Vegan UGG shoes are here to keep your feet stylish and comfortable! The popular shoe brand announced Thursday that it has released a plant-based shoe collection made with carbon-neutral, plant-based materials.
The sustainable line is aptly named the Plant Power Collection. It consists of three different shoes, including two plush fur slipper varieties, in several colors.
The shoes are made using TENCEL branded Lyocell fibers that come from responsibly harvested trees, as well as other plant-based, responsibly sourced materials. This new line builds on FEEL GOOD, UGG’s sustainability platform that was launched in October 2020.
“At UGG, we are committed to doing our part to combat climate change,” Andrea O’Donnell, President, UGG & Koolaburra by Ugg of Deckers Brands, said in a press release. “Our design team took inspiration from our iconic styles and created new silhouettes made from carbon-neutral, plant-based materials.”
In an effort to continue to reduce excess packaging, UGG will ship styles from the Plant Power Collection in their own containers, which will eliminate further layers of postal packaging. And material information will be printed directly onto the FSC-certified tissue paper rather than an insert card, decreasing the total amount of paper used.
What’s in the Vegan UGG Shoes Collection?
UGG’s new Plant Power Collection includes three distinct shoes—the Fluff Sugar Platform, the Fluff Sugar Sandal, and the Neumel Natural, which is a vegan take on the California-based brand’s best-selling Neumel chukka boot.
The Fluff Sugar Platform and the Fluff Sugar Sandal are vegan versions of the shoes in UGG’s wildly popular fluff franchise. UGG shoes are typically made from sheepskin. Both of these shoes feature eye-catching design elements and platform outsoles. The Fluff Sugar Platform comes in three colors: pink, white, and yellow. And the Fluff Sugar Sandal is available in pink, white, yellow, and blue.
The final shoe in the Plant Power Collection is the Neumel Natural, which adapts the iconic look and feel of UGG’s Neumel chukka. This shoe is available in eight colors total, including indigo, pink, and grey.
What Are Vegan UGG Shoes Made Of?
Each shoe in the Plant Power Collection is made entirely of responsibly sourced materials.
For example, the SugarSole, which UGG has dubbed the foam outsole portion of the Fluff Sugar Platform and the Fluff Sugar Sandal, is derived from renewable sugarcane. This allows for reduced dependency on fossil fuels by replacing petroleum-based materials; sugarcane is a rainwater-dependent resource that removes CO2 from the atmosphere and does not require irrigation.
And that’s not all! While the shoes in UGG’s non-plant-based collections use sheepskin, the Fluff Sugar Platform and the Fluff Sugar Sandal are made with fluff made from from plant-based TENCEL branded lyocell fibers. This material is made of wood pulp converted into regenerated cellulosic fibers, which is sourced from responsibly harvested trees.
The trees are grown in sustainably managed forests that are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). Both are leading organizations promoting sustainable forest management.
“Our sustainable wood-based fibers are an excellent choice for the environment, and a natural choice for products that require comfort and breathability,” explained Robert van de Kerkhof, the Chief Commercial Officer of Lenzing AG, the company that manufactures the fibers.
Additionally, the Neumel Natural is made with plant-based materials such as TENCEL Lyocell.
The shoe’s handcrafted, small-batch soles are made of LACTAE HEVEA latex harvested from the Hevea rubber tree. The Neumel Natural’s upper portion is woven from a blend of 55 percent cotton and 45 percent hemp.
UGG’s Commitment to Sustainability
The launch of UGG’s Plant Power Collection comes about five months after the brand unveiled its FEEL GOOD sustainability platform. According to the brand, this is just the beginning of its continued efforts to be more eco-friendly. A press release noted that UGG intends to increase the use of recycled, repurposed, plant-based, and renewable fibers by 35 percent by 2027.
The brand has also figured out a way to make its most-used textile fiber, repurposed wool, more sustainable. The wool is woven into UGGpure, which is UGG’s own proprietary technology. UGGpure reduces the use of virgin wool, uses less water, less energy, and emits less CO2 when compared to virgin market wool, according to the brand. However, because it is sourced from animals, wool is not vegan.
Additionally, UGG has created UGGplush. The material combines the brand’s signature UGGpure wool with TENCEL Lyocell woven into a recycled polyester backing. The company plans to increase the use of TENCEL Lyocell fiber whenever possible.
In 2016, UGG, as part of Deckers Brands, joined the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC). The UNGC is the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative with over 9,500 participating companies. As part of its UNGC commitments, UGG continually sets targets relating to waste, water, materials, chemicals, climate and clean energy, and human rights and equality.
Other Vegan Shoes
As vegan shoppers are likely aware, UGG is hardly the first popular brand to debut a line of vegan shoes. Other plant-based players in the shoe sector include Birkenstock and Vans.
Birkenstock launched a line of vegan leather sandals for its European customers in 2015. In January 2017, Birkenstock announced vegan shoes in its signature styles in the U.S. in response to consumer demand. One year later, the brand expanded its offerings with new styles and colors.
Vans, on the other hand, released a vegan endangered species shoe range in May 2019. It has produced other plant-based shoes in the past as well.
Vegan shoes are making their way to giant retailers as well. In March 2019, global fast-fashion retailer H&M used pineapple leather in its Conscious Exclusive collection.