The pandemic has left us longing for the past with nostalgic consumption instigating the revival of many things, from our love of baking and puzzles to sunny staycations. But it’s also had a knock-on effect on our wardrobes.
While the Noughties might seem an unlikely decade to be wistful over – this was, after all, the era that gave us velour tracksuits, crimped hair and low-rise jeans – it was the moment our love affair with Ugg boots began.
While the brand first launched in California during the 1970s when an Australian surfer translated his love for sheepskin into a unique boot, the shearling shoes didn’t become all the rage until the dawn of the millennium, when A-listers such as Sienna Miller, Kate Moss, Britney Spears and Sarah Jessica Parker jumped on board.
But, like most whirlwind love stories, this one was short-lived. In the mid-2000s, sales of Uggs were booming, but by 2011 they had reached saturation point and started to fall out of fashion.
That is, until 2020, when lockdown led us to reconsider our ban on the divisive shoe as we sought out styles that would cushion our feet like a reassuring embrace. In fact, they proved so popular that global fashion shopping platform Lyst ranked Uggs in fifth place on its “hottest women’s product of 2020” list.
While the brand’s growing popularity is largely down to a change in shopping habits during the pandemic, we also have a new wave of celebrity fans to thank for its resurgence. From Rihanna to the Hadids, Kendall Jenner, Kaia Gerber and J Lo, almost every “it” girl you can imagine has been spotted wearing the throwback look. And they’re not just for women – even Stormzy recently made an accidental fashion statement when he turned up wearing a pair of Ugg tasman slippers for an interview on BBC Breakfast.
There has also been a string of surprising designer endorsements, with queen of tulle Molly Goddard collaborating with Ugg on a trio of bold, fluffy designs – a slipper, a boot and a platform shoe – while Telfar Clemens recently unveiled a shearling makeover of his brand’s famed gen-Z it-bag, the Bushwick Birkin.
Today, Ugg’s classic boots remain a popular style, but the label has also branched out to deliver a range of newly coveted looks that are more fashionable than you might think, from sandals to trainers and even hiking boots. To help you figure out which pair is right for you, we’ve tried and tested some of the latest offerings from the brand’s men’s and women’s sections, taking into consideration everything from comfort and quality to style credentials.
You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.
Ugg classic mini II boot
If you owned a pair of Ugg’s classic tall boots back in their heyday, we guarantee you’re going to love this mini version. Designed to sit just above your ankle, the cut-off variation has been given the celeb tick of approval, seen on the trendsetting feet of Emily Ratajkowski, Irina Shayk and Kendall Jenner, to name a few. And, it’s not hard to see why.
Despite initial reservations, these boots have barely left our feet since we first put them on. Ideal for wearing indoors and out, the thick sheepskin lining makes it feel like you’re wearing a pair of slippers, while the thick sole provides great traction and the updated colour options – pink, chestnut, grey and, our choice, black – offer a more contemporary look. Unlike older pairs, the new classic mini IIs also feature a pre-treated upper to repel water and stains, so you don’t need to worry about getting caught in the rain. One of our favourite details is the pull tabs on the back, which make them easy to put on and take off.
Buy now £145.00, Ugg.com
Ugg fluff yeah logo slide
If you haven’t already bought a pair of these slippers, then we highly recommend adding them to your shopping basket, pronto. You won’t regret it. Arguably the jazziest member of the Ugg family, the fluff yeah logo slides come in an impressive 10 colours and patterns, and while they might look showy, we became obsessed from the moment we slipped them on.
Super-soft to the touch, they are designed with an open toe that keeps your feet cool and cosy at the same time, making them ideal for anyone who tends to overheat when wearing slippers. One of our favourite features is the handy elasticated strap that keeps the slipper secure on your foot – a really practical detail that anyone who tends to run wildly up or down the stairs at home will be thankful for. The slippers are true to size and fit snugly, but be wary of the 1.5in platform sole, which can take some getting used to.
Buy now £100.00, Ugg.com
Ugg tioga hiker waterproof leather boot
Whether you’re trekking up a mountain or going for a long walk along the coast, a sturdy pair of boots are a must for keeping you comfortable. But they’re not always the best-looking things.
That’s where Ugg’s tioga boots differ. An amalgamation of the stylish chunky boots you find in top fashion stores and the practical pairs that line the shelves of outdoor gear shops, this style is built with fashion-conscious ramblers in mind. Incorporating hiker detailing and a durable rubber outsole, they are made from waterproof leather, making them ideal for rainy days. We found that they fit true to size and were comfortable from the first step, requiring little-to-no breaking in. During a brisk two-hour walk, they kept our feet secure and warm and our ankles supported.
Buy now £145.00, Ugg.com
Ugg fluff it cali collage slide
If your goal is to be as cosy as possible all day long, look no further than this bold style, which delivers both swag and cloud-like comfort – and that’s coming from a slipper naysayer. What were we thinking?
While they might be a little more expensive than your run-of-the-mill slippers, they come packed with features that make them well worth the splurge, including a super-cool design made from colourful exposed fluff that resembles camouflage. There’s more to these slippers than just their good looks though. The fuzzy material feels great and keeps your feet nice and warm, but what we really love is the lightweight yet chunky sole that allows you to wear them while schlepping around the house or for a quick trip to the corner shop. Owing to their chunky design we sized down and found they fit well, but, if you do find that they feel too big, you can always use the adjustable strap.
Buy now £100.00, Ugg.com
Ugg neumel suede boot
Okay, Ugg boots for men do exist and we’re happy to report that they’re actually far more stylish than we expected. If you’ve always found yourself eyeing up a pair of Uggs for their comfort and warmth but haven’t quite mustered up the courage to wear a pair out and about, this style will be a gamechanger – at least it was for us.
While this model resembles an ankle-high desert boot with a rounded toe, they feel more like a sturdy pair of slippers with laces. Just like classic Uggs, they’re crafted from soft suede, while the inside is lined with wool and there’s also a cushioned foam insole that makes them a pleasure to wear both indoors and out. So much so, they rarely leave our feet. Ideal for most seasons, we love wearing ours with denim.
Buy now £130.00, Ugg.com
Ugg emmett mid boot
As avid ramblers, we like to think we know a thing or two about hiking boots and found ourselves seriously impressed by the quality of Ugg’s offering. Merging fashion and function, these stylish boots not only look the part but also feature all-weather high-tech innovations, from a seam-sealed waterproof leather upper to a cold-weather rating of -32C.
While we didn’t have sub-zero conditions to test them in, we did find that the boots put a real spring in our step during a full-on day hike. The cushioned shank gave our ankles support over different kinds of terrain, while the sturdy sole felt hard-wearing, without being too stiff or uncomfortable underfoot. Great for beginners and experts alike, they performed well on wet surfaces and required no breaking in.
Buy now £145.00, Ugg.com
The verdict: Ugg shoes for men and women
Ugg has been prompting debate among fashionable friends for some time, but we’re here to declare them back and better than ever. If you consider yourself a cynic we urge you to try them out, with the classic mini II boot being our top pick for women, owing to their unparalleled cosiness and understated design.
As for men, the neumel suede boots are a total gamechanger and a great option for anyone who wants to benefit from the brand’s famed comfort without sacrificing on style.