Ugg Classic Short Boot Magenta

Ain't nothing like the real thing, baby: UGG Australia 'Classic Short Boot' in Magenta, $140; available at Neiman Marcus. Photo:

Girls, strap those killer heels back on.

A new study claims that wearing cheap versions of UGG boots is "literally breaking" young women's feet, reports the Daily Mail.

Aside from being fodder for fashion don'ts, UGG boots are the comfy go-to when ladies can't handle those 5-inch platform heels one more night.

Now medical experts say the sheepskin styles -- notably the knockoff Uggs -- may cripple young women for life because they force them to walk with a lopsided "shuffle" gait, reports the site.

Dr. Ian Drysdale, head of the British College of Osteopathic Medicine, tells the Daily Mail, "Because these boots are warm and soft, young girls think they are giving their feet a break. In fact, they are literally breaking their feet.

"Their feet are slipping around inside. With each step, the force falls towards the inside of the foot, and the feet splay. This flattens the arch and makes it drop. The result can be significant problems with the foot, the ankle, and ultimately, the hip."

As a result, podiatrists and chiropractors are up in arms, er, feet, blaming the squishy boots for the sharp rise in women with toe deformities and back pain.

Doctors warn that the fake Uggs could permanently damage women's feet, and worse, children's feet, which are continuing to develop.

There is one way to have your comfy weekend boots and save your tootsies too. Apparently, wearing brand-name UGG Australia models won't result in the same problems. UGG tells the Daily Mirror their boots are "comfort" and not "performance footwear," and buyers should beware "knockoffs," which lack the reinforced heels or insoles of their boots.

In this case, saving one's sole comes with a price: UGG Classic Tall boots sell for $180 a pop.

For those willing to shell out for a bit more for comfort and fashion, UGG recently announced its collaboration with Jimmy Choo on a capsule collection.