Comfy fashion is big company. Nowhere is this more accurate than on our feet. With all the possibility of an acquisition simply by US private equity firm T Catterton on the horizon, Birkenstock, founding father of comfortable shoes, is set to be valued at €4bn (£3. 6bn).
The success of a 247-year-old, German-owned orthopedic sandal-maker will be less surprising than this might sound. With many people homebound considering that last spring, parties plus weddings cancelled, and a concentrate on waist-up dressing, indoors grew to become the new outdoors – plus footwear swiftly came to reveal a need for comfort more than, say, heel height. Need for stilettos fell 21% globally last year, according to Euromonitor, while searches for slippers had been up 242%, says Lyst.
Before the pandemic, casual put on was rarely mentioned within luxury “ offer circles ”. Final month, Doctor Martens went public on the London Stock market. Interest in other, comfort-adjacent brands such as Uggs and Tevas more than doubled, while Crocs was expected to hit $1. 4bn (€1. 16bn) within revenue for 2020.
But if lockdown proved to be the perfect incubator with regard to comfort wear, it also normalised it. Before long, people needed something comfortable without totally capitulating on style. Birkenstocks proved to be exactly that.
Harry Fisher, a stylist and owner of fashion agency htown, refers to this type of shoe since “supermarket wear”; in an additional nod to their myriad utilizes, they became known as “bin shoes”.
“I feel like it’s the particular go-to for a super informal, durable, and on-trend footwear, ” says Fisher, the master of a pair of Birkenstock’s popular shut toe style, the Birkenstock boston clog. Fashion arbiters for example Katie Holmes and design Kaia Gerber prefer the Az sandal, a two-strap design and long a punchline for jokes about Uk tourists.
This is not the first time Birkenstocks happen to be considered on trend. Within 1990, Kate Moss has been photographed by Corinne Day time in a pair of Arizonas for your Face magazine. Two years afterwards, Marc Jacobs put them in the infamous Perry Ellis grunge show. Two decades later, Arizona-style sandals lined with mink appeared in Phoebe Philo’s 2012 Celine show, plus Givenchy produced its own medieval twist on a pair.
Fisher considers the “rebirth” is an sort of fashion’s tendency to drip up from young developers to catwalks and eventually high-class consumers. Insiders think they have more to do with their resistance from fashion. Birkenstocks might be appropriated by fashion, but simply no designer is allowed to get a new functional cork footbed, which usually earned them their faithful following in the first place.