• Pedestrian toes have - alas - no more secrets for you.

    And this is normal, since the Birkenstocks have operated a tidal wave for a few years.

  • Yes, we are talking about the German sandals that everyone laughed at ten years ago.

  • A turnaround that required a little investigation on our part.

From our special envoy in the hype,

In our imagination of fashion faux pas, Germans in sock-sandals have always been the insurmountable border.

Fashion and us is certainly not always that, and rumors circulate that we sometimes wear t-shirts that are too tight, trousers that are too long - worse, cropped trousers in the past - or that we has already put on these pink shorts with this blue t-shirt in a more than questionable color mix.

Faced with the taunts, we reassured ourselves by saying that at least we had not fallen as low as our neighbors across the Rhine in wearing sandals.

A bit like an amateur cook consoles himself with the quality of his beef bourguignon by telling himself that in English gastronomy, fish and chips and royal jelly are the pinnacle of taste.

But that was before we were touched two words on the comeback of Birkenstock, these German sandals that conquered the feet of the French.

How did these sandals go from shameful valve to hype?

All of this required a little investigation.

From Birk and jugs

What has already happened – and that, we had not missed – are three confinements in two years.

Something to "change mentalities towards more comfortable clothes in everyday life", says Sophie Malagola, fashion designer and former director of collections at DIM and Etam.

In a study conducted in 2021 by the specialized firm IWG, 59% of respondents said that the days of formal outfits were over at work, and 64% of employees today want to opt for comfortable clothes in the office.

“There was already a trend towards the most comfortable, which the health crisis has amplified.

People want to wear the clothes they want when they want,” continues the expert.

Sneakers, for example,

“Fashion is moving towards simpler and more comfortable things.

Today, the trend is ''Birk'', not high heels.

Practicality has become essential”, supports Marcel Botton, CEO of the consulting agency Nomen, specialist in brands and their valuation.

Comfort comes first, reminds Sarah Banon, professor of fashion theory at the Institut Français de la Mode: “The days when it was necessary to distance the product from the consumer to make it desirable are over.

The perfect or inaccessible side is no longer selling, now it's the I don't care aspect that is put forward.

The Birkenstock's 'flaws' - fairly simple, ergonomic and functional design - have become its qualities”.

What Pierre-Louis Desprez, associate director of Kaos Consulting, calls “coolness.

As such, Birkenstock is almost a totem of our society, where cool and simplicity have taken precedence over the rest.

The tie is over, the fangs are trendy.


irony and fashion

An ode to simplicity and practicality, then?

Not so fast.

Because the Birkenstock is becoming fashionable at high speed. “It has more colors, variants and shapes than before,” notes the director.

Not to mention that the brand was bought by LVMH, made several collaborations with luxury brands, such as Dior, appeared in several fashion shows and was seen on the feet of many personalities, actresses, singers and models (Gigi Hadid, Gwyneth Paltrow, Dakota Johnson…), reminds Sophie Malagola: “It only takes two, three people with Birks to relax a whole category of people on the fact of being able to wear them quietly.


The omnipresence of the sandal on social networks also explains its popularity.

“Everyone understood that there was no longer any shame in wearing them,” concludes our expert.

I don't care, yes, but only if it is validated by others.

“There is now more room for relativism.

We escaped from a hegemonic vision, where there was good and bad taste.

All tastes are now allowed”, continues Sarah Banon.

The real nerdy stuff now is finding nerdy stuff.

Even German sandals which - objectively - everyone laughed at ten years ago?

Take out your philosophy books with the professor: “There is a form of irony in fashion, what Roland Barthes called bathmology, namely that there are several degrees of meaning.

Some wear Birkenstocks in the first degree, others in the second, still others in the third.

We make fun of the image of tap-socks, the sometimes pompous nature of fashion, we break its codes.


The Birkenstock, the must-have sandal

Why not.

But at 70 or even 150 euros for a pair of Birkenstock Arizona - the undeniable hit of the summer, which you have seen every thirty meters in the street, the joke and the second degree are expensive.

Rest assured, the brand has real arguments to make: “Basically, these are professional orthopedic sandals, a guarantee of quality.

We see more and more brands intended for professionals expanding to the general public, considering that they have proven themselves,” says Marcel Botton.

Small, highly qualitative listing by Sophie Malagola: “The brand is renowned, the materials used - natural leather, cork - are renowned, the origin is known, the German quality has proven itself.

We buy Birkenstocks because they are worth it.


So much so that 150 euros a pair isn't that expensive after all, according to Pierre-Louis Desprez: “You'll hardly find better value for money, it's almost unbeatable.

Want quality for your feet?

You take ''Birk''.

At a time when we take more and more care of ourselves, we abandon plastic beach flip flops at 10 euros for real comfort.

Ihre zehen sind es wert (Your toes are worth it).


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