I had noticed that Birkenstocks were making a come back (although, I’m not sure they ever left?), but when I saw five pairs lined up in the doorway of the office the other day, I knew I had to write about it. In the past, Birkenstocks have carried connotations as hippie shoes, worn only by the most earthy, ‘crunchy-granola’ folks (and their wannabes). But, seeing as how all of their shoes are made with real leather, and veganism being such a major pillar of the hippie stereotype, I was a bit curious about their appeal in the conscious consumer’s market.
One of the most iconic and unique aspects of the Birkenstock shoe is the cork base or ‘footbed’. As it turns out, cork is sourced from natural resources, however it is not necessary to cut down the tree entirely in order to harvest the cork. When cork is harvested, all components collected are put to use and the bark grows back in its place. In fact, the makers of Birkenstocks are using “high quality by-products” from wine corks! Additionally, the cork base and leather strap components on the shoe outlast many other sandal materials.
The rubber sole can be easily replaced by leather/shoe repair professionals. That way, your Birkenstocks can last years without needing to buy a whole new pair. I have had mine for about 4 years and worn them off and on pretty frequently and I just recently took mine in for new soles. It should only cost about $10-15 and you’ll get all of the stability of a new pair without wasting resilient leather detail and cork base that has perfectly formed to your feet!
The Birkenstocks brand is exemplifying and innovating manufacturing efficiency by finding ways to recycle and reuse any scrap materials created in the making of their shoes. In addition to putting scraps to use, they have found a way to utilize the heat conducted by their machinery to dry materials in other phases of the production process.
While it’s hard to say why the style has suddenly exploded, Birkenstock-like sandals have been elevated into the stratosphere of high fashion in recent spring, and summer collections. Not surprisingly, these designers are styling their sandals, not with hemp bellbottoms, but with everything from summer-whites to pencil skirts. Pictured below, you can see designers utilizing patent leather upgrades, metallics and other detail to appeal to all the fashionistas of today! Designer or not, though, these Bikenstock look-alikes are knock-offs.
In conclusion, the Birkenstock brand is doing a lot to keep the production of their shoes sustainable. Compared to many other sandals on the market, investing in a pair of Birks will certainly put your soul, and soles at ease!
Change the World. Please, and Thank You. -xx Jenna