There is a lot of ugly footwear on the high street these days, from high-heeled wellies to trainers with a camel toe feature; the recent developments in the realms of Average Joe shoe design have been well and truly shocking. However, few manufacturers have managed to cause such a gross amount of offence as Crocs and UGG®.
If you showed the somewhat more stylish people of the 20th century where the future of shoe design was headed, they would probably thank their lucky stars that they were living amongst Mary Janes, platforms and winkle pickers. Yet somehow, it's been plastic and sheepskin monstrosities which have caught the eye of the modern consumer and these two corporate giants have since raked in sales by the millions.
Ugg boots, possibly derived from the word 'Ugly' first came about in Australia and New Zealand in the 1970's. Their design is said to have originated from World War I pilots who wore the sheepskin boots for warmth during long stints in the air i.e. slippers, that's what Ugg Boots essentially are, and for some reason women and men all over the planet want to wear these things out and about in the grubby world where they get trampled on and discoloured beyond all recognition. UGG® are also seemingly proud of the fact that you can wear a pair of their boots without any socks, which is frankly, a crime against hygiene as well as fashion.
Some bright spark has taken it even further by morphing the UGG® design into an all in one 'foot muff' ideal for wearing whilst sitting and watching Jeremy Kyle and not a whole lot else.
Now Crocs. Their unique selling points are that they are lightweight, colourful (?), odour resistant and are formed to fit your feet. The downside is mostly that they make you look like a right twat; they also expose all manner of cracked heels, bunions and verrucas to the unsuspecting wider world. While the Ugg wearer is of a typical ilk, Croc wearers come in all shapes and surprising forms, from academics and intellectuals to yummy mummies doing the weekly shop, it would seem that no one is safe.
In recent times, Crocs have felt the need to expand their range to incorporate classic shoe designs with Crocs ugliness. Take the hiking boot, now morphed into 'Quicktrail Low'
Also, check out 'Barista', enabling you to wear your beloved Crocs into the office.
Even the humble moccasin slipper isn't safe; behold the 'Wisconsin Mammoth'
Crocs have even tried to sex up their repulsive, rubbery inventions by creating this monstrosity.
It's known as the 'Farrah Wedge' and apparently combines comfort and style with it's unique 'peep toe' design. Who, in their right mind is going to purchase such a shoe?
Just when you think it can't get any worse, it does. Behold, Jibbitz! A range of tat you can stick into the holes of your Crocs. Come St. Patrick's day you'll be so glad you bought a little plastic leprechaun to go with your pair of green jelly shoes. A fan of the Simpsons? - You can tread around with a dozen Bart Simpson heads stuck to your feet! They have even got a range of smiley faces so instead of expressing whatever mood you are in on your actual face, you can just ask people to look at your ugly shoes instead. Granted, this is a range aimed at children but no doubt there are sad adults buying into it as well.
What are you doing, people of the 2010's? Get some style and sophistication, please. We are not living in a land of Care Bears and marshmallows, nor are we needling to scrabble over wet rock faces in order to get to the bank upon a Saturday morning. Treat your feet to a nice piece of leather, the way God intended it, and let's not be remembered as a generation of serial shoe offenders.
By Jessica Hazel - freelance journalist email@example.com