It did the heart good to see recent paparazzi pics of Britney Spears wearing Uggs with her jean cut-offs on a recent trek to a gas station bathroom. But those sheepskin snugglers could be as risky to safe soles as was her former habit of strutting around barefoot. (Ugh.)
Originally worn by sockless Australian surfers in between waves, softly-lined Ugg booties colonized Southern California beaches in the 70s. Named for their looks, the boots rapidly became popular with celebs whose feet were weary from sky-high Red Carpet Manolos and Choos. New York scenesters loved the look (and similar styles by Emu and Koolaburra), and it soon spread to every mall (and tween feet) in between coasts. The bulky boots just look so darn cute with a denim mini and a spray tan!
The Uggs Women’s Classic Short boots cost around $140, but is that buying you a whole shoebox-full of agony?
Newspaper articles and Internet chatter have done a tug-of-war about whether or not Uggs are a breeding ground for stinky-cheese-feet. The final word: “Tinea Pedis, or athlete’s foot, is caused by a fungus that tends to flourish in damp, warm environments,” says Melissa Hong, a podiatrist in Crystal Lake, Illinois, and spokesperson for the American Podiatric Medical Association. Regardless of brand, she says, going commando (foot-wise) “leads to increased perspiration which may increase your chances of developing foot fungus.” The warm, wool-y lining of this type of boot could be an offender. Her tips to avoid itches: give shoes days off between wearings (to air out and dry), and always opt for socks.
But the latest accusation against our furry friends and their knockoffs is that they give little support, causing wearers to do the so-called Ugg shuffle and develop everything from splayed, flat feet to twisted ankles. Dr. Hong validates these fears: “Shoes that lack adequate arch support and slip off the heel (i.e. do not cup it), can allow excessive pronation (flattening out),” she says. Walking around all day with an unsupported foot can lead to ‘arch fatigue and premature arthritis as the joints are mal-aligned’. Uggs – with their soft, flexible materials that don’t provide rigid structural support – tend to allow for extra foot motion within the boot.” Her suggestions: wear them in moderation (just for gas station snack runs?), and insert a pair of arch supports.
Unfortunately, your feet just can’t win: That comfy pair of Havaianas flip-flops could be just as detrimental to the health. Last year, the New York Daily News and NBC’s “The Today Show” tested shoe thongs and found they were contaminated with cooties that cause everything from staph to yeast infections to diaper rash.
more via the BBC