Birkenstock

Photo: Birkenstock

In one of the most unexpected trends in recent times, Birkenstock’s classic Boston clogs, which come in decidedly staid colourways like beige and brown, have become one of the most sought-after designs among the fashion-conscious. The orthopaedic shoes, worn by celebrities like Kendall Jenner and Kristen Stewart in recent months, can sometimes be hard to keep stocked.

Onlookers may not have anticipated a rush on these sedate shoes, but Birkenstock’s chief sales officer Klaus Baumann is unsurprised. “Our Boston clog is one of our iconic silhouettes that has been around for more than 40 years. As more consumers are prioritising investing in their health, we have seen an increase in the perception of Birkenstock orthopaedic shoes as trendy,” he observes.

This could be in part due to the focus on functionality that has lingered since the pandemic. He says: “As individuals have begun prioritising functionality, more have realised that it is a shoe that can be worn for long periods of time, making it ideal for all sorts of people, places, and situations.”

Baumann believes it is the brand’s longstanding commitment to foot health, since it was launched some 250 years ago, that has led to its longevity in the fickle fashion industry. “While many brands jump on trends that are commercially relevant at that moment, we believe in uncompromising quality and centuries-old craftsmanship, which is always desirable,” he says.

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Collaborations with top designer labels and edgy brands

Apart from comfort, Birkenstock 1774’s style cachet has been enhanced through collaborations with top designer labels and edgy brands. These range from lavish embellished sandals with shoe maestro Manolo Blahnik and sleek minimalist silhouettes for Jil Sander to special-edition Boston clogs with streetwear label Stussy.

“Our focus is to create innovative products that ultimately provide novel solutions for our consumer’s needs. It determines the partners we choose to work with,” says Baumann.

Its most recent drop, a new design called the Los Feliz (pictured), designed in collaboration with streetwear label Fear of God, reflects this guiding principle. The sandal, which comes in calf suede and wool felt, features an exaggerated yet minimalist single strap along with a deep heel cup, raw- edge outsole and the signature orthopaedic cork footbed.

“For us, a successful collaboration means that the core DNA of both brands is represented, and that the resulting product is unique and beneficial for our customers.”

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