July 30th, 2013

Birkenstocks, yes or no?

Both ITG and Vogue posted on Birkenstocks recently. When Phoebe Philo showed a fur-lined version in the Céline spring 2013 show there was such an immediate ‘no way’ from reviewers that it seemed only a matter of time until the pendulum would swing and the controversial sandal would make a come-back. Thoughts?


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Linen top


Shoulder bag


Linen top


Striped wool-blend shorts


Rockstud sliders


Cashmere coat


Hammock bag


Striped trousers




Floral blouse


Suede sandals

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  • I just returned from Rome and ALL the chic women were wearing them (which I’d heard about before we left, but didn’t believe it until I saw it for myself). They look stylish and comfortable, which is pretty much a home run in my book. Planning to pick up a pair asap. I vote yes!

    Mary BethJuly 30th, 2013  8:00 AM

  • Had two sightings on the UES a couple of weeks ago. I was happy to see that the rumors are true.

    Kelly M.

    Kelly MontavonJuly 30th, 2013  8:19 AM

  • Preston – what do YOU think? I’ve seen pictures of some wearing them where they look great…but I haven’t gone there…not yet, anyway!

    bisbeeJuly 30th, 2013  8:56 AM

  • I will be careful commenting here. 🙂 I’ve been wearing mine with flowing pants, jean shorts and a look similar to pictured. Style meets comfort again!

    LynetteJuly 30th, 2013  8:57 AM

  • It looks great if the rest of the outfit is not granola!! Remember the Chanel paired with birkin, I think it was 2003?

    ameeJuly 30th, 2013  9:09 AM

  • Same here. Just back from the Nordic countries where classic black Birkenstocks are looking chic.

    TreeJuly 30th, 2013  9:17 AM

  • Lots of women in Rome sporting the Madrid version (one strap across the foot) with pretty dresses and amazing bags (40 cm Kelly). I bought a pair like that in dark silver to wear sightseeing. Key is to keep the rest of the outfit pulled together and chic. I do own a pair in the posted picture, but i wear them inside instead of slippers.

    JulieJuly 30th, 2013  9:20 AM

  • I have heard similar buzz about them lately. The most telling was my 27 year old fashion conscious daughter saying she was considering buying a pair. I currently own a few pairs and will probably always own a pair. Hard to beat the comfort, and personally, I like the look. If at first you don’t, it will grown on you.

    AprilJuly 30th, 2013  9:34 AM

  • Psych! I tried on a pair of white Birkenstock Gizehs yesterday, after having rejected them a few years ago. They still look awful on me. I’m not nearly cool enough to wear them. The Birk is a real fashion test – do you have enough innate style to make these giant slabs look good? I just look like a crazy cat lady (I can feel my hair frizzing up when I slide them on.) I recently bought a pair of Gucci driving shoes and they look right on me. That says it all.

    LizaJuly 30th, 2013  9:36 AM

  • YES

    mark d. sikesJuly 30th, 2013  10:04 AM

  • The Italian designers (Prada, Marni, etc.) have been showing thick strap, flat sandals similar to birks for a few years so it seemed likely that footwear might swing in this direction. This is what we are in the mood for right now and that’s fashion, right? We’ll be on to the next thing next summer. I agree with the other posters: The key is to wear more polished pieces with birks to balance out their casual earthiness. The Madrids (single strap across foot, narrower) are more flattering than the popular Arizona (I think you need to have really nice legs to look chic in these or wear skinny jeans with them- cute).

    Sara G.July 30th, 2013  10:21 AM

  • I say yes too, esecially with skinny jeans and a big sweater– the perfect run-around shoe!!

    PrestonJuly 30th, 2013  10:30 AM

  • A resounding NO!

    Lisa EastmanJuly 30th, 2013  11:33 AM

  • I have always been a huge fan of Birkenstocks. As long as you “keep it chic,” rock your Birks with confidence! www.styledrvr.com

    xoxo Styledrvr

    STYLEDRVRJuly 30th, 2013  12:03 PM

  • Agreed that it makes a big difference if the rest of the outfit/person is pulled together. Similar to how on my recent trips to Europe you see so many women of all ages wearing Converse, yet the shoes look perfect with the outfit/person’s style. The key in the photo above besides her outfit is her great pedicure. There are a lot of women running around in Birks whose feet should not be on display to the world.

    KimJuly 30th, 2013  12:22 PM

  • I’m on team Birkenstocks. Wrote a full analysis on Celine’s Furkenstocks on my blog: http://edgifyme.com/furkenstocks/

    Edgify MeJuly 30th, 2013  12:25 PM

  • I still think they are very hard to style. The lady in this picture put it together with her perfect legs and outfit. In reality, they dont work on most people in my opinion. And i am haunted by the sight of tens of them outside yoga studios in California. But birks are trying hard to change that image, good luck to them.

    ArchanaJuly 30th, 2013  2:03 PM

  • I bought a pair last year, after years of swearing, I would never! I live in a very crunchy part of San Diego, so I have seen them on people for years. I bought them, b/c I was having awful pains in the arches of my feet. But now that I can wear them out and about and they are fashionable? Yea. I’m traveling to Dallas today, I will be on the look-out for them there! Plus
    Mark D Sikes, says, yes!

