A cheaper winterwear

Columnist Kenny Thapoung gives students various alternatives to last winter’s has-been – the UGG.

Columnist Kenny Thapoung gives students various alternatives to last winter’s has-been – the UGG.

Ugh, they’re back.

UGG, Australia’s sheepskin sensation that has defined winter wear for most women and even some men for several years, has made its return – again.

I’m all for the soothing colors and pumpkin aroma of autumn, but it’s devastating to see the fall trends and styles from Philadelphia Fashion Week obscured by the grade-A sheepskin-lined boots.

Temperatures are plummeting, and sometimes it’s more convenient to throw on your cleanest pair of sweats, tuck them into your UGGs and cozily stroll to your 8 a.m. class. And while everyone loves a good bum day, the UGG has been done over and over again. Seeing this trend strike back for another winter is like watching a marathon of old “America’s Next Top Model” episodes: We all know which girl will be eliminated at the end of every episode.Kenny Thapoung

The classic styles of the UGG – tall, short and mini – have been exhausted, but people are still wearing them for comfort and warmth. Although they should have been extinct 10 seasons ago, UGG-boot styles ring in at no less than $120, and the prices keep going up.

To gouge the consumer even more, the company encourages its customers to buy protection spray because the sheep-shavers aren’t waterproof. But this fact doesn’t stop people from trekking through blistering storms in them.

Guys don’t have an excuse, either. While “MUGGs” are practically nonexistent in male wardrobes, another sheepskin shoe has been worn out: the moccasin.

Though, I’m partial to the rising popularity of moccasins. I would be a hypocrite if I said I never owned a pair.

But no matter what sheepskin footwear you decide to wear, please abide by one universal rule: wear socks. Sweat is foul, and foot sweat seeping into your furry friends can be as disastrous as water damage.

If you find your feet basking in the warmth of the nonfaux sheepskin boots, don’t add insult to injury by folding over a perfectly good pair of UGGs.  The flip-flop wearers of the winter already know your feet are comfortable in your boots.  They don’t need to be reminded when you show off the plush and furry interior. Plus, folding your UGGs leaves a permanent crease in the suede.

The UGG plague is not going to disappear anytime soon, and I don’t expect it to, but don’t rely on just the UGG brand for all your lazy needs.

Bearpaw and Old Friend aren’t as popular in the United States as UGGs, but there is really no difference between these two brands and the sheepskin classics. Most of the footwear from these three companies are made with some kind of sheepskin or wool. Suede is a common ingredient in each design, too.

When consumers buy UGG boots, they’re buying the brand, not the boot. Bearpaw and Old Friend sell their boots for significantly cheaper; most never start at a retail price higher than $80.

And, as I always refer to these mega-stores, Wal-Mart and Target are just awesome. While I’m a sucker for labels, the generic boots these companies sell have a similar comfort to any UGG, Bearpaw or Old Friend. If they’re just going to get ruined by rain or snow, why not invest in the cheapest boot available?

Sheepskin-lined boots will continue to be the most demanded shoe of the autumn and winter seasons, but people should not neglect other outdoor footwear. Heads up, people: UGGs aren’t rain boots.

If you think rain boots are tacky and don’t deserve to grace your feet, think again. Whether they’re decorated with a polka-dot pattern or an elaborate design of contoured colors, rain boots are becoming the new “in” boot. And while they may be less comfortable, they’ll protect your jeans and wallet better than a rain-soaked pair of suede UGGs.

Kenny Thapoung can be reached at kenny.thapoung@temple.edu.


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