Koolaburra vs. Ugg the difference between the two brands explained. Are you looking to buy some quality winter boots but cannot decide yet? In this post, we will reveal the difference between Koolaburra and Ugg boots, the size, price, and which one of them is vegan or not. Don’t worry, we have done proper research to answer your questions about these two boots brands.
Koolaburra vs. Ugg – the greatest confusion in footwear fashion explained
Thinking about quality winter footwear that is warm, comfortable, yet fashionable simultaneously, you probably imagine a pair of UGGs. Well, let’s be fair; in 2023, you imagine a pair of boots made out of sheepskin with soft and fluffy wool lining, which is not necessarily UGGs per se.
It is because UGG (formerly known as UGG Australia) is one of those lucky brands that, from time to time, appear at a perfect time in a perfect place, manage to hit the right auditorium, and become those “marketing unicorns,” household name for the product. Just the same, we tend to call all diapers “Pampers” or SUVs – Jeeps.
Many brands from different markets and pricing segments now offer UGG-like footwear, trying to grab a piece from that yummy pie of success and hype in the footwear market.
UGG Australia boots VS Koolaburra
However, UGG and Koolaburra remain on everyone’s lips and are often compared as the leading competitors. This competition raised numerous rumors and myths and created whole communities of fans that passionately argue online, claiming that their favorite brand is the best.
We often face a much more complicated choice than we did several years ago when buying a new pair of shoes. And it is not only because new brands, models, and trends appear almost weekly. After all, we are talking about the good old “classics” here. Today we try to consider such things as brands` policies, ethics, and materials of choice, along with such constant matters as quality, durability, and price.
So, which brand is better, UGG or Koolaburra? Is it true that only UGG can guarantee quality and the long run? Is Koolaburra indeed a sustainable and cruelty-free brand? Why does UGG remain the most expensive among competitors? And, for Pete’s sake, is it true that Koolaburra a just fake UGGs that somehow became popular?
In this article, we shall try to answer these and many other questions to help you make an informed decision and truly enjoy your new pair of warm and cozy boots.
UGG vs. Koolaburra – it’s all in the family
You may be surprised, but by choosing between UGG and Koolaburra, you technically compare products of the same brand. Cousins, if you will.
The brand UGG was founded back in 1978 in Australia. Like many companies now considered fashion industry hallmarks, UGG, known as UGG Australia back then, was manufacturing practical sheepskin shoes suitable for a changeable Australian climate and became very popular in the country. Sheepskin is highly breathable, but it also manages to keep feet toasty. It can regulate body heat while also drawing excess moisture from your skin.
In other words, UGG’s signature boots were intended as practical footwear for Australian weather and initially didn’t aim at fashion runaways and glamorous magazines.
It all changed when UGG boots were listed in the annual Oprah’s “Favorite Things” list in 2000. From that point, we started noticing the iconic sheepskin boots on big stars like Beyonce, Paris Hilton, and other pop-culture “Royalty” of the time. By the way, the same Oprah’s list also kickstarted famous brands like Nike and Michael Kors, transforming them from “niche” to “popular” brands.
Today UGG has significantly expanded its model range, offering sandals, slides, slippers, and platform mules with the same signature style made out of high-quality natural materials, keeping the brand in the niche of “luxurious yet affordable” brands.
Koolaburra is an American brand established in the early 90-s and was originally marketed as comfortable “mom’s” footwear. In other words, the brand also didn’t plan to conquer the high fashion industry and the hearts of fashion influencers. It was a very “homely” footwear for modern women who “have a lot on their plate,” run errands all day long, and therefore need comfortable footwear but want to be stylish.
In 2015 Koolaburra was acquired by the Deckers Brand, which also owned UGG and became a part of the family. The full name of Koolaburra today is “Koolaburra by UGG,” which makes the two brands “in-laws.” Since then, Koolaburra has started offering footwear and accessories for women, men, and children, still mainly marketing to families as their target auditorium.
So, does it mean that UGG and Koolaburra are the same things, and there is no difference between them now? Not entirely. Let’s talk about the two “competitors,” their reputations, and why you may want to prefer and avoid another.
The Price difference between Ugg and Koolaburra
No matter what, the first thing most of us will consider choosing between two relatively similar products is the price. As mentioned, UGG is known as an “affordable luxury” brand. The company’s reputation allows its products to stand as high-ranked while the prices remain relatively affordable for most people, especially considering their durability and timeless designs.
Most of their footwear is sold for $150-200, which is not as outrageous as some “hype” brands are asking for their shoes but still may make you think twice and consider other options.
Koolaburra is exactly that kind of option. Their retail price usually varies between $50-110, a significant discount, especially because you get the same looks and quality as UGG for more than half the price. But do you? To answer this question, we should look closer at both brands’ materials and manufacturing policies to see how those prices are shaped and what they should mean for us as consumers.
Materials – Let’s see what they are made of
You don’t have to be a marketing professional today to understand that many factors form every product’s price. Materials and manufacture are definitely among the main ones. UGG is a brand that has always taken particular pride in its high-quality, all-natural materials. UGG uses only the highest-grade twin-faced sheepskin with wool fleece on the inside and sheepskin lining for each item.
