Yes, the Birkenstock Boston Is Back
Here’s how the fashion set is reinterpreting the suede clog.
“There are certain shoes that stand the test of time,” says Bergdorf Goodman VP of creative and brand marketing Elle Strauss. She’s not talking about a Manolo Blahnik Hangisi pump, a Maison Margiela tabi boot, or even a Nike Air Jordan. Strauss is referring to the Birkenstock Boston clog. Characterized by a suede-rendered, clog-like structure and a cork bottom, the Birkenstock Boston has shifted in its connotation from the feet of middle schoolers to the closets of trend-setters, thanks to fashion industry insiders.
“I debated buying a new pair of Boston Birks for weeks thinking, could I really pull off a shoe I last wore in the 7th grade?," says Hannah Baxter, deputy beauty editor at The Zoe Report. The utilitarian slide slotted seamlessly into her footwear rotation amidst The Row mary janes and lug-sole Clergerie boots. “They're the perfect neutral shoe for someone who enjoys more gender neutral fashion—both in color and the soft, rounded, almost utilitarian design.”
It can’t hurt that the potato-like style of Birkenstock has attracted many designer collaborations—Manolo Blahnik, Jil Sander, and, most recently, Dior. “I don't recall what the catalyst was for me to reintroduce this iconic style back into my wardrobe,” adds Strauss. “Probably a mix of social media and runway influences.” Apparently Blahnik himself is a fan of the Birkenstock. He noted in a statement coinciding with the release of the collaboration, “Birkenstocks have been in my wardrobe since the very beginning (of time!!). I have loved and worn mine for many years."
Fashion brands have also released styles that allude to this rounded-toe, flat clog like JW Anderson's chain slides and Re/Done’s '70s Moc Slide. “Just take a look at some of the recent shoe styles from Proenza [Schouler] or Khaite [as well]...they're not so dissimilar in terms of silhouette,” says Baxter.
Elle Strauss, Bergdorf Goodman VP of creative and brand marketing.
Photo: Courtesy of Elle Strauss
As for what to pair the clogs with, Shopbop's fashion director Caroline Maguire notes “the clog lends itself to be a ‘slip-on-and-go' shoe, so best to wear it with a relaxed fit." She continues, "I personally love mixing and matching the more relaxed style with some feminine flair, pairing my favorite a-line or tent dress (the more volume the better!) with these clogs.”
Baxter errs toward a relaxed vibe when styling her own pair as well.“So far I've enjoyed wearing them with cropped trousers (either white denim, silk, or a wildly printed pattern), an olive green or buff beige sock, and some sort of oversized shirt on top,” she says. “As the weather gets warmer, I'll probably swap out the trousers for some longline linen shorts or classic denim cutoffs. It's all very California grandfather with high fashion touches like lots of gold jewelry, a nice watch, and a bright coral lip.”
All that said, don't assume Boston's can only be worn with casual or feminine clothing. “Try the unexpected!” Maguire suggests. “Wear an oversized blazer and basic tee with a matching short or even your favorite denim cut offs. Throw on some gold jewelry and pair with a colorful bag to elevate your look.”
Telsha Anderson wearing the JW Anderson chain slides.
Photo: Getty Images
Whether you're styling them with a feminine midi dress, a structured blazer, or your favorite loungewear, Birkenstock Bostons have proved their sartorial range on the feet of many fashion experts. Below, we've rounded up our favorite Birkenstock Bostons along with a few styles similar in essence.
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