Here are some of the questions you might ask yourself after seeing the new shoes created through a Teva and Ugg mashup:
“Why is this a thing?”
“Who would wear these?”
“Are these the ugliest shoes ever made?”
That last question is one that has been asked by a number of journalists and social-media users. NBC and MSNBC anchor Tamron Hall said on the “Today” show that she might wear the boot. Savannah Guthrie thinks it looks like a medical brace she once had to wear.
“We actually love the conversation happening about Teva x Ugg, good or bad, because we wanted these styles to be disruptive and push the limit,” said Erika Gabrielli, director of marketing for Teva. “And they’ve done just that.”
The Teva x Ugg collection comprises two shoe styles in three colors each. The open-toed sandal is $175, while the Hybrid, a sandal-like boot, is $225. They’re available for a limited time on the Teva and Ugg websites as well as at select Ugg stores.
Both Teva and Ugg are owned by the Deckers Outdoor Corp. DECK, -0.03%.
Teva’s active, strappy sandal and Ugg’s sheepskin boot are distinct. Both are popular, though you’ll find just as many people who love them as hate them. “This collection gave us the opportunity to really innovate and showcase our passion for personal expression and pushing fashion boundaries,” said Gabrielli.
Romney Jacob, director of consulting at WGSN, said she believes the company went into this collaboration thinking that many would not find them appealing.
“I think that was probably part of the plan,” said Jacob, who thinks the timing, with New York Fashion Week on shoppers’ minds, was intentional, she said. “[T]his was a way to inject themselves in a sophisticated, conceptual kind of way.”
Jacob said she puts the collection in the same category as the “normcore” trend, which sets itself apart by being ordinary. (People who may inadvertently be into normcore fashion include Jerry Seinfeld and your dad.)
“This collaboration, released as it was, looking as interesting as it was, was meant to capture the attention of someone who’s not interested in Uggs whatsoever,” said Jacob. “Someone shopping in streetwear stores. Someone shopping for something much more unique.”
The shoes also come at a time when “ugly footwear” seems to be having a moment.
Earlier this year, there was the Reebok Instapump Fury, a sandal version of the 1990s running shoe, created by the Japanese brand Beauty & Youth.
And earlier this month, luxury designer Christopher Kane sent a high-end version of Crocs Inc.’s CROX, -1.78% iconic shoe down the runway.
Another polarizing shoe, the Birkenstock, finds a way to come back into style with regularity, recently landing on the feet of celebrities like Ashley Olson.
“These new audiences can discover what longtime fans of the brand have known all along: The shoes feel great when you wear them,” Birkenstock USA Chief Executive David Kahan told Fast Company this summer.
Getting some media coverage is also a positive.
“These shoes may not look good, but there’s a segment of people out there that will buy them, and they have generated a lot of press,” said Jared Wiesel, partner at Revenue Analytics. “Ultimately, it’s about reaching a different customer segment, converting them to purchase, reinforcing the benefits, and then retaining them so they will purchase that product or similar ones again.”
And, for some, standing out in a way that isn’t on-trend is the look they’re going for.
“This collection was designed for the consumer who wants to make a bold statement with their footwear and embraces an unconventional, fashion-forward style,” Gabrielli said.
Deckers shares rose about 0.4% to $59.55 in Friday trading and are up 25.7% this calendar year. The S&P 500 index SPX, -0.10% is up 6.1% so far in 2016.