If you’re a child of the ‘90s like me, your first encounter with Uggs probably happened at a truly formative age. Teen magazines of the ‘00s and ‘10s were jam-packed with skinny, tanned legs, almost always peeking out of fur-lined sheepskin boots. Uggs were a status symbol—a way of saying you were rich enough to drop over a hundred dollars on what was essentially a pair of slippers.
But it didn’t last. Like all things fashion, it wasn’t long before the Ugg backlash began in earnest. What was once the shoe of the elite became widely derided as basic, dated, and, worst of all, plain old ugly.
And that was how things remained for much of my adolescence. While no one could deny the comfort of Ugg boots, they weren’t shoes to be worn in public—least of all as a fashion statement.
But in recent years, something weird has been happening.
Uggs have started becoming a socially acceptable shoe—an aspirational one, even. Fashion people have stopped actively disliking Uggs, and it now seems that a good proportion of them actually like them. So how did we get here?
Not to kill the mood, but during 2020, we all had some time to rethink how and why we get dressed each day. Confined to our homes, many of us hung up our jeans, high heels, and bras, embracing a new life of actually feeling comfy. Enter: Ugg boots.
When we all came out of hibernation, feeling collectively traumatized and concerned about the future, comfort remained more important than it had been before. Why wouldn’t we want to continue wearing the shoes that bring us the most coziness and joy?
That’s when the Ugg brand had its own moment of collective genius: they noticed the softening of societal attitudes toward their boots and seized the moment.
Ugg started proving they weren’t just making the typical (albeit iconic) sheepskin boots we know and love. New styles like the Classic Rebel Biker Mini Boot could be mistaken as not even Uggs at all. They have cool design aspects, too, like a toothed sole with a slight platform, metal rivets, and an outside zipper. In fact, only the inside of the boot (classic, fluffy goodness) would indicate that these boots are Uggs at all. Now those who lived in fear of being judged for wearing Uggs had an option, too!
Another Ugg launch I believe was crucial to the brand’s revival was the Classic Ultra Mini. These boots are a little more obviously Ugg-like, but the modern twist of the low ankle cut makes them decidedly different from the classic boots of yore. They’re nostalgic but still modern and interesting, which is hard to pull off. And not for nothing, but the lower cut at the front of the boot essentially creates an optical illusion of longer, leaner legs. In the past, while you could accuse Uggs of being many things, flattering wasn’t one of them. But with the Classic Ultra Mini, all that changed, forcing the world to look at Ugg boots in a whole new light.
Ugg followed this launch with a moment of absolute genius: the Fluff Yeah slides. Instead of pretending not to be Uggs, the Fluff Yeah slides leaned in. Not only do they feature an obnoxiously fuzzy foot strap, but the band that holds the shoes in place is emblazoned with the brand’s name. There’s no way you can look at these shoes and be in any doubt as to the brand that created them. Ugg was proud to be Ugg once more—and based on how ubiquitous the Fluff Yeahs are online, the rest of the world was equally proud to declare themselves Ugg stans. We’ve seen some of the biggest trendsetters like Kaia Gerber and Emily Ratajkowski stepping out loud and proud in their pairs.
Now, one quick look at the Ugg website shows just how bright the brand’s future is looking. Not only is it filled with a myriad of shoe designs any fashion-head would genuinely want to wear, but they’re collaborating with the biggest of fashion sweethearts. Molly Goddard (who created the iconic pink puffy dress from Killing Eve) has a brightly colored platform clog collection with the brand. And perhaps even more brilliant is the UGG x Telfar collection, which features a reimagining of fashion’s favorite bag with a signature sheepskin twist.
It seems as though Ugg finally has a place in the world of high fashion. And since it means we can actually enjoy wearing trendy shoes again, you’d be remiss not to jump on board, too.