- AARP - http://blog.aarp.org -

Birkenstocks: Awful or Awesome? Weigh In!

Posted By Barbara Hannah Grufferman On July 10, 2014 @ 11:32 am In Be Your Best | No Comments

I do my darnedest to ignore articles in trendy [1] magazines and Birkenstock Arizona [2]style blogs about this shoe or that shoe being suddenly back in vogue. (If you ask me, everything eventually becomes a “must have” again.)

So when a girlfriend dropped by recently to show off her “new” Birkenstocks [3], I had my hands full trying to hold my tongue. Am I the only one in America who remembers that these funky-comfy sandals were introduced to the U.S. market in 1967?

There’s no denying the anecdotal evidence that the brand is back in robust circulation: Walking down New York’s Lexington Avenue the other day with my 16-year-old daughter – the official fashionista in our family – she practically swooned over a pair of Birks gracing the feet of a modelesque 20-something woman walking our way. Wait, it gets worse: Her equally style-obsessed friend just created the T-shirt below proclaiming her devotion to the shoe.

>> Get travel discounts with your AARP Member Advantages. [4]

Tie dye shirts [5]Clearly the trend demanded further investigation. So I went online and Googled “Birkenstocks.”

Up popped an article [6] from the venerable Vogue, anointing Birkenstocks as cool and therefore worthy of wearing. Here’s a snippet of their praise:

“[T]he most comfortable sandal in the world [is] having a stylish renaissance.”

Those who can remember Woodstock (I’m one) will all agree that Birkenstocks, even in their ’60s heyday, were never exactly “cool.” Functional, yes. Comfortable? Absolutely! But cool? I don’t think so.

Another Vogue editor added the male perspective: “When my husband sees [me in Birkenstocks], he says I’m lucky we’re already married.” I shared that assessment with my husband, and he replied with a “ditto.”

Intrigued by the rebirth of a shoe so ugly you just gotta have it, I posed this question on social media:

“Do you now, or will you ever, own and wear a pair of Birkenstocks?”

Within an hour, I had more than 100 responses. A sampling:

No, no, and no!! -Julia

Yes, yes, & yes! My 20-something daughters like mine to the point of asking for them! -Laurie

Never been able to understand the attraction to such horrible footwear. -Kim

Love mine! -Shelly

No! The style is too “Earth mother” for me. At 64, I still want to be stylish. -Diane

Balenciaga rubber sandals [7]I never have, but would love to. They’re classic and will never go out of style. -Becky

wore them up until about 5 years ago, when my daughter retired them for me. -Robin

Birks, Crocs, Topsiders, Converse. It’s all about comfort – something of a feminist issue for me. -Terri

(You can check out more Facebook comments here [8] and here [9].)

>> Sign up for the AARP Health Newsletter  [10]

Cool Millennials of both sexes are snapping up the classic two-strap “tree-hugger” shape, known as the Arizona [11], faster than you can say “crunchy granola.” No need to rock such an old-school look, though: Rival shoe designers are churning out knockoffs in a range of styles, colors and prices ranging from $100 to – are you sitting down? – $1,000. Among them are Givenchy [12], Isabel Marant [13], Balenciaga (above) and Michael Kors [14].

So here’s the sole-searching question: Would you ever wear a pair of Birkenstocks? 

I’ll spill if you will! Write a comment here, and we’ll showcase the best ones in a follow-up post. Or send a photo of you sporting your favorite Birks to Barbara@bestofeverythingafter50.com.

*The first five commenters will receive a copy of The Best of Everything After 50*

Until next time, remember: We can’t control getting older, but we can control how we do it!

For more tips on living your best life, look inside The Best of Everything After 50: The Experts’ Guide to Style, Sex, Health, Money and More [15]and subscribe to The Best of Everything After 50 [16] video series on AARP’s YouTube Channel.

Photos: ASOS; [11] MatchesFashion; [17] Barbara Hannah Grufferman


Also of Interest

See the AARP home page [22] for deals, savings tips, trivia and more


Article printed from AARP: http://blog.aarp.org

URL to article: http://blog.aarp.org/2014/07/10/birkenstocks-awful-or-awesome-weigh-in/

URLs in this post:

[1] trendy: http://www.aarp.org/entertainment/style-trends/info-2014/fashion-styles-clothing-over-50.html?intcmp=AE-BLIL-DOTORG

[2] Image: http://blog.aarp.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Birkenstock-arizona.jpg

[3] Birkenstocks: https://www.birkenstockusa.com/

[4] >> Get travel discounts with your AARP Member Advantages.: http://discounts.aarp.org/travel/index/uSource/HCTN?intcmp=AE-BL-TRV-DISC

[5] Image: http://blog.aarp.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/imagejpeg_0.jpg

[6] an article: http://www.vogue.com/vogue-daily/article/pretty-ugly-why-vogue-girls-have-fallen-for-the-birkenstock/#1

[7] Image: http://blog.aarp.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/balenciaga-rubber-sandals.jpg

[8] here: https://www.facebook.com/barbara.hannahgrufferman

[9] here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Best-Of-Everything-After-50/234103066604130?focus_composer=true&ref_type=bookmark

[10] >> Sign up for the AARP Health Newsletter : http://www.aarp.org/online-community/people/subscribeFromEmail.action?id=19061&intcmp=ILC-EMAIL-SUB-HLTH

[11] Arizona: http://www.asos.com/Birkenstock/Birkenstock-Arizona-Black-Leather-Two-Strap-Sandals/Prod/pgeproduct.aspx?iid=2870964&r=2

[12] Givenchy: https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=givenchy+birkenstock&tbm=shop

[13] Isabel Marant: http://www.barneys.com/on/demandware.store/Sites-BNY-Site/default/Product-Show?pid=503360518&cgid=women&index=32

[14] Michael Kors: http://www.michaelkors.com/p/Michael-Kors-Michael-Kors-Triple-Buckle-Platform-Sandal/prod9990001/

[15] The Best of Everything After 50: The Experts’ Guide to Style, Sex, Health, Money and More: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0762437405/ref=s9_simh_bw_p14_d0_i1?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-3&pf_rd_r=06C91R3Q5FVTPR6HSKED&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=1388908102&pf_rd_i=283155

[16] The Best of Everything After 50: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLXQ-JEOv9JjFKRGps038tctU_B_6DgSvd

[17] MatchesFashion;: http://www.matchesfashion.com/product/189604

[18] Now Hear This: Hearing Aids Can Be Stylish: http://blog.aarp.org/2014/07/08/now-hear-this-hearing-aids-can-be-stylish/?intcmp=AE-ENDART1-BL-REL

[19] 10 Must-Have Wardrobe Items for Women at 50+: http://www.aarp.org/entertainment/style-trends/info-09-2013/style-guide-for-women-over-50.html?intcmp=AE-ENDART2-BL-BOS

[20] Fight Fraud and ID Theft With the AARP Fraud Watch Network: http://www.aarp.org/money/scams-fraud/fraud-watch-network/?intcmp=AE-BL-ENDART-ADV-FWN

[21] Join AARP: https://appsec.aarp.org/MSS/join/application?keycode=U9ZTPH9&intcmp=AE-ENDART3-BL-MEM

[22] AARP home page: http://www.aarp.org/?intcmp=AE-ENDART3-BL-HP

Copyright © 2013 AARP. All rights reserved.