On Tuesday, the companies announced the launch of Ugg Universal, the popular label’s first inclusive collection that features two new silhouettes built for accessible wearing. Ugg’s classic short boot and its lace-up Neumel chukka style debuted this week on Zappos.com, where they will be sold exclusively until 2022.
The popular boot styles have been redesigned with discreet features that make taking them on and off easier on wearers with a multitude of disabilities, along with those who use medical devices like prosthetics or braces. With oversized double zippers, rear pull tabs to help pull the shoes onto the foot, and stretchy, toggle-adjustable laces that eliminate the need for tying, the shoes offer Ugg’s signature plush comfort to a wider audience.
The Neumel and classic short boot styles are available for men, women and kids in chestnut, black and grey, and retail between $130-$170.
“We are thrilled to continue our partnership with Zappos for the launch of Ugg Universal,” Andrea O’Donnell, president of fashion lifestyle for Deckers Brands, said in a statement.
Highlighting the retailer’s creation of a curated shopping experience that prioritizes functional fashion, O’Donnell said Zappos has “encouraged [Ugg] to adapt our heritage styles, so they are now truly accessible.”
During the research and development process, Ugg and Zappos Adaptive worked together to host focus groups with a diverse contingent of consumers with disabilities, said Dana Zumbo, Zappos’ business development manager. “We’re humbled by the experience of getting to play a part in the Ugg brand’s first-ever universal design,” Zumbo added.
Zumbo added that Zappos greatly values Ugg’s partnership on the adaptive line, which showcases the footwear stalwart’s “deep commitment for championing inclusivity and reducing inequalities within the fashion industry.”
In the weeks before the 30-year anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act in July, Zappos Adaptive launched the Single & Different Size Shoes test program as a means of further serving shoppers’ footwear needs. Amputees and medical device wearers often require just one shoe or a pair made up of two different sizes, Zumbo said at the time. The program launched with Nike, Billy Footwear, Converse, Stride Rite, Plae, and New Balance as partners.
Adaptive apparel and footwear have been garnering widespread interest and investment in recent seasons from brands and retailers like Tommy Hilfiger, Kohl’s, Target and Stride Rite. In September, the companies debuted their inclusive offerings at New York Fashion Week, kicking off the festivities with a show organized by the Runway of Dreams Foundation, a non-profit organization working to create opportunities for people with disabilities in the fashion industry.