Sheepskin Footwear FAQ
- Who is Uggs-N-Rugs?
- Who is Ugg Australia?
- Why is the Uggs-N-Rugs brand so cheap by comparison?
- Are sheepskin footwear waterproof?
- Can I wear the sheepskin boots hiking?
- What sort of soles are used?
- How long will they last?
- Can I buy Uggs-N-Rugs footwear in a shop close by?
- Can I buy US Ugg Australia footwear in a shop close by?
- How do I know if I have purchased the correct size?
- How long does it take for you to respond to my email questions?
- How do I keep my sheepskin footwear clean?
1. Who is Uggs-N-Rugs?
Uggs-N-Rugs are a small family concern who have been manufacturing sheepskin footwear in Western Australia for over 30 years. They have succeeded where a lot of people have failed by providing:
- unsurpassable quality,
- durable, robust products,
- at very attractive and competitive prices.
2. Who is Ugg Australia?
US Ugg Australia is a trading entity of US publicly listed company Deckers Outdoor Corporation. They purchased Ugg Holdings, Inc. from Australian Brian Smith around 1995. The majority of their footwear is made in China.
3. Why is the Uggs-N-Rugs brand so cheap by comparison?
Both brands offer a top quality product. You are getting the Uggs-N-Rugs brand at bargain prices because:
- Australia's exchange rate is very attractive to the US dollar at the moment (although the aussie dollar is strengthening);
- They are coming direct from Western Australia; and
- Uggs-N-Rugs do not have the same overheads as larger organisations
4. Are sheepskin footwear waterproof?
No sheepskin footwear manufacturer can claim ugg boots are waterproof if they are made from genuine sheepskin - a soft leather. However, it takes a fair bit of moisture to penetrate through the skin (usually about 2-3 millimetres) and then through to the wool. We used to trade in a market and in the winter, our boots used to be soaked on the outside but were still dry on the inside. However, much longer in the wet and they would have been soaked on the inside too. The only way to have waterproof sheepskin boots is to have a shoe made of some sort of waterproofed material which is then lined with sheepskin. But when you see these, usually they are lined with wool woven onto a netted backing and not genuine sheepskin. And the netting/wool wears out quickly so it's not the same quality. You can spray the sheepskin with a Scotchguard (or similar) waterproofing product but this is really only to stop the odd bit of moisture. And you have to re-do this after they have been wet (and after they have dried).
If the snow is dry then you can wander around in them but if it's wet and slushy then the best thing is gumboots with maybe some sheepskin inner soles.
Many other retailers may tell you otherwise, but if their boots are made from genuine sheepskin (a soft leather) with no other layer on the outside of the skin, then the boots will get wet.
One exception to this rule is a product sold by Jumbo Ugg Boots - another good Australian manufacturer. They sell a product called Aquafleece Uggs which have a special coating applied to the outside of the sheepskin to help waterproof them.
5. Can I wear the sheepskin boots hiking?
Once again, sheepskin is a soft leather. Hiking through rough terrain increases the risk of twigs, branches, sharp rocks, etc. catching the soft leather and potentially tearing it. Regardless of the type of sole on them, the soft leather can still be torn if enough force is applied. It's up to you to decide if this is an appropriate risk to take. Retailers who tell you that sheepskin footwear (with no special additional covering) can be worn hiking are not explaining the full risk.
6. What sort of soles are used?
Uggs-N-Rugs have settled on a durable quality, lightweight EVA sole which is then glued, heat activated and attached to the footwear under extreme pressure.
About 23 years ago, Uggs-N-Rugs were one of the first sheepskin manufacturers to try side-stitched soles. They spent a great deal of money on the machine and the soles. However, sustained testing of this method for attaching soles showed that they decreased the life of the footwear. Once again, this was due to the sheepskin being a soft leather. What was happening was the lip of the soles (at the side) and the stitching just under the lip, created a sharpish edge. Ongoing walking (thereby flexing the soles repeatedly) meant that this slowly cut into the top quality sheepskin. Eventually the footwear developed horizontal holes at the level of the sole stitching to the point that the sole gave away. So in the end, Uggs-N-Rugs gave up using their expensive sole machine (it's been sitting gathering dust since then) and have reverted to the tried and trusted method of sole attachment.
The US Ugg Australia make uses a mixture of different soling types but the styles we sell use the same type of soling material as Uggs-N-Rugs - EVA - except for the Classic Talls which are what they call an "Ultra" outsole - side-stitched.
