoes and staples.
  • Parent organization: The ALDO Group
  • Founded: 1972

Low-quality products

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Many ALDO customers complained that their shoes fell apart shortly after purchasing them.

ALDO is a Canadian multinational brand that sells shoes and other accessories. Marketed as the destination for style-conscious shoppers, ALDO provides affordable footwear to its customers. 

However, the brand has a bad reputation for its low-quality products. For instance, many customers complained that their shoes would fall apart after just a few wears, while others claimed the coloring of their shoes bled onto other surfaces when wet. Not only that, but the shoe sizes tend to run much smaller than their listed sizes, leading to many dissatisfied shoppers.

That being said, you would think that good customer service would make up for such negative experiences. However, poor quality of service is yet another common complaint of this brand, according to countless reviews.

7. Nine West

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Nine West is a chain retailer selling shoes and other accessories.
  • Parent organizations: Nine West Holdings, Authentic Brands Group 
  • Founded: 1973

Uncomfortable footwear

Uncomfortable Shoes Blister Pain. Woman With Sore Feet
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Nine West is often criticized for its uncomfortable footwear.

Nine West is a women’s fashion company that sells shoes, heels, boots, handbags, and other accessories. After filing for bankruptcy in 2018, the company has made some changes to its product offerings. However, this did not do them any good.

Nine West is another shoe brand with a poor reputation for its bad customer service and uncomfortable footwear. When you’re purchasing shoes, you want to be able to wear them without writhing in pain. However, many customers noted the stiffness and lack of support. The shoes offered them causing blisters and other painful foot problems.

Not only that, but if you aren’t satisfied with your purchase, you might only receive a refund in the form of a gift card to compensate for the dissatisfaction. This depends on the order and the reason for a refund. Additionally, Nine West’s shoes are made of low-quality materials for their price point.

When you’re paying over $150 for a pair of boots, you expect the quality to be of the essence. However, this unfortunately is not the case for most of Nine West shoes. In other words, you don’t get what you pay for.

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