They have been a hot fashion item for years now, and if you are going to give slippers as a gift you can bet that a pair of Uggs will be truly appreciated by almost anyone. They have a look that is much imitated but never quite replicated, are as warm and cozy as you can get and in terms of durability, they are pretty amazing too. What’s not to love?
What are Ugg slippers? Ugg slippers that originated in Australia and New Zealand that are crafted from, in the company’s own words “twin-faced sheepskin with fleece on the inside, a tanned outer surface and a synthetic sole.”
But in fact, Uggs are so much more than that, as you’ll discover if you read on.
Where did the name Uggs come from?
Even though most of us are very used to it now, when Uggs first hit the market the name did sound, well, pretty strange. And there is actually a rather confusing history – and more than a few lawsuits – surrounding the trademarked Ugg name.
In both Australia and New Zealand there are companies claiming that they originated the name and the boot that Ugg slippers are derived from. And because despite a number of legal challenges have failed to reach a conclusion in these countries any fleece and sheepskin boot can be marketed using the term ‘ugg’.
Anywhere else in the world though, it’s a different story. The trademark UGG (written in capital letters) is held in more than 100 countries by Outside Australia and New Zealand by Deckers Outdoor Corporation.
Australia and New Zealand both claim to be the original home of uggs and in these countries the term “ugg” can be used to market any fleece and sheepskin boot. That is, it is considered a generic term. However, in more than 100 other countries, UGG is a registered trademark.
The owner of that company claims he came up with the name because his wife told him the boots were ugly. Others claim it comes from the term fug boots, which were worn by rural pioneers and aviators in Australia in the early 20th century. But whatever the word really means or where it actually comes from the one thing is for sure; it now means chunky, furry footwear in the minds of almost everybody.
When was UGGS founded?
When talking about uggs, the questions of when the company that holds the main trademark (Decker) and when uggs first appeared have two different answers. Decker, who are based in Goleta, California, United States, was founded in 1973 by University of California, Santa Barbara alumni Doug Otto and Karl F. Lopker. But they did not find the UGG company.
That was the ‘brainchild’ of a pair of surfers from Australia, Brian Smith and Doug Jensen who had become familiar with the ugg style of boot in the 1960s as teens, before moving to the US to go to University. In 1979 they borrowed money from family and friends to begin importing these boots from Australia to the US from a company called Country Leather.
Their first year they sold 28 pairs of what they had trademarked “Original UGG Boot UGG Australia” (with a ram’s head logo) These are the uggs we are familiar with and by 1994, 80 percent of UGG’s sales were in southern Orange County, California but the company gained international attention after the boots were worn by the U.S. Olympic team in Lillehammer for the 1994 Winter Olympics. A year later the company was bought out by Decker for $14.6 million. And by the mid 2000’s, after being worn, and promoted by an almost endless parade of celebrities, UGGs were everywhere.
Where are UGGs slippers made?
UGGs branded slippers were first introduced in the mid-2000s, as an offshoot of the boots. Unlike UGG boots, which were originally truly crafted in Australia most UGG slippers are made in China these days, with a handful of ‘special collection’ items, such as the Made in America Mens Collection still being crafted in the USA.
What animal are Uggs made of?
Most UGGS are primarily crafted from twinface sheepskin. This term refers to the fact that the material used is both the wool and the skin of a sheep. It is not only chosen for its looks and durability but also for its natural thermostatic nature. This means that while sheepskin seems like it would always be warm, it automatically regulates to the wearers body temperature through the day, meaning that UGGS can be worn in very warm weather without becoming uncomfortably hot and sticky.
As the UGGs line has expanded standard leather is also used in the construction of some styles now, although the majority of their slipper offerings are crafted from sheepskin only.
Does UGGs use real fur?
In a nutshell, yes they do. This has obviously been a source of controversy, especially when it comes to the use of sheepskin. However, despite high profile protests led by PETA and by actress Pamela Anderson, who was a fan of UGGS until she ‘realized’ that they were crafted from sheepskin the company remains committed to using real fur and real sheepskin.
Do you wear socks with Ugg slippers?
This is a part of the age old fashion dilemma that refers to almost any kind of slipper; should you wear socks with them or is that one of the biggest fashion faux pas of all? Ask some people and they will tell you that wearing socks with slippers is still a huge fashion no-no, while others do accept that sometimes wearing socks is more about helping an expensive pair of slippers last longer more than anything else!
