11.30.2011

to Ugg or not to Ugg

ugggggg


i never thought i'd come to China and be on the hunt for Uggs. i mean, i had gone through the entirety of the 2000s without buying a pair, when the whole celeb-style (yes, Gwyneth Paltrow, i'm looking at you) Ugg craze took America by storm. however, circumstances here are forcing me to reconsider my Ugg-free wardrobe...

apartments here in SH are often colder than outside in the winter. drywall and insulation are pretty much nonexistent. there are A/C wall units that work as heaters, but it's very expensive to run them and they're not nearly as effective as central heating, which no one has here in the south anyway. Beijingers and other residents in northern China, though, have the luxury of central heating and sometimes also floor heating! so, i'm gearing up for a bone-chillingly damp winter (small space heater? check. grandpa cardigan? check. lots of tea? check.), but the fuzzy house slippers i got from Carrefour aren't going to cut it when it dips below 50 degrees here.

i must admit, i really like the idea of a luxuriously warm pair of shearling houseboots. my hands and feet are always freezing cold in the winter, so these would make a big difference. it's nice that there are also products to clean and protect the shearling, which i'd imagine would make your boots last longer.

as it turns out, China is the worst place to be if you're trying to get Uggs. given that i am in SH, there are fake Uggs everywhere. ranging from synthetic-everything ones around ¥100 to the Hotwind (a huge shoe/accessories chain store here, kind of like Nine West) genuine shearling suede and shearling-ish versions that go for ¥499-¥600. on the other hand, real Uggs at the Ugg store at Plaza 66, the luxury-brand mega mall go for - get this - ¥2,300, which equals almost a whopping $400 due to insane import tax and distribution mark-ups. online boutiques in the US don't ship Uggs internationally. Ugg Australia will ship Uggs to China, and other countries outside the US, but it's $90 for shipping fees alone...and that's before any local customs fees. go figure, the one time i really want to get a pair, and it's damn near impossible to get them!

i'm thinking of asking my boyfriend to bring me a pair from the US, but then again, if i'm just wearing them around the house, would the cheaper Hotwind versions suffice?

so i need your help, lovely readers. do you have Uggs, or an Ugg-like version? how does the sizing run? i am usually a 6.5, but tried on the 6 at the Ugg store and they felt tight and my toes went all the way to the toe seam. the 7s fit much more comfortably with a little room in the toebox. do you wear them at home only or as regular boots too? how have yours held up?

update: got myself a pair of the Ugg classic short in the chestnut (low maintenance color, and the original!). the shorter length will be perfect for wearing around the house, and i think they look cute with skinny jeans too. can't wait to get them when my bf visits soon!

45 comments:

  1. Hello, in Australia ugg boots worn in public are generally considered a fashion faux pas however they are perfectly acceptable for around the house. I personally do not own a pair but my partner does - knee high ones and he tucks his boot cut jeans into LOL. In Winter I am insanely jealous of him when his feet are toasty and warm and mine are icicles. Have you considered buying your uggs off eBay Australia?

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  2. @catssaymeow ha! i can understand why they'd be considered a no-no outside of the house. BUT i still find the whole Ugg thing fascinating. people either hate them or love them. why are there such strong reactions to Uggs?

    i would consider it except i don't want to deal with duties and other shipping hassles. it seems that its impossible not to get slapped with some surcharge if you're trying to get Uggs outside the states :P

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  3. I have the original Ugg Australia, the low ones in sand and black. I've worn the sand ones outside for seven years now and they look fantastic (and we have really cold winters here). Take care of them and they'll last for a long time, that's for sure.
    I wear them all the time during winter and alter them with Sorel boots if it's wet.
    I'd go for the real ones, since the sheepskin keeps your feet dry in both heat and cold. And speaking of fashion no-no's or not, I think Uggs has become a timeless wardrobe piece for those who want the most comfortable shoes in cold weather.
    I have my regular size and they fit perfect. The snug or tight fit becomes comfy when they are broken in and then the sheepskin will match tour feet perfectly.

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  4. I have the UGG Australia short boots in black and they are seriously so warm. I find the black ones less offensive than the browns ones, personally. Sizing-wise, I actually sized down because I had heard they stretch out a bit. I could have probably bought my regular size too.

    xo, alison*elle

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  5. It can get pretty freezing in southern China, I never understand why don't they have central heating. But I don't think UGG is that effective, or maybe just my feet and hands are always cold, so it is just putting my forever cold feet into thicker skin shoes, which is not helping.

