Mandals on the Rise — Thanks a Lot, Birkenstock

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Photo: Courtesy of Birkenstock

Birkenstocks are somehow being touted as “back in style,” this time by stylish menfolk. Scoff all you want about Volvos and wheatgrass — the Times reports that some of New York’s most fashion-forward men are happily buckling themselves into cork-soled, open-toe shoes.

Occupationally chic fellows like David Rees and Ron Anderson, the designers of Ten Thousand Things, the minimalist jewelry shop in the meatpacking district, picked up the cue and started accessorizing their skinny khakis and classic button-down shirts with Birkenstocks. Next, Dean and Dan Caten, the twins who design Dsquared2, riffed outrageously on the Birkenstock in a Milan men’s wear show whose theme was glamour camping, or “glamping.”


While Birkenstock confirms that its traditional two-strap Arizona style remains its best seller, they’ve trotted out more whimsical designs in recent years to appease their trendier fan base, including metallic-hued straps for ladies. Gaining popularity among the ladies has helped Birkenstock weasel its way into men’s hearts. Lucky creative director Andrea Linett, for example, convinced her photographer husband, Michael Waring, to buy himself a pair. “He was torturing his feet wearing boots in summer, with his feet sweating and no arch support,” Linett moaned to the Times. “But then he caved.” Whether male Birkenstock customers would be described as “macho,” per the article’s title, is still subject for debate. [NYT]

Click here for more on the history of ugly shoes, including Crocs, Klompens, Capezios, Tevas, and (also recently resuscitated) Doc Martens.