These ‘Puffer Coat Sandals’ Are Equally Extreme, Sustainable, and Chic


If you’re looking for an antidote to the minimalist, barely-there shoe this summer, look no further than the label Ugo Paulon. The sandals are like little puffer coats for the feet, with bulbous, sculptural straps that lace around the calves. They’re accentuated with spirals and swirly prints in sandy and brown hues, or light pinks and fiery oranges. In short, they’re a ’grammable footwear dream, already catching the eye of Vogue market editor Naomi Elizée and the musician Shygirl (who happened to be the first Ugo Paulon customer).

While the footwear is certainly a delight to look at, the story behind it is equally intriguing. The label was created by the rather secretive Danish, London-based designer who prefers to simply go by Elise. She’s no stranger to indie labels, having worked for the label Baserange for four years and recently collaborating with Ottolinger. While Elise has been in the industry for some time, she doesn’t promote herself as much—hence the first-name basis. “I want to divert the focus from me as a person rather than to the project,” she says. “So that it is something that can go on and have its own life in a way.”

That “life of its own” concept applies to how she actually produces the shoes. She upcycles shoes she finds on eBay, as she notices the quality is higher than what you can find today. (In fact, her label name is a combination of names from eBay sellers that she has bought from.) Elise started the project in June of 2020, and has developed a penchant for repurposing vintage shoes. “It was like a personal experiment to see how much of a product I could make from not buying anything new or using new materials,” she says. For her own distinct print, Elise redyes the fabric by hand. The only piece of new material on the footwear is the outsole, which Elise is currently trying to figure out how to create out of recycled rubber.

Footwear allows Elise to create shapes that wouldn’t be possible on a piece of clothing. “I want to convey that they are like little pieces of furniture; it’s a very 3D process for me to make than a piece of garment that is very 2D,” says Elise. Because the shoes are so outré, they can’t help but be the focal point of any outfit; the shape is unmistakable. And best yet? They’re very comfortable.

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