According to a recent post in New York Magazine’s “The Cut,” “Sales of Uggs grew by 57 percent last year.” The article points out that, “Priorities have shifted in the recession, and we’re apparently more interested in feeling good than looking good.”
As if striking back at the trend, ABC show Good Morning America ran a segment on the contraindications of the fleecy footwear. “Some doctors worry that the fashion staple could cause serious foot pain in the long run,” the feature explained.
But it was only a few months ago that ABC News ran a piece lauding these boots that (like dandelions and tax day) keep coming back. EBay style director Constance White was quoted saying, “I will not throw out a pair of Ugg boots. … They dipped — came off the radar and weren’t `it’ anymore — but they’ve had the huge rise in popularity again.”
Just because consumers are going for comfy practicality over trendy edge, that doesn’t mean we all have to trade in stilettos for fleece-lined ankle boots. Even two years ago USA Today ran a story on best-of-both-worlds styles. “Increasing numbers of affluent baby boomers have the agony of de feet. They are turning away — however reluctantly — from the delectable creations of Manolo and Jimmy and taking their fistfuls of $100 bills to a new niche in the market: the sexy, pricey comfort shoe, made by the likes of Taryn Rose, Cole Haan, Ecco and … Aerosoles?”
Zappos actually has a category in the “Comfort” section entitled “Fashion.” Among the offerings: TypeZ‘s boot-tall gladiator, J-41‘s sporty-meets-strappy wedge sandal and the ruched leather Fitzwell Valora II — described in one customer review as “Super Comfortable…The kitten heel is great, and there’s a gel packet in the heel that adds to the comfort level.”
For those who just can’t live without their Aussie sheepskin boots, blogger Style Eyes Fashion (who writes that Uggs are: “a bit like Marmite on the style front, you either love them or hate them”) has some alternatives, including flat boots by Bumper.
In fact, even the Ugg company is turning out some surprisingly non-Ugg creations. The tall suede Broome style gives classic Frye campus boots a run for the money; the Hazel slingback, with a violet upper and 4-inch cork wedge, is anything but slumpy.