Wario is a fashion icon. Even professional stylist Peter Nguyen of The Essential Man agrees it’s true. But one thing that Nguyen and I disagree on is Wario’s shoes.
Sure, Nguyen is an expert in men’s fashion who knows more about clothes than I know about anything, and I’m an almost 30-year-old man who works in sweatpants daily. But my point is: Fuck yeah, Wario shoes. I like ‘em.
If you’ve never looked at Wario’s shoes, you’re in for a treat. Wario’s traditional shoe is a pointed green clog. It looks like he stole Genie’s shoes from Aladdin (something Wario would definitely do) and then spray-painted them green — a color that does not match his yellow and purple overalls at all (also pretty on-brand for Wario).
Wario’s radical shoes sometimes change colors, appearing as purple in his iconic biker costume and magenta in his Wario Man costume. Sometimes they’re black, and they’ve even been brown. He’s even got spiked versions of his crooked shoes for playing golf, and fancy curved shoes for when he’s riding a horse. Wario loses nearly every other identifying part of his wardrobe when he’s on a horse, but the shoes have to stay. Some of the only times you see Wario without his iconic clogs are when he’s dressed to climb a mountain or pretending to be a cowboy. Why extreme sports are an exception to Wario’s shoe rule is a subtlety we’ll never understand.
We’ve learned a lot about Wario in the past month, but I think his shoes are the true window into his soul. Shoes tell us a lot about a man. Mario has been wearing those ugly brown kicks for years, but they’re functional — they must have great traction, and they’re soiled with Goomba juice to strike fear into his enemies. Bowser wears those sick-ass metal shoes for his wedding to Princess Peach, probably because there’s a lot of rocks in his castle and even the king of all Koopas wouldn’t want to step on those.
Wario’s outfits are powerful and, occasionally, intimidating. But his shoes are silly and weird. Wario sees that crucial need to balance his brand, so he keeps himself humble with his footwear. It takes a confident man to wear a shoe like Wario does, especially in as many different occasions as he wears them.
But that’s what we love about Wario. He can be a fashion icon. And he can also say, “These are my goddamn shoes, and I take them with me wherever I go.” Do they look functional? Are they stylish? Absolutely not. But they’re Wario. And that’s why he’ll never take them off.