Apparently Birkenstock sandals are all the rage this spring for those with foot and shoe fetishes. I’m not sure how I feel about this trend. My heart will secretly forever lie in the red sole of a pair of exquisite Louboutin pumps. Preferably black or nude patent leather, with a delicate pointed toe. This of course is as far from the earthy, ergonomically correct Birkenstock that you can possibly get, but the reality is I no longer physically tolerate high heel shoes. Advancing age and successive knee injuries have forced me from the nose bleed section to a more oxygen dense altitude, and as such I have become a fan of Tory Burch ballet flats, Stubbs & Wooten slippers and Vans sneakers, when the situation calls for them.
Birkenstocks, I’m not so sure. Their origins are traced to the late 18th century in Germany, eventually transitioning to a product for flexible arch support in factory made shoes in the early 20th century. The shoes have been a blessing for people who are on their feet all day, but let’s face it, from a fashion perspective they leave much to be desired.
Designers with clout on the catwalk have been incorporating their version of blinged Birkenstocks into their Spring shows, but I’m still having a hard time embracing this trend. There is something so clunky and heavy about the sandals that seems counter-intuitive to the light, floaty fashion that embodies warmer weather. I know there is a demographic with arch issues and bunions that is thanking the shoe gods for delivering relief that is on trend, and believe me, as a joint sufferer I’m right there with them. But Birkensotcks sill look like bedroom slippers and in my mind belong there or in the shower at the gym.
Yet the fashion hound that snoozes in my soul is at odds with my more practical side, and there is a voice in my head that is getting louder and louder saying “Relief and Comfort are a good thing. Go with it. Make it work. Think of the speed you will pick up simply being able to walk a normal stride at a normal pace.” I’m tempted to order a pair and creep around the house, and see if anyone in my household notices what I’m wearing. Maybe I’ll rush out to do an errand and be so comfortable and efficient that I’ll embrace the clunk and start a trend in my own neighborhood.
I was getting excited at the prospect of a new fashion adventure when I saw this picture…and my bubble burst…