This newspaper has long chastised the consumers of these blocky and unattractive winter boots known as Uggs, especially egregious in the warmer season, but an even more appalling fashion violation has sufaced: the Ugg/moccasin mutation.
You’ve seen it before: thick, outrageously colored sheepskin boots, perhaps adorned with suede tassels, beads, and pinched stitching–topped off with pom-poms dangling from laces that serve little purpose. They’ll keep you warm while simultaneously allowing fellow pedestrians to know you might be a bit trashy, foreign, or very clearly from out of town!
Doll them up with a frilly dress and instant hippy chic—all the rage in L.A. these past few years—is attained. Dress them down with a pair of stonewashed jeans and…you aren’t from here. You can’t be.
The Observer sought answers to why women would adorn themselves with these clodhoppers, found most often in tourist clusters like Times Square, Canal Street and the de facto shoe mall that is West 8th Street.
On a jaunt from 23rd Street to Union Square and back, we spotted 10 pairs of Uggs and 10 pairs of their tricked-out cousins lined with tassels, fur, beads, and layered stitching cascading up to mid-calf.
“I got these from Utah, in Salt Lake City, it was during the film festival,” said Vera, 36, on a stroll through the Greenmarket, about the brown faux fur and cloth boots with pinched stitching that hugged her calves just below rolled up jeans. “They’re really warm and comfortable, like sneakers. The practicality of it is great.”
And yet practicality only goes so far: Though this style of sheepskin boot originated over 200 years ago, and might–subconsciously at least– remind us of our hunting and gathering ancestry, these newfangled galoshes are quite useless in the rain or snow. Vera concurred: she switches up her cloth pair for a rubber one during wet weather.
In Shoe Mania on 14th Street and Broadway, a middle aged woman, a tourist without a grasp of the English language, fingered the sheepskin lining inside a pair of Uggs. “It depends on what you’re looking for – more fashionable boots or more comfortable,” said Adam, a salesman with neatly combed black hair and a faux diamond stud in his right ear glancing over at the tassel-ridden Minnetonka section.
“I think Uggs are soooo effing ugly!” said Jennifer, 24, an advertising assistant at Hearst Publications. “I mean, not to say that I don’t have a pair, they are super warm and really comfy.” And the hippie-chic boots? Those asinine pom-poms? “They are definitely cuter. The fringy ones– um, not so much.”