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It sounds like a rom-com premise you’d roll your eyes at: “My boyfriend told me to stop complaining about not having any shoes to wear and dared me to make my own, so I Googled ‘Italian shoemaker’ and called the first result.”
I’m paraphrasing, but that’s the origin story behind Hobes, an Australian collection of flat shoes and boots founded by Georgia Hobes in 2010. Modeled on a pair of leather slippers she picked up while backpacking around the world — “as Aussies do” — the silhouettes have since evolved into wooly slippers, pointed flats, and, as of last month, the lightest pair of Chelsea boots I’ve ever picked up.
There are two remarkable things about Hobes shoes. First, they’re nearly unrecognizable. There’s no logo, no branding, you can only get them on Georgia’s website, and it’s safe to say, in the States at least, that no one will know who makes your shoes. The second is that she hasn’t taken on a single investor.
From a consumer perspective, the real miracle is that Georgia’s made something as cozy as an Ugg and as cute as a proper boot, something you can wear on the airplane and to a museum and — if you don't work at a bank or law firm or hospital — to work. The Wooly Hobe is a lace-up boot in dove gray, navy blue, or black, lined with shearling wool from Georgia’s family’s sheep farm in Australia. “Someone started calling them anti-Uggs because they have the sheepswool lining,” she says. “But don’t look quite as unfortunate — I hope.”