UGG boots may be the most polarizing item of clothing since western women decided to wear pants. Most people love them or hate them, but almost everyone who tries them can admit that they’re cozy. While great for comfort and casual wear, UGG boots aren’t for every situation.
Classic UGG boots are not good for hiking. They simply don’t offer enough stability and protection. However, UGG does have several other boot options that users can hike in. If you choose one of those options and take proper care of your boots, you should have a great pair to hike in for years.
UGG offers an extensive catalog of products on their site, though footwear is still their primary focus. Keep reading to learn 10 things to know about UGG boots including which styles are best for hiking, how to take care of your boots, and more about the company.
Classic UGG boots are the boots most people think of when they think of UGG boots. These are the sheepskin boots that come without embellishments, buckles, or laces. Instead, these boots sport simple stitch lines and the recognizable UGG label on the back of the heel.
This style of boot is more for fashion and comfort rather than support. They’re easy to slip on and loose-fitting around the ankles and legs. However, when hiking, you want boots that are snug. Imagine how easy it would be to twist an ankle wearing classic UGGs!
Classic UGG boots are also not weatherproof. This isn’t an issue if you’re hiking in a hot, dry climate. However, if you’re in an area that’s colder or wetter, you want some extra protection. While classic UGG boots get a topical water repellency treatment before leaving the factory, it isn’t the same as having boots made with waterproof materials.
The outsoles of Classic UGGs are made with their Treadlite material. This material is lightweight, durable, and comfortable but doesn’t have the level of traction needed for hiking. Classic UGGs are fine for running errands or lounging around but not for hiking. Without the proper grip on the bottom of your boots, you could easily slip and injure yourself.
It seems an odd thing to think about; we don’t generally associate surfers with boots. While the actual origins of this style of boot and the name are murky, the term “ugg” or “uggies” was slang for moccasin-style boots, decades before UGG brought them worldwide fame.
In the ‘60s and ‘70s, they became popular for surfers as a way to keep their feet warm after time in the water. It’s not hard to see why; the boots are easy to slip on and are known for their comfort.
Australia has the largest sheep industry in the world, so it’s no surprise that lambskin has been a popular choice for residents. According to the UGG website, an Australian surfer named Brian Smith brought these sheepskin boots over to Santa Monica in 1978. The company steadily grew in popularity, mainly among California surfers, until the US Olympic Team wore them in the 1994 Winter Olympics and launched UGGs into the national spotlight.
In 2003, UGG boots were featured as one of “Oprah’s Favorite Things,” and the business skyrocketed. Since then, UGG has done collaborations with Jimmy Choo, Swarovski, Tom Brady, Disney, and Pixar, to name a few. This has given their brand room to expand.
While their classic boots are still a favorite, UGG makes other types of footwear like slippers, sneakers, sandals, and heels. UGGs are even available for babies and kids!
They didn’t stop at footwear, though. UGG now carries apparel like leggings, loungewear, sweatshirts, sweaters, sleepwear, outerwear, and accessories like backpacks and handbags. They also offer a home collection featuring soft and fuzzy pillows, blankets, and rugs.
We established earlier that classic UGG boots are not good options for hiking because they aren’t weatherproof and they aren’t well-fitting. Luckily, UGG makes several styles of boots meant to withstand tough weather.
For women, the Adirondack III Hiker boots are the best option for hiking. These boots are weather-rated for temperatures down to -32°C (-25.6°F), are waterproof, and feature white spider rubber soles that offer “enhanced traction on wet and dry surfaces.” Unlike traditional UGG boots, these boots have laces so you can tighten them as needed and reduce the risk of injury.
On the men’s side, UGG offers Emmett boots. These duck boots are flexible like sports shoes but are stable and functional like traditional hiking boots. Like the women’s Adirondack boots, the Emmett boots are weather-rated to -32°C (-25.6°F) and have the same waterproof features and spider rubber soles.
Additionally, UGG offers these waterproof options for women:
And the following additional options for men:
Even kids have not been left behind. They have options, like the Azell Hiker boot. This boot is best for light to moderate weather. It has waterproof features and is made with waterproof suede.
