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Image / Fashion

You Can’t Escape the Birkenstock


By Jeanne Sutton
23rd Aug 2014

Love it or hate it, the German sandal is here to stay…

Forget literally every shoe trend piece you have read in the last six months. The shoe of the summer was not a stocky wedge. Cool sliders can step to the side. The trusty flat and the sports luxe trainer – to the back of the queue please. No, if one item of footwear reigned this season it was the Birkenstock, and the figures back it up. The New York Times reports the flat sandal was the top selling shoe in New York City this summer with Net-a-Porter coming close to selling out of certain models.

Ashley Olsen, the patron saint of the Birkenstock

The Birkenstock has inspired high-street stores such as Zara and Topshop to abandon heels and present their own imitations of the practical flat. Even runway designers are going back to the German designed basics, with Michael Kors? recent Resort Collection featuring the ‘stock. The designer even called them ?Norm-Kors?. Bless.

The rise of the Birkenstock may have surprised some but the fashion pack have sensed the return of functional fashion ever since C?line sent a pair of fur-lined Birkenstock-y sandals down the catwalk in 2013. We like to think we were pro-Birkies long before the Times told us it was inevitable – after all Roisin Agnew penned an ode to the Birkenstock earlier this year:

?Having little to no interest in fashion, the one thing [my father] has always been particular about is shoes. Preferring the sturdy, practical sort, he would commend you for your shoe selection as though what you’d actually been after was a car or a mule. Birkenstocks ranked particularly high in his estimate as ‘sensible? – German, orthopaedic in some way, and associated with outdoor activity in heat.?

Amanda Seyfried makes a great case against ever wearing heels again

However, summer sale trends aside, will the Birkenstock survive into winter? ?Matt Hundley, Birkenstock’s public relations, told the Times to keep our eyes on the company’s shearling lined Boston Clog. Just in case you’re a bit nervous about the whole sandals and opaque tights look…

Jeanne Sutton @jeannedesutun