Ugg Boots History

What is the uggs' origin?

Over two hundred years ago, first colonists from Europe settled in Australia and brought livestock, including sheep with them. They used sheep for many purposes, from food to barter, and from cash crop to clothing. Over the decades, sheep turned into the important export of the whole continent. The new Australian colony fought for it's prosperity in the 19th century. As the resources were scarce, people used sheepskin hides to make all kinds of clothing, as well as footwear. One story says that the ugg boot got name (ug, ugh, or ugg) from the Australian habit of skipping the "h" in the words beginning. According to another one this was because the original models just being so ugly. Regardless of the origin of the term ugg, ugh, ug or ugg boots, they have become an icon of Australia, the sheepskin ugg boot.

Several other stories trace the uggs back to early WW I era, when the pilots used to wear fleece-lined so called "FUG" (flying ugg) boots. The Blue Mountain Uggs date to 1933. Mortel's Sheepskin Factory started to produce line of "apache ugh boots" in the 1950's. In the 1960s the ugg boots became popular among the Australian surfers community. The surfers would put on the sheepskin footwear to keep their fee warm after riding the waves. They would saw sheepskin hides without even putting hard soles at the bottom. The shoes did not look very attractive, they were somewhat ugly, which might have given them the name ugg boots. The boots also became popular with people of Australia, who would often wear them around the house during the winters.

In the 1970s, sheepskin boots have been manufactured by several companies in Perth, the largest Australian city on the west coast. Perth has very similar climate to southern California, and lot of surfers, whom the Aussies refer to as "surfies". The Margaret River surfer community near Perth first made the ugg boots symbol of Australian surfing lifestyle. Ugs soon found their way to the east coast and were adapted by surfers from Sydney to Brisbane as well. And it didn't take long for some surfers (those ones who liked to ski in the winter) to realize that their boots were just as great to wear in the Snowy Mountains ski resorts as they were on sands of Sydney’s Bondi Beach.

In 1978, a young Australian surfer Brian Smith brought a core piece of "Down Under" to the United States. Craftsmen have been making the sheepskin boots for many in Australia and New Zealand, however it took an enterprising your surfer to introduce the sheepskin boots to the United States. Bringing with him only a few pares of uggs, Smith hit the streets of New York. Unfortunately he was not lucky and was sent packing, with the same few pair in his suitcase. But thanks to his persistency, he went to the west coast and was able to start selling the boots amongst the Californian surfer community.

Company called Mortels, form Sydney claims to be the world's oldest sheepskin boots manufacturer and hold a special place in the history of the boot. Their factory, based in the NSW Hunter Valley, makes about 16,000 pairs a year.