Why do people wince, raise eyebrows, or enthusiastically nod when you say Birkenstocks? Not everyone believes Birkenstocks are cool.
The question is are Birkenstocks fashionable or are they still considered dowdy health shoes?
Birkenstocks are cool. Fashionistas, celebrities, and hip people are often seen wearing Birks. The top-sellers are Arizona sandals, Boston Clogs, and Gizeh thongs, available in various fashionable colors and made from comfortable materials.
The brand has won multiple ‘Excellence in Design’ awards, been heralded in French Vogue, and has been named ‘Footwear Brand Of The Year’ by Footwear Plus magazine. Birkenstocks have also collaborated with cool, high fashion brands like Dior.
Check out the current price of Birkenstocks over at birkenstock.com.
Birkenstock is a shoe brand that has reached a semi-cult status but still draws skepticism from those who have yet to embrace the Birkenstock revival. Covid lockdown put Birkenstocks back in the spotlight when comfort became the order of the day.
Birks have lingered long past lockdown and now grace the catwalks. Despite the facts, please read on for compelling reasons Birks are cool if you aren’t yet convinced!
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The Cool Consensus
Instead of just taking the word of fashion magazine and celebs, I decided to poll my YouTube audience, to see if they found Birkenstocks cool.
Here are the results:
As you can see from the screenshot of the poll 56% agreed that Birkenstocks are cool (for reference I took this poll in 2023).
Personally, as a footwear blogger and general enthusiast, I love Birkenstocks and think they are cool! They pair easily with my outfits and add a dressed down, casual vibe.
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Birkenstocks Get Cool
On the 14th of February 2022, French Vogue (there’s nothing as hip as French Vogue) ran an article on Birkenstocks, ‘No Birkenstocks are not out of fashion … Here’s the proof in 13 looks. The normcore aesthetic has well and truly taken over fashion’. This article features fashionistas, celebs, and the uber-stylish out and about in their Birks.
The write-up captured Birkenstocks at the French Fashion Week, on the streets, at the airport, and in casual mode.
In effect, this says that Birkenstocks are here to stay. They are no longer playing in the functional ballpark; they’re lining up on the fashion runway and being flaunted by the cool kids on the block.
The brilliant thing about Birkenstocks is that they are such an unexpected fashion choice that they morph from cool and casual to slick and chic with an outfit change.
What’s more, InStyle.com ran an article celebrating Birkenstocks and their ability to keep their famous footwear concept but elevate the brand to fashionable in the original styles.
The really fun thing about Birkenstocks is that they are so uncool that they’re cool. They are somewhat of an anti-fashion statement which gives them the edge. Wearing your Birks is like saying, “I don’t care whether you think I’m cool or not; I know I am!”.
Ramp that up a step or two, and add grandpa socks to your open-toed Birkis. That’s as unfashionable as ever but still one of the most desirable looks in 2023.
Even before the Covid pandemic, Birks began making a name in the fashion stakes. 2017 and again in 2018, Birkenstock bagged another award from Footwear Plus; Excellence in Design Sandals. In 2018 the Footwear Plus magazine named Birkenstocks brand of the year. Footwear Plus is a footwear fashion trade magazine.
On top of these accolades, Birkenstocks won the Excellence in Design Women’s Comfort award in 2014, 2015, and 2016.
What’s clear is that Birkenstocks have earned a place in the ‘fashion meets comfort’ hall of fame, and by all accounts, it looks like Birks are here to stay.
Comfortable Meets Cool
Cool is all about swag and street cred. Birkenstocks have found their footing in this fashion genre. Birkenstock Clogs went viral on TikTok so much that Business Insider dedicated an entire article to the resulting shopping frenzy.
The shoe was in such demand that some stores sold a $160 clog for as much as $350, and they still sold out. That in itself shouts cool.
Not much is mentioned about the comfort of Birkenstocks in the hip scene but make no mistake; they are there because they’re comfortable too.
Look at the Birks you see on the cool people, and you’ll notice that many of them are worn in and have walked a mile or two. The reason for this is comfort. Birkenstocks, with arch support, toe bar, raised edges, and heel cup, are as comfy as shoes can get. Birks mold to your feet and the feet of the cool kids too.
Birkenstocks Have Taken Over The Shoe Scene
In another article published in CBS News, Birkenstock’s Oliver Reichert talks about the history behind Birkenstock and its humble beginnings in Germany in 1774. Since then, Birks has invented the footbed as we know it today and grown the range to include new styles and different materials.
