Apr 22, 2014

Birkenstocks: Back or Wack?

I’m back on the grind after a brief break for...

I’m back on the grind after a brief break for a weekend trip to San Francisco. It was my first time to the West Coast, and we had an incredible time, man, what a beautiful city! We’ll definitely be back.

While we were traveling, I got an e-mail blast from J.Crew - I can’t remember the subject exactly but it went something like “Yes, You Can Wear Sandals” or “Birkenstocks Are Back” or a combination of the two, and had this conflicting surge of emotions. Ok, ok, so really, sandals and Birkenstocks don’t evoke surges of emotion, but there were some battling feelings for sure.

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Birkenstock for J.Crew | Arizona Sandals

You see, on one hand, I’ve quickly latched on to the idea that men should never wear sandals in public - the only exceptions being the pool and the beach (and the shower-room, but I don’t consider that to be in public). Why? Part of it just goes to function - I believe you should use things for what they were designed to be used for, and the same way that undershirts should be treated as underwear, flip-flops and sandals in general should be treated as resort-wear. Another part is that guys feet are ugly. Girls feet can be small and dainty and cute, but guys feet are always callused, knobby and crooked. I don’t care who you are. It’s a curse. With that in mind, we should cover them up, as a favor to the rest of the world! Last, to me, sandals in public are just kind of lazy, and sacrifice style for a misperceived (an in reality practically non-existent) increase in comfort - like wearing gym shorts, or sweats.

On the other hand, I was raised by hippies, and couldn’t be happier about that! And nothing goes more hand-in-hand than hippies and Birkenstocks. Therefore, something about the classic style of sandal says way more ‘summers in the backyard’ and ‘music festival’ than it does dorm shower room or sloppy beach-goer (like most other sandals). For that matter, nostalgia aside, the Birkenstock isn’t a bad looking piece of footwear. The leather straps and buckles are well made, and you can tell. Even better, they don’t look like someone took a shower shoe and tried to dress it up (like leather thong sandals), and instead look comfortable in their own…shoes…or whatever. On first instinct, I’d say I won’t be snagging these any time soon, but the more I think about it, the more I could see myself tossing these on for a summer walk with the dog or a BBQ in the park. With J.Crew throwing their hat in the game with a limited collar (and updating the look with some snazzy white soles), the style might just be joining the preppy-menswear-mainstream right along with brogues and penny loafers.

What do you guys think? Running at $130.00, yea or nay? Would you wear them? More pictures and details below and at J.Crew:

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tagged birkenstocks, collaboration, details, jcrew, menswear, sandals...