Ballpark Estimate: $120 to $300 Adult sizes; $50 to $150 Children sizes
Are you lusting after a pair (or many pairs) of Uggs (or UGG® Australia) boots? If so, you are in good company, since girls and women of all ages seem especially taken with the simple, slipper-like design of these sheepskin boots, which are relatively easy to find and especially comfortable to wear. Some men are also jumping in on the trend, and the luxury UGG® Australia brand also offers several contemporary styles for them.
A Universal Trend
They could be called the ugg-ly footwear that everyone loves. Despite their awkward, slipper-like design, Ugg boots are one of the few cutting edge items that have such universal appeal that crosses generational lines. Teenagers, college students and even young and middle-age mothers, too, seem to be drawn to the fleecy-lined boots, which are made in Australia by the finest materials. They are designed to keep your feet warm in the winter without needing socks, and also cools them in the summer, making them all the more versatile, too. As a result, you can find people wearing them in schools, supermarkets, on ski slopes and even at the trendiest beaches throughout the United States and abroad. Many surfers also use uggs to keep their feet warm.
What’s in a Name
The name “ugg” (which is also sometimes spelled as ugg, ugh and ug) is a generic term in Australia used to describe this style of sheepskin boots. It actually does come from the Australian slang word, “ugly.” But while any style sheepskin boot may be called an ugg, only the ones available through UGG® Australia are the original, luxury item that everyone seems to crave.
The fact that the name “ugg” is widely used in Australia, and also now in the United States, has caused much controversy for the Deckers Outdoor Corporation, which runs UGG® Australia today and has trademarked the name. The Deckers Corp. has demanded that other companies no longer be allowed to use this name. However, many competitors continue to advertise other brand boots as “uggs” anyway, making it confusing for consumers to weed through the choices – many of which look alike – but aren’t made from the same high-quality material.
The advice most experts offer to would-be ugg owners is only to buy directly from the UGG® Australia website or from another approved UGG® Australia retailer (you can find a list of stores on the Ugg Boots website). Nordstrom also carries a wide selection of the line.
Beauty or the Beast?
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, particularly when it comes to ugg boots. The oversize-rounded shape and very flat sole truly is a cross between a bedroom slipper and a Cost For Uggsspace boot, making it look clunky and out of the place on many wearers’ legs. Yet this does not detour people from flocking to them. The cozy inner lining that cushions the foot in warmth and softness so you don’t even need a sock, is combined with a very durable outside that provides a cozy nest that forms a barrier that works in the cold to keep your body heat in and also protect you from some of the elements. In warmer conditions, the sheepskin works to cool your feet. These factors, combined with the ruggedness of the boots, is enough to prompt even budget-conscious shoppers today to fork over the cash for one or more pairs. Further, the boots come in a range of neutral colors, as well as some newer fashion shades, in both lower and mid-length calf heights, allowing die-hard wearers to have enough to choices to wear a different pair every day of the week.
How Uggs Began
Australian ugg-style boots date back as far as about 200 years, but they didn’t really came to the forefront of the fashion scene until the 1970s when Australian surfers began buying uggs because of their practical properties. UGG® Australia boots are made of premium sheepskin that has been specially treated for extra softness. Since sheepskin is thermostatic, it regulates the body temperature and can keep the body comfortable even at 30 degrees below zero, according to some experts. It also breathes naturally, keeping moisture away from the body.
Recognizing these important benefits, an Australian surfer named Brian Smith brought a bag of Australian ugg boots with him to California and introduced American surfers to the style, sparking the new craze and supporting the creation of the ugh or UGG® Australia brand. In 1995, the brand was sold to Deckers Outdoor Corporation, which continued to develop and grow the product line, turning it into a luxury item. The company was able to convince Nordstrom to stock the line in the early 2000s, and in 2003, Footwear News named this “Brand of the Year,” causing interest in the boots to explode. The rest was history, as the ugly slipper shoe quickly became a regular sight on feet all across America.
Celebrities Who Wear
Further spurring the UGG® Australia trend is the wide range of high-profile names who wear the brand. Many fashion-forward celebrities are regularly photographed wearing uggs. Some of the most recognizable faces seen in these boots include Kate Moss, Britney Spears, Kate Hudson and Jennifer Aniston. In addition, Sarah Jessica Parker wore a custom-made red pair on a Sex and the City episode, while Oprah Winfrey endorsed the boots on her talk show and even put her money where her mouth is, buying pairs for all 350 of her staff members.
Beating the Odds
Even with the challenging economy and shoppers tightening their belts when it comes to spending money, many reports say that UGG® Australia sales continue to grow. Despite the boots’ reputation as a luxury item, most shoppers seem to feel these boots are a practical investment to make them worth the splurge. As a result, the brand has been expanding even as other luxury brands have been forced to pare down due to a sharp decrease in sales. But with the demand for Uggs remaining sky it, the company has recently opened additional shops throughout the UK, including a special shop inside Harrods Department Store, and in Ireland, and has also broadened out its line to include clogs, flip flops, other accessories, some high-end casual coats and even sheepskin rugs.
A Word of Warning
While uggs are comfortable to walk in and pillows your feet in warmth and softness, it also does little to cushion your feet with support. Therefore, this can be a problem for your arches, tendons and ankles, some podiatrists warn users. They recommend if you must wear this style, at least save it for short-term periods of use and not for heavy walking. In addition, keep in mind that uggs aren’t actually waterproof, making them a less than ideal choice for heavy rain and snow. These facts don’t seem to deter ugg fans, though, who think these negatives are far outweighed by the positives.
How to Tell the Real Thing
When it comes to buying UGG boots, there are numerous fakes you may encounter, particularly if you order online. You should know that the genuine boots have the name UGG embossed in the bottom. The fake ones usually have the name just written, but the letters are not raised. The fakes also tend to have uneven stitching, are made of poor quality material and have a slight odor to them that doesn’t go away. Major department chains such as Nordstrom, Macy’s or the Ugg Australia website itself are all good sources to ensure you are getting what you are paying for.
What It Costs
If you want to get in on this widespread trend, you may wonder what it will cost you. Prices for women’s boots start at about $120 for the most basic design. Some of the other variations go up from there. A tall calf “romantic” style design runs around $200, with a variety of low and high-styles priced in between this range. Cost For UggsBoots adorned with fancy fleece cuffs are in the $200 to $230 range, while other riding and motorcycle-inspired looks can be found for between $200 and $300, depending on what you select. Men’s uggs range from about $130 to $200, while toddler and children’s uggs generally cost between $100 and $140. You can even find pre-walker uggs for your baby, too. These are about $50 for a miniature cozy pair. You can also find limited edition uggs available now only through the UGG Australia website. These range from $260 to $300. In addition, if you prefer to keep your ugg-wear confined to the privacy of your home, there are a variety of ugg slippers that sell for between $60 and $100 for adults, or around $50 for kids. Finally, if you have more unlimited money to “wear,” you can also invest in the luxurious sheepskin Ugg coats, which cost between $1,000 and $2,200.
So you can expect to spend between $120 and $300 for men and women’s UGG® Australia footwear, with adult slippers and baby/toddler styles starting at $50, while Ugg coats can cost as much as $2,200.
There is also a special batch of uggs that exist, which are hand-painted by some of the biggest name stars and then auctioned off through special auction held to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Those celebrities with artistic ability paint their own special designs for the lucky wearer right on the suede finish of the classic boot. The final creations are colorful and unusual, turning the plain, ugg-ly style into a beautiful one-of-a-kind work of art.