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  6. I think ebay in the US or in Aussie is your best bet. If you're a little ethically flexible, ask the seller if they are willing to declare the value at a low price. Most people do it. I do it automatically with items I sell that are sent overseas and I have no qualms about asking sellers when I buy something. If they say no, don't buy from them. Just make sure they have agreed to do so before bidding.

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  7. I have the Ugg classic tall in black. I also have the Ugg Brooks short in chocolate brown. They are by far the warmest most comfy boots i have ever owned. You won't be sorry. Don't get the fake ones. They won't be warn at all.

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  8. I've had the Uggs Brooks Tall model (leather for the shoe part, suede-y for the shaft) since 2003. I've tromped with them through rain and snow every winter for years, they look exactly the same with very minimal upkeep. they have a more rugged lug sole, but the upper part looks a bit more finished - when worn with pants, they don't actually look like uggs at all. i know you are looking for more of a house boot, but i had to chime in to say how much i love these and don't care if some consider uggs passé.

    one thing i would mention is to be careful about where you source your ugg or ugg-like boots: do a search on uggs, fakes, china - and you might see some pretty scary stuff about some of the animal pelts are sourced. :( i don't think it's just an internet rumor, since actual news-sites like dailymail.co.uk did reporting on the topic, but i suppose it's up to every individual to decide.

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  9. @Linda ahh, thanks for the review! i like the look of the classic short too, and sand and black are the colors i like. it's good to hear yours are lasting for so long! makes one wonder what the people whose uggs wear out after a season are doing to their boots...!

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  10. @alison*elle hmm, ok i think i'm actually between a 6.5 and a 7. haha, i know what you mean about the chestnut color! i don't like browns in general and i try to avoid buying shoes in that color.

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  11. @Bear17 i know! i think a damp cold is worse than the dry chill in the north. seeps into your bones and stays that way for the entire winter :(

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  12. @Anonymous hmm, yeah that is an option, though i'm a bit weary of dealing with ebay outside the US. i think i'd rather get my bf to bring them over or just get a cheaper Ugg-like pair here...if i had known how difficult it would be to get the real deal i would have packed along a pair before i left the US! :P

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  13. @C'est Moi ah, that's really great to hear. seems like a lot of commenters are really confirming the longevity of Uggs. i don't really care if they're passé or not, as they are the kind of uber functional shoes that remain utilitarian every season. obviously they're not bestsellers for no reason!

    your point about the sourcing is well taken. i googled that dailymail report and it is quite horrifying. the store that sells the Ugg-like boots is a well established chain that has a good reputation and a solid guarantee/repair policy (not common here in China!) for all their shoes, so i'd feel a bit more secure buying from them...

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  14. Uhh, I'm kind of ashamed to admit that I've been wearing Ugg boots as house slippers for the past 7 years. I'm on my 3rd pair! Yes, they are pretty ugly, but they make for THE BEST house shoes. I know what you mean about the cold in Shanghai. It's like that in Taipei too (though winters are generally mild, it's always FREEZING indoors).

    I just got a pair of the black ankle boots (the shortest boot) and I think that they're the least offensive of the bunch.

    If you're looking for an inexpensive, but still high quality alternative, have you considered LL Bean or Minnetonka? You could have them shipped to your BF.

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  15. I must say that I wear mine..... outside. What a shocking confession! But recently I have swapped my classic short for classic mini, because they are then just like a little ankle boot, and much more discreet I feel. It is a mark of how good they are that I have bought a new pair (albeit in a slightly different style) as I have found very few shoes that match up to Uggs when we get sludgy snow or cold weather in England.
    Size wise they do loosen up a bit as the sheepskin inside gets compacted, but it sounds like the 7 would be best for you. And mine have also lasted for years and years - definitely good quality shoes! I'd go for the real ones - as house boots or outside boots you'll have them for ages and appreciate the warmth and coziness of them!
    xx

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  16. i think we might have discussed this before ;)
    i LOVE MY UGGS. but i do not condone wearing them outside of the house - to me, they're just slippers. well, i don't wear mine in public anyway (i do wear them to walk the dog around the neighborhood). i actually have two pairs, one for inside and one for outside. since i just wear them around the house, i generally just try to find a color that's on sale towards the end of the season. and since i don't wear my "inside" pair outside anymore, they'll last much longer.

