Belfast-based, style loving mum of 3. Fashion, Lifestyle, Food & Fitness

Sunday, 12 January 2014

An alternative to UGG Australia

You may remember from my pre-Christmas post, that one of the gifts I'd asked my sisters in law to club together to buy, was a genuine pair of UGGs. Not really for wearing regularly outdoors but mostly for wearing around the house or in the car. They came from Daniel Footwear and were £150: 
They're pretty much what you expect from UGG boots but I have to confess to being a bit underwhelmed. The fit was not fantastic - my heels were slipping, even though they were a snug fit at the toe. They were over £100 after all and I think I was just expecting more...what exactly, I don't know but this sticker on the sole was the first thing that put me off - Made in China & 100% Polyester Backing?? 
Now they are genuine - that's not the issue at all. Daniel Footwear are authorised UGG Australia stockists but in fact, UGG Australia boots are made in China now. And the polyester thing? It's a process they are calling UGGPure:
 UGGpure is the latest addition to the UGG collection of premium materials. It’s a luxurious, natural wool woven into a durable backing that enhances the overall product experience. Featured in linings and footbeds of select products, UGGpure allows us to deliver a plush sensory experience with every wear.
 I feel more than a bit cheated!
So I got to googling about alternatives to UGG Australia and came across a company called Whooga, selling the same boot but in the longer leg version for....wait for it...£45. Admittedly in the sale but even at full price, they were still almost half the price of UGG Australia. So I ordered a pair to see what they were like:
The fit in these boots was far better - no slippage at the heel and a more snug fit over the bridge of the foot. Here are some comparison pics...
Left - Whooga, Right - UGG Australia
Top - UGG Australia, Bottom - Whooga
Left - Whooga, Right - UGG Australia
 Spot the difference? No, me either (apart from the price and the length difference!)
But here's my assessment of the main differences and in all cases, these are things I want in my ugg style boot:
Slightly thicker fleece - Whooga
Thicker sole - Whooga
Nicer Stitching - Whooga
Less Bulky Foot Area - Whooga 
Result? The UGG Australia ones went back and the Whooga ones were kept. I guess I'm not really a slave to brands! And having £100 extra in my pocket is a nice bonus :)

One slight problem and one of the reasons I've not linked directly to the Whooga site is that they have no stock at the moment. Not sure what that's all about - you may want to keep an eye on the website to see if that changes in coming days. And a note of caution - I didn't find them the most communicative company to deal with - I actually ordered two pairs and returned one and it was a lengthy process with very little contact from the company and a pricey insured parcelforce return bill, so if you buy, try to avoid doing a return! It was a world apart from the excellent free return service at Daniel - complete with regular emails advising on the progress of my return.

So tell me - do you have Uggs? UGG Australia ones or alternatives? Do let me know in the comments below. And if you hate them, I understand. I used to too but now my warm feet are so happy and I'm a changed woman!
Ax 
UPDATE - I've just found this article about UGG now making their boots with a lining to cut production costs. This will hopefully answer a number of emails and comments telling me I might have fakes, I can confirm once again -  the ones I bought from Daniel ARE genuine UGG Australia. Be careful when buying in the future - you're looking Twinface sheepskin - not UGG Pure!

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48 comments

  1. They look such a great alternative. I have the Australia UGGs in the chestnut, long length, and also very underwhelmed! The biggest issue is the lining keeps slipping down inside, not what you expect for the money. They have lasted quite well and still look good but I wouldn't buy another pair. Great saving you've made!
    Abbi x

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    1. Wow - I'd not be pleased if the lining slipped down either but good to hear they have lasted well. I guess it's good to know there are alternatives out there for when you're looking to replace yours! Ax

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  2. Real Uggs don't have lining - they are sheepskin, so the inner fleece is just the back of the skin.

    I guess the fit is dependent on your feet - they fit my hobbit feet like a glove!

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    1. Well, apparently since October Emma, they do! I've found out so much more about it since I wrote this. It's a cost cutting measure by UGG Australia - I've linked to the article above. :( x

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    2. Sorry - I wasn't saying your wern't real - it was in response to the comment above about the lining slipping. Interesting to see they've changed how they are made. Mine are old, but I am awaiting a new pair to arrive, so will have to see how they compare.

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    3. Oh it's ok - I knew where you were coming from. Was just surprised myself to hear that some of the genuine UGG Australia ones are now lined! Yes - I'd be really interested to hear how you find the new ones Emma...do let me know! Ax

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  3. I have genuine uggs and always size down by one size. I must admit the price tag is beginning to put me off and I am thinking of trying emu next as I have heard good things about those. Glad your toes are now cosy and your purse a little heavier! :)

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    1. Yes, I'd gone down a size too on recommendation - was surprised at the looseness around the ankle but I guess it's down to foot shape and they're not going to work as well on everyone. I had heard of Emu too and in fact had ordered a pair of them a few years ago but sent them back as I didn't think I'd wear them! How much can change in just a couple of years! Ax

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    2. i have emu's, they are great. like avril has said, i only wear mine indoors so can't vouch for how waterproof they might be. i got mine from tk maxx, long length navy, and they were reduced to £39.