7. How long will the footwear last?
This is a hard question to answer given that every person wears shoes out differently. It depends on your environment, how often you wear them, your physical characteristics and so on. I personally, get about 3 years out of my sheepskin slippers (but I wear them almost constantly around the house all year around) and I'd get about the same time out of boots (but I wouldn't wear them as often). Some people have taken up to 10 years before they've got a new pair of boots whilst others get a new pair every year because they like to have a new pair (and can obviously afford it).
If you get the sheepskin footwear too big and comfortable to start off with, you will find that as they stretch and loosen, you will slip in them. This will reduce the length of time you get out of them because you will rub the wool off the skin more quickly and put added pressure on the skin as you slide around. So it is always good to buy a nice snug fit.
8. Can I buy Uggs-N-Rugs footwear in retail shops?
Uggs-N-Rugs only retail their footwear in Western Australia or over the Internet. They are not available in major retail outlets around the world.
9. Can I purchase US Ugg Australia make in retail shops?
Sure - there are many retailers of US Ugg Australia - mainly in the US but as you can appreciate - they are our competitors and we don't keep track of who and where they are.
10. How do I know if I have the correct size?
So you have bought a pair of sheepskin footwear and maybe you think they are too tight? Sheepskin is one of those unusual materials of which there is no equivalent. Most people know that leather shoes stretch. Well with sheepskin shoes, this happens even more so. A good fit means the shoe is nice and firm - almost and I mean almost to the point of being a little uncomfortable. This is because they stretch. Another key factor is that wool compresses with your weight. You might start with 15mm plus wool poking at your toes from all angles but soon you will find the wool flattening leaving more room. With some styles, such as the Hi/Classic Tall Boots, the toe area will dome up at the front, moulding to the shape of your feet.
A good rule of thumb is that if you place your bare foot on the bottom of the sole with your heel lined up with the heel of the boot and there is an inch to an inch and a quarter (say 2.5 to 3 centimetres) between the end of your big toe and the end of the sole then these are perfect. Any more than that and they will be quite roomy once the wool has flattened and the skin has stretched.
11. How long does it take for you to respond to my email questions?
If I'm not asleep (keep in mind that I am between 12 and 15 hours ahead of the US and between 6 and 8 hours ahead of the UK and Europe) , there's a good chance I'm near the computer. So usually fairly quickly. I try to respond within 24 hours but I do have a life away from the computer (although my husband sometimes doesn't think so). :-)
12. How do I keep my ugg boots clean?
This is a very common query.
Firstly, you could apply a special waterproofing agent for leather. This can usually be bought at any good shoe retailer or boot-maker. This helps to keep dirt and grime to a minimum as well as waterproofing the footwear. Be aware though, that once your footwear get wet, you need to apply another coat after they have dried.
(The next lot of instructions apply only to sheepskin footwear that have a single layer of sheepskin. ie. The skin is the outside and the wool is the inside. The instructions are not suitable for leather covered boots or for fur lined boots.)
Secondly, you can wash your sheepskin footwear - but do it carefully. Just as you would do with a woollen jumper (wool pull-over sweater), hand wash in cold to luke-warm water. NOT hot water. Use a "mild" wool detergent. We emphasise mild wool detergent because not all wool detergents are mild and many can harm your sheepskin rather than do it good. So place your sheepskin footwear completely into the water. You might use an old toothbrush or nail brush, particularly on the inside wool, to help in the washing process BUT be gentle. Once you have washed and rinsed the footwear, place them in your washing machine and put it on a spin cycle for a few minutes just to get rid of the excess water. You should then place the footwear in the shade outside to dry. If this is not possible, then put them inside to dry but AWAY from any DIRECT HEAT such as a fire or heater. As with any wool product, any form of heat will "shrink" the shoes.
You will notice once the footwear have dried that they have shrunk slightly but this is normal. After wearing them for an hour or so, they will go back to the normal, warm and comfortable state you are used to and at the same time, be clean.
Thirdly, if you find you have a grease stain on your sheepskin footwear, try rubbing some white chalk over the stain and leaving it for a few minutes. Then, using the bottom of your hand or your thumb, gently rub the stain. Repeat this a few times until the stain has disappeared. If a stain is being extremely stubborn try rubbing some fine sandpaper "lightly" over the stain. You have to be exceptionally careful with sandpaper as it may take some of the dye away in the process. Only resort to this option if you are prepared to take that risk.
Lastly, sometimes you can get what we call "spotting" where the footwear have come into contact with a few drops of water. You can usually eliminate this by folding the footwear onto itself, that is skin against skin, and gently rub it together.