I Used to Hate Birkenstocks. Now I Have Three Pairs.
If you had told 20-something me that one day I would be writing about my fresh pair of Birkenstocks, I would have spat out my Fresca. Back in the ‘90s I was committed to combat boots, black platform slides, anything black and chunky. My Grateful Dead-following best friend/ roomie had a pair of fuzzy Birkenstocks which I nastily dubbed her “bear paws” or “birth-control shoes.” She’d protest, “But they’re comfeeeee.”
Well, gulp, here we are.
I’ve been sporting Arizona Birko-Flor Birkenstocks in a cute yellowish lime color all summer. Named after the tropical flower Monstera, these cork-and-latex jobbies are so splashy and caftan-complementing they make me happy every time I slide them on. (Eye roll.) They go with everything and just scream summer! (I’m insufferable.) To be honest they’re my third pair of Birks. Aren’t they gorge? (Acquiescence)
It should be noted that Birkenstocks are shoes with history. The business, er, cobbler, started in 1774 in Germany, but the sandal as we know it today didn’t become popular until the 1960s. And guess who brought it back for a resurgence in the 90s?
We did, Gen-X. We do everything. Really.
As we know, today, Birkenstock sandals — which, honestly, are a stone’s throw from a shower clog — are beyond popular, especially as the perfect pandemic shoes. According to Axios and a report by resale marketplace StockX, sales of Birkenstocks grew 610% during the first half of 2021 compared to the first half of 2020. Last week, conducting an unscientific survey, I noticed absolutely every other woman I passed on the streets in Brooklyn was wearing Birks. (Note: I guessed they weren’t going very far; Birks are great for around the house, a picnic or a trip to the store but long shuffly walks? Your calves are going to be fried.)
Have we become this sartorially lazy? Or have we (ok, have I) realized the awesomeness that was there all along?
My husband hates them. And he doesn’t mince words.
“Those are trash.”
54-year-old me says back to him, “But they are sooooo comfeeee!”