With a history that spans from Australia to Southern California and reaches back to the late 1970s, Ugg boots encompass many diverse designs for men and women including boots, slippers and sandals in styles such as Classic, Bailey, Adirondack, Ansley and dozens more. While both the Ultimate and Ultra lines of Ugg boots retain the company's signature sheepskin lining, the products differ in purpose, style, variety and price.
Ugg's Ultimate line offers a simplistic, classic take on the company's distinct boot style -- it's what you picture in your mind when you think of Ugg boots. These round-toed boots feature shafts that reach the mid-shin with sport cuffable collars. Ultimate styles have thick, molded rubber outsoles, genuine sheepskin interiors and soft suede outers. Ugg recommends this style of boot for casual winter wear.
While Ugg Ultimate boots cater to day-to-day wear and provide moderate warmth, the Ugg Ultra Collection focuses on extreme athletic outdoor use in cold, wet and snowy conditions. To create this line, Ugg teamed with Hoka, a French designer of long distance trail-running shoes. In contrast to the style-focused suede outers of Ugg Ulimate boots, Ultra boots feature slick waterproof shells, which also lends them a more utilitarian design sensibility. These shoes have subzero-rated soles about 2.5 times as thick as standard outsoles, specially designed for impact absorption. Like Ultimate styles, Ultra boots feature the company's trademark sheepskin lining.
When it comes to variety, Ugg's Ultra line far outclasses its Ultimate line. As of May 2013, Ugg only offers one basic style of Ultimate boots, though they come in women's, kid's and toddler's sizes, with chestnut, chocolate and black color options. Meanwhile, the Ultra Collection encompasses three different styles for men and three for women. Men's Hearst and women's Celeste styles are short boots, while men's Auden and Barklay and women's Marien boots feature stacks about as high as the Ultimate line. Women's Ugg Ultra Klarissa boots present an especially high option, with a collar that reaches between the shin and knee. Color options for the Ultra line include black, brownstone, navy and charcoal for men and black, chestnut and stout for women.
The increased durability and added features of the Ugg Ultra Collection come at a substantially higher price when compared to the company's Ultimate line. While Ultimate Uggs range from a manufacturer's suggested retail price of $140 to $220, as of May 2013, men's and women's boots in the Ultra Collection span from $230 to $300, with most styles clocking in at the higher end of the spectrum.