Inquiring News

Arts & Entertainment

February 10, 2013

The Scariest Shoes Of All Time

More articles by »
Written by: marvin

High Heals 2Yahoo! editors have selected this article as a favorite of 2012. It first ran on Yahoo! Shine in October 2012, and quickly garnered over 15,000 comments and became one of the 20 most-read articles from the Yahoo! Front Page this year. Readers were shocked and horrified by these treacherous backwards heels, calling them “Edward Scissorfeet” or likening them to Natalie Portman’s broken legs in “Black Swan.” Others appreciated the designer’s thought process, agreeing that lengths women will go to for vanity is, in fact, quite scary.

We’ve come across many ugly shoes in our day, but a pair dubbed “Scary Beautiful” is definitely the most treacherous footwear we’ve ever seen. The massive heels appear backwards on the foot, so the wearers feet point straight down the back, as if in ballet shoes, with their shin leaning against the front “heel” end of the design to balance. The shoes are a collaboration between artist Leanie van der Vyver and Dutch shoe designer René van den Berg, and serve as a commentary on today’s impossible standards of beauty.

Van der Vyver is South African, and recently graduated from the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam. We spotted “Scary Beautiful” on her website,, and reached out to her for the inside scoop. 

Imelda Marcos’ prized shoe collection is ruined 

”After working in fashion for seven years, and therefore being well aware of the manipulation images in fashion suffer for a perfect result, I still compare myself to them and other current beauty ideals,” Van der Vyver told Yahoo! Shine exclusively. “My frustration with my own inability to overcome these feelings of inadequacy was what brought ‘Scary Beautiful’ into fruition. The shoes formed part of my graduation project that was a result of my thesis. The conclusion of my thesis investigation was that people are not satisfied with what they look like, and that perfection, according to the beauty and fashion standards, has reached a climax. Humans are playing God by physically and metaphorically perfecting themselves. Beauty is currently at an all time climax, allowing this project to explore what lies beyond perfection. Scary Beautiful challenges current beauty ideals by inflicting an unexpected new beauty standard.”

Unsurprisingly, Van der Vyver’s “Scary Beautiful” shoes were nominated for a design prize at Gerrit Rietveld Academie. Jury members Barbara Visser, visual artist and Xander Karskens, and curator of De Hallen had this to say about the shoes: 

”The object created by Leanie expands the concept of a shoe into multiple new meanings. The beautifully made leather object is accompanied by a video registration of a girl wearing it. One observes the design forcing the wearer to develop a new way of walking, leaning forward while refining a painfully fragile balance. The jury applauds the way aesthetics, ergonomics and prosthesis merge into an awkward choreography. The craftsmanship and strong conceptual way of designing also show in another work, a ceramic tea set in which reference is made to a building in South Africa. Leanie succeeds in translating political consciousness into form and is considered by the jury to be a meaningful future designer.”

We find the clip shocking but also oddly moving. The shoes are obviously not practical, but as art they’re intriguing. We can’t help but be reminded of Lady Gaga trying to steady herself in the now-famous Alexander McQueen “Armadillo” heels in her “Bad Romance” music video. Major models like Abbey Lee Kershaw, Natasha Poly, and Sasha Pivovarova reportedly refused to wear the 12-inch McQueen heels out of fear, and were cut from the designer’s spring 2010 fashion show. In comparison, the “Scary Beautiful” shoes make the “Armadillo” heels look like sneakers, but we had a feeling the always-outdoing-herself Lady Gaga would give them a spin one day. Sure enough, Van der Vyver confirmed our suspicions. 

”Yes, on request I did actually send them to Studio Formichetti for a Lady Gaga music video, but I could not get confirmation whether she actually used them,” Van der Vyver told us. “I did not charge for her to possibly use them. I would love to sell them to a gallery.” 

We’re holding out for the “Scary Beautiful” shoes to appear in an upcoming Lady Gaga music video, but until then Van der Vyver is back home in Cape Town starting her own studio where she’ll continue investigating fashion and beauty. We’re anticipating her next creation.

About the Author



Dr. Zulma R. Toro


BOARD OF REGENTS NAMES NEW PRESIDENT FOR CENTRAL CONNECTICUT STATE UNIVERSITY  Hartford – The Board of Regents for Higher Education recently unanimously voted to select Dr. Zulma R. Toro as the thirteenth President of Ce...
by Reggie Hales


Snoop Dogg Announced his “Puff Puff Pass Tour Part 2

Snoop Dogg has announced his “Puff Puff Pass Tour Part 2.” Joining the iconic Long Beach, California rapper on the jaunt are pioneering Cleveland rap crew Bone Thugs-N- Harmony, longtime collaborator Warren G, Compton icon ...
by Reggie Hales

Entertainment icon LL Cool J performs inside the Wolf Den at Mohegan Sun as part of the property’s 20th Anniversary celebration at Mohegan Sun on October 15, 2016 in Uncasville, Connecticut.

Hip-Hop great, LL Cool J, Celebrate Mohegan Sun 20th Anniversary

Hip-Hop great, LL Cool J, Celebrate Mohegan Sun 20th Anniversary Mohegan Sun Caps Off Huge, Celebrity-Filled And Action-Packed 20th Anniversary Weekend Performances from Kevin Hart & Friends, Fergie, LL Cool J, Jessie Jame...
by Reggie Hales


Bridgeport, CT – Mayor Joe Ganim

Bridgeport Mayor: $600,000 Projected Surplus

Bridgeport Mayor Expects Erased $20 Million Deficit $600,000 Projected Surplus Bridgeport, CT – Mayor Joe Ganim announced that his administration expects that once a final audit is complete of Bridgeport’s fiscal year 2016 ...
by Reggie Hales

Mayor Joe Ganim joined Fire Chief Richard Thode and other city fire officials to mark National Fire Prevention Week by installing the 50,000th free smoke detector

Bridgeport Fire Dept. Install 50,000th

Mayor Ganim, Bridgeport Fire Dept. Mark Fire Prevention Week by Installing 50,000th Free Smoke Detector   Bridgeport, CT – Mayor Joe Ganim joined Fire Chief Richard Thode and other city fire officials to mark National Fi...
by Reggie Hales