Sienna Miller agrees. Ditto Kendall Jenner, Kaia Gerber and Kristen Stewart—a group of women with markedly different personal styles who find common ground in the snug inner and smooth structural outer of the functional Birk. For the former, port-colored, fleece-lined Bostons are in line with her innately bohemian sense of style. Originally launched in 1979, the cosy-casual clogs were a natural extension of Birkenstock’s sandals, but offered all-weather appropriate toe protection, as well as the orthopedic benefits of its signature soles. They became a sleeper hit on college campuses in the ’80s and have remained on the periphery of fashion’s subconscious since then.
When brands, such as Dior and Manolo Blahnik, came knocking on Birkenstock’s door, the Boston suddenly leveled up and entered the luxury market. For Jenner, a self-professed granny who finds happiness in quilted Bode jackets and griege Bostons, and her Gen-Z friends, Birkenstocks were no longer a marathon runner’s favorite or a chef’s friend, but had viable fashion credentials. Like us, they bought in and found it hard to give up the podiatric perks once they succumbed to the supportive shoe.
Consider, then, the parallels between Birkenstock and Ugg. Like the Boston revival, there was nothing more 2020 than the return of shearling-lined surfer booties. We languished in them during lockdown and sought solace in the fact that Kaia, Kendall, EmRata, Irina Shayk et al were loafing around in slouchy, snuggly pull-ons too. Popular labels, from Y/Project to Molly Goddard, clamored to collaborate with them, and we saw multiple hot takes on the nostalgic boots once beloved by Lindsay Lohan and Madonna.
Birkenstock clogs and Ugg boots have become homely counterparts during an enduring period of chaos. How are we supposed to give up the footwear equivalent of safety when everything else is in flux? The Hemline Index suggests that skirt hems rise – and fashion gets more playful – when the stock market is up, so it’s hardly surprising that we’re at the other end of the spectrum post mini-budget, hibernating in functional fleece-lined mules. Hottest product in the world? Most toasty more like.