    AliciaJuly 30th, 2013  2:30 PM

  • I have been wearing the Arizona for over 20 years. Faded vintage Levi’s and white t shirt. It’s always about classics

    WinnieJuly 30th, 2013  3:36 PM

  • I say yes! I think they are like oxfords: they add a little masculine edge when paired with more femine dress. And they also provide just the right contrast to a more polished look. The juxiposition can be quite striking.

    LilahJuly 30th, 2013  3:51 PM

  • Yes, yes, yes!! They are great for summer!

    AnaJuly 30th, 2013  4:24 PM

  • Never going to happen for me. I don’t think they are flattering. There are other, more stylish ways to be comfortable.

    MonicaJuly 30th, 2013  4:53 PM

  • Hmmm, do they come in narrow widths?

    RobbiJuly 30th, 2013  6:07 PM

  • I say YES! A pair of skinnies and a comfy oversized sweater or vintage loose fitting tee….keep the sandal colour simple and neutral. Perfect running around shoe!

    LeighJuly 30th, 2013  6:57 PM

  • I bought a knock off version by Michael Kors 10 years ago to wear to Italy. They looked similar to the Gizeh, but the leather on top was a pale gold and the strap across the top of the foot was clear plastic. Extremely comfortable and stylish for day and evening and all the chic Italian women were wearing the real thing (Madrid was in back then). I say YES!

    JoniJuly 30th, 2013  7:35 PM

  • Oh, why not? Life’s too short not to have fun with all different looks.

    MargoJuly 30th, 2013  7:41 PM

  • Nope, can’t do it but did do the Adidas one piece flip flop in the late 90s with dresses.

    KristinJuly 30th, 2013  8:10 PM

  • Yes! Birkenstock Gizehs are leg-lengthening, available in zillions of colors, and come in narrow widths. I think they pop with things like tailored shorts or a feminine casual dress in the summer. The key is to mix it up to play off the earthy and masculine qualities of the classic comfy sandals.

    IngJuly 30th, 2013  9:09 PM

  • NoNoNoNoNoNo

    GayenelJuly 31st, 2013  1:06 AM

  • Here in France we have been wearing them for years.I hate the damm things but they are very comfortable.I wear a pair that belonged to my daughter until she found 12centimeter heels!To answer Robbi they do come in different widths but I dont know where to find them,internet? shop? L

    lizJuly 31st, 2013  3:57 AM

  • I have been wearing the Gizeh for work (in a spa) for several years now. So comfortable. I do not wear them outside of work even though I live in a very “granola” part of the world (west coast of Vancouver Island). Mostly gumboots and flip flops but I will consider my Gizehs the next time I travel!

    SharmanJuly 31st, 2013  4:13 PM

  • In a well angled fashion shot potentially, but in public NEVER! There is a guaranteed sloppy undertone added to the outfit, so if comfort is the issue I prefer pair of sleek lacoste sneakers.

    ElizabethJuly 31st, 2013  7:02 PM

  • Liz, thanks. Yes, they come in narrow widths and on a very conspicuous web site…Birkenstock! Why didn’t I think of that?!?

    RobbiJuly 31st, 2013  10:29 PM

  • Love Birks! A fashion classic 😉

    joannawnycAugust 1st, 2013  7:57 AM

  • I’m with the Birks team. Being in the tropics here in the Philippines, birks has become a fashion statement. Chic and comfy! I am a huge fan of the Madrids having quite a few pairs of them in different colors.

    anywhere journeyAugust 1st, 2013  8:48 AM

  • Have tons of them. They look great with skirts, shorts and skinnies. And if you cook, they are comfy in the kitchen. I think nice new ones are good..the old beat up pairs you might want to pass on!

    CarrieAugust 1st, 2013  11:07 AM

  • Just returned from two weeks in Paris and all the chic girls wear the Gizeh. There is even a Birkenstock store in the Marais. Tres chic!

    StephanieAugust 1st, 2013  2:01 PM

  • And ugly-comfy shoes are featured in today’s WSJ style section: “So Ugly They’re Chic”


    StephanieAugust 1st, 2013  7:06 PM

  • Hi I’ve been wearing skinny jeans with birks for many summers!! Red patent ,black patent with bright red toes .. Great runaround really nice with a Lee Mathews dress on our 40 degree plus Celsius days !!
    Melbourne bayside very birks but not granola !!

    GillianAugust 2nd, 2013  9:46 PM

  • No. Period! And they make your legs look ugly. Not mention your feet.

    Marcy HammersteinAugust 3rd, 2013  9:07 AM

  • No,no,no !!!
    I can not imagine me in a beautiful place like my Rome with this !!!!

    ElianeAugust 3rd, 2013  10:24 AM

  • I will echo Marcy Hammerstein. I don’t dare submit my own opinion. Might get slammed again.

    PiAugust 4th, 2013  1:30 AM

  • The woman in this photo could probably wear any shoe and look chic. But I have to admit, the longer I look at this photo, the cuter these shoes look!

    PaulaAugust 4th, 2013  9:03 AM

  • I think they look good on women who can wear anything and look divine. Th girl in the picture is beautiful so …. On regular people they can look sloppy. But of course each to their own and everyone must wear what they love.

    AmandaAugust 4th, 2013  6:15 PM


Please be courteous. All comments are moderated. Preachy comments about body weight, age, smoking, and furs will not be posted.

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