Test Drive: Birkenstocks

Because sometimes fashion isn’t about looking pretty. Sometimes it’s about looking like a grandfather headed on a hike.

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Hey CF readers! Do you ever want to try a new trend, but are afraid it might be a little too wild? Do you have trouble incorporating a new trend into your wardrobe? Or maybe you just don’t know how to style it? Have no fear! I’m here to try out every wacky trend in the book, just for you, in Test Drive.

The sun is out, the birds are chirping, and school is skidding to a halt. We all know what that means: pedicure weather. Whether you opt for wedges, gladiators, or flip-flops, sandals reign supreme in the summer. So why not throwback to an old classic, the Birkenstock?

I know what you’re thinking: Birkenstocks are for dads and Leandra Medine. But hear me out: while Birkenstocks are by no means attractive, they raise an important question for fashionistas everywhere: what does fashion mean to you?

Related post: How to Wear Birkenstocks (Styling Guide & Outfit Ideas)

What Are Birkenstocks?

Birkenstocks are those dad shoes you’ve been seeing everywhere. Ultra-popular in the ’60s and ’70s, these sandals are making a comeback. They’re defined by their thick, cork insoles that fit to the shape of your foot, and wide leather straps across the top.

Like any trend, Birkenstocks come with their own story of political culture. Although they originally came from Germany, Birkenstocks quickly became popular amongst the hippie flower children of the ’70s, and were therefore associated with liberalism. Birkenstocks fit in perfectly with this season’s ’70s-inspired fashion trend, but are modernized with tons of new colors and patterns, as well as new styles like thinner straps and flip-flops.

How I Styled Them for School

How to Wear Birkenstocks at School

For school, I paired my trusty brown Birks (actually, mine are Naots) with a black jumpsuit. I belted it and kept it pretty accessory-free for a cool, casual look. This outfit is perfect for those last couple weeks of class because these sandals say “I just don’t care anymore.” Don’t forget your trendy white pedi to look extra tan for summer!

Where to Find Them

Although Birkenstocks can be pretty pricey, like any popular item, the same style can be found for less at trendy stores. Here are a few cost-effective options, as well as a few more unique pairs.

Birkenstock sandals

Product Info: 1, 2, 34, 5, 6, 7

Styling Tips

One of the great things about Birkenstocks is that they open up a whole new realm of style: ugly-pretty. They introduce the idea that you can dress for yourself and wear something because you think it looks cool, without having to look “good.” Sometimes a really beautiful piece of clothing is not the most flattering one, and that’s okay. Fashion is an art, and like all art, it’s all about what you make of it.

That being said, Birkenstocks give you hundreds of outfit possibilities, as long as you’re willing to embrace the ugly-pretty.

  • Try a sweet floral pair with a neutral jumpsuit
  • Wear classic brown Birks with a girly dress and lace-trim socks
  • Throw on a white pair with a black jumpsuit for a sporty vibe
  • Or pair white Birks with white pants for a crisp, summer outfit
  • Wear them with cuffed boyfriend jeans for a classic, relaxed look

The Verdict

Are Birkenstocks attractive? No. Are they wearable? Of course! Take a lesson from the Man Repeller‘s book and try something not conventionally attractive. Birks are super versatile, super comfy, and super fashion-forward. They’re a win-win-win!

What do you think?

Would you be caught dead in “dad shoes”? What other iconic fashions aren’t exactly flattering? Will you try Birkenstocks, and where will you wear them? What would you like to see next on Test Drive? Let me know in the comments!

7 thoughts on “Test Drive: Birkenstocks”

  1. I only want a pair because people make them look so comfortable & that’s what I’m all about being comfortable especially in the feet department

  2. I only like (and are going to buy) the flip flop Birkenstocks. The others I really consider ugly and would never wear myself (no offence).

  3. I can’t believe people are saying Birkenstocks are the ugliest shoes when there are Crocs (!!!), and knee-high Converse, and a million other shoes way worst than a clunky (yet usually low profile), sandal. I wear mine with nearly everything and never thought they were considered “ugly shoes”…

    • I totally agree with you! There are so many different styles of Birkenstocks available now, and I definitely don’t think they’re all ugly. Sure, some of them are definitely not stylish, but I saw their Granada style in person in a few weeks ago and liked them so much I may have to finally bite the bullet and shell out the money for a pair.

  4. I have a pair of rose gold Birkenstock Mayaris that I love! I’m working as a tour guide at my college over the summer, and they’re so nice for walking around in the heat for hours at a time! They also aren’t too hard to pair with outfits, being rose gold and therefore a slightly dressier neutral. I’ve definitely worn mine with lightwash boyfriend jeans for a very 90s-throwback look, haha! Love your jumpsuit outfit! I’ve been looking for one that would flatter my hips!

  5. Birkenstocks are one of the ugliest shoes, but I am so obsessed with them, it’s crazy. There’s some knock-offs at Payless that actually fit my huge feet that I can’t wait to get!
    Anyway, very nice article! Your outfit is very cute.

    UPDATE: Got them. Love them. So comfortable.


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