Ugg Boot

AKA: sheepskin slippers, sheepskin boots, fleece boots, Uggs, Uggies, Ugs

How to say it: ugg boot

Traditional Features: 

Ugg Boot

  • twin-faced sheepskin upper – fleece on the inside, tanned on the outside
  • rubber or synthetic sole
  • traditionally 10″ tall, but can be of varying heights
  • traditionally a simple slipper style, but can come in any style

21st Century Ugg Boots

The Ugg Boot has changed a lot since it first hit the footwear market in the early 20th century; but regardless of what manufacturers do with the overall design of the shoe (and they have done a lot), the cozy, sheepskin lining remains the one defining feature of the iconic Ugg.

Classic Ugg Short Uggs

Classic Ugg Boot, Short Ugg Boot

Sparkle Uggs Tall Uggs

Sparkle Ugg Boot, Tall Ugg Boot

Origins…

…of the style: The origins of the Ugg Boots apparently dates back to the pilots of World War I who were photographed wearing sheepskin lined boots to keep their feet warm while in the air; they were called Fugg Boots.

Modern uggs have been manufactured since at least the 1930s when Blue Mountain Uggs opened it doors in Australia and their shoes were worn by farmers and shearers throughout the country. Mortel’s Sheepskin Factory also began producing Aussie ugg boots in the 1950s, and in the late 60s surfers got in on the style, finding the boots warm and comfy to wear after riding the waves. The original uggs were essentially a sheepskin sock, with a seam down the centre front and no real sole, but the 1970s several companies were producing ugg boots all over Australia and style of the shoe evolved into the three-piece style that is so very popular today.

The ugg boot eventually found its way to the UK and US on the feet of surfers travelling for competitions and became particularly popular in California, where the style fit perfectly with the relaxed casual style that was prevalent among the beach communities. Initially, American surfers had to rely on Aussie mates to keep them supplied with uggs, but in 1978 surfer Brian Smith traveled to the USA with a bag full of uggs with a plan to import. Apparently Smith first tried to sell his wares in New York but was sent packing. After failing to find interest on the East Coast, Smith tried the West coast and was met with almost immediate success and the UGG AUSTRALIA brand was born.

By the 1980s ugg boots had become a symbol of the relaxed California lifestyle and had spread beyond the beaches, popping up in cities and towns across the country. As summer turned to winter, people began to wear the sheepskin shoe in ski resorts to stay warm, cementing the ugg as an all season shoe. By the 1990s celebrities had jumped on the ugg boot train and the shoe began to gain true fashion status, which has continued to grow into the 21st century.

In Australia the term ‘ugg’ is considered a slang word and is used to describe any kind of sheepskin slipper regardless of who makes it. Outside of the Land Down Under, the word Ugg has been ruled a brand name, and only shoes made by Ugg Australia can bare the name. Under the UGG brand the style has evolved past the once casual slipper and can be found in a huge variety of styles, sporting everything from a wedge heel to ribbons, sequins and laces, and are available in a wide range of colours. The temperature controlling properties of the sheepskin lining of the shoe have made it a staple for people in all facets of society and it is this wide-reaching desirability that will allow the Ugg boot to remain a popular choice of footwear for many years to come.

…of the name: There are numerous rumours as to how the name came about. Some say the term UGG came from the ‘fugg’ boots worn by pilots in WWI, others say the boots were first called ‘ugh’ boots because that was the sound made when one first slipped on the shoe; however the general consensus is that the term Ugg boot came from the ugly look of the original styles.

Random Facts

  • UGG AUSTRALIA is actually an American footwear company based in California
  • sheepskin lined boots can keep feet warm in temperatures as low as -30F

For more info on Ugg Boots try Wikipedia, UGG AUSTRALIA, Aussie Things. eBay or the Fairchild’s Dictionary of Fashion

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4 thoughts on “Ugg Boot

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