Birks are back at WHS


Emily Bruck

by:  Audrey Soukup and Emily Bruck

Walking around WHS, you’ll be sure to notice the many students participating in this revival trend by switching out their once cute and peppy shoes for an ugly pair of sandals called birkenstocks. You may wonder, what’s so trendy about those ugly things? Birkenstock is a German shoe company, founded in 1774, that most people have heard of by now based on either its fast rise in the late 1900s or by simply keeping up with the trends in modern time.

This company was created by Johann Adam Birkenstock, a small town cobbler. Years later, in 1896 Konrad Birkenstock introduced the idea of a shoe that could conform to the consumer’s foot. By 1902 Konrad was able to develop the first ever shoe with contoured arch support. In 1964 the famous Madrid model was released making it the first ever fitness sandal with the flexible footbed.

Years later, in 1966 a recent immigrant to the United States visited her native country where she tried the widely popular sandal. After finding out how comfortable the sandals were she decided to bring them back to the States. Following a valid effort of trying to convince shoe stores to sell the sandal she finally gave up and started distributing them from her home in San Francisco, California.

This comfortable shoe only became a trend and an outfit addition in the late 1960s and in the 1970s. By 1984, the word Birkenstock became a household name. By 1996, it was the 30th Birkenstock anniversary, causing the company to add another 300 colors/styles of this cringe-worthy, but ridiculously comfortable shoe. Although the “Birks craze” never really ended, there was a period of time when fashion became conservative, leaving no place for birkenstocks to go in your trendy closet that you likely had at home. Despite the change in fashion years ago, these trendy, yet hippy sandals are back, and better than ever, gaining more popularity as time goes on.

Although Birkenstocks were once pushed off as a “hippy” shoe, recently more and more people are joining the bandwagon. The original birkenstock sandal, and the many different styles created in recent time, have been all over the runways, in most of the magazines, and in the instagram pictures of more than a million teens in the United States.  Celebrities such as the Olsen twins and Naomi Watts are wearing them.

And many WHS students can be seen sporting birkenstocks.  WHS senior Abbey Soukup states “I’ve been wearing them for awhile now. There are just no other shoes that are so comfy yet still go with any outfit!”

You can find birkenstocks  costing upwards of $800 dollars, that is, for specialty ones. The popular Arizona style sandal retails for between $99.95 and $135 for the basic materials.

So, if you want to rock a hippy ‘socks and sandals’ look from the 1960s right here and right now in 2017, than go for it, because society won’t judge. Birks are back.