Christmas is just around the corner, and gift-buying season beckons (that is, if it hasn’t already started in earnest in your locality yet)! So start thinking and looking for gifts now, or else you’ll end up doing 11th-hour Christmas shopping, just when prices have already gone up!
Thinking of buying shoes as gifts for Christmas? Sheepskin boots would make for an ideal gift at this time of the year, because of the ice-cool temperatures brought about by winter. And if you and me are on the same “wavelength”, what better sheepskin boots to give than a pair of genuine, honest-to-goodness “UGG Australia” sheepskin boots, right? As they say, “give nothing but the best!” But the problem is, where should you look for authentic “UGG Australia” sheepskin boots? Sure, you might say that ‘there are actually lots of stores in my area selling authentic “UGG Australia” sheepskin boots, but are you sure that they are, indeed, authentic “UGG Australia” sheepskin boots? And are you even remotely aware of the “controversy” or””dispute” between Australian bootmakers and the American company that makes the authentic “UGG Australia” sheepskin boots? If you are not aware of this so-called “controversy or “dispute”, then check out the Wikipedia article about UGG Boots.
Now that you have spent some time educating yourself about the American and Australian “interpretation” of the word “UGGs” and the background behind the “UGG Australia” controversy, let’s move forward as I show you the ways by which you can distinguish a pair of genuine “UGG Australia” sheepskin boots from fake ones. Let me begin, however, by saying that all of my “hints”, “pointers”, notes and remarks that follow are applicable ONLY to “UGG Australia” boots found in an “actual” store and not a “virtual” one (such as those “online” stores and/or “retailers”), okey? For purposes of conciseness or brevity, I”ll talk about spotting fake UGGs among “virtual” or “online” stores in another discussion.
Let’s start the ball rolling by talking about the PRICE. Genuine “UGG Australia” sheepskin boots are quite expensive. I won’t mention any figures, because prices vary and change from time to time. But here’s what I sUGGest you can do to “root out” obvious fakes: if there are several stores offering UGGs in your area, check out each and everyone’s prices. If they”re all bunched together within a small range, that means 1.) Either they are all selling genuine UGGs, which is good; or 2.) They are all selling fakes, which is too bad. My point is, if one store offers a price that is significantly much, much lower than the others, then, in any language, that’s a giveaway that that store is selling fake UGGs.
Now, suppose they all indeed sell UGGs in a tightly-bunched price range. What should you do next? Check out their LOOKS. Here are several visible ‘telltale signs” that give away fakes:
- If one or all of a particular boot’s labels (both outside and inside) show “Made in Australia” or “Made in New Zealand”, then those definitely are fakes. Because Deckers has been manufacturing them in China for quite some time now.
- If the quality of the stitching is very bad, then it’s a fake. Of course, it might be difficult to distinguish “very bad” from “bad” and from “good”, but if it is obviously very bad, then the boots are fakes.
- Look at the store’s black-colored UGGs. Geniune black-colored UGGs have black-colored soles and black labels with the “UGG” startup logo in white, whereas fake “black” UGGs have tan-colored soles and brown (or non-black) labels.
- Ask for the “Nightfall” model. If the “Nightfall” presented to you is any other color but Chestnut, it is a fake. Deckers only makes “Nightfall” in Chestnut.
- Ask for a “Sundance” model. If you see a “Sundance” in any other color but Chestnut Sand or Chocolate, it is a fake. Deckers has stopped making it in Black. There may be old stock around, but anyone selling large amounts of them is probably selling fakes.
- While still on the subject of boot color, take note that there are no “camel”-colored UGGgs. So if someone offers you one, bingo!
- In a genuine UGG, the sheepskin fur around the boot matches the colour of the boot but the sheepskin fur at the bottom of the boot, where your foot sits, is always natural (or “cream”) in color.
- The sole of a genuine UGG is about a half-inch or more, while the soles of fakes are very thin, like maybe ¼-inch.
- Now try looking at the “size” label of their women’s and kid’s UGGs, if they have any. All the Euro, UK, and US sizes are shown on a kid’s UGG, whereas the women’s UGG only shows the US size on it.
