Ugg boots are now known around the world for their ability to keep the wearer’s feet quite warm even in very cold weather. For this specific reason, Ugg boots can be worn even without socks and this has made the shoes immensely popular all over the world. It is not known for sure if they were first made in Australia or New Zealand and a lot of water has passed under the bridges. The Ugg Boot trademark controversy has also seen a resurgence in recent years.
History of Ugg boots
They were historically worn by pilots, surfers, and shearers in the 1920s during World War I in Australia. Then, in the 1970s, they became a favorite with surfers and swimmers who wore them after competitions to keep their feet warm. Being made of sheepskin, they help keep the temperature warm and keep feet insulated. Although boots were previously made in such a way that both men and women could wear them, trends specific to women’s Ugg boots have also been incorporated lately. Soon these boots acquired cult status and became a fashion trend in 2000. Many celebrities have also started endorsing these shoes and this is the reason why they have become quite popular.
Both New Zealand and Australia claim they were the first to make the boots. However, it is clear that the production of the boots began in 1933 by the ‘Blue Mountains Ugg Boots’. However, these boots (then known as Flying Ugg Boots or Fug Boots) were being used by aviators in the 1920s when aircraft cabins were not pressurized and they needed the boots to make sure their feet stayed warm. Even rural shearers and farm workers also wore the shoes in the 1920s.
Actually, the term Ugg Boot is really a broad and unspecific term that has been used for sheepskin shoes, whether they were made in Australia or New Zealand. It can be said that it really is a generic term.
Sales beyond Australia
In the 1970s, the trademark dispute was rampant when an Australian surfer named Shane Steadman started selling these boots and shoes and later registered them as a trademark. In 1979, another Australian surfer known as Brian Smith bought these shoes in the United States to sell, registered his company as Ugg Holdings Inc., and bought the Steadman trademark. Now the brand was registered in 25 countries. However, Smith sold his shares to Decker Outdoor Corporation. Since the trademark was registered in 25 countries, Decker sent a cease and desist letter to all Australian manufacturers from using the Ugg boot name. But the issue was not pressed further.
The trademark row resolved
Suddenly in 2000, as a result of celebrity endorsements, demand for the shoes skyrocketed and Australian manufacturers began selling under the name Ugg boots. According to a court ruling now, Ugg boots are a generic term that manufacturers who use sheepskin to make the boots can use. However, in other countries, manufacturers cannot use this term in reference to boots made from sheepskin.