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  17. i wear mine outside ALL the time, and have done so for the past 13 years! i have no problem pairing them with leggings or skinny jeans and a huge parka, but never when there's snow or slush. when it's -15F, i really don't care whether i'm fashionable or not because they're so comfortable and warm!

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  18. I'm too cheap to buy Uggs, so I ended up buying all synthetic boots. BIG MISTAKE!!!!!!! I cannto emphasize enough that your feet will be both cold AND sweaty at the same time, and when you pull that foot outta there-- look out! The smell will knock you out. I kid you not! I ended up buying a pair of BearPaw brand from Amazon for about $35 bucks which are WONDERFUL. However, if I wear them outside (warm is warm, no matter how it looks), the sole that I got on mine will let in water if I walk thru snow. The sole looks kinda crepe-ish, I should have gotten the more rugged sole. Don't be without them, though, do what you have to do to get them.

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  19. Regarding Ugg sizing - I was told by a salesperson to size down one whole size, and the Zappos and Amazon online reviews seemed to confirm this. I was told that the shearling stretches out a lot and if I got my regular size they would soon feel loose. So as a 7, I sized down to a 6. Well, two years later they have not stretched at all except to accommodate my big toe, which is practically poking out of the boot now! So unattractive. Good thing I only wear them around the house or to walk the dog. So I would say if in doubt, size up to a 7--especially if you are only planning on using them as house shoes. A little loose is always better. Oh, and genuine shearling is the way to go. I have a pair of Rockport snow boots lined in microfiber/fake shearling with all sorts of fancy technology to keep the cold out, and my Uggs are way warmer.

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  20. I have the Ugg classic short boots in grey, and I wear them inside as house slippers! It is so cold and drafty in New England homes. I could never wear them outdoors though, I'd feel silly and they don't offer much protection from the elements. I'm a 6.5-7/37 as well, and purchased the Uggs in a size 6. They fit snug at first, but quickly loosened up. I've had mine for 3 years and they are in great condition, but most likely because I don't wear them outside.

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  21. @jennifer have you worn out your other 2 pairs? or are they still going strong after 7 years? i think everyone's comments have convinced me to get the real deal. they can't get here soon enough... :)

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  22. @Olivia thanks for the really helpful review! yeah i think the 7 is better for me. the 6s are just a bit too short. have you had to change the insoles at all? i like the look of the shorts too :)

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  23. @grechen i think its funny how people are so opinionated on whether Uggs are inside or outside shoes. :D i'm not going to wear them outside (the SH streets are way too dirty...) but if it's cold enough in NYC i just may be tempted...!

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  24. @erica haha, thanks for the vote of confidence! i'm the same way :) have you had to get your uggs waterproofed or cleaned in all these years?

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  25. @Anonymous hmmm thanks for the cautionary tale lol. yeah i think the consensus is that real sheepskin pays for itself...you really do get what you pay for, huh?

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  26. @Anonymous thanks for the sizing tip! it's so odd that almost everyone seems to say to size down, it would be nice if ugg made half sizes!

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  27. @RKat thanks for the review! i guess uggs are really only good for outside 'winter' wear if you live in California, where it doesn't get snowy or slushy!

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  28. I have a pair of ugg-like boots that I wear indoors all the time - they were given to me by my sister and are a godsend for a frosty Norwegian! However, they are almost worn out now and I think I will get a pair of original shearling ones next time. Synthetic lining = (TMI alert) super-smelly feet :(

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  29. I have two pairs of Uggs because the London winters finally broke me down. I have classic shorts in grey and chestnut, which are both good colours because they don't show dirt that much. I maintain them by vacuuming out the shearling with a hand vac every month or so and giving them a good scotchguard spray. They don't leave the house that often, but when they do, the scotchguard spray is essential against the damp.

    If you aren't set on Uggs as a brand, Emu makes quality shearling in a model called the Stinger. I had a black pair of these in tall in the past. I actually didn't like the talls as much as the shorts: they seemed too bulky and harder to get on over jeans and my legs actually got too hot sometimes.

    The only thing I worry about with my boots is grease stains from cooking. If I drop something foody on them, I immediate wash the spot off with soap and water. Then I let it dry and brush it out to raise the nap and re-spray with scotchguard. So far so good: no stains.