When it comes to UGGs slippers however, it may very much depend upon which style you choose. Some UGG slippers are simply ‘bootie’ versions of the original UGG boots and so if one wears no show socks with them then no one will know! However, with the skimpier mule or clog styles, styles that resemble a traditional slipper style, socks may indeed look out of place.
In terms of warmth, socks aren’t really needed with sheepskin lined UGGs because, as mentioned, the temperature regulating properties of sheepskin mean that your feet should always be at just the right temperature, never to hot or too cold, and the addition of socks would actually only serve to hamper that effect.
Do Ugg slippers have arch support?
Some people, those with flat feet, do tend to experience pain and discomfort when wearing footwear of any kind that does not offer at least some level of arch support. That includes slippers, and in fact slippers can be particularly hard on flat feet because they are often completely flat and rather flimsy.
UGG boots are known for being very unsupportive in the arch area and so it is recommended by podiatrists that they be worn with a supportive insole by those with flat feet. There are, however, a handful of UGG slipper styles that do offer a certain amount of arch support including the Tasman Slipper for women and the Neuman slipper for men.
Do UGG slippers run small?
Perhaps it is because of the ‘fluffiness’ of the fleece lining, or because of the higher quality of the sheepskin but as a rule most people who buy UGGS do say that they tend to run a little small. This can make sizing correctly difficult, as many of the UGG slipper styles do ‘break in’ and fit a little looser over time. Some reviewers over at Amazon and Zappos suggest ordering a half size up while others say that true size UGG slippers will break in after a few days. The best thing to do? If you are buying UGG slippers, either from a bricks and mortar store or via an online outlet make sure that there is a good return policy attached so that the shoes can be easily returned if necessary.
Are UGGs slippers waterproof? Can they be worn outside?
As a general rule, no they are not. Some styles are water resistant but that does not mean you should wear them out in the rain. Sheepskin can be a little hard to take care of, and cleaning UGG slippers that get wet can be a little bit of a challenge.
You’ll often see people wearing certain kinds of UGG slippers outside though, those that have a slightly more durable sole. As they are usually very comfortable, and go great with casual outfits that can be a good idea if you are running quick errands or driving, but if you can keep your UGG slippers away from water and wetness as much as possible you should. On a sunny day when the ground is dry? Go for it if that’s what you want to do, but remember to wipe the soles clean before wearing them in the house again.
Are UGGs slippers expensive?
The one thing that genuine UGGs slippers are not is cheap. But they are not as expensive as some people think and there are a number of other brands out there that cost just about as much but lack the label ‘prestige’ and all sheepskin construction that UGGs slippers offer.
Browsing through the major shoe outlets online – Zappos and Amazon – you’ll find that UGGs slippers for women range in price from $80-200 for women and $100-$200 for men. That is perhaps a lot to spend on a pair of slippers, but when properly taken care of a pair of real UGGs slippers will last for years, offering a great return on your investment.
One of the big problems that UGG has been dealing with for years is the issue of counterfeiting. Whenever any higher end fashion product – or in fact any product – becomes very popular the fact that people will try to imitate it and produce their own version is almost inevitable. This is simply the way the world works and yes, there are lots of ‘ugg style’ slippers out there that cost a lot less and may look fairly similar, but those are not the problem.
The problem comes when companies produce counterfeits or ‘knock offs’ These are not marketed as ‘similar too’ or like, they are sold claiming to be the ‘real thing’. The battle against these products has been an ongoing one for Decker and has led them not only to sue hundreds of companies but also to add special features to their products as a ‘security measure’.
So how can you tell if the UGG slippers you are considering purchasing are the real thing? It can be hard, as some of these counterfeits, to the naked eye, do look very much like real UGGs. Here however, are some tips to help you.
Look for the security seal
Since 2010 Decker has made use of security seals on all of their products, including UGGs slippers. It comes in the form of a holographic sun logo that changes from black to white if you rotate it in the light. These seals may be sewn in on some styles, or attached to the heel on others.
Look for slippers made in China or Vietnam
You may think that the Made in China legend might mean you are dealing with a fake, but the fact is that UGG products are now almost exclusively made in China or Vietnam.
Check the smell
Real sheepskin does not smell of anything at all. However, cheap, faux sheepskin often has a very ‘chemical smell’. If your UGG slippers have a distinct odor coming out of the box there is a good chance that they are not real.
Remember, UGGs don’t come cheap
The biggest giveaway that the UGG slippers you are considering are fake is price. Even ‘on sale’ it is very hard to find a pair of genuine UGG slippers for less than $75. $30 Ugg slippers just don’t exist unless you are buying a used pair!