The History of Ugg Boots
by: William Siebler
From Australia’s Official Dictionary: The Macquarie Concise Dictionary – ug boot / Australian 100% merino sheepskin lined boot. Also called ugh boot , ugg boot.
Did you know that Australian Sheepskin Ug boots have always been called Ug, Ugh or Ugg boots and have been made in Australia for almost 200 years? “We always called them Uggs, Smith says, “long before it was a trademarked brand.” Brian Smith, Founder UGG Holdings, Inc. Los Angeles Magazine October 1st, 2001.
The Ug Boot Story
The original Ug Boot. “Ug,” (also spelled “Ugg” and “Ugh” in Australian dictionaries) is not a brand name but an age old generic term for this style of Australian-made sheepskin boot. In Aussie slang, the Ug name is short for “ugly.” In terms of comfort, however, the Ug Boot is a thing of beauty. The softness of the Australian Merino sheepskin produces a boot with a snug, cozy, form-fitting feel that’s more like a sock than a shoe, yet it’s rugged enough for outdoor wear. The fleece lining has the astonishing property of providing year-round comfort. In cold weather, the plush fleece provides an insulating layer of warmth by trapping your body heat, much like goose down does. But in the heat of summer, the natural fibers of the fleece actually cool your feet by wicking away perspiration.
Growing Up in Ugs
By the 1970s, in Perth, the largest city on Australia’s West Coast, Ug boots were being manufactured by several small companies in the area. Perth has much the same climate as Southern California and is also a haven for surfers, whom Aussies call “surfies.” And it was the community of surfies at the great surfing beaches at Margaret River near Perth who first adopted Ug Boots as their footwear of choice and made them a symbol of the Aussie surfing lifestyle.
Ug Fever Spreads
From the beaches of Western Australia, Ugs were soon seen on the feet of East Coast surfers from Brisbane to Sydney. And it wasn’t long before some of these surfers — the ones who traded their surfboards for skis in the winter — found that their Ug Boots were just as at home in the ski resort areas of the Snowy Mountains as they were on the warm sands of Sydney’s Bondi Beach.
It was Aussie surfers, traveling the world in search of the perfect wave, who first introduced their mates in Southern California to the pleasures of the Ug Boot. Ugs soon became a cult fashion among those L.A. surfers who could depend on a buddy ‘down under” to send them a pair of boots.
Today the Ug “secret” is out. You’ll find these versatile boots to be in fashion on beaches from San Diego to Santa Cruz and in ski resorts from Tahoe to Vail. And today, you don’t have to “know someone” in Australia who will send you a pair, since there are now a number of companies importing boots of this type. But, if you want the genuine article, you do have to know what you’re looking for because, no matter how they spell it — Ug, Ugg or Ugh — there are several importers with look-alike products that fall short of being the real thing.
If you want genuine Ug Boots — well-made boots with all the qualities that made the original so desirable — you’ll want to make sure that….. The boots are made from 100% Australian Merino Sheepskin. This will ensure your purchase is made of the finest Sheepskin hide avaliable.
Beware of very cheap imitations… quite a few boots on the market are made of cow suede with sawn on sheepskin inner fleece off cuts…. Don’t take the chance and purchase these boots…. the external cow suede does not breath like 100% sheepskin does and will leave you with a smelly sweaty boot… But I must say these boots do look like the real thing but just don’t cut the mustard when compared to authentic ugg boots.
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This article was posted on February 23, 2005