The fashion of middle-aged dads and tweens rarely collide, but in the case of the new Teva x Ugg collaboration, such an absurd chimera exists. Say hello to a collection of sandals that both insulate your feet and let your toes wiggle in open air.
They must be kidding, right?
Yet Teva and Ugg are dead serious about the shoes, calling them “quirky-cool hybrids that are designed to take on the urban trail” in a release. Still, even the brands don’t seem totally convinced about their bastard offspring, inviting customers to “suspend your disbelief” in a marketing slogan. The only thing these shoes (or are they sandals? or boots?) suspend is good sense. Like jeggings and jorts, they are evidence of another fashion portmanteau that should not exist: bandals. Too exposed for the chill of winter, too insulated for the swelter of summer, Bandals are likely intended for “transitional” seasons.
The collection is comprised of two styles, with variations in color. The Sandal ($175) features Teva’s trademark silhouette, complete with loud velcro straps and clunky robber sole. Ugg’s contribution comes in the form of sheepskin panels covering the heel and top. Meanwhile, the Hybrid–a $225 open-toe sheepskin boot–looks more akin to wakeboard bindings or a ninja shoe ripped from the Japansese anime show and manga comic Naruto.
The collection is definitely a design crime, but it also embodies a puzzling phenomenon of the ugly fashion trend–rationalized by a “but they’re comfortable and functional” argument–that has fueled sales of cargo shorts and Birkenstocks. (The fashion blog Refinery 29 has already raved about the Teva x UGG hybrids.) Thirty years ago, Nike gave us Air Jordans–the holy grail of sneakers. Today’s golden child of basketball, Stephen Curry, gave us orthopedic footwear.
In the age of ugly, a JNCO resurgence is all but destined. Let’s hope some other cultural force takes hold before then.