On the hunt for your next pair of winter footwear? You’re in the right place. Check out our guide to Uggs VS Koolaburra!
If you’re looking for a pair of high-quality boots, moccasins, or footwear in general, the choices can be overwhelming. There are so many brands and styles out there that it’s hard to know where to start.
Luckily, we’ve done all the research, so you don’t have to! In this article, we’ll discuss two popular American brands: UGG and Koolaburra by UGG. We’ll explore their histories, target audiences, and main differences and similarities before giving our own personal opinions on which one is better for your needs.
UGG: A Brand History
What began with a humble sheepskin boot created by an Australian expat in Santa Monica, Southern California has turned into an international fashion phenomenon.
Since 1978, UGG (formerly UGG Australia) has been creating sheepskin shoes that, before their global fame, were particularly popular in Australia for their ability to regulate body heat while also drawing excess moisture from your skin. Sheepskin is extremely breathable while keeping feet toasty as well, which makes them ideal for the fall and winter seasons.
It’s safe to say that the UGG brand is now a global name, especially in the footwear industry, and has gained recognition for its iconic sheepskin boots that are well-loved by everyone. Their signature boots have been featured on runways, in magazines, as well as adorned by celebrities.
One important moment in pop culture that contributed to the rise of Ugg boots was when Oprah Winfrey mentioned UGGs in her Favorite Things List in 200, and then gave out 350 pairs of these shoes to her staff.
In recent years, UGG shoes have expanded from boots to sandals, slides, slippers, and platform mules. With a rich history, it still remains a popular and relevant brand due to its craftsmanship.
Koolaburra By UGG: What Is It?
Koolaburra (also known as Koolaburra by UGG) is a brand of sheepskin shoes under the UGG label, made by Decker Brands, which is the same parent company as UGG. This brand was founded in 1991, and originally began as a collection of women’s boots to help moms stay comfortable.
The Koolaburra brand has grown to include a wide range of footwear and accessories for men, women and kids. While Koolaburra does manufacture some men’s and kid’s shoes, the majority of its products are designed for women.
Today, Koolaburra is a family lifestyle brand rooted in quality and craftsmanship, featuring footwear for every member of your family. Work or play, adventure or comfort, they can help you find the perfect shoe for your lifestyle.
But what is the main difference between UGG and Koolaburra, and why does the latter exist as its own label?
UGGs VS Koolaburra: The Main Differences
Simply put, you can think of Koolaburra as UGG’s more affordable, trendier sister label that offers many of the same products but with a slightly different design. Below, we’ll explore the differences in more detail.
The price point of a brand is one of the most important considerations when purchasing from them. As you may already know, UGG has positioned itself as more of an affordable luxury label, with many of its slippers retailing for over $100.
While this isn’t an outrageous amount for most people, it’s still enough to warrant a second thought. Similarly, many of their classic boots retail between $150-$200, which many would consider quite premium.
On the contrary, Koolaburra’s slippers typically cost $60, and many of the slippers are very comparable in style to their UGG counterparts, such as the Milo slippers.
In addition to this, the brand’s boots retail between $80 to $110, which means you can save around 50% of the price. For example, UGG’s best-selling Ultra Mini Boots ($140) have been all the rage on social media this year, but if you wanted the look for less, you could opt for the Koola Mini II ($85).
They look almost identical, but you’re saving $55 of your hard-earned money.
2. Materials Used
While price is one factor to consider when choosing between these two brands, it shouldn’t be your only one. After all, there is a reason why the items are priced differently, and that has to do with the materials used to produce both shoes.
UGG shoes are famously made with the highest-grade twin-faced sheepskin with wool fleece on the inside, as well as sheepskin lining. As you can see, most of the materials used for the shoe are completely natural, which makes them that much better for insulation and keeping your toes toasty.
Koolaburra, on the other hand, uses more synthetic, inexpensive materials in its boots. For example, instead of having natural wool on the inside of the Koola Mini II boot, you’ll get an 80% polyester mix with 20% wool, and instead of sheepskin lining, you’re getting faux fur lining.
In addition to this, the material used to create the upper of the boot is lower in quality, too: instead of getting a twin-faced sheepskin as your upper, you’ll get suede.
You can also see this pattern of using synthetic materials in the brand’s other products. For example, the Peachee slides are made entirely of faux shearling.
This means that while UGG and Koolaburra products look very similar, there is definitely a difference in quality. Choose a pair of UGGs if you’re looking for high-quality shoes that will keep you warm, and opt for Koolaburra only if you’re interested in the aesthetics of the shoe.
3. Target Customer
As you may have guessed, the two brands are aimed at different target audiences. Being the more affordable brand, Koolaburra targets younger customers aged 18-35 who are looking to buy into trends but don’t want to spend too much money.
On the other hand, UGG’s target market is definitely more wealthy, with 28-40 year-olds being their ideal consumer. While these consumers definitely have more money to spend, this doesn’t mean that they’re always big spenders; they can simply be looking for high-quality items too, which UGG provides.