Because traditional UGGs are made to be comfortable and soft, they usually don’t need to be broken in before you wear them. However, hiking boots, including UGG boots, are designed to be much stiffer, so they can offer the proper support.
Breaking in your boots helps the boots adapt and mold to your feet. If you neglect this step, you may end up with sore feet and blisters by the end of your hike. You wouldn't want that. Breaking in your boots also helps you determine if you need any sort of additional support such as insoles.
Don’t rush the process though. Trying to break in new shoes too fast can harm both your shoes and feet. Instead, wear them for a walk around the block or while running errands every other day. Try to spend a little more time in the boots every day to help ensure you’re still comfortable as the distances get longer.
While the hiking boots listed above are waterproof, it’s always a good idea to use a protectant spray on your boots before you take them outdoors. This is especially true for leather. Any product meant to protect leather is fine. Additionally, use a soft rag, but avoid using a brush.
After hiking, use a leather cleaner to get rid of mud and dirt from your boots. If you’re short on time, you don’t need to clean the whole boot. Just caring for the leather is fine.
UGG sells several products to care for sheepskin and suede boots. Regardless, try not to let your sheepskin boots get soaked. They aren’t meant for that, and too much water can damage your boots.
If you have a pair of UGG boots that have seen better days, they don’t have to send them to the garbage bin just yet. As part of UGG’s FEEL GOOD initiative, they’ve partnered with shoe repair company NuShoe to help extend the life of your boots.
Once you send your boots in, NuShoe handcrafts new bindings and outsoles for your boots. They also steam clean the inside and outside of the shoe to thoroughly remove stains and odors. Leather conditioning is also included for leather boots.
UGG describes their FEEL GOOD campaign as “a journey towards a regenerative world.” Their goal is to shape a more sustainable future through community, environment, and innovation. This includes:
A few years ago, you may have seen a series of ad campaigns claiming that sheep were being skinned alive to make products like UGG boots. However, UGG refutes these claims by explaining where their materials come from.
The sheepskin UGG uses is a by-product of the meat industry. UGG only purchases from countries with regulations on animal treatment and sources the sheepskin solely from Leather Working Group Certified tanneries. Additionally, UGG has partnered with the Savory Institute to support farmers in applying responsible farming techniques.
UGG is also a founding member of the Responsible Wool Standard International Working Group. Along with the Textile Exchange and many others, they developed the Responsible Wool Standard (RWS) to enhance standards for animal welfare and provide consumers with transparent information. They helped smaller farms become RWS certified and have been ranked by Textile Exchange as a top user of repurposed wool globally.
UGG also requires their leather to be from ethical and responsible sources. Their partnership with the Leather Working Group advocates for animal welfare and encourages a reduction in deforestation in Brazil.
All of the down that UGG uses is Responsible Down Standard certified. This means that their suppliers have all committed to the Five Freedoms of animal welfare and that there is no live-plucking or force-feeding involved.
Sometimes, products don’t meet our expectations. This is especially true when ordering online where we can’t try on the shoe sizes, or the color may look slightly off. When that happens, UGG offers returns, exchanges, and warranties on their authentic UGG products.
To return or exchange your UGGs, you must have both boots, and they must be unworn and unused. UGG will do returns or exchanges within 30 days of purchase, although they may extend the return period during the holiday season.
Returns are free for items purchased from the UGG website. If the item was purchased through a certified retailer like DSW or Macy’s, the customer must pay for return shipping. Instead of refunds, UGG offers credit for items purchased elsewhere. Customers can also return items purchased through the UGG website to UGG Concept or Outlet stores.
UGG offers a one-year limited warranty on all their products. However, this doesn’t cover accidental damage, water damage, and normal wear and tear. If a manufacturing defect presents itself after the warranty has ended, customers are still welcome to file a claim.
While classic UGG boots are cute and comfy, they aren’t a good option for hiking. Instead, try one of UGGs weather boot options like the Adirondack hiker boots or the Emmett boots. These offer traction, stability, and contain weatherproof features. If you take proper care of them, they’ll last you for years.
When choosing UGG boots, you’re helping to support a company that is passionate about ensuring a sustainable future. Equality and ethics are at the heart of their FEEL GOOD mission. Additionally, UGG uses sustainable resources and offers returns and exchanges in case something isn’t quite right.