Ugg boots are now considered a classic shoe staple, and many entrepreneurial individuals want to cash in on its popularity. Unfortunately, some of those sellers don’t have the best of intentions and are only out to scam people with counterfeit goods. Buying UGG Australia–brand ugg boots from major retailers like Zappos and Shoes is arguably the simplest way to ensure that you get the real thing.
If you’re planning to get a pair of uggs as a gift to yourself or someone else, stay away from and beware of fakes! Protect your hard-earned money and arm yourself with the knowledge on how to spot fake uggs. Here is a checklist of 10 things that you should do before committing to buying:
1. Check the security features
The unending battle against counterfeits has prompted UGG Australia to install security features on UGG and I Heart UGG products. These special labels and stickers are the quickest and most reliable way to guarantee the authenticity of your purchase.
Since fall 2010, UGG Australia has been using security features on their labels and packaging, starting with the holographic sun logo that changes from black to white when rotated 90 degrees. If the left pair of your UGG shoes has a sewn-in size/materials label, this security feature should be on the foil strip on the label right behind it. If there is no sew-in-label, a security sticker should be on the sole of the left shoe. The shoebox should also have this same security sticker. UGG Australia is still using this security feature up to now.
In fall 2013, UGG Australia added a QR code to the sewn-in security label on the left shoe. Just scan with any smartphone and you will be taken to an UGGAustralia.com landing page that will verify the product’s authenticity for you.
If you flip this label over and look at its back side, you should see another security feature that has the UGG logo “rolling” over the sun logos with a 3D effect.
Some fall 2014 products do not have the holographic sun logo on the sewn-in labels. If you encounter merchandise without this security feature, you can just use the QR code.
2. Check the labels
Believe it or not, UGG Australia boots that are labeled “Made in China” are the real deal. For years now, real UGG products have been manufactured by one and only one company called Deckers Outdoor Corporation. Their factory is located in China where majority of the manufacturing of UGG and I Heart UGG products are done. If the label says they are made in New Zealand or Australia, that is flashing warning sign of a fake.
As for the UGG Australia label on the back of the heel, you should compare them with an authentic UGG Australia label like in the picture below. The fake ones vary greatly from having bigger fonts, poor-quality stitching, and off-shade colors than that of real UGG Australia labels.
3. Check the packaging
Real UGG Australia boots come in a sturdy box made of strong cardboard material. Some people say that the real box is a one-piece box with a flip-top lid, but some also report having purchased real UGGs that came in two-piece boxes with removable lids.
That piece of information is highly contested, but another part of the packaging that you can check is the plastic wrapper. The plastic that the boots are wrapped in should be made of thick, crinkly material with the words “UGG Australia” printed on it. The fake ones use low-grade thin plastic and almost always do not have anything printed on them.
Also check the care booklet, the authenticity card, and other literature that the UGG or I Heart UGG merchandise is packaged with. They should be printed clearly on thick, high quality paper using quality ink — they should not be fuzzy, blurry, or appear scanned. In June 2007, UGG Australia stopped using white paper for these and switched to printing the UGG boots care booklet and other cards on cream-colored paper.
Real UGG boots have shoe inserts inside to prevent them from becoming misshapen when stocked or shipped. Fake ones do not get the same careful handling and often do no come with shoe inserts.
Authentic UGG products will never be shipped in an UGG-printed bag. You will only get an UGG shopping bag if you shop at one of UGG Australia’s stores.
The following things do not come packaged with UGG boots:
- A brown dust bag with “Snow Boots” printed on them – real UGGs are never called snow boots
- Any sort of label that are pinned on or attached to the boots themselves. Real UGG boots from Deckers do not have any tags attached to them
- An Australian flag printed anywhere on the packaging materials
All of these are clear signs that the UGGs are fakes.
4. Check the fur
The fur lining in real UGG boots have a rich creamy color and feel thick, fluffy, and soft. In fake ones, they are a grayish whitish color and feel thin, scraggly, and like plastic.
If you have a hard time telling the difference between real and synthetic fur, one way to tell is by rubbing it. If bits and pieces come off, then that means that the fur is fake. On real UGGs, the fur should not come off easily at all.
Genuine sheepskin has the fur side naturally adhered to the suede side (the fur is not just lining), so they should never pull apart. If you can separate the outside material from the fur inside the boots like in the picture below, that is an obvious sign that the boots are not made of real sheepskin and are fake.
