On the campaign trail, Marco Rubio is kicking off 2016 with a pair of stylish new boots.
On Monday, New York Times reporter Michael Barbaro tweeted a photograph of Rubio's heeled footwear, commenting on the "seriously fashionable" kicks that walked the New Hampshire streets.
Marco Rubio is rocking some seriously fashionable black boots today in New Hampshire. pic.twitter.com/lwiSWuuCUt— Michael Barbaro (@mikiebarb) January 4, 2016
The shiny black booties with a bit of a heel became an instant social media sensation -- and provided rival campaigns with fodder for teasing the Cuban-American senator, who stands at 5'10".
Brian Phillips, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz's rapid response director, poked fun of the photograph on Twitter:
Rubio supports Italian boots on the ground pic.twitter.com/fPOnncpWjP— Brian Phillips (@RealBPhil) January 5, 2016
And Cruz's communications director, Rick Tyler, also tweeted out a New York magazine article with the headline "A Vote for Marco Rubio Is a Vote for Men's High-Heeled Booties."
GOP contender and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul also joined the Rubio ribbing early Wednesday, just as he prepped for an appearance on ABC's "The View":
"I'm here in Whoopi Goldberg's office trying to choose some shoes," Paul says in the tweeted video. "We've seen Rubio has those cute new boots and I don't want to be outdone."
And on Wednesday, former tech executive Carly Fiorina asked Rubio on Twitter if he could "rock" her own pair of high-heeled kicks:
Even television hosts joked about the boots.
MSNBC's Joe Scarborough dubbed them "shagalicious," in the style of Austin Powers, and questioned, of Rubio, "You're wearing that in New Hampshire?"
#Bootgate also tread more political territory, when a Vanity Fair article wondered whether the shoes were fiscally responsible purchases made by the senator, who has been accused of occasionally extravagant expenditures.
The fashion magazine speculated that the boots could have cost the Florida Republican anywhere from $85 to nearly $2000, depending on whether they were a Georgio Brutini brand or Tom Ford.
Rubio's campaign addressed the boot queries in an interview with Politico, saying that they were Florsheim boots, which the news outlet said only cost about $100 for that particular pair.
Regardless of the brand, the boots happen to be outfitted appropriately -- as New York magazine pointed out -- with a "Cuban heel."