Regarding footwear, quality materials not only mean that your shoes will run longer but also guarantee perfect insulation, temperature, and moisture balance. In other words, your feet will stay comfortable, warm, healthy, and, yes, last but not least, won’t smell at the end of the day.
Koolaburra is a brand that learned to “cut corners” to provide their customers with high-quality trends footwear at a significantly more affordable process. For example, instead of twin-faced sheepskin, they would use suede. You will also see more synthetic materials like polyester and faux fur here. The good news, it makes Koolaburra much more waterproof and versatile than UGGs.
However, using synthetic materials may be a major setback for some of us. But at the same time, using faux fur technically makes Koolaburra a more “cruelty-free” yet still far from a “vegan” brand. And at the end of the day, polyester is still a petroleum-derived material. Therefore, despite their wide use of faux fur, it can hardly Koolaburra be marketed as “sustainable” or “Green.” Or can they?
Are UGG and Koolaburra ethical footwear
Indeed, can footwear made out of natural sheepskin and wool be ethical? And if not, are faux fur and polyester a sustainable replacement for natural materials? To answer those questions, we should look closer at what is considered “animal cruelty” and where materials for UGG and Koolaburra come from.
Sheepskin is, in fact, a by-product of meat production. It means that farmers have no use for it and would throw it away, causing even more environmental problems.
Another variant obliges those farmers to recycle the sheepskin, which will inevitably call for more expenses and therefore raise the prices of the meat. Instead, those farmers sell the sheepskin to various brands and craftspeople who make footwear, accessories, clothes, etc.
UGG claims they not only help farmers recycle the sheepskin sustainably, buying it from them, but also work exclusively with ethical meat farms, where animals are treated humanely.
Of course, everyone wants such a lucrative customer and an opportunity to sell their “by-products.” Therefore such policy also encourages a sort of competition a, at the same time, offers mong farmers, helping to establish more ethical and humane policies in the entire meat industry.
So, technically, UGG can be considered a sustainable and ethical brand. But if you are looking for cruelty-free or even vegan footwear, it is not the variant you would consider.
Koolaburra, at the same time, offers models entirely made out of synthetic materials. However, they are still not an environmentally conscious choice if you remember how long it takes for polyester and other petroleum-based materials to degrade and how much pollution is caused by their manufacture in the first place.
If you ask for our opinion, UGG is a “greener” choice, but none of the brands should be marketed as entirely ethical and sustainable.
Are Koolaburra boots just fake UGGs
It is one of the most frequently asked questions when comparing the two brands, especially when you see how many fairly similar models they have and how different their price ranges are.
We have already described where both brands` pricing comes from and revealed their “family ties,” which explain their similarities. But where did the opinion about “fake UGG” come from? From the same place where most myths and misconceptions are born – the Internet.
When UGG and Koolaburra just became related, and nobody really knew about their “marriage” yet, but Koolaburra had already started manufacturing products similar to those of their “big brother,” some crooked dealers decided to seize the moment and started selling Koolaburra products online under the guise of UGG.
From my research, I noticed that people received their boots and that although they looked extremely similar to the pictures they saw in the marketplace, they were shoes made of different materials. Moreover, the tags are also different. That is where the bag reputation of Koolaburra started.
Unfortunately, the myth turned out pretty tenacious. Although today most people know that Koolaburra is related to UGG, they still sometimes avoid the brand due to “ethical” reasons, as they don’t want to contribute to a company that they think started as an imposter.
Who wears UGG and Koolaburra today
We live in the media and social awareness era, and wearing a certain brand or style instantly associates you with a certain aesthetics and crowd. That is why brands today are so careful with targeting the auditorium they aim for. UGG and Koolaburra are perfect examples of how similar footwear may be made for different customers.
Today Koolaburra, which started as a “brand for modern urban moms,” has entirely changed its marketing and mainly targets young auditoriums.
Affordable pricing, edgy colors, and designs, as well as collaboration with certain fashion influencers, made Koolaburra particularly popular among young people in the age range of 18-25. Those who mainly want to look stylish but can’t (or won’t) spend too much money on such a changeable thing as modern fashion trends.
UGG’s crown vice versa, remained mainly the same since the day Oprah’s list made the brand “a thing” and predicted how celebrities and fashion influencers would shape our tastes in the XXI century.
UGG boots are mainly worn by people 30+, those who have money to spend but look for high-quality and timeless designs in exchange. The brand introduces models in edgy colors and offers new designs occasionally but stays true to its recognizable aesthetics and materials.
If you choose between UGG and Koolaburra, I hope this article clarifies some major things for you and will help you make a more informed decision. After all, the choice is up to you and depends on your preferences and priorities.
There is a reason UGGs are more expensive and have their reputation as a “luxury” brand. At the same time, there is a solid reason Koolaburra is so popular nowadays and is frequently seen on the trendiest social media profiles.
At the end of the day, UGG and Koolaburra are not exactly competitors. They have different aesthetics, target auditorium, manufacturing policies, and, therefore, different pricing. That is why, if you ask for our opinion, choose the style and model that suits you more, helps you feel stylish, and makes you comfortable. Only then will you truly enjoy your warm cozy boots as intended and will get the most out of your investment.