Birkenstock: Fab or Drab?

It seems like the new trend happened virtually overnight and took the world by storm. Birkenstock sandals started popping up everywhere, and everyone has very mixed feelings about them and their unique style. The strappy footwear inspired many similar designs and copycats because of their instant popularity.

However, the German-manufactured shoe brand did not surface this year or even this century for that matter. 243 years ago the Birkenstock name began their shoemaking as a family run business. Birkenstocks were at its peak during the late 1960s and 1970s, everyone who identified with hippie culture had to have a pair of “Birks” on their feet. This remains true today for Seattle because, being known as the epicenter of hipsters, it remains the biggest Birkenstock market.

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Even before sustainability efforts were put on the forefront of fashion, Birkenstocks were (and still are) eco-friendly. The company uses a naturally insulating, renewable and recyclable material. The shoe is made from cork that is taken from tree bark without cutting or destroying the tree.

These shoes are more than a new trend. They have proven to be a fashion statement while not harming the environment. Anyone trying to have quality casual footwear should definitely look into getting a pair.

Lauren Pursel, a sophomore studying special education, says that she discovered Birkenstocks when her friends started wearing them. “It’s absolutely a comfort aspect; they adapt to your feet and are super comfy. You can also wear them with almost any outfit: athletic, casual, jeans or whatever.” Pursel’s favorite color Birkenstock is tan because it goes with anything she wants to wear.

The company is also philanthropic and partners with Soles4souls; their mission is to create jobs and provide help through the distribution of shoes and clothing around the world. This non-profit sends a pair of shoes to those in need every nine seconds thanks to generous contributors like Birkenstock.

Many other shoe manufacturers have started following the Birkenstock-style trend. The only downside to the trendy shoe is their price. They can climb higher than $100 depending on the style, so knockoffs have been made at a lower price by different brands. Steve Madden has made a similar shoe called the Brando, promising comfort and functionality. They are far more affordable and look almost identical.

How do you rock your Birkenstocks? Tag us in a picture on Instagram, @VALLEYmag!


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