The cosy sheepskin Ugg boot was inescapable at the height of its popularity in the early noughties. And now with the end of lockdown still some way off, love them or hate them, Uggs are back.
Perhaps it’s the desperate nostalgia for a simpler time when WAGs and reality TV stars sported velour tracksuits tucked into Ugg mini boots; or the general need for feeling simultaneously comfortable and put together as more of us work from home indefinitely; or the cold weather – maybe it’s all of the above. But no matter how derided they have been in the past, there’s no doubt that Uggs have made a comeback.
From Dua Lipa to Bella Hadid, celebrities and influencers across the board have been spotted wearing them. Stormzy even made an accidental fashion statement when he turned up in a pair of Ugg Tasman slippers for a BBC interview. Fashion giant and former editor-at-large of US Vogue, André Leon Talley, is also a longtime fan of the brand. He recently told Elle of his relationship with Ugg: “Cosy gives you security. Cosy affords you to be comfortable enough to project your best self to the world.”
In its quarterly report, global fashion search platform Lyst ranked Ugg’s classic ultra mini boots fifth in its top 10 hottest women’s products in the world, alongside other major players in the dressier casualwear trend, such as Birkenstock’s shearling-lined Boston clogs and Sleeper’s Party feather-trimmed pyjamas. In the men’s list, Ugg’s Scuff Deco slippers came in even higher at number three.
The report notes that Ugg’s Scuff Deco slippers are a popular gift option for men, while the classic ultra mini boots – a cropped update to the classic mini II model and nod to 2020 street style – have become the newly coveted “It” style, having been spotted in bold hot pink on model Irina Shayk and in the brand’s signature chestnut on model Joan Smalls.
“In the final quarter of 2020, shoppers sought comfort and protection,” the report reads. It highlights slippers and clogs as a “breakout category” alongside the trend for 90s nostalgia and the rise in outdoor walking and socialising that has driven sales of active and casual wear, most notably puffer jackets, which were the most popular products globally.
The report found that with people at home more, searches for slippers were up 242% compared with the same period in 2019. “With consumers spending more time around the home, demand surged for comfortable, practical shoes that are more winter-proof than sandals,” it reads.
Footwear retailer schuh saidUgg had had its best sales season this autumn/winter with them since 2016, including a recorded 30% rise in sales of full-price Ugg boots compared with the previous year. “This season has seen the traditional ‘cosy’ items increase sales,” said one buyer.
They said retailer Schuh had also recorded a significant increase of 35% in slipper sales, which was being driven by brands such as Ugg. One product that has done particularly well at Schuh is the glam Fluff Yeah Slide, which have proved a favourite on social media and with celebrities like the Kardashians, the buyer added.
“Ugg have heavily influenced this lift as they have had an incredible season with us. This AW20 the ‘inactive’ trend is super popular, as comfort and style are vital for our customers working from home and has definitely driven a massive uplift for brands like Ugg, Birkenstock and slippers in general.”
John Lewis said it had also seen strong demand for Uggs over the past 12 months. The retailer noted that last week sales were up 105% compared with the same week last year, which it attributed to “many of us working from home and making comfort a priority”. The high-end department store added that searches on its website for Ugg slippers were up 52%, with the bestselling style the cosy classic Scuffette.
Uggs may have had humble sporty beginnings keeping surfers’ feet warm in the 70s, but in these uncertain housebound times one thing’s for sure. They – and we – aren’t going anywhere any time soon.