After more than a year of resisting the stubborn phenomenon that plowed its way from the depths of Australia to the shoe racks of ladies and adventurous men all over the world, I finally caved in: Over Winter Break, I purchased my first pair of Uggs – the infamous boots that leave guys scratching their heads and make even the most scantily clad girls a little warmer in the midst of winter’s coastal chills.
So what’s the deal behind the only shoes in modern history that seem to incite passionate debate between guys and girls alike? Well, if a riveting military past, a growing shift away from the mainstream and heaps of podiatric comfort strike your fancy, then the answer is more than you think.
Though Uggs may invoke mountain-woman fantasies for some and provide easy slip-on, slip-off convenience for most, their ability to turn everything south of the knees into clunky masses of drab, tan ugliness make this now-fading fad a walking nightmare for many – not that it ever mattered much. A year ago, most styles and colors were on back order for months, leaving the likelihood of obtaining your desired pair in any size below a 10 fairly hopeless, not to mention the emergence of copycat boots in brands from Steve Madden to Kmart that obliterated the value of their 200-bucks-a-pop predecessors.
Uggs had a bleak future coming, the wheels of fate set in motion at their very birth. Originating as simple pieces of sheepskin sewn together in the shape of a boot, the Uggs of yesteryear kept Aussie pilots warm while fighting the Germans during World War I. Rumor has it that the term “Ugg” was coined as shorthand for “ugly boots.” Needless to say, the name stuck, and Uggs eventually made their way across the seas and into the closets of every trend-starved woman in America.
Until two weeks ago, I refused to be one of them.
Because any true style maven knows better than to jump on the fashion bandwagon for the sake of jumping, I instead found solace in my vast collection of high-heeled sandals, pumps, sling-backs, boots and the occasional Rocket Dogs. Flat-soled shoes, ones tailored for rugged terrain no less, had been forever MIA in my closet – why should they have made an appearance now? But the minute I saw them – Nordstrom’s last pair of snowy white Sundance IIs in a perfect size seven – my interest was piqued. And the minute I slipped my tired feet into their plush, luxurious, pillowlike lining, I was toast. If orgasms could be warm, fuzzy and feel like cotton candy, my feet would have just experienced headboard-rattling sex.
A Visa swipe and several delighted giggles later, I officially became a convert. Tall people now coo at the sight of me minus four inches of stiletto-induced height. I don the abhorrent Uggs-and-miniskirt combo on a regular basis, and most of my once-blossoming shoe collection has yet to see the light of day ever since. But if I had known such heart-tickling pleasure existed outside the bedroom, I might have spent less time this year between the sheets and more time lounging around the apartment in my newfound fuzzy footwear.
So to the Uggs-lovers I used to adore patronizing, I hang my head in humble surrender and join your ranks. To everyone else, don’t let the trendiness stifle your curiosity if you’re the least bit intrigued – the golden age of the Uggs is officially over. After all, it’s all about Mukluks now.
Daily Nexus opinion editor Meghan Palma urges you to check out the Nordstrom shoe department ASAP, if only for the hot sales staff.