“Have they lost their minds?”: Marco Rubio’s response to gossip about his boots

Marco Rubio and his high-heeled booties
Marco Rubio and his high-heeled booties
Image: AP Photo/Mary Schwalm
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Marco Rubio has got plenty going for him. The junior senator from Florida, who is running for the Republican nomination for president, is surging in key polls. Some believe he could beat Donald Trump for the GOP nod, and in that case, there’s also reason to believe he could beat Hillary Clinton for the US presidency.

But right now, what most people seem to be talking about is Rubio’s choice of footwear: sleek, black ankle boots with a stacked heel that he wore while campaigning in New Hampshire on Jan. 3.

At a New Hampshire rally yesterday, Jan. 7,  Rubio pointed to the fixation on his boots as a sign of ”where we are as a country,” and he had a few things to say about the scrutiny:

Let me get this right. ISIS is cutting people’s heads off, setting people on fire in cages, Saudi Arabia and Iran on the verge of a war, the Chinese are landing airplanes on islands that they built and say belong to them in what are international waters and in some ways territorial waters, our economy is flat-lined, the stock market is falling apart, but boy are we getting a lot of coverage about a pair of boots.

This is craziness. People, have they lost their minds?

His boots have garnered a lot of attention. After they were first spotted, Vanity Fair ran a story. Then, New York magazine’s fashion blog, The Cut, dubbed them “high-heeled booties,” and compared them to the pricey Saint Laurent boots worn by Harry Styles, a 21-year-old singer in boy band One Direction, and others.

Rick Tyler, the communications director for Rubio’s rival, Ted Cruz, seized on the opportunity, tweeting The Cut’s story. On NBC’s Morning Joe, host Joe Scarborough mocked the boots as ”shagalicious!” in reference to the movie Austin Powers. Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina issued her own playful retort to the boots on Twitter.

Rubio initially told the Des Moines Register on Jan. 7 that he hadn’t heard the boot-related chatter, but later evidently felt the need to address the matter when a rally attendee said he was glad Rubio made a “better shoe choice today,” Politico reports.

Rubio told Politico that the boots are from Florsheim, which sells similar-looking boots at a range of prices up to $325. ”I’ve gotten a chuckle out of it,” he added. “Who knows, they may make a comeback here soon.”

As the New York Times’ fashion critic, Vanessa Friedman, pointed out, the boots have earned Rubio more sartorial scrutiny than this year’s female candidates, who are usually the target of such fixations. Especially when it comes to heel height.