To my surprise, and unheeded objections, Birkenstocks were also showcased in fashion magazines! How could Vogue do this to me? In addition to the betrayal of Vogue, one of my favorite fashionistas of all time – the venerable Madonna - was photographed in a pair of Birkenstocks. Super models, iconic singers and even sorority girls (with painted red toenails, of course) all wearing Birkenstocks... oh, the disillusionment!
Another way in which Birkenstocks ingratiated themselves into everyday fashion was by producing shoes specifically targeted to food servers, clinicians and other professions known to have to be on their feet day in and day out. Birkenstock offered slip and water resistant 'styles' – practical but don't call them stylish. Birkenstock even took advantage of the 1990's dot-com boom by producing and marketing shoes specifically to computer technicians; their "ESD" line prevents the buildup of static electricity which can harm hardware.
If I had to pick one style of Birks that were a little more stylish than
the rest, I'd go with the Boston Birk. These fully enclosed sandals were
seen on the hippest of the hip in the 90s and are featured prominently in
this Gap commercial, where everyone in the ad is wearing a black pair of
Boston style Birks.
Although Birkenstocks' sales may have slipped a little from the 1990s, these iconic hippie shoes aren't going away. Some of the latest news stories demonstrate how ingrained in our society Birkenstocks truly are as 'Birkenstock' is used as an adjective to describe a certain segment of our society:
"Birkenstock-wearing, Jon Stewart-watching lefties..."
A search in Google for the word "Birkenstock" yields many more examples of how this shoe has come to be associated with certain societal groups.
In any event, as an ugly shoe shunner, I am now forced to avert my eyes from feet ensconced in Crocs. I never thought I would say this, but I'd rather see your feet in Birkenstocks!