columnfinal.jpgGemma Cartwright writes...

In a previous life, I edited Shoewawa. During that time, I spoke freely about how much I loathe Ugg boots. I understand that they're comfy, I get that they're practical, I know not everyone is a slave to style...but they just look so ugly.

So, I had to respect a company who - knowing all of this - still offered to send me a pair for review. They wanted honesty and I love a challenge, so that's how I ended up spending a day wearing a pair of Authentic Australian UGG boots...

Even as a non-believer, I felt I owed the boots at least one day. Trying them out in Summer probably wasn't the best idea, but considering how awful the weather has been around here over the last few weeks, that was a minor detail. My challenge was to give the boots 24 hours, wear them through a 'normal' day, and see what I thought.

The fact there are no pictures of me wearing said boots might give you a clue.

First port of call on Ugg day was, of course, Shiny Towers. The reaction around the office was fairly predictable. Raised eyebrows from the girls, nonchalance from the boys and a wail of "are you trying to make me cry?" from CQ's deputy ed Isabelle. I must confess, within a few minutes of actually putting the boots on, I could see why legions of celebs who usually wear killer heels have been won over by the comfort factor. It really is like wearing big, squashy cushions on your feet.

But then there's the aesthetic issue. I'm not exactly petite, and shoving two yeti boots on my feet doesn't exactly help matters. I couldn't help but think that they just added bulk and made me look...well, a bit ridiculous.

Still, I promised to wear them for a day, so I battled on. At lunchtime the Sun came out, so I looked a bit of a fool out and about in furry boots. However, the press release reckons these boots can keep me cool in temperatures up to 27 degrees, and I must say I didn't feel hot in them, which was a bit of a minor miracle. Also, this is London, and you can get away with anything. I got a couple of looks - one man on the street did a double take that I hope was down to the boots and not some other sartorial faux-pas of mine - but apart from that, nothing. And it felt like I was walking on air.

The next test came with a press appointment at a swanky shop near Shoreditch. What would the trendies (and the city boys) think of my footwear? Well, to be honest, I don't really think they cared. Other (normal) people had better things to worry about than whether my insanely comfy footwear was as nice to look at as it was to wear, which gave me enough confidence for the final test...how would the boots fare on a date?

Luckily for me, this wasn't a first date, so the boy was smart enough to know that these boots weren't really my usual style. He was also smart enough not to say anything until I bought up the subject, at which point I got a very cleverly worded "yes, they're not really doing a lot for you." Those fluent in boy speak will be able to translate that. Possibly into "for the love of God, take them off and put on the red shoes I like instead."

And therein lies the problem. After a day wearing them, I really wanted to like the boots. They were comfortable to the point of indulgent, and the next day when I was back in my slightly more impractical shoes, I did pine for that toasty, slipper-esque feel.

But, they just don't go with tea dresses, and that'll always be an issue.

Many thanks to Whooga for the boots (which have now gone to a safe home with someone who's wanted a pair for ages). If you're a little less girlie and a little more comfort-minded and would like a pair yourself, they ship their sheepskin UGGs direct from Australia (for free) with most boots selling for about $125 (US).

ps. There's been loads of controversy surrounding the trademark on the term 'Ugg' boots. Read more about that here.