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UGH! UGGS, where shall we start with you? UGGS get a lot of attention from popular culture: celebrities photographed with UGGS, jokes about sorority girls wearing UGGS, how much the name UGG just begs you to call them Ugg-ly — you get the picture.

First, to clear up any confusion, although the name of the shoe company is UGG Australia, it is an American company, owned by Deckers Outdoor Brands, which also owns well-known brands Teva and Sanuk. The term “ugg” itself is a generic term used in Australia to describe a sheepskin boot typically worn as a slipper. Strangely confusing, no?

In any case, the problem with UGGS is similar to the problem of other shoes and apparel made of animal skin or fur — the claim being that the skin or fur is simply a “byproduct” of the meat industry. Deckers has a statement on their website about their use of sheepskin and fur that states, “The sheepskin that is used in many UGG products, including our Classic boots, is real fur. But, unlike mink, lynx, and other animals that are raised exclusively for their pelts, sheep are NOT raised for their skins.”

So, because they are slaughtered for meat first, peeling the skin off their carcass is like recycling? And recycling is good, right? Sorry Deckers, but just because your company doesn’t perform the slaughter that doesn’t mean you become the “good guys.”

Caroline Lennon put it best in her OGP article on leather as byproduct of the meat industry. She explains, “There is an important economic interdependence between factory farming and the leather trade, and thus farmers do not sell every single part of each animal to minimize waste but instead to maximize revenue and profit. For that reason, leather is an animal product much like any other: produced to meet consumer demand while lining the pockets of those within the respective businesses.”

In addition, the UGG craze has spawned countless knock offs who have been reported using more than just sheepskin in their shoes. A 2011 Care2 Petition revealed that “an investigation by Humane Society International found boot makers for Ugg Australia footwear were among a group of Australian manufacturers mislabeling products as wool when they were actually using the pelts of raccoon dogs, skinned alive in China.”

Fur and animal skin need to undergo chemical treatments to turn them into products like shoes. Their original purpose is to be the skin of a living creature, so when you remove that element, the skin should naturally decompose. However, if you want the skin to be a shoe, that’s not quite the end result. Skip all the nastiness and cruelty and ditch the animal products, UGG and otherwise. Check out some of our cruelty free picks below.

3 Ugg-cellent Alternatives

1. Classic Camel Faux Shearling Vegan Boots ($48)

Classic Camel Faux Shearling Vegan Boots


2. Reneeze Women Mid-Calf Boot ($19.95 to $29.99)


3. Journee Collection Womens Faux Suede Lug Sole Boots ($25)

Journee Collection Womens Faux Suede Lug Sole Boots

Lead Image Source: Kristina D.C. Hoepnner/Flickr 

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48 comments on “What’s Wrong with Uggs and How You Can Choose Better”

Click to add comment
Thomas H. Conrad
4 Years Ago

You people on this sight are absolutely unhappy morons.

Gregory Lichtenson
4 Years Ago

Bacteria laden Fungus >>And they Smell like Shit when you take them off!! Health Hazard to Wear Ladies!!

Chelsea Marigold
4 Years Ago

impractical and don't the moisture out.. i feel badly for people who wear these when there is any kind of precipitation or slush all over the ground!

KC Jackson
4 Years Ago

Rick Olsen amennnn

Leda Beluche
4 Years Ago

I stopped using the vegan faux fur uggs because researchers told me faux fur comes from cat and dogs fur in china...

Rick Olsen
4 Years Ago

So youre saying that even though the animal is being slaughtered for the meat industry the animal hide should just go to waste. These articles are such bs. You would have to be completely vegan to even post this with any meaning. No leather! Shoes, coats, car seats, hell pants if thats your thing. Its all a by product of the meat industry. There are no animals being needlessly killed for their fur by theses companys. What those crazy asains are doin idk but Ugg doesnt deserve the bad rep anymore than Nike or Timberland hell take your pick. Leather/ animal hide has been used FOR EVER! What the boots look like is just a matter of opinion.

Seymour W Eliot
13 Dec 2013

They should indeed promote veganism instead of single-issue campaigns. A number of the commenters seem to be vegetarian (or not even) instead of vegan, and not see a problem with it. Same with westerners appalled by "japan's whale-hunting". No animal use is necessary, doesn't matter if the result is enjoyable or pretty.

Sherri Rambo Christy
4 Years Ago

Oh boy that ruins mine for me now. Ugh

LA Reilly
4 Years Ago

all HYPE is what they are, along with cruel and very ugly for sure. unreal how many people fall for all the hype every where.

Lisa Thomas
4 Years Ago

They were named right,because they are UGGLY.

Doreen Walsh
4 Years Ago

made from pain!!!


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