From Dad sandal to IT shoe! a stylist reveals why Birkenstocks

From Dad sandal to IT shoe! As Birkenstock prepares for a possible £4bn takeover, stylists reveal how the brand has benefitted from lockdown as people ditch painful heels

  • Comfortable sandal brand Birkenstock is set to be valued at €4bn (£3.6bn)
  • Trendy yet practical shoe has boomed in popularity amidst the Covid-19 crisis
  • Stars from Kendall Jenner and Cindy Crawford have been spotted wearing brand
  • Meanwhile fashion bloggers are flooding Instagram with snaps of their shoes  
  • Stylists said many fashionistas are looking to the label with fond nostalgia

The trendy yet practical Birkenstock Dad sandal have made a comeback amid the Covid-19 crisis.

Some of Hollywood’s brightest stars, including Kendall Jenner, Whitney Eve Port and Millie Mackintosh have been spotted strutting the streets in the shoes, which have been mocked in the past for their comfortable and practical style. 

Stylists told FEMAIL  fashionistas have flocked to the versatile and comfortable style after ditching painful shoes amid the coronavirus pandemic.  

According to The Guardian, demand for stilettos fell 21 per cent globally last year,  while searches for slippers were up 242 per cent. 

It comes as the brand, which is often viewed as the founding father of comfortable footwear, is set to be valued at €4bn (£3.6bn). 

The trendy yet practical Birkenstock Dad sandal have made a comeback amid the Covid-19 crisis, with the company set to be valued at 4 billion euros (pictured, Kendall Jenner in the shoe) 

The brand, which counts Millie Mackintosh (left) and Alexa Chung (right) among its celebrity fans, has grown in popularity over the past year 

Stylist Rochelle White told FEMAIL the resurgence in popularity for Birkenstocks was down to the high level of comfort the shoes could offer amid the coronavirus pandemic

Celebrity stylist Rochelle White  explained: ‘The surge of Birkenstocks I think started back in 2020 with many celebrities and models sporting them. 

‘On top of that, social media is pushing them more. With work from home being the new normal and the increased popularity of loungewear, I think this is natural progress in this type of footwear. Sales of high heels dropped by 71 per cent in 2020.’

She continued: ‘This type of footwear can be tailored to the person due to their simplicity. 

‘From summery, flowy dresses, to jeans and jumpers, they are perfect for any age and look wanting to be achieved.’

And it’s not just celebrities who love them! Fashion bloggers from around the world have been flooding social media with snaps as they pose in their sandals 

Meanwhile Rochelle said the shoes would likely continue to grow in popularity in the coming warmer months, adding: ‘I think in 2021, most people including fashion lovers will be rocking Birkenstocks. 

‘They are so versatile and can complete an outfit/various looks.

‘With the warmer weather set to appear in the coming months, I think we will see a surge in sales across the board.’

Meanwhile Anthony McGrath, celebrity stylist and lecturer at the Fashion Retail Academy in London, explained: ‘Our lifestyles changed dramatically during the pandemic, and many people have adapted their wardrobes to match, with comfort becoming one of the biggest drivers behind what we are choosing to wear.

Supermodel Cindy Crawford has been spotted out and about in the comfortable shoe, opting to pair her sandals with black socks 

While some opt for a more casual, comfortable outfit with the sandals, others have donned the shoe with pretty dresses (left) and even smart two piece suits (right)  

‘It’s therefore no surprise that Birkenstocks have proved to be one of the most popular footwear brands in the past year, with their promise of comfort and durability, and are being worn by a whole host of celebrities.

‘When we were no longer dressing for parties and occasions, we needed footwear that would work for a walk around the supermarket and a stroll to the park, while also feeling stylish — and Birkenstocks filled those requirements.

‘While Birkenstocks are instantly recognisable and are designed to remain true to their roots in offering orthopedic support, they also come in a vast array of styles and colours, meaning there is a shoe to suit every need and taste.

‘The fact that they go with any look and pair perfectly with dresses, jeans and shorts only proves their versatility.’ 

How was Birkenstock founded?  

Founded in 1774 by Johann Adam Birkenstock and headquartered in Neustadt (Wied), Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. 

The company’s original purpose was to create shoes that support and contour the foot, compared to the flat soles of many shoes during that time. 

In 1896 the Fussbett (footbed) was created and by 1925 Birkenstocks were sold all over Europe.

In 1966 Margot Fraser first brought Birkenstocks to America, where they eventually landed in health stores, thus becoming associated with hippies in the 1970s.

In the early 1990s ‘Birks’ enjoyed another spike in sales among high-school and college-aged Generation Xers, this was in part do to the introduction of Birkenstocks into High Fashion, most notably, Kate Moss. 

Birkenstocks continued to spread to Britain in the early 2000s due to headlines of Gwyneth Paltrow, who was spotted wearing the sandal.

In 2020, with more people staying at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, comfort became an important part of fashion.

Birkenstocks became a staple due to their convenience and comfort, this included the original cork sandal. 



Stars including supermodel Kendall Jenner and Hollywood royalty Emma Stone have been spotted in the classic sandal over the last few months.

Meanwhile, presenter and model Alexa Chung has long been a fan of the brand, and recently stepped out in a pair of the label’s classic black style.

Singer Lily Allen has been snapped out and about in the shoe, while reality star Millie Mackintosh was recently seen running errands in the sandal. 

Fashion bloggers and influencers have followed suit, with many lapping up the simple sandal as an essential part of their lockdown wardrobe.

Fashion bloggers and influencers have followed suit, with many lapping up the simple sandal as an essential part of their lockdown wardrobe (pictured left, and right)

The shoe brand is currently in advanced takeover negotiations with investment group CVC Capital. 

For 4 billion euros, the 250-year-old sandal brand may become a sister of luxury watch brand Breitling. 

While Birkenstock launched its sandals in the 1960s, the brand’s roots stretch all the way back to 1774, when Johann Adam Birkenstock was working as a cobbler in the German state of Hesse. 

Birkenstocks have been sold in the U.S. since 1966, after a woman named Margot Fraser discovered them on a German vacation and began importing the product.  

Celebrity stylist Rochelle predicted the shoes would continue to soar in popularity throughout 2021, after becoming an essential in a lockdown wardrobe for many (pictured, fashion blogger Levi Baker in the shoe) 

The style has also spawned a range of luxury variants from labels including Celine and Givenchy. 

The news comes as a fashion brand MSCHF went viral after announcing the release of Birkenstock-style sandals made from Hermes Birkin bags.

The Brooklyn-based collective, who previously shocked trendsetters with the ‘Jesus Shoe’, a Nike trainer with Holy water from the River Jordan in the sole, released its latest high-end shoe in preparation for spring.

News of the $76,000 sandals, which are made from destroyed Birkin bags, was announced on Instagram.

It comes after London collective MSCHF was ridiculed across social media after debuting Birkenstock sandals made from destroyed Birken bags (pictured)

Despite the sole being made from Birkenstock and the leather upper created using chopped up Hermès Birkin bags, the footwear hasn’t been approved by either brand according to the New York Times. 

Daniel Greenberg, 23, who is head of strategy at MSCHF, explained the design to the publication saying: ‘We’re just sort of fascinated with destroying expensive things and creating something new out of them.’

The collective who purchased four Birkin bags to create the shoes, have revealed the sandals will be made to order and available only while supplies last.

Rapper Future, took to Instagram wearing a pair for $48,000, while MSCHF have said customers can purchase the style costing from $34,000 to $76,000.   

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