5. Check the soles
In real UGG boots, the soles are flexible and have a lot of give. In fake ones, they are rigid and are very hard to bend.
Real UGG boots also have 1/2-inch thick soles. Fake UGG boots have thinner soles, having only 1/4-inch thick soles at the most.
Genuine UGGs have the registered R in a circle next to the “UGG” on the bottom of the soles. This used to be a clear way of telling apart the real and the fake UGGs, however, counterfeiters have wised up to this and have started adding this detail to fake UGGs.
UGG Australia also changed the tread pattern on the soles of their boots from zigzag to the sun logo. Although not the most surefire way of guaranteeing authenticity, genuine UGG boots should have the sun and the “UGG Australia” at the center of the sole of the boot in the correct typeface.
6. Check the size
Those who have ever bought or owned UGG boots for themselves know that they run large. It is common knowledge that if you’re buying a pair of UGGs, the best thing to do is to get a size smaller. Real UGG boots will stretch and mold to the wearer’s feet over time. If a pair of UGGs in your real shoe size feel snug, then chances are they are fake.
Also check the top or the opening of the boot. It should be large and roomy enough so that you can fold them down or tuck-in your jeans. The fake ones have a narrower opening and they do not roll down as easily as the real UGGs.
Some fake UGGs are shorter or taller than real UGGs. Find out the correct height for an ultra short, tall, and ultra tall UGG boot first and compare before purchasing.
7. Check the smell
To lure you in with unbelievably low prices, counterfeiters resort to using cheap glue, faux sheepskin, and other low-quality materials in making knockoff ugg boots. This gives the fakes a weird chemical, plasticky, and synthetic scent. The smell of the dye or paint used on the fake sheepskin alone is already a dead giveaway of a counterfeit.
Real UGG and I Heart UGG products should not smell of anything at all.
8. Check the overall quality
When you’re purchasing footwear that costs 200 dollars, you’d want to set aside ample shopping time so that you can inspect them thoroughly. Here are the things to check for in scrutinizing the overall quality of UGG boots:
- Check the width of the boots. Fake ugg boots are often narrower than real ones.
- Inspect the stitching. Make sure that it is even and no threads are unraveling.
- Inspect the suede and/or leather. They should be smooth, made of quality material, and not have any unnecessary markings on them.
- Note the heel of the boot. They should gently taper towards the rest of the shoe and should not be in any way crooked.
- Note the tip of the boot. A real UGG Australia–brand boot gradually slopes downward while a fake one has a pointier toe.
9. Check the price
Real UGG and I Heart UGG products are made of quality materials and quality comes with a price. If a pair of ugg boots is selling for an absurdly too-good-to-be-true price, then that alone should serve as a warning sign that they are fake. Some discounted UGG Australia bags and shoes can be found at Amazon’s discount website 6pm. However, normally UGG Australia will not allow their most popular products to be discounted.
10. Check the seller
Lastly, UGG Australia only sells UGG boots through their flagship stores, their website UGGAustralia.com, and authorized retailers. If you are located in the US, you may prefer to buy from Zappos or Shoes. For other locations, use this UGG Australia store locator to find an authorized retailer nearest you.
Remember, authorized retailers are not allowed to sell UGG products on eBay. A big percentage of UGGs being sold on eBay are fake. Even Deckers Outdoors Corporation is not allowed to sell any of UGG Australia’s products straight from the manufacturing plant. If seller says that the UGG boots he is selling is cheap because they’re “straight from the factory”, what he is selling are counterfeit goods.
Kim Kardashian is seen wearing Ugg boots and an Hermes Birkin bag as she heads to a studio in Culver City on December 28, 2010 / Jennifer Lopez spotted filming reshoots in Los Angeles for her upcoming movie “The Boy Next Door” on June 23, 2014 / Miley Cyrus leaving her hotel via the back door and heading for the M.E.N Arena. in Manchester on December 28, 2009 / Britney Spears shopping at Planet Blue’s flagship store in Malibu on March 10, 2014
Also stay away from scam websites that are only out to deceive buyers with their fake UGG products. These websites often use phrases like “cheap uggs” and misspellings like “ugh boots”. For a more detailed guide spotting scam websites, refer to our article on How to Tell If a Shopping Website Is Fake at First Glance.
Credit: WENN/UGG Australia/Cousart/JFXimages/revolutionpix