Sandal season is finally here. And whether you’re looking for a sturdier pair of house shoes for the days spent at home, or it’s just time for a new pair of open-toed shoes to celebrate summer, there are few brands more synonymous with summer than Birkenstock. While they’ve been a mainstay for years (250 years, to be exact), these polarizing, cork-supported shoes are experiencing a bit of a moment in the world of high fashion and hype. Kanye West graced the May cover of GQ wearing the classic Boston clog, while Rick Owens described Birkenstocks as “functional and sex . . . maybe the sexiest shoes ever.”
While we may not agree with Owens’s entire sentiment, we (and every mom in Park Slope) (and every techie in Silicon Valley) wholeheartedly agree that Birkenstocks are functional mainstays. They’re designed with premium quality and lasting comfort first and foremost. And fortunately, the brand has a bigger variety than ever in styles, colors, patterns, and designs.
These days, there’s a Birkenstock for everyone. Which one is yours?
For the hypebeast
If Birkenstock’s newfound fashion fame is your first intro to the brand, then odds are that you’re more interested in the Supreme look than the Patagonia vibe. Fortunately, the new Kyoto ($140) sandal from Birkenstock pairs perfectly with cargo pants, drop crotch shorts, and a hoodie. These slide-style sandals feature a futuristic, compact design highlighted by a monochromatic, Nubuck leather upper, a suede-lined footbed, and a color-matching sole. If you’re into the chunkier, more futuristic look, there’s always the new Atacama style, too.
For the classic minimalist
In the words of Birkenstock itself, the Arizona sandal (starting at $99.95) is a “timeless icon.” It will never go out of style, but maybe that’s because it’s never been in style. No matter how you feel about them, you can’t deny that these sandals are as comfortable, supportive, and well made as they come. And the classic two-strap design goes perfectly with jeans, dresses, shorts, overalls, and—yes—even suits. And if you fancy something that deviates from the most classic of classics—the taupe leather sandals—the Arizona is also available in plenty of varieties, including a jute textile, metallic rose and gold colorways, vegan materials, and even a tie-dye pattern (if you’re really the crunchy type).
For those who prefer thong-type sandals, there is no better classic style than the Gizeh (starting at $99.95). The Gizeh has the same contoured cork footbed, lightweight foam sole, and high-quality upper construction, but has a trimmed-down, sleek design that looks (and feels) less clunky than the Arizona.
For the outdoors person
If you enjoy hiking, fishing, rafting, camping, or kayaking, then you probably enjoy the hardily constructed outdoor sandals—such as Tevas and Chacos—that can pass the test of time in rugged environments. Birkenstock has beefed up their cork insole with a deeply lugged sole for better traction, water-resistant upper construction, and adjustable hook-and-loop straps for their adventure-ready Kalahari and Tatacoa sandals ($170).
For the modernist
If you could imagine platform sandals that look like they belong in both 1996 and 2036, then you’d close your eyes and see the Arizona Platform ($99) and Arizona Chunky Platform ($120). With stacked platform heels (that are somehow incredibly comfortable) and eye-catching neutral colorways, both of these designs have a little bit of Steve Madden-like nostalgia and a lot of modern design cues.
For the sandal hater
Some people hate showing their toes. Some people like to keep a little more shoe between them and the world. Some people only like shoes that they can wear year-round. We get it. And that’s why the Boston Clog ($145) from Birkenstock will never die. This four-season classic features the original Birkenstock soft footbed, a durable suede upper, an additional foam layer for extra support and comfort, and the most “Birkenstock” silhouette the brand has to offer.
For the Crocs lover
For those who are able to love the ugly and embrace Crocs for their light weight, cloudlike (yet plasticky) comfort, low maintenance, and bright hues, we have your new favorite sandal. The foamy, comfy Arizona Eva ($44.95) rings in at a can’t-beat price and comes in every monochromatic colorway you could hope to see, including Barbie hot pink, a creamsicle orange, seaside turquoise, metallic silver, chic black, and whiteout white.
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