UGG partners with Zappos for the Sport Yeah Special Olympics USA Games
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UGG partners with Zappos for the Sport Yeah Special Olympics USA Games

People are at the heart of the UGG brand. Whether it is for our employees, our customers, or our community, we advocate for diversity, gender equality and inclusivity and work to ensure members of the disability community are fairly represented. That is why UGG is proud to partner with Zappos to offer a special edition of our Sport Yeah Special Olympics USA Games slide in celebration of the upcoming Special Olympics 2022 USA Games. Zappos is the Official Footwear Provider of the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games.

The Special Olympics are a global inclusion movement using sport, health, education, and leadership programs to empower people with intellectual disabilities. UGG seeks to support organizations that further representation and awareness of diverse experiences, and we are proud to donate a total of $25,000 to the Special Olympics to support their mission.

The mission of Special Olympics

Special Olympics is dedicated to offer Olympic-type sports opportunities for children and adult with intellectual disabilities by providing them year-round training and athletic competition. As much as any other athlete, Special Olympics participants are encouraged to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy, and share quality moments and skills with their families, fellow athletes, and the community. Scheduled from June 5 to 12 in Orlando, Florida, the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games will once again be welcoming more than 5,500 athletes and coaches from all 50 states and the Caribbean to train and compete in 32 Olympic-type sports.

Special Olympics Sport Yeah

Through its partnership with Zappos, UGG is donating 200 pairs of the special edition Sport Yeah Special Olympics USA Games embellished with the Special Olympics Games colors to athletes competing in the Games. UGG is the only fashion brand as part of the seven footwear labels involved in the project so we are delighted to be offering fashion-forward yet inclusive slides that athletes can wear after engaging in their respective sports. Many athletes still wear the wrong footwear size hence why these unique Sport Yeah models will be fitted to each wearer.

The Healthy Athlete Experience

In fact, at the last 2018 Special Olympics USA Games in Seattle, it was discovered that 50% of all participants were wearing athletic shoes that were not adapted to their size. This finding stems from a broader initiative created to provide athletes with 12,000-15,000 free health examinations in a fun and welcoming environment and will again be part of the week-long event this year. The Healthy Athlete Experience is given across eight healthcare disciplines from audiology (‘Healthy Hearing’) to podiatry (‘Fit Feet’), showing that Special Olympics athletes are at increased risk of secondary health issues. And one of the most popular examinations engaged by athletes is Fit Feet, while they are encouraged to participate in four of the eight health areas to be eligible for a ‘free’ pair of shoes.

Inclusive fashion

Knowing these key factors, we have developed a gender-neutral special edition of the Sport Yeah style which has an adjustable, stretchy backstrap that is by far easier to put on and off without falling – a main worry within the disability community. This adaptive model provides ease of entry, which is key to many in the disability community, while also existing equally as a fashionable after-sport style carrying the signature UGG comfort and feel.

Inclusion at all levels

Creating an inclusive and equitable workplace is a priority of our parent company Deckers Brands. The DECKAbility + Allies Employee Resource Group (ERG) was established by our staff and offers the opportunity for those who are members of the disability community or care for someone with a disability to connect, share resources and champion inclusion at every level. Serving as an advisory group for the organization, its goal is to catalyze change and increase inclusion through new policies and initiatives such as creating a sensitivity training module for the company specific to the topic of disabilities.

For Anja Zimmerman, Co-founder of DECKAbility + Allies Employee Resource Group, starting an ERG has been a highly rewarding experience.

"When people ask me how it is working at UGG, I always say that it is great to be working for an organization with a moral compass. Being given the opportunity to start an ERG and connecting with like-minded employees is part of that. It has been amazing on many levels, but if I had to choose one, starting an ERG has allowed me to bring a part of me to work, that I would not normally share with colleagues and co-workers. It is quite personal to me. But by doing so, I found that there are others that feel the same, live through the same or have the same goals and interests. It is quite liberating and, in a way, really authenticates “come as you are” for me and I’d encourage others to join any of the ERGs or start their own."

Her fellow Co-founder, Lauren Cashin shares Zimmerman’s positive sentiments.

“The DeckAbility ERG provides a platform to engage in meaningful discussions throughout the organization of how to make Deckers more accessible and inclusive to the disability community. It is incredibly rewarding to see the ERG-influenced Special Olympics Sport Yeah launch come to life which directly impacts and celebrates disabled consumers.”