Ugly Beauty: Birkenstock Revival

Society has been conditioned to hate Birkenstocks. We are Birkencists. We think they’re ugly, super hippy, totally not chic.

I’ll admit it: I was Birkencist for a really long time. I had an ex-boyfriend who lived in his and they were just soo… ugly. One summer, my free spirited cousin was rocking a thong-sandal version of the Birk that her sister bought for her in Germany. She let me try them on. I slipped them on as I looked over my shoulder making sure no one saw me (wearing, god forbid, a Birkenstock) and shunned me for interacting with the Birk-kind. The moment those clunky, leather shoes touched my toes I knew I was in trouble. They were sooo comfortable! I never noticed the tension in my feet until I wore those birks. My feet felt like they were on beautiful soft clouds and life was good.

That was a few years ago, but I never forgot that feeling. Outwardly, I was still a Birkencists, though secretly I was fighting a battle to repress my love for Birks. Last spring, I was perusing Pinterest and saw a pic of some chick rocking a pair of white Birkenstocks and I admired them. They were effortless, chic, and practical all at once. Shortly after, I read a piece in Vogue highlighting the “Pretty Ugly” (in cool metallics, nonetheless!) in which various Vogue editors described secretly wearing their Birks around the house, to run quick errands, etc. Each one hiding their love in vain. With each picture and article I saw, my Birkencism began to untangle until this winter, I denounced it once and for all!

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Boulder, being the hippie haven that it is, has a plethora of Birk-wearing shoe shops, so I marched down Pearl St. after days of researching shoe care, examining the styles, and comparing colors to pick up my shoes. I finally settled on the traditional Arizona (“Jesus sandals” to some) in shiny, black patent leather. I’m obsessed with them. In fact, as I type this piece I’m wearing them.

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Now it seems the rest of the fashion world is finally letting go of their Birkencism. Everyone from Celine to Zara and even J.Crew have created their versions. Instagram Fashion-girls are modeling them in #ootd selfies and yet, I still have a group of friends who call them ugly and other names. Guess what? I dgaf. Finally happy to be embracing my once closeted love for these bad boys.

Ugly Beauty: Birkenstock Revival

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