Birks now sell sneakers, wedge heels, thongs, ankle straps, kids’ shoes, boots, professional shoes, and streetwear.
In his interview, Reichert mentioned that Birkenstock does not provide celebrity shoe samples. They do not use influencers or brand ambassadors. Birks rely solely on the quality and style of their shoes to work the magic.
When asked whether he would gift a celebrity a pair of Birkis, he responded, “If they send me money, I will send them a shoe!”
That says a lot about Birkenstocks and their ability to independently deliver cool, hip, fashion, style, and comfort.
As if Birks weren’t cool enough, fashion designers covet Birkenstock too. In June 2022, Birkenstocks teamed up with Dior to release the Dior by Birkenstock range. Two styles were brought to life, the Tokio back-strapped mule and the Milano back-strapped sandal. These styles incorporate the Dior hallmark buckle and a Dior Birkenstock emblem.
Vogue released an article in March 2022 hailing the Birkenstock Manolo Blahnik collaboration as fabulously eye-catching. This collaboration features Birkenstock Arizona sandals in velvet with crystal-embellished buckles.
When asked about these two high-fashion collaborations, Birkenstock’s CEO said they get plenty of requests. Still, they say no eight out of ten times.
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Original Is The Coolest
Think back to the 1970s when the hippy movement and flower children took to Birks. They donned them with flowing dresses, fringed bell-bottom denim, flower patches, tie-died tops, and psychedelic colors.
The shoes now come in various colors and materials, but the style has stayed the same. The Birkis they wore were the Boston Clogs and Arizona sandals. They knew a thing or two; the Boston Clogs, two-strap Arizona sandals, and Gizeh thongs are still top sellers.
Arizona Birks, Boston Clogs, and Gizeh Thongs are available in a wide selection of materials:
- Chunky Leather
- Metallic Leather
- Nubuck Leather
- Oiled Leather with a soft footbed
- Patent Leather
- Suede Leather
- Suede Leather with a shearling lining
If you’re not into neutral shades, exotic colors have made their way into the modern ranges:
- Beetroot purple
- Desert Soil Camo Green
- Festival Fuschia,
- Glamor Gold
- High Shine Tomato
- Pink Clay
- Purple Fog
- Python Black
- Sky Blue
- Teddy Popcorn
- Urban Mist
- Yomo Lilac
- Candy Pink
The cool thing about Birks is that they are non-conformist, so you can mix colors, fabrics, socks, and clothes to create your own Birki statement.
Birkenstock Keeps Bringing More Cool
Birks continue to update their range to cater to every type of Birki lover and give fans a reason to buy more than one pair.
The latest additions to Birkenstocks are:
- The Streetwear range, which is described as icons, evolved.
- Milano Big Buckle features an oversized buckle on the popular Milano range.
- Vegan Birkenstocks are made from non-leather and available in the iconic Birk styles.
- Exquisites that have added a touch of luxury to Birkenstock basics.
Cool Facts About Birkenstock
Let’s look at some of the facts that validate Birkenstock’s coolness:
- Birkenstocks were one of the most purchased fashion items in 2022
- The sales of Boston Clog increased by 593% between January and June of 2022.
- Birkenstock has appeared twice on the Lyst Index. The Lyst Index is a fashion industry publication that ranks the hottest fashion trends.
- Birkenstocks became the number one home office shoe during the Covid lockdown.
- Birkenstock produces 80,000 footbeds every day.
- There are 50 different colors and coatings for the Arizona sandal buckle.
- Birkenstocks go through 17 different stages in production.
- Birkenstocks are available in over 800 style versions.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where Can I Buy Birkenstocks?
Visit the Birkenstock online site for the largest range of Birkenstocks, or shop in person. Many independent retailers stock Birkenstocks too.
How Much Do Birkenstocks Cost?
The Arizona Essentials sell for $49.99, the Arizona Oiled Leather costs $130, Boston Suede Leather retails for $158.00, and Gizeh thongs are priced from $99.99.
Birkenstocks are cool and in fashion. Modern Birkenstocks are available in various exotic colors and are manufactured from a range of comfortable materials. The most popular shoes are the Arizona sandal, Boston clogs, and Gizeh thongs. Celebrities, fashionistas, and cool kids often wear their Birkenstocks out and about.
For more Birkenstocks content, check out:
Lorna is a footwear geek and the founder of Wearably Weird. She created a YouTube channel in 2021 for fellow footwear fanatics, dedicated to detail-rich footwear reviews and info. She has a fashion media qualification (awarded in 2011).