- If a blue card or a brown “leather” pinned-on tag (some of these might say “Made by CGM Co. Ltd.”), or a dust bag in a light brown or beige colour saying “UGG” or sometimes “Snow Boots” goes with the pair of UGGs, then it’s a fake. Most “innocent” purchasers are fooled by this seeming “attention to detail” or “extra touches”. The truth is that no pair of genuine “UGG Australia” boot has a pinned-on label (or with “sample fur” attached) or comes with a dust/protection bag or shopping bag!
- If you happen to bring with you (or wear) a pair of genuine UGGs, or one of your companions brought with him his genuine UGGs, try to compare your genuine UGGs with a fake side-by-side; a fake one that is the same “model” as your genuine UGGs either will be taller or shorter than yours.
- Also, while still on the subject of side-by-side comparison, the “UGG” label on the rear of the boots is higher up on a fake and the lettering is different from the genuine UGG. The letters may have gaps between them in the fake, while in the real, they are overlapping. Lastly, the word “australia” on the “UGG Australia” startup logo is in a bolder font on the fake than on a genuine UGG.
Now, suppose that the counterfeiters have exceedingly gotten better, and, so far, the UGGs you are looking at have passed all the “visual” tests above. There are yet some more ‘tests” that you can do to “root out” the fakes. For instance, try this FIT TEST: If you know your boot size, try asking for a pair of UGGs whose size is higher up by one “notch” than your size, then try wearing them. If they are genuine UGGs, they should fit snugly, or they should even be a little loose-fitting. Fake UGGs, on the other hand, are notoriously ill-fitting!
Want more ‘tests”? Try these simple FUR TESTS: Look at the boot’s interior fur. Genuine UGG fur are fluffy-looking and thick, and they should have a rich cream color. Fake UGG fur, on the other hand, are synthetic and are thin- and delicate-looking, and they are “greyish” or “white”, instead of being cream-colored. Now “feel” the fur with your hands. They should “feel” very soft. Next, try rubbing your fingers against them. You could tell the fakes because bits of them would “come off” or “come away” even with just a slight “rubbing.” Lastly, smell the boot’s interior and the fur. If there’s even just a slight paint or “lacquer” smell to them, then that’s your indication that the boots are fake. Genuine UGG fur don’t have even just a slight hint of that “lacquery” smell, because genuine fur doesn’t have to be dyed to “pass” it off as the “real thing”.
Let’s try a “new” approach to these ‘tests”; instead of testing the boots, let’s TEST THE SELLER. Here are some ways by which it can be done:
- Strike up a conversation with the seller about UGGs and where they are made. If he/she mentions that the genuine ones are made in Australia and/or New Zealand, then he/she is selling fakes. Likewise, if the seller fails to mention the Deckers Outdoor Corporation (or Deckers, Inc.) as the “parent” company, then that’s another sign that he/she is selling fakes.
- Try “feigning” a slight disappointment with the “model” or boot size that was presented to you, like perhaps it’s just not what you want. If the seller says, “Take your time choosing. I have lots of different “models” and sizes for you to choose from.”, then, chances are, he/she is selling fakes, because UGGs are, by the very nature of their “raw” materials, scarce or in limited supplies. Anyone who has a truckload of them at this time of the year is highly suspicious!
- Next, look around the place and try mentioning a “model” that isn’t there, asking him/her if he can “order” it, how many days it will take, and from where does he/she get it. If the seller mentions getting it directly from his supplier in China, then he/she is selling fakes. While it is true that all of Deckers” UGGs are manufactured in China, a seller/reseller doesn’t get them directly from China.
That’s it. I have already covered the bases here. By no means this is a “comprehensive” list of ‘tips” on discerning a genuine UGG from a fake one; in fact, a fake UGG may pass all of the “visual” telltale signs which I mentioned above (perhaps because the counterfeiters themselves have “wised up”), but, for sure, a lot of fake UGGs fail the “FIT TEST” and the “FUR TESTS” mentioned above, while a lot of their sellers fail the ‘tEST THE SELLER” tests.