Far from all the aesthetic rush and the bright lights of fashion, it is basically a work created for the health worker… You will read the story …

Far from all the aesthetic rush and the bright lights of fashion, it is basically a work created for the health worker… You will read the story of the rise of Birkenstock slippers and their transformation into a well-known design segment.

Fashion has done this before. Crocs slippers and Ugg brand boots, which were thought to promise nothing but comfort and convenience at first glance and in wearing, were on his radar, turning them into stylish pieces sold at high prices, and managed to wear them to famous names. Birkenstock slippers, which are fateful companions with Crocs and Uggs and offer maximum comfort, are worth mentioning on their journey from ordinary production in Germany to fashion shows and street fashion today.

Do you know any other piece that can harmonize with the comfort of a shorts as well as the seriousness of a crew dress? You are free to use Birkenstock slippers with different styles.

What do you think is the reason why fashion turns to items that can be considered ordinary or even “ugly”? It can be a desire to put aside its proud state and democratize, to position all products and parts as well as all bodies, within the framework of respect for diversity, which is one of the conditions of inclusivity. In the light of the inclusion and diversity debates, we can interpret this as the pluralization of the beautiful and aesthetic by losing their clarity and uniqueness compared to the past.

“Fashion, like art, likes to question beauty instead of focusing only on aesthetic designs,” Carolyn Mair explains in her book “The Psychology of Fashion”. Because fashion does not forget to question and think, and to open a discussion with what it wears, apart from dressing it as a basic need.

Journalist Alice Pfeiffer, the author of the book “Le Gout du Moche” (the ugly taste), explains that the “ugly” makes itself accepted by destroying dogmas.

Rules are being broken, new ones are coming, and the fashion world is taking its share from these changes and directing the design scene from a completely different perspective.

Mid-toe slippers, 2399 TL, BIRKENSTOCK/ BEYMEN

Last year, the luxury brands cluster LVMH’s employer, Bernard Arnault, took over the cash majority of the German company Birkenstock brothers; You can also interpret it as the displacement of the rules, the change in the meaning of luxury, or the democratization of fashion and the one-to-one treatment of all products.


You will also discover how all these ingredients are handled in the story of the transformation of an orthopedic health product into a luxury item.

Influencer Jacqueline Zelwis completes her outfits consisting of trousers, plaid shirt and crop top, which can be examples of effortless style, with Birkenstock slippers, showing that comfortable clothing can also be remarkable and stylish.

• Birkenstock slippers provide spiritual comfort in addition to the physical comfort they offer. You can use them with all kinds of combinations except evening dresses, there is no need to worry about your head.
• You can wear it under mom jeans, flounced or midi skirts, wrap dresses in daily life.
• Birkenstock slippers look very stylish with sequined socket socks.

Famous actress Frances McDormand attended the Oscar ceremony in 2019 in a Valentino dress and Valentino x Birkenstock slippers, emphasizing that the Birkenstocks conquered street fashion and the red carpet as a popular style piece.

Birkenstocks, which is very difficult to say, and which many people have trouble with, but also referred to with a cute abbreviation like “Birk”, does not resemble the name of a beer or truck brand. However, as we all know, they are a German shoe brand dating back to 1774.

The development of the brand, founded by Johann Birkenstock, continues in 1896, when Konrad Birkenstock produced orthopedic shoes with special soles surrounding the foot form and opened two shoe boutiques in Frankfurt. Konrad Birkenstock donates Birkenstock slippers to the Frankfurt hospital for the comfort of wounded soldiers during the First World War. Of course, there is an important part of the establishment ideology and the solid and flat structure of the German culture behind the Birkenstocks’ identification with health and comfort before aesthetics, and the fact that they draw attention with a design that is far from all kinds of ornaments and glamor while revealing their toes with all their naturalness.

The fact that they were used as a symbol of the anti-capitalist movement in the ’68 events in France will also strengthen the view that Birkenstock slippers are far from elegance and aesthetics, and that they are carried as a necessity.


