Birkenstock’s Boston clogs are selling fast, and have become a surprise hit with fashion folk…but why? I thought it was about time I tried some out for myself to see what all the fuss is about.
First things first, let’s talk about clogs in general. They’re having a moment. Gucci – the designer brand that everyone in the fashion world ADORES at the moment, headed up by its new creative director Alessandro Michele – showed them on the catwalk for AW15, so there’s your fashion proof for starters. Sure, his weren’t Birkenstock Boston clogs, but then Celine didn’t show Birkenstock Arizonas on the catwalk a few years ago – rather they were their own version with fur lining – but that’s exactly what boosted their sales over the past few summers. It might even be why you bought a pair.
Second, and obviously, there’s the convenience factor that comes with a slip-on shoe. I’m familiar with this style of clog mostly because my friend, the food writer Elly Pear, wears hers every day at work in her lovely café, The Pear Café in Bristol. “You have to wear closed toe shoes in the kitchen but when it gets boiling hot I can slip my foot out and air it” she told me “and in the winter, they’re roomy enough to wear cosy thick socks with”. In fact, loads of chefs wear them, and food is certainly very fashionable at the moment; perhaps that comes into it too? I wondered how Elly felt about the fact that they were making a fashion comeback (if indeed, they were ever actually fashionable in the first place). “We jokingly call them Troll Shoes and they’re cafe shoes really… Although I have mates who wear theirs out in the ‘real world’ – my mate Julian has rocked his all over the world for years!”
Thirdly, there’s the way they look, and that’s the stumbling block for most people (Marmite alert!). They’re not exactly what you’d call elegant, and hiding away your toes makes quite a bit of difference to wearing a pair of Arizonas. But a shoe that’s tricky to wear and comes with “uncool” connotations scores high in fashion terms if you manage to get it right. I’ve tried mine with a few outfits and by far the best is just with a pair of skinny jeans – my tightest pair, in fact, and preferably black – and bare ankles. I tried a snazzy sock and I didn’t look as cool as Elly in her café! And they just didn’t seem to quite work with a skirt, but maybe that’s because I’m short. I also prefer the matt black styles to the snazzy metallic ones, although the taupe suede are rather nice too.
The last, and most obvious point, is to talk about how they feel. They are, of course, completely dreamy. They feel exactly like my Arizonas, but that bonus of the covered toe makes them brilliant when the weather is rubbish in the summer (thanks for that, Britain). If Birkenstock were to make these babies with sheepskin lining, as they have in the past, I’d be first in the queue to get a pair.
One thing I’m sure of, is that you’ll be seeing a lot of these shoes on your Instagram feed in the coming months, like Arizonas before them. I would LOVE to know what you think. I imagine there will be some difference of opinion! But that’s what makes fashion fun, right?