You might have noticed I haven’t featured any Birkenstock-style sandals here this year, even although they’re one of this season’s biggest shoe trends. Every fashion blogger worth her Rockstuds seems to own a pair, and I’ve witnessed many of my online and offline friends declare they’d never succumb to the “ugly shoe trend”, only to show up a few weeks later rocking a pair of Birkenstocks, and sheepishly declaring that they’re “So! Comfy!” Which is exactly how people used to justify wearing Crocs, if I recall correctly.
So, why have I been determinedly ignoring all of those comfortable, Birkenstock-style sandals in favour of the usual stilettos? I’m just going to be honest: I can’t stand them.
It’s not that I don’t think there’s EVER a reason to wear comfortable (albeit ugly) shoes, I hasten to add. There are plenty of times when it’s necessary to forget about style and focus purely on comfort: not even I would advocate wearing heels to go hiking, for instance, or cramming your feet into uncomfortable shoes for ANY reason, really. But the fact is, today’s sensible sandals aren’t being worn because there are no other options, or because they’re the only footwear their owner can stand up in: they’re being worn as a fashion statement, and that’s what I just can’t buy into. Not even repeated exposure to this style of shoe has convinced me that they’re something I’d ever actively CHOOSE to wear, and I can’t see that changing any time soon: although, having said that, I HAVE just ordered a pair of sneakers, so never say never! I’m also not swayed by the “so comfortable!” argument: I reckon there are plenty of comfortable shoes out there that also look stylish, so Birkenstocks aren’t the only option!
Of course, style is subjective, and I know lots of people out there really love this trend: not just because it finally allows them to wear truly comfortable shoes and still be in fashion (something that doesn’t happen often), but because it subverts the more typical style “rules”, by making something that used to be considered “ugly” suddenly “on trend”.
Where do you stand on Birkenstock-style “sensible” sandals – as a fashion trend, as opposed to as a comfort/purely practical thing? Do you love the look, or are you wishing the trend could just END, already?