The 90s should go down in history as the years when the fate of the Birkenstocks changed. The colorful and different models released in those years throw these flat and “exciting” slippers out of their shells and comfort zones, and throw them into the dynamic, changeable and miraculous world of fashion. And in 1997, Narciso Rodriguez, Jean-Paul Gaultier and Paco Rabanne took those slippers and integrated them into their brands and dressed them on their models in their fashion shows.

The once “coarse” shoes have now entered the radar of high fashion, sharing the stage and the exact conditions with fancy stilettos and stylish pieces, they have destroyed the definition of aesthetics and gusto, confirming the rapidly changing and transforming structure of fashion, that nothing is permanent and everything is a part. showed that he had time.


In 2002, top model Heidi Klum’s collaboration with Birkenstocks and the preparation of a special collection in which she is the face accelerate the international success and fame of German slippers, while Birkenstocks occupy the street fashion, and rumors begin to be made about which pieces they will be worn with. The fact that the fashion world started investing in comfort and convenience in the 2000s will further facilitate the integration of Birkenstocks into that glittering world.

Velvet slippers with crystal buckle, 12,250 TL, MANOLO BLAHNIK X BIRKENSTOCK

Incorporating Birkenstocks in their collections in 2013 with the personal comments of Celine creative director Phoebe Philo and later Alexander Wang; proves that an ordinary random product can turn into a stylish and popular fashion item if the conditions are right.

In 2019, collaborations signed by Valentino and subsequently Rick Owens herald that the dance of high fashion with aesthetics will never end. Birkenstock slippers are not a trend, they have already become a style problem.

It would be no exaggeration to say that 2022 is the Birkenstocks golden age. While fashion has left behind a uniform aesthetic and beauty understanding and attaches importance to pluralism, it underlines accessibility and democratization by collaborating with different products and brands and demonstrates this with examples.

The Manolo Blahnik x Birkenstock capsule collection, in which Manolo Blahnik added velvet and crystals to Birkenstock Arizona sandals and Boston slippers, is one such example, where a luxury brand comes together with orthopedic shoes.

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The last big surprise was the Dior x Birkenstock slippers, which were showcased in the Dior Men’s Autumn/Winter 2022-2023 collection, which was introduced with the fashion show organized within the scope of Paris Men’s Fashion Week.


Tokio slippers and Milanese sandals decorated with flowers, reflecting Monsieur Dior’s love of gardening by Kim Jones, symbolize the marriage of elegance with functionality and utilitarianism, how high aesthetics can play with everyday and “ordinary” pieces, how fashion can expand the definition of beauty and no longer favor a single definition of beauty, most of all, it shows that it still continues to surprise without limiting creativity.

It seems that high fashion’s flirtation with popular pieces will continue unabated in the upcoming periods. When you say Crocs, Birkenstocks, there are probably furry slippers next, don’t you think?

Birkenstock slippers, whose sole is designed to fit the natural shape of the foot, and which grip the foot well with its deep heel area, promise comfort and ease, and are very good for foot deformities and pain.

• Margot Fraser, half-German, half-American designer and entrepreneur, was searching for shoes for her tired and sore feet during a visit to Germany, when she discovered the Birkenstock slippers and found that her feet were relieved when she wore them. Soon after, he brings the Birkenstocks to California to sell in the United States, and thus begins the Birkenstocks’ adventure in America.


• Birkenstocks, which were worn with socket socks in the 70s and 80s, preferred by healthcare workers and produced in flatter tones, white, ecru and black, will enter the fashion world in the 90s.

• In 1997, the style journey of orthopedic slippers began when Narciso Rodriguez and Paco Rabanne brands included Birkenstocks in their fashion shows. Birkenstocks turn into pieces that are included in the clothing of young people and anyone interested in fashion and comfort. It also starts to be used with jeans, shorts and pants, dresses and skirts.

Article: Selin Milosyan

Photos: Getty Images Turkey

Taken from ELLE Turkey July-August 2022 issue.

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