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Photo via by Charlotte Wales


January 17, 2024

Elsa Lagercrantz

With frostbiting degrees outside many are yet again switching their staple sneakers for more comfortable, and arguably chic, UGG boots. Some call them slippers, others call them style. Either way, this shoe carries more with it than just your feet. For example, the brand has an interesting history and has had multiple viral instances. Whether lover or hater, one must recognize the brand’s worldwide spectacular success. 


Growing up in Sweden, a pair of UGGs was on every girl’s wish list for Christmas. And, yes I did, rather unoriginally, but shamelessly, add them to my list too. Influenced by commercials, social norms, and the Scandinavian climate, owning a pair felt like a must. The UGG shoes’ presence almost seemed like a women’s wear epidemic. However, the UGG bestows a greater history than most know. 


The brand was founded in 1978 by the Australian surfer Brian Smith. After a late-night wave, while Smith was putting on a pair of sheepskin shoes—his favorite material—he realized the opportunity and possible demand for this type of boot in America. The idea became a reality and in the 1980s business rapidly took off in the United States. However, UGG then solely sold shoes for women. After three decades of success in the women’s boot market, the company launched its first campaign for men’s shoes in 2011, featuring the charming star quarterback Tom Brady. With this in mind, it seems peculiar that a brand that arose from an idea birthed by a man and his shoes initially solely sold products meant for women.


First of all, people around me have countless times said “Why are men in Australia wearing women’s shoes?” However, with UGG promoting the shoes explicitly to women, this is not an unexpected train of thought regarding the brand's marketing. Still, I feel like the history and origin of the shoe should be recognized. 


Moving on to publicity, in the early 2000s, product placement within shows like The OC gained major success for the brand. Moreover, the demand for UGGs has continuously been influenced by celebrities. In September last year, top model and trendsetter, Bella Hadid incentivized a major want for the brand’s UGG Classic Ultra Mini Platform after strolling around NYC in UGGs while eating a slice of pizza. Despite the hype, the company does not yet, after a year, sell platform shoes for men. I think UGG’s recent collections, from the UGGbraid to the Women’s Classic Sweater Letter, have been creative and continuously chic. The brand has been reinterpreting how winter boots have to look and I appreciate the exciting contrast between materials and forms.

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However, on a personal level, not everything suits all, and after trying on the Classic Chillapeak UGG and unfortunately feeling like Bigfoot, I settled with investing in a pair of black Classic Mini Platforms. As a woman and trustworthy regular UGG customer, I cherish the diverse styles available. Still, I would adore to see the brand develop more creative collections within men’s footwear. With the brand’s history in regard, it only seems fair to me that men who sport UGGs should have access to creative styles as well. Perhaps a platform shoe would be even more appreciated in the men’s department…   


On further thought, why should the brand even separate lines between men's and women’s wear? It seems unnecessary and old-fashioned to gender-label such an androgynous shoe. Yes, women’s fashion is a larger industry; however, fueling a gap between genders is arguably working against rising norms in society, which could be economically inefficient for the brand. 

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