Our Story


HISTORY OF THE ORIGINAL UGG BOOT DESIGN

What Aussie Uggs call the Surf Boot, is the original ugg boot design. Other makers often call it the Classic ugg boot. They call it the Classic ugg boot, because they have copied it from our original design – the Surf Boot! Our boot is called the Surf Boot because it was originally made for Sydney surfers, way back in 1966, and the business has been making the same boot, as originally designed, since then.

In 1966 the founder of the business, Bob Hayter, was asked by a Sydney surfboard manufacturer, to make a comfortable boot that surfers could slip into after coming out of the water with cold, wet feet. Bob was a woolclasser, with experience in wool and sheepskins.  He commissioned a footwear pattern maker to develop the original Surf boot design. The design was based on the sheepskin flying boots used by pilots in the early days of aviation. Long flights at altitude before the days of heated cockpits, meant very cold feet - and sheepskin boots were an ideal way for aircrew to keep their feet warm. 

Because the designs were developed prior to Australia having a copyright system for patenting footwear designs, the design was never registered. Other manufacturers copied it, including UGG Australia; a brand now owned by Decker Outdoor Corporation of Goleta, California, USA. (UGG Australia now manufacture their boots in China).

Our parent company Downunda Souvenirs still have the original cutting knife forms that were made from the original patterns, way back in the late 1960’s.

Sheepskin boots are ideal for surfers coming out of cold water, because the outer wool of the sheep is on the inside of the boot and the wool is highly absorbent, so wet feet soon become dry and warm. The outer layer (or epidermis) of the sheepskin (which is on the inside of the boot) is also waterproof, so the integrity of leather is not damaged from wet feet.  In the days before modern wetsuits it was a godsend for surfers to put their feet into a warm pair of boots after emerging from a couple of hours surfing in the cold Southern Pacific or Southern Oceans. The boots became very popular with the surfers and eventually were exported to the West Coast of the USA and Hawaii. As the fame of the boots spread, not only because of their warmth, but also their comfort and durability, they began to appeal to a wider audience, not just surfers.

Over the years we have developed a wide range of sheepskin boots and slippers. All are handmade in Australia, by our skilled craftsmen and women.

 

 

HISTORY OF THE UGGS BRAND

Our brand, The Original Aussie Uggs, is not trademarked in Australia because the word ‘Uggs’ is a generic term used in Australia to describe sheepskin boots. The other words in the brand are also generic, which means the trademark office in Australia will not allow the brand to be trademarked. However we continue to use the brand because our boots and slippers have had the brand Uggs hot stamped on them since the late 1960’s and our customers know and respect the brand. We have now been branding our products with the Uggs for 50 years, so we see no need to change.

While there are many other brand names with the word UGG or Uggs, including the brand UGG Australia, which was first registered as a trademark in the U.S. in 1985, ours is the oldest brand on the market and has been continuously in production since 1966. So far our distinctive cursive writing style of the Uggs brand has not been copied, so if you want the original brand look for Uggs in running writing, on the heel counter.

(Note: Decker Outdoor Inc. brand UGG Australia was first registered in 1985 by Brian Smith who prior to registering the brand and starting up the UGG Australia business, was the U.S. distributor for Bob Hayters business Ausfurs Pty. Ltd. As mentioned above, Bob started using the Uggs brand on his Surf Boots in the late 1960’s, but it wasn’t until 1985 nearly twenty years later that the UGG Australia trade mark was registered in the U.S. (For more details of the history of the Uggs/UGG brand refer to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UGG_Australia)

 

HISTORY OF THE BUSINESS

The Original Aussie Uggs are made by Downunda Souvenirs in their factory at Junee, New South Wales, Australia. Junee is located in the centre of two large wool growing and sheep raising regions in Australia, known as the Riverina and the South West Slopes of N.S.W.

In 2000, Downunda Souvenirs purchased the machinery, patterns and know-how to make the Uggs range of sheepskin boots and slippers from Bob Hayter’s company Ausfurs Pty. Ltd. and moved the business to Wagga Wagga in southern N.S.W. Prior to this, the manufacturing business had operated in St Peters, Sydney, with retail outlets at Sydney Airport, the tourist precinct of The Rocks, and in the QVB building in central Sydney.

Since moving the business to southern New South Wales, the full range of Uggs products have continued to be made with a number of new styles added to the range, including the Outback Boot and the Coogee Scuff. The branding has also been extended to The Original Aussie Uggs to reflect the history of the brand, going right back to its origins in the surfing era of the 1960’s.

The next big step for the business was of course going online, so that you can now buy the Original Aussie Uggs, from the original manufacturer, over the Internet, for delivery anywhere in the world.
All our products are Made in Australia at our factory in Junee.