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    3. Thanks for the tip about the emus! Ax

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  4. I just can't get on with UGGS - at all. I have seen them worn so badly by others that I am put off. You do not wear them incorrectly can I just say! I think your alternatives are BRILLIANT!

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    1. Don't worry - they are going to be more of an indoor option. I have arch issues in my feet so it would be a bad idea for me to wear them all the time. But the cosiness - oh my...so snuggly! Ax

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  5. I know quite a few people who have them and they felt the same about them. I personally don't like UGGS I think they are very over priced for what they are and as you have shown you can get much cheaper (just as good) alternatives. Good find xx

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    1. Thank you Gail...I love finding an affordable alternative but also I don't mind paying if something is well worth the extra money. Definitely not the case here. Ax

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  6. I have to say I wouldn't dream of buying a pair of real Uggs for indoor wear as that effectively makes it an extremely expensive pair of slippers - ouch. I have a pair of real ones in chocolate brown which for some reason actually rub a little on the ankle. I have a pair of not real ones which I wear outside which are the comfiest things ever and I can't throw them away as they are so comfy. And I have the Ugg Kensingtons which is a palaver to get one and probably why they didn't continue them for very long as I know a lot of people who can't get them on.

    But for at home, I live in my Costco Kirkland kids sheepskin slippers. Every year they bring them out and every year, I buy myself a pair. I think I may even have over indulged one year and pushed the boat out and bought two :o) as I love and adore and worship them. I make an annual pilgramage for my pairs. And they work out at less than £30 for real sheepskin (not the faux micro fibre) boot/slippers which give you good support. They are a wardrobe essential in my eyes.

    Err .. can you tell I love them?

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    1. Hey Sue - thanks for your comment. Those Costco slippers sound fab - great tip off! I do have an old pair of UGG Australia slippers and to be fair, they have lasted really well - they must be 5 years old now and I still wear them but I really wanted a boot to keep my ankles and legs warm and something I could wear out to the pool and pilates. Oh and to choir rehearsal and en-route to concerts and also on the long drive to Tipperary - more substantial than a slipper - if that makes sense? Have I justified the expense yet?! Haha - but yes...the expensive slipper thought was in my mind too and that's why the pricetag started to bug me. Really happy with my £45 ones now...feels like I can enjoy them now! x

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  7. I bought a pair of original Uggs in Sydney 13 years ago & they were only £30 & were brilliant! I think like most brands that end up popular they simply end up becoming mass produced & therefore the quality slips! The Whooga ones look much better & that pains me to say so! I was a huge Ugg fan but wouldn't dream of buying a pair at that cost & quality now! Ax

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    1. You're so right and I bet the Australians can't believe how much we pay for them...and that some people wear them day and night! Ax

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  8. It's so interesting to see that actually, sometimes, we don't get what we pay for. I live near too much mud to consider any sheepskin boots for outdoors. I have a pair of very cheap alternatives that I do wear in the house as slippers. Really good article Avril xxx, love Liz xxx

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    1. Thanks Liz - yes...wellies are probably much better for most of us this far up north! x

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  9. I have had Ugg boots for many years now and currently own three pairs and one pair by a brand called Love from Australia who are very similar in price although you can pick them up in the sales. I like all of mine, never had a problem but the last pair I got (a review from ugg last spring) are tight on the foot when I put them on. Sadly it's like buying a Chanel bag v one that just looks like Chanel, great if you aren't bothered by labels as these cheaper boots look the same and do the same job, well done for tracking them down I say x

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    1. Thanks Sharron - yes, I think in this case, I'm ok not to have the brand! Interesting to hear from you as you've owned several pairs. Ax

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  10. Great post! The Whooga ones look great and sound much better than the UGGs. I bought a really cheap pair a couple of years back from Barratts which were a bit too wide but I am now using them as slippers! xxx
    The Jolly Fashionista

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    1. Hi Emma...yes, there are some great ones for wearing around the house. I love having my ankles covered on cold evenings - makes such a difference, Ax

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  11. Avril, please also check out: http://www.celticandco.co.uk they are lovely boots, my mum, I and my sister in law (and our young children) all have one or more pairs x

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    1. Thank you Sara - they look great! Loving the more outdoor soles on some of them...and they sell those sheepskin insoles too for just £9! Thanks so much for the link, Ax

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  12. Not something I've considered before and am with you Avril, they'd be slippers for indoors, but given whooga are out of stock in pretty much all sizes and styles, they're on to something!

