Fashion Sheep: Birkenstocks and Furkenstocks

Birky sheeoThe influential powers of the runways have proved themselves once again with the introduction of Birkenstocks, and all of their practical shoe sisters, as the shoe du jour for this Spring. Once the emblematic footwear of the free spirited – and the free toed, I suppose – or in my case the footwear of choice for middle-aged ladies of the German persuasion, my mother included, Birkenstocks have until now enjoyed nothing but ridicule and upturned noses. Enter Céline (and a slew of other designers that always follow) and the somewhat frightening “Furkenstock“: the shoe that is so ugly it became chic. Suddenly all the fashion girls in the know, from the Continent to the US of A, are going Birkenstock-crazy as fast fashion retailers are stocking up on this admittedly comfortable but nonetheless hideous footwear. But that’s the thing with trends: once a renowned fashion house sends something down the runway, not matter how ridiculous, people will love it and subsequently buy it. Even the coolest of the cool Opening Ceremony is collaborating with Teva, so expect more geek-to-chic sandals coming your way soon. Meanwhile, those lovely German housewives have no clue that their house shoes and gardening wear are totally on trend.

Then again it is a matter of taste. Sneakers have always been the telltale footwear of the American tourist; today I can count at least ten girls in Nikes and New Balances running past me on the Bahnhofstrasse in Zürich. I’m the one wearing the all-white Vans.

Are you wearing Birkenstocks this Spring? If so, why?


‘Fashion Sheep’ is a recurring feature on le petit matin that analyzes the power of trends, more often those in the “ugh” and “wtf?” category, on the modern female shopper.