Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Controversial Ugg Boot

My imitation Ugg boots

The weather has all of a sudden turned chilly, and although they are worn almost all year, Ugg boots are being seen all around. Uggs and all their copies are quite controversial. While they are praised for their warmth and comfort, they are disliked for their looks. For many they put the “ugg” in ugly.

The page Ugg boots are ugly has 1,882 Facebook “likes,” while the official Ugg Australia page  has 1,773 fans. This highlights the close debate.

Sheepskin Ugg-like boots were first brought to the United States from Australia in the 1970s and grew popular among surfers. In the late 90s, the brand Ugg Australia formed and soon after the boots became quite popular, being praised by celebrities, such as Oprah (Ugg Australia, 2010a)

In 2010, Ugg boots seem at no risk of going away. This year, they released a collection with the oh-so-fashionable Jimmy Choo brand. Most of the boots are in the traditional style of classic Ugg boots but have studs and fringe. For images, click HERE (Ugg Australia, 2010b).

Ugg also is trying gain publicity for its men’s line by hiring NFL player, Tom Brady, as their spokesman. According to the press release Brady said, “I have worn and loved the UGG brand for a long time…This collaboration gives me an opportunity to work with a leading global brand with a great history and a true vision for the future of its men's collection. It's an exciting time to be part of the UGG® Australia team” (Ugg Australia, 2010c). It remains to be seen if Brady can make a brand popular with females be perceived as more masculine.

Yet, despite their success Ugg are not universally liked.

One criticism is that they change the way women walk. Because they are a bit clunky, you take large steps or shuffle around (Graff, 2007).

Moreover, despite being quite warm in the winter, they are not waterproof.  Thus, if you try to wear them in heavy snow, expect wet feet (Graff, 2007).

 Furthermore, Ugg boots are criticized for being bad for one’s feet. The shoes lack arches and offer little support. Thus, prolonged wearing of Ugg-type boots can lead to arches falling and eventually foot, ankle, and hip problems (Miller, 2010).

When I first saw Ugg boots, I was struck by their ugliness and planned never to wear them. However, since deciding to attend college in cold upstate New York, I have become a regular wearer of my imitation Ugg boots in the winter months. They are warm and comfortable. I have bought imitation pairs made of sheepskin from stores like Costco and have had no complaints. You get fewer styles but you also pay a fraction of the price of real Uggs. The health complaints about Ugg can be said of many other less than idea shoes, such as ballet flats and flip-flops. It comes down to an issue of moderation. Also, I have realized that there is a time and place to wear Uggs. In the cold months to get to class, they are acceptable, but for nicer or formal occasions, other shoes should be worn.

What do you think about Ugg Boots? Do you own and wear them?

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Graff, V. (2007). The UGGly truth: They're hot, smelly and bad for your feet so why are Ugg boots so popular?. Daily Mail. Retrieved December 8, 2010 from

Miller, T. (2010). Wearing Ugg boots for long periods of time ruining women's feet, experts say. NY Daily News. Retrieved December 8, 2010 from

Ugg Australia, 2010a. A look back at 25 years of sheepskin. Retrieved December 8, 2010 from

Ugg Australia, 2010b. Ugg & Jimmy Choo. Retrieved December 8, 2010 from

Ugg Australia, 2010c. Ugg® Australia and Tom Brady to collaborate. Press Release. Retrieved December 8, 2010 from


  1. I use to love my original UGG boots with fur and wrap around string, then I went to buy a plain pair only to find them tagged Made in more UGGS for me...mine were made in Australia but I bought them years ago.....

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