Photoshopped inventions have existed on the internet since time immemorial. From self-watering jugs to picnic pants and ramen fans, such inventions have been conceptualised to poke some thought-provoking yet harmless fun. But what happens if a Photoshopped invention breaches the fourth wall to become a reality with an entire manifesto to back it up? Introducing Cruggs, the hybrid between a pair of Crocs and UGGs that is making the internet go: “Gee thanks, I hate it.”
With enough Photoshopped evidence to trace its origins back to 2012, Cruggs kicked off as a joke which users expected to stay on the internet forever. “But bro, I don’t think it’s a joke anymore,” is the perfect TikTok audio one can layer in given its present situation. Combining the comfortability of UGG boots with the versatility of Crocs, the supreme hybrid was quick to be spotted offline with DIY videos to aid its mainstream adaptation.
“If you don’t like the commitment of a tennis shoe (with laces) and have got two kids and a failing marriage, Cruggs are your go-to,” said Mary Kate in her Do-It-Yourself Cruggs video. Labelling the hybrid as “freaky-fresh shoes,” the YouTuber highlighted how Cruggs merge the personality of a middle-aged man with a 12-year old Caucasian girl who dreams to be cool.
But aren’t Crocs designed to be puddle-proof and ‘amphibious’ while UGGs are marketed as snow boots? Doesn’t this make Cruggs a contradicting hybrid? Well, Cruggs is an invention that combines two broad features of its iconic parents: a tropical sole with an arctic body—which makes it perfect for springtime in particular. According to Kate, Cruggs are perfect for all those times “when your feet are cold but you don’t want to spoil your soles because of the rain, snow or dog poop.”
In her DIY video, Kate assembled three pairs of UGG boots with her father’s Crocs that were large enough to accommodate an entire boot. She then tried squeezing in all three boots and found how the one with a flimsier sole could be easily manoeuvred into the remaining space. Once squeezed in, she lifted up the picnic basket-like handles on the back of her Crocs to wedge the UGG boot into place.
This is one of the most popular make-shift methods of assembling the mythical shoe. More permanent and labour-intensive ways include dissecting a pair of UGGs along its seams at the ankles and either hot-glueing or sewing the sheepskin with the closed-cell resin material of Crocs. If you’re not that handsy but still want to sink your feet into one, you can alternatively purchase a pair for yourself on Depop while stock and glue guns last.
Fashion’s brush with the concept of ‘ugly’ shoes began in 2013 when the Paris-based luxury brand Céline debuted an iconic line of fur-lined Birkenstocks. Labelled as “the right mix of weirdo and luxe,” the furry revival went on to become the season’s most popular watercooler shoes. Bejewelled Crocs followed suit in 2016, as Christopher Kane collaborated with the brand to emboss the sandals with an array of crystals and stones.
With UGG and Teva following up with a collaboration to create the “world’s ugliest shoes,” fashion’s ‘ugly’ shoe trend essentially captures an era’s zeitgeist while being ‘eye-bleachy’ yet disruptive. In terms of the mid-calf hybrid between Teva’s sandals and iconic UGG boots, the companies admitted that the collaboration was “certainly not for everyone.”
“The collection was designed for the consumer who wants to make a bold statement with their footwear and embraces an unconventional, fashion-forward style,” said Erika Gabrielli, Teva’s global marketing director, in a statement to CNBC. “At Teva, we value individuality and personal expression, which is why we actually love the conversation about this collection, good or bad—we wanted these styles to be disruptive and push the limit, and they’ve done just that.”
In an era where the word ‘ugly’ is increasingly considered tone-deaf, fashion’s ‘ugly’ shoe trend embraces shoes that everyone loves to hate and pushes them under a light that is far from derogatory. With a dedicated petition amassing 419 supporters, Cruggs fans have even tried their hand at making the coveted collaboration official. Although half of the internet calls Cruggs “Bigfoot’s formal shoes” and the “anti-Christ of footwear,” the other half is waiting for it to hit malls next winter so that they could take their dogs out for a walk.
So don’t be too surprised if Cruggs hit mass production five years down the line. You don’t necessarily need to hit rock bottom—or rather Croc bottom—to try a pair on yourself either. Just go ahead and grab that oversized pair of Crocs from your backyard, slip in an Ugg boot and wait for the incoming shoe-calypse to dawn upon us.