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    1. Well, I've just found out they are out of business now - clearly the stock clearance was for a reason. Such a shame but I've gotten so many other great recommendations on this thread so will be sorted for the next pair I buy! Ax

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  13. Hello lovely, I just came across your blog and it's great!

    I'm your newest follower and looking forward to your next post!

    Please check out my blog if you can:

    http://electricsunrise.blogspot.co.uk/

    Thank you! :)

    xoxoxox

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  14. Hi,

    I love your blog. As a mum of 2 obsessed with clothes I think it's brilliant! I found whoop a a few years ago and have had a few pairs, all been fine !

    Look forward to following you on the blog

    Catherine

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    1. Thanks Catherine - lovely to hear from you and I'm glad to finally meet someone else who's bought from Whooga! Great to hear you've found them to be a good buy. Thanks so much! Ax

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  15. When I first arrived in the UK, I was horrified to see how expensive and popular Ugg boots were. They were plentiful in Christchurch (NZ) and cost no more than £40. In fact, Ugg wasn't really a brand until these guys decided to patent the name. We used to just call these sheepskin boots Uggs (or fugly). My sister brought over a pair for me and the thick rubber tracks on mine are more suitable for snow. The price? Yup. £40!

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    1. thats crazy how much the price varies!

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    2. My first pair of original Ugg's were shipped from MZ Marlene as they were so much cheaper! x

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    3. Lol at the fugly...sums them up perfectly! I was saying just above that I'm sure AUS/NZ folk must be amazed at how much we're charged for them! You'll have to let me know next time you're heading the NZ direction Ax

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  16. hello! thanks for your sweet comment on my blog, i do hope you liked what you saw? nice post!

    http://pomegranateandcoffee.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. Thanks Michelle - loving your Zara shoes today! Ax

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  17. Uggs have been in the press a lot just lately after the Angora scandal. Sheep can be treated inhumanely when they are skinned for these boots . Maybe the polyester backings are in response to that issue. Just a thought.

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    1. Yes and thanks for raising this issue...I think there's a whole other piece here about whether sheepskin is genuinely a by-product of the meat industry or if the skin is becoming the priority, leading to less humane processes. If it is an attempt to improve the production process for the animals involved, I'm surprised that Decker didn't make that point in their piece to the financial markets as it would be well received by the general public. It's hard to see it being anything but a cost cutting exercise and to be fair to Decker, they do claim to source their skins from by-product of meat producing sheep and that no museling is carried out in the farms they source from. Unfortunately, I'm unable to find out the same information from Whooga as they've ceased trading this week. Thanks for your comment x

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  18. My sister and I did loads of research into Ugg and their 'made in China' boots a few years ago Avril as we were just as shocked. My original pair are now coming up 8 years old and were made in Australia. When we both decided to order a second pair we were not happy with where they were made. We ended up after several emails to someone on the phone in the US (?!) who said that production had got so large that they just couldn't cope with manufacturing them out of Australia so had to move it to China……since then I don't think the qualities been the same. It really is such a shame, good for you of looking for a better, cheaper alternative. x

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    1. Thanks Natalie - you're not the first to tell me this kind of story and having read lots of online articles, it does seem they have become a victim of their own success. Hopefully they'll scale back and start to focus on quality...sales are down so they do have to change something. Ax

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  19. I buy 'WLM' (Wear Like Me) a brand from New Zealand..... I'm on my second pair having had the first for quite a few years & I still wear them. First pair was from a local boutique but they no longer stock them so now I got my new pair from Amazon - they are really great quality & value. Knee high boots are £66 on Amazon & are made from sheepskin outer/inner & a rubber sole

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    1. Thank you for the tip Wendy - have had a look and I'm impressed. Great prices too. Many thanks, Ax

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  20. I'm not really an Ugg boot fan anyway and luckily I live somewhere they are not a necessity but I found your review very informative

    www.highheelsandtutus.com

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    1. Thanks Jodi - yes, the cold of Northern Ireland drives us to some questionable fashion lengths! :) x

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  21. I see from the Whooga website that they are no longer trading!! 😢

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    1. Oh Julie, that's really sad - thanks for letting me know. That explains the difficulty I had contacting them a couple of weeks ago and I did wonder why there was no new stock coming in :( x

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  22. I got Whooga Uggs to a few years ago and they are still going strong. But did get an email last week saying that the company was going into Liquidation, hence the cheaper prices. My boots were gifted for review, but were still more than £100 at full price, but definitely worth it.

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I love reading your comments and will reply as soon as I can if you have a specific question. If for any reason, you are unable to leave a comment, just drop me an email at avril@alifetostyle.com or leave a comment on the A Life to Style Facebook Page! Thank you xx

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