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.
A while ago, I wrote an article in which I revealed how, during my teenage years, I had gone through a regrettable basic bitch phase. In it, I explained what the term basic bitch encompasses exactly and as I did just that, I felt like the ‘my job here is done’ meme. Surely, the new generations would realise the immense potential that the adjective ‘basic’ represents, right? Wrong. There’s a new word on the block, and boy is it better than ‘basic’!
Introducing ‘cheugy’, TikTok’s new favourite word used to describe the people—mostly white millennial women—that are off-trend in a very specific way. Let me explain.
Urban Dictionary defines it as “the opposite of trendy. Stylish in middle school and high school but no longer in style. Used when someone still follows these out-of-date trends. This may include but not be limited to fashion, habits on social media, usage of slang, etc.”
According to The New York Times, 23-year-old software developer Gabby Rasson created the term. Unable to find a word for people or objects that were just a bit out of touch with current trends, she made up her own as a high school student.
Although it’s recently gained popularity on TikTok after copywriter Hallie Cain (also known as @webkinzwhore143 on the video-sharing app) posted a video on 30 March explaining what the word means, cheugy has actually been circulating online since at least 2018, when the Instagram account @cheuglife posted its first public post.
But what does it mean? Well, the term is deliberately vague—that’s what makes it so perfect. “Cheuginess is subjective and open to interpretation,” wrote Insider, and I couldn’t agree more. In her TikTok, Cain refers to another video where a user is asking for a word to describe “the type of people who get married at 20 years old.” In that same video, Cain described this type of person as a millennial with “girlboss energy.”
In a way, that whole paragraph above may seem very unclear to older generations. But if you’re aged 30 or below and still don’t get the ‘vibe’ I’m talking about, then have you checked for grey hairs? Because you’re definitely getting old.
Cheugy can be used, broadly, to describe someone who is off-trend or trying too hard. And while a lot of cheugy things are associated with white millennial women (for understandable reasons), the term can be applied to anyone of any gender and any age—so don’t go thinking you’re out of the woods just yet.
But the term is not only used to describe people. UGG slippers, #girlboss mugs, cake pops, Gucci belts with the large double ‘G’ logo and chevron are among the many other things deemed cheugy. Looking back on all the awful trends we’ve seen going in and out of style, the real question you should be asking is what isn’t cheugy?
And according to Rasson when she spoke to The New York Times, “thrifting, making your own clothes, handmade products, Levi’s jeans, Birkenstocks, home decor not found at Target,” are definitely not cheugy. “Looking good for yourself and not caring what other people think, that confidence exudes non-cheugyness,” added Rasson. That being said, there’s absolutely no way to confirm whether these exact same things won’t be ‘cheugy AF’ in a few years. After all, girlboss culture felt empowering not so long ago, am I right?
As cool and unique as we like to think of ourselves, we all follow trends at some point in our lives, and as a result, we definitely all have our cheugy tendencies. While the term in itself sounds like a misogynistic attack on millennial white women, it’s important to try and look at it from another perspective.
Cheugy can be used more as a tool for self-deprecation, a way to poke fun at your past self who actually did love UGG boots and aspired to be a girlboss. “We all have a little cheug in us,” Cain said in a follow-up to her original TikTok video, and there’s nothing wrong with embracing it.
“We need to accept the fact that we’re bound to be predictable and mainstream sometimes,” I wrote to conclude my basic bitch confession article, and I can’t think of anything better to finish this one with than some good old fashioned self-affirmation. A little cheugyness never hurt nobody #cheuglife.