They tend to sprout up every spring, like poisonous mushrooms, as if orthopedic footwear-as-fashion-statement is somehow appropriate. We are of course talking about Birkenstock, which besides the Teva, are the ugliest sandals known to mankind.
Visually, Birkenstocks create a feeling of fashion vertigo, or la nausée because they are irredeemably ugly, or too vivid a reminder of bad decisions made back in your college days. Also, they can look alarmingly boatlike on larger feet (please take note).
Like it or not, for men and women alike, the shoes your middle school friend’s hippie parents made uncool are pushing themselves back into polite society. With the return of the “Mad Men”-era ’60s glam in the last trend cycle, it was inevitable that the uglier side of the decade would also make a comeback, no matter how hard we prayed that it wouldn’t.
In 1966, German-American designer Margot Fraser was on a spa trip back to Germany when she discovered Birkenstocks. Although the company had been around since 1774, it hadn’t made it to the States until Fraser began importing its wares to San Francisco, and even though shoe stores initially refused to sell them (because, well, they were ugly), she found luck at health food stores where hippies shopped. Thus, the dorky, boat-like orthopedic sandals were forever regarded as groovy (??).
Just say no…you should embrace
Even I, a person that has completely given up and only wears soccer attire finds these shoes a crime against humanity. Plus, if you try to rock the ‘Dad’ look by wearing socks with them (please don’t), your feet will create a stench only rivaled by the Shanty dumpster in mid-July.
Side Note: Birkenstock is offering a limited-edition collection of the legendary footwear featuring oiled natural leather and handcrafted buckles in solid 925 sterling silver.
The website description states,”The Birkenstock classic Arizona model has been recreated in the finest imbued and oiled natural leather in navy blue for this designer collection. The sterling silver buckles; which originate from the metalwork studio of jewelry designer Patrik Muff; are the highlight of the luxury sandals.”
The listed price for the new Birkenstocks is $799 dollars. Yes, I know.