Where Do Real Uggs or Ugg Boots Come From?

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With ugg boots originating from Australia with at least a century of proof, you would expect this to have a simple answer. It has. But why then is the buying public being tempted into buying a US product largely manufactured in the Far East?

Ugg, Ug or Ugh boots have been a hit in Australia for as far back as anyone can remember. They’ve warmed the feet of our drovers, our World War I pilots, our shearers, our surfers and the general Australian public. Enterprising Australian’s warmed to their global value and have been exporting them at least as far back as the 1960’s with this increasing in the 1970’s.

There is an increasing public misconception that there is only one brand of ugg boot. This myth has been enlarged by the volumes of misinformation being published on the Internet and advertising bordering on being misleading.

As is common with any good idea, new businesses crop up and old businesses are bought out by other businesses intent on making an even bigger dollar. The ugg boot phenomenon is no different with various US based companies seeing an opportunity in more recent times. Such was the opportunity for one of these companies that they have launched a worldwide marketing campaign promoting the Australian ugg boot. However, just as the “cowboy boot” is imbedded in US culture, the “ugg boot” is imbedded in Australian culture. No amount of marketing can take that from the Aussies who have used the term “ugg” and “ugg boots” (and various spellings) in their generic form whilst selling them both within and outside Australia for years. More than a century of use validates this with one of the longest surviving manufacturers hailing from the east coast of Australia with their founding year being 1933.

The global spread of ugg boots gathered pace in the late 1960’s when the surfing fraternity realised just how warm they were. Surfers, by their very nature were itinerant, chasing the world’s best waves, so along with their surfboards, they took their humble Australian ugg boots. Such was the popularity of ugg boots in surfing circles that manufacturers and retailers advertised in major world surfing publications with zest. A look through Yellow Page directories during those decades yields dozens of manufacturers all selling uggs.

In Australian culture, there are several variations on the term ranging from uggs, uggies, etc. through to ugz and uglys. Just why they were called uggs has remained a bit of a mystery. There are two main schools of thought; 1) ugg was derived from the term ugly because the original boots were little more than two pieces of sheepskin stitched together with a soft sole and weren’t exactly pretty, or 2) ugg is derived from the term “ugh” meaning a groan of shock or horror. Either way, these definitions show just why the general public either love ugg boots or hate them. Fashion aside, most people who purchase ugg boots end up being addicted to them forever because they perform one most important and basic function mankind needs and that is to keep warm.

Based on history, we can say real ugg boots come from Australia, are Australian made by different manufacturers and from genuine sheepskin. Next time you wish to purchase genuine uggs then you need to confirm they are in fact made in Australia. Importantly, don’t let tags or business names fool you. Just ask where they are made or read the fine print. Often the “Made in China”, “Made in Macau” or “Made in somewhere other than Australia” tag is hard to find! I wonder why?

The author has been involved in promoting Australian ugg boots since 1978 both on and offline. Visit http://www.australian-uggs.com for further information.

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Michelle Jansen
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