This fall, Campbell Puckett, an influencer based in Atlanta, spent three weeks calling Ugg stores across the country until she found a pair of the brand’s ultra-mini platform boots in her size. “I was even willing to go a size up or down to make it work,” she says. After seeing the new style, which hits just above the ankle, on models Bella Hadid and Elsa Hosk in September, she had to have them for herself, she explains. But she was far from alone. After Hadid wore the shoes, which cost $150, with scrunched-up white athletic socks and mini shorts while on a walk to get a slice of pizza one afternoon, searches for them increased by 152 percent, according to the brand. No stores could stock them fast enough. “Some people loved them, and some people hated them,” Puckett says. “But the people who wanted them really wanted them.”
“We got calls all the time from customers, but we just didn’t have enough product to meet the demand,” Tacey Powers, Nordstrom’s executive vice president and general merchandise manager for shoes, says of the surge that season. The ultra mini was the retailer’s top footwear style in Q3 of 2022, and likely would have been for Q4 as well, had there been any left on the shelves. Around the holidays, when parents were particularly desperate for a pair, Powers says she even got calls on her personal line from friends asking if she had an in. (She couldn’t help them.)
Since Ugg was founded 45 years ago in Southern California, the brand has evolved from a surfer favorite to a household name and an unlikely part of fashion history. Despite its most iconic style looking like a toasted loaf of bread, it has managed to remain relevant for so long by putting out products that are relatively affordable, extremely comfortable, and worn by just about every celebrity and influencer under the sun, from Adam Sandler to Zendaya. While staying true to its original (and admirably odd) DNA, the brand has also consistently evolved its offering with new styles and collaborations. The cropped, elevated ultra minis are a particularly smart combination of newness and nostalgia: They feel far enough away from the 2000s high-tops that the next generation can make them their own, while still being a throwback. Their success marks the beginning of yet another wave of Ugg mania.