What Are UGGs Made Of? Do UGG Boots Kill Sheep?

Adekunle Olanrewaju Jason
Oct 17, 2023 By Adekunle Olanrewaju Jason
Originally Published on Oct 26, 2021
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Warm brown ugg boots on snow.

UGGs are sheepskin boots that have a thick faux and rubber sole.

UGG boots known for their popularity at the international level are quite a unique fashion piece among footwear. The real question is, are these chic UGG boots ethical and good for the environment and animal rights?

Popular fashion wear that has become quite famous with Pamela Anderson and the Baywatch show among the teenage girls, since the '90s, is the sheepskin UGG boots. Later feeling guilty and knowing the truth, Pamela Anderson herself went public, voicing her guiltiness and asking people not to follow the trend by buying UGG boots.

As per reports, approximately three million lambs are slaughtered every spring to meet the requirements of sheepskin, meat, and wool industries.

People most times fall under the false impression that UGG boots are merely made from shorn wool. UGGs are sheepskin boots.

They are made from the skin of slaughtered animals. It is clear that UGGs are not vegan or vegetarian nor cruelty-free footwear.

Still, the company UGG Australia claims that they have a strict animal welfare policy. But is it really true? They claim the skin used to make UGG boots come from the animals and sheep that are slaughtered for other purposes.

They make their excuse as the skin and fleece of slaughtered animals and sheep would otherwise go to waste if they are not used in the making of garments and footwear. They further state that their products do not violate animal rights.

Wearing animal dead skins could be an option during the stone age times. But today it is considered unethical in any case.

And people today are slowly trying to adapt, being vegan, and not using any animal skin garments and footwear. After reading all about UGG boots, you must also check out why do men grow beards and what do sheep eat.

What are ugg boots?

For those who don't know what UGG footwear is, it is a boot, which is mostly used during cold times. Ugg boots are made using shearling, that is sheepskin with the fleece still attached. The term ‘UGG’ comes from Australia.

Initially, Ugg boots were made for providing warmth for feet. They were first worn by surfers during the 1960s. Slowly in the '70s, the boots were introduced to the surf culture of the U.K and the U.S.

UGG groups are an American footwear company that is also a division of Deckers Brands.

Then UGG boots saw a worldwide trend in the U.S in the late '90s and mid- 2000s. Australians, creating the trend, often wore UGG boots as slippers, associating it with daggy fashion sense and bogan culture.

Every year in Australia itself, millions of sheep are castrated and their tails are cut off - often without giving them painkillers - before they are slaughtered for their skin, just for a pair of trendy fashion boots. UGG Boots are worn in their countries for warmth and comfort.

Young woman walking with her miniature pincher puppy.

Are uggs cruelty-free?

Can you believe it is considered 'normal' in the Australian wool industry for slaughtering nearly three million young lambs every spring just for making UGG boots?

Wool and sheepskin are cruelly produced. It is not only cruelty shown to animals, but also to nature. Wool production can cause degradation of land and pollution of the water supply.

Sheepskins and fleeces that are used to make UGGs come from Australia’s sheep industry. The industry is known to have a long history of animal abuse.

The Australian company has a policy against purchasing fleeces from sheep producers who practice mulesing. The claims by Australian UGGs clearly show their excuses.

They claim that they use the skin and fleeces of animals that are slaughtered for other purposes like for its meat. But the sheep industry economics reveals that from the two main streams of income from the animals they have raised, their income from the fleece is more than from the income they get from their meat.

Even though these UGG boots have quite a name for style and comfort, they are not cruelty-free and vegan. The sheepskins and fleeces are castrated and their tails are cut off - often without even giving them painkillers.

Now you can very much tell if it is cruelty-free or not. The high rise of UGG boots in the market has resulted in a shortage of animals.

Process Of Making Uggs

The UGGs claim that they make their products responsible, using authentic, high quality, comfortable, and durable materials. They use ethically- sourced sheepskin, leathers, suede, wool, down, cotton, and hemp. UGG boots use Merino sheep’s wool to make their boots.

All the classy authentic UGG boots are made with animal skins and materials. Due to these reasons, UGG boots are not considered to be vegan.

Processes of making UGGs include, extracting wool, fleshing, scouring, pickling, tanning, dyeing, sole, binding, and stitching. UGG boots sold for high cost, undergo various processes to make it into fine footwear. Raw materials that go into making a fine pair of UGG warm boots are twin-faced sheepskin or woven sheepskin, and synthetic or rubber soles.

Scouring using surfactants and other chemicals is done on the wool. Then pickling is done, and the next tanning and dyeing processes are done.

Today a new vegan alternative for UGG boots has been made. Supporting cruelty-free to animals, some of the best vegan replacements to UGG are PAWJ tall boots from California, Bearpaw boots, and DAWGS.

Also to hedge against future short supplies of sheepskin supply, UGG has created a new fabric called UGGpure. UGGpure is used in about one-third of the boots created by UGG, mostly for insoles.

It is the same wool but is manufactured to look and feel exactly like sheepskin. UGGpure is natural wool that is woven into a durable backup of sheepskin. For UGGpure, a live animal is not sheared.

UGGpure technology uses repurposed wool on a textile backing. UGGpure is being used as lining for many of the boots made by UGG. UGG slides are made of real fur from sheep or lamb.

This fur mainly sourced from Australia, Ireland, or the U.K is then artificially dyed and treated. Vietnam is the main production country of UGG slides.

Who invented ugg boots?

There have been different claims for the invention of the UGG boot. It is said that Surfer Shane Stedman of Australia is the one who claims to be the inventor of the famous UGG boot. The manufacturers of UGG-N-Rugs Bruce and Bronwyn McDougall have been manufacturing the boots since the late 1970s.

The rising awareness around UGGs animal cruelty has led to people opting to purchase ethical UGG boots and UGG slippers rather than wearing a UGG boot.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for what are uggs made of then why not take a look at what do seagulls eat, or what do flea eggs look like.

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Written by Adekunle Olanrewaju Jason

Bachelor of Science specializing in Mass Communication.

Adekunle Olanrewaju Jason picture

Adekunle Olanrewaju JasonBachelor of Science specializing in Mass Communication.

With over 3+ years of professional experience, Olanrewaju is a certified SEO Specialist and Content Writer. He holds a BSc in Mass Communication from the University of Lagos. Throughout his dynamic career, Olanrewaju has successfully taken on various roles with startups and established organizations. He has served as a Technical Writer, Blogger, SEO Specialist, Social Media Manager, and Digital Marketing Manager. Known for his hardworking nature and insightful approach, Olanrewaju is dedicated to continuous learning and improvement.
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