    I generally wear them without socks, but if my feet are really cold, I put a pair of socks on, too, and then it is a foot sauna! Highly highly recommended for chilly damp winters, at this point I have no idea how I survived without them.

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  30. I didn't necessarily wear through the first two. I just got grossed out by the shearling after wearing them barefoot, and I also just really thought the mini boot looked so much better than the tall ones. Now I always wear mine with socks. Helps keep my feet warmer and protects the shearling a little more.

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  31. I grow up in Nanjing--two hour drive from SH. I admit the winter is really unpleasant. Wet and cold. However, you get all these good winter food!! Roast chestnut, I miss you~~ Anyway, for winter in east China, I would recommend you to buy an electric heating blanket/sheet. It helps. There are also some electric chargeable hand warmers that should be easy to get. I wish I had brought those to US.

    Another advice from me is don't get Hotwind. The quality is really bad. I remember getting one or two pairs when I was in high school and regretted so much. Instead, you can avoid the purchasing tax through a website called taobao.com. There are actually a lot of stores that purchase in US and send back to China. You can find UGG or even MOU. MOU is so GOOD!! The price is a lot more reasonable. Another option is a bit risky. There are actually some good quality fake UGG boots in local stores or on taobao.com for a average price of ¥400.

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  32. @Maja Piraja haha, thanks for sharing! it seems that synthetics are friends of no one. which makes me wonder, when people who have Uggs complain about how icky and smelly their old Uggs are, what is that all about? do they have fake Uggs? or do Uggs get gross inside if you don't treat it right? :P

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  33. @Anonymous wow, these are great maintenance tips! hand vac-ing your uggs...what a neat idea :) they are like little carpeted boots, aren't they? forgot about Scotchguard. i might get that or the Ugg water protectant spray, and a spare pair of shearling insoles to 'refresh' my uggs after a year or so.

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  34. @jennifer do you find that wearing socks with your uggs overheats you a bit? when i had my no.6 clog boots they were *always* super warm, and i wore them barefoot on even the coldest of days. would wearing socks with your Uggs make your feet sweat and your Uggs smell after a while? :P

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  35. @Yan D ha! thanks for the review of Hotwind. yeah i saw some of their faux uggs on sale the other day, and ultimately decided against getting any. i don't think i'm online-savvy enough to deal with Taobao in terms of real vs fake Uggs. and we all know how many fakes are out on the market in SH these days :P i just ordered a pair in the US and am getting my bf to ship them to me. :)

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  36. i own these ugg belclouds from zappos:http://www.zappos.com/ugg-belcloud. um, they are ESSENTIAL for chicago winters! my husband has a pair of ugg slippers that i sometimes wear around the house. i think they were $60, and they are quite warm. wouldn't ever think of wearing boots in my home, but i kind of like the idea.

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  37. this might by tmi, but i find that when i wear uggs without socks, it makes my feet get clammy and cold. i really prefer wearing socks with them because i find it helps control the clamminess (ew, haha) and prevents the shearling from getting gross. my feet don't get overheated, but then again, my feet are ALWAYS cold.

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  38. I cheated and got a pair of J. Crew chalet shearling boots on eBay in dark brown, made me feel better about wearing them around the house since they are not Uggs which I STILL associate with skanky girls who wear them with denim skirts. Ha! So your post made me laugh, as I just faced the same dilemma. Good luck! Let us know what you decide :)

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  39. I'd go for the short ones they are truly the best...belive me I have them all;)Can't survive a winter without them....xo andie

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  40. @Jade hehe, i know. the early winter cold in my apartment here has convinced me rather quickly that short shearling houseboots are a must!

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  41. @jennifer really? huh. i suppose it's an individual thing then.

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  42. @Anonymous haha, i saw those jcrew ones too! they're cute as well. i think i'm going to do a post on Uggs and all the alternative options. there seems to be Ugg-alternatives everywhere these days. :)

    i ordered the Ugg classic short in chestnut. my bf will be bringing them over when he visits me soon. can't wait!

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  43. @*andie* thanks! :) everyone seems to like the short ones. i think they don't overwhelm my legline and would probably look cute on everyone.

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  44. Ah I totally understand what you mean by it being colder than it actually is since HK doesnt have heating either! It's 16 degrees here but it feels a lot colder than it should be.

    Truthfully I'm not a big Uggs fan just because it reminds me of high school in Canada. :P

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