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What are Uggs®?

By G. Melanson
Updated Feb 26, 2024
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Uggs® is a trademarked brand name most popularly used for referring to a style of sheepskin boot with wool inner lining. Ugg® is a trademark of the U.S. company Deckers Outdoor Corporation, the parent company of UGG® Australia. Uggs® come in unisex styles and became a footwear trend amongst celebrities such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Paris Hilton, and Jessica Simpson at the beginning of the new millennium. Uggs® have since grown to achieve popularity in mainstream fashion and have also grown beyond footwear to encompass a full line of additional Ugg® fashions, including handbags, slippers, and outerwear for men, women and children.

The style of Ugg® boots, which features a broad, amorphous design that cushions the feet, has long been popular in China and the Arctic, especially amongst sheepskin shearers who have access to the boot’s traditional materials. The style was also popular during the 1960s amongst surfers, who would slip into the boots to warm their feet after emerging from the water. During both the first and second World War, the sheepskin boot became popular amongst aviators for its functional insulation and comfort. The style of boot was referred to in such slang terms as “ugh”, “ug” and “fug” derived from the word “ugly.”

Despite their comfort, Uggs® are not known for their durability, and lack the protective properties that would make them appropriate for industrial wear. Uggs® require a special cleaning procedure, using a mild sheepskin cleaner such as Woolite or Ugg® Australia sheepskin cleaner diluted in equal amounts of water. A cloth soaked in cold water should be applied lightly to the Uggs® first followed by the diluted mixture, which is gently scrubbed into the boots in a circular motion. Uggs® should then be left to air dry in a warm, clean place away from direct sunlight or heat.

The Ugg® trademark has undergone several legal disputes, and unofficial Ugg® boots which sport a similar sheepskin style are often sold under brand names such as Uggs-N-Rugs, Warmbat, RocketDog, Bear Paw, Emu Australia, and Koolaburra. Uggs® are most often worn with the pant leg tucked into the boot, but are also worn with leggings, knee socks, as well as without socks.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By fify — On May 05, 2014

@serenesurface-- There are liquid spray conditioners out there made specifically for Uggs. I own a bottle and I spray down my Uggs with it once a month or so in winter. The conditioner prevents the boots from staining and it's also a water repellent so it keeps the water out. I do need to spray them down several times for the water repellent properties to work though.

I think people who buy Uggs need to get this conditioner, otherwise the boots are going to be in poor shape in no time.

By serenesurface — On May 04, 2014

@ysmina-- Uggs have really become the term for this type of boot. It is a brand but people refer to the same style boots by other brands as "uggs" as well.

There are cheaper alternatives to the original that are not so bad. They're not sheepskin as you said, but no one can tell from the outside. So for people who want to be fashionable and comfortable on a budget, it's an acceptable option.

I like Uggs. I think they look chic and they are comfortable. But they have their downsides as well. For example, they stain very easily and they're not the right boots to wear on rainy and snowy days. The water does get into the boots and wet socks. It has happened to me on more than one occasion.

By ysmina — On May 04, 2014

I can't afford real Uggs because they are too expensive. There are cheaper options by other brands but they are made of synthetic materials. I tried a synthetic pair at a store once and they were uncomfortable and looked very cheap.

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