The Uggly Factor: Ugg Boots Trend Trampled

By Sarah Keating

Elm Staff Writer

According to one of  my 47 unattended Facebook notifications,  national Ugg boot awareness week is baring down on me like a pack of ravenous dingos. Like any more awareness needs to be spread about these Australian imported, sheepskin boots. They are unofficially the official national winter footwear choice off all females aged 13 to 23.

Look around any college campus and you will find standard trends: RAs are condemning Four Lokos; pot smokers will cover their smoke detectors so they can light up inside; and most notably, the standard winter uniform will manifest itself once more among female college students, consisting of Facebook accounts, black North Face fleeces, and jeans tucked into Ugg boots.

Uggs. The word is as random as the fad. Who would have ever thought that sheepskin boots shaped like bedroom slippers on steriods would be considered as winter worthy shoes?

The boots offer no traction to protect from ice patches and their suede exterior is neither water nor snow proof. Yet their prevailing popularity is as prevalent on college campuses as downloaded essays and skype sex.

The first sign of winter, besides the general paleness that sets in among non-tanning bed-addicted students, is the slurfing sound of Ugg boots being dragged along the dining hall floor. Select freshmen are gutsy enough to wear Uggs barelegged with skirts and dresses. (Just an outloud mental note: If it is warm enough to wear a skirt, then it is not cold enough to encase your shins in sheepskin legwarmers.)

There is no arguing the direct correlation between the sherpa boot’s warmth and their popularity, and its popularity does little to mask the fact the boots resemble NASA’s newest line of moon boots. Yet claiming the boots are  “comfy” does not do enough to imply the slipper-sock-shoes are the ideal candidate for winter footwear.

If comfort was everything, I would wrap myself in my goose down comforter and trudge around campus in a cape of warmth or wear my flannel jammies to class.  But then there are those of us who do literally roll out of bed in the morning in the name of comfort. Those people have yet to learn the valued balance of comfort and presentation.

L.L. Bean and other winter performance companies produce winter footwear that combines comfort, warmth, practicality and attractive presentation. If Bean boots arent warm enough for you, add wool socks to your shopping cart.

Looking at everyone besides my biology professor, I tried to do a mental tally of just how many girls were wearing Uggs. The answer is a pathetically large number. Girls seem more concerned with tucking their leggings into their fur-rimmed boots than reading last night’s assignment. I have no grounds to talk as I am wearing my own pair of custom dyed Uggs and have no idea to which concept the professor’s diagram refers. My mind floundered as I thought about what we wore before Uggs.

I know I personally went through a couple phases before I came into my self proclaimed, fashion forward self. I look back on these rough periods and not so fondly classified them into three distinct and separate stages: the polyblend velro, the ghetto-prepster and the Dutch housewife. There were specific reasons each failed to maintain permanent residence in my shoe closet.

I spent too much of my middle school years in the latex, spandex, polyblendex and any other synthetic material that goes into a Lands End children’s snow boot. I lived in constant fear that a preschooler would notice we were wearing the same shoe. Then highschool ushered in the Ghetto-prepster, which involved Timberland boots and pink satin ribbon. Then there was the wooden, platform, wedge clog that reminded me of a Dutch housewife. Like a doting parent, my mother intervened and took control of my footwear.

Thanks to my mother and the peer pressure to be cool, I own three pairs of Uggs. I like Uggs but I love to laugh at myself. Uggs are just overpriced bedroom slippers with a reinforced sole. They are far from the ideal winter shoes and all those Ugg advocates who claim Uggs are the “end all be all” of winter footwear are probably doing so as they are wearing leggings. What do those people know? Leggings aren’t even real pants.

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