4. Products Offered & Style
Since both brands are operated under the same parent company, Koolaburra and UGG have very similar product offerings with similar silhouettes and colors. Koolaburra styles often have a more youthful aesthetic, with interesting and unique features on their boots.
5. Ethics & Sustainability
Sheepskin is a byproduct of meat production—the farmers have no use for it, so they sell it to manufacturers who make products out of it, like shoes and bags. This means that there’s no need for animal cruelty in this process because these animals aren’t being raised specifically for their skin (they’re used as food).
UGG does note that they only source their animal materials from ethical suppliers, but at the end of the day, their boots are certainly not vegan-friendly. If this is a concern of yours, try Koolaburra instead, focusing on products that are made from synthetic materials.
On the other hand, while products made from synthetic materials may seem like the most environmentally conscious choice at first, be aware that we still don’t know exactly how many years it takes for these products to degrade in nature – this may be anywhere from decades to hundreds of years.
At the end of the day, synthetic materials used in the fashion industry are mostly plastics, which, unfortunately, are bad for the planet.
Thus, in our opinion, UGG boots are the best choice if you are concerned about sustainability. Plus, they should last longer too!
Our Favorite UGGS Vs Koolaburra Products
Now that the cold weather is coming, it’s time to get a new pair of warm, toasty boots. The Ugg Classic Genuine Shearling Lined Boot is a cult favorite among many, earning its place in thousands (and possibly millions) of closets. These traditional Uggs are super cozy, especially during winter.
Its lining is made with genuine shearling, as well as a durable sole that gives you increased cushioning and durability. These boots retail for $150 at Nordstrom.
These Michon classic short boots by Koolaburra are unique, cute as well as stylish. They feature a soft suede exterior and a bootlace detail that wraps around the shaft. Lined with curly faux fur, your feet will slide right in!
These dusty pink UGG Scuffette Slippers are the perfect feminine touch to your look. This water-resistant slipper is made with suede, and lined with genuine shearling, making you feel like you’re floating on a cloud. They come with a snug fit, and retail for just $95 at Nordstrom.
The Koolaburra Milo Slippers come in a slightly peachy pink version. While the Scuffette is lined with genuine shearling, this one instead comes with faux fur lining and a leather-/suede outer. These slippers are perfect for leisure or a lazy day at home, and the best part is that they only retail for $59.
When the weather is not too cold, but you still want something ultra comfy on your feet while you’re walking around doing errands, opt for the Ugg Ansley Water Resistant Moccasin Slipper.
These slippers are made with water-resistant suede, and lined with wool that’s crafted to feel like real shearling. So unlike their other UGG footwear counterparts, this one does not contain genuine shearling. These moccasin slippers are available for only $100.
For something a bit more affordable but still cozy all the same, try the Koolaburra Lezly moccasin slipper. Like its UGG counterpart, these shoes are also made with suede. The only difference is that they’re made with faux fur lining! This retails for a reasonable price of $60.
Slides are great shoes to wear indoors and even outdoors during the summer. They’re basically sandals, but they don’t have any straps or buckles—they just slip on. They’re easy to wear, comfortable, and perfect for getting around the house or going to the pool.
These Cozetta Curly Genuine Shearling Slide Slippers from UGG are comfy and plush and will make you feel like you’re walking on air around your house. Its upper is lined with genuine shearling, as well as wool-blend lining on the sole. The price for comfort? Only $100 at Nordstrom.
For something a bit trendier, check Koolaburra’s BRB Slide. It features a faux leather guilted upper, and a faux fur topsole that will make you feel like you’re on vacation every day.
5. Ankle Boots
Both UGG and Koolaburra offer a wide range of ankle boots. If you’re looking for something classic, UGG has lace-up, zip-up and side-zip boots. For something more modern, you can find zip-up boots with a low heel or even peep toe booties. Koolaburra also offers all of these styles as well as low-heeled combat boots with laces up the front.
We love the UGG Harrison Waterproof Bootie because it’s slightly edgy, making it perfect for your cool-girl, Moto chic getup. It features zip-up sides to make it easy for you to slip on and off. Get these booties for just $140!
For something understated with no extra frills, get the Koolaburra Berea Ankle Boots. They’re made with leather/suede, as well as a chunky, 2-inch lug sole to keep you comfy and elevated. This neutral color with pair beautifully with any outfit you have in your wardrobe, no matter what season it is.
So which brand do you prefer? Well, that’s up to you – we hope that the differences outlined in the article have made it easier for you to choose. If we had to choose one winner, it would definitely be UGG, with its higher-quality materials, best-selling designs and more sustainable materials.
While UGG shoes are more expensive, they’re more expensive for a reason. You’ll be able to wear your boots and slippers one year after another, and you don’t need to worry about sweating in your boots, as the natural materials regulate the heat perfectly.
And there you have it! We hope you learned a thing or two from our guide to Uggs vs Koolaburra footwear. If you’re still looking for more fashion tips and inspiration, check the articles down below.