Bucking the notion that all trends will eventually go through (and repeat) a familiar cycle of rise-peak-decline, a small handful of historic shoes have skipped the rotation all together and remained relevant decade after decade. A few that come to mind: Converse’s Chuck Taylor, the high-top sneaker that was first released in 1917. There’s also Dr. Martens’ combat boots, a symbol of understated irreverence that’s been around since 1947. The Birkenstock clog style, The Boston Clog, however, has been the shoe that I’ve been thinking about most lately. The perfect slide-on option, it comes from a brand with a rich international backstory.
The German footwear giant first popped up in history in 1774, when Johann Adam Birkenstock was recorded as “subject and cobbler” in the church archives of Langen-Bergheim, Germany — but it wasn’t until the 1960s that the label made its way stateside. A little over a decade later, in 1979, the object of my affection was introduced: The Boston. This classic clog was originally designed as a house and work shoe, but in recent years it’s shimmied its way into the upper echelons of the fashion world. But regardless of which celebrity wears it or which designer unveils a collaboration with the company (ahem, Manolo Blahnik), there’s something impenetrably cool about the OG version of these shoes. They’re affordable, support your feet, and nail that effortless vibe, well, effortlessly.
Though the Arizona slide-on sandal from Birkenstock is arguably the more popular style, Boston comes in as a close second. It looks so cozy (and low-key Coastal Grandma) during the colder months of the year — especially when styled with a Marl-knit sock (my preferred approach) — but it’s also just the thing for lounging around a campsite in the middle of summer. They are also extraordinarily cute with a long, breezy cottagecore-esque dress — the no-nonsense silhouette really grounds the floaty fabric — or even just a pair of track pants while running errands.
In any case, this shoe ‘trend’ remains a staple forty-some-odd years and counting, and if you haven’t fallen in love already, continue ahead for a few of my favorite recent looks showing how to wear it right now and later. I dare you not to fall in love, too.
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Broken Down Pantsuit
For warm weather days, skip out on the blazer and style a vest with trousers instead. The Birkenstocks make the look feel more casual, plus complement the neutral hues in this ensemble beautifully.
With A Workout Set
A matching workout set and blazer combination is a fashionista classic beloved by celebs including Hailey Bieber and Kendall Jenner. Get the star-approved look by layering your go-to blazer over the sporty combo and pop on a pair of Birks.
The Timeless Button-Down
You can’t go wrong with a classic button-down — it’s timeless and easy and goes with everything. But if you want to take the piece to another level, try pairing it with less expected pieces, like a long dress and clunky-chic shoes.
I prefer glamping over camping — it’s just the nature of being a city girl. If you feel the same and have such a trip on the calendar, pack your Birkenstocks for a functional yet fashionable addition to your outdoor wardrobe. Pro tip: It gets cold at night in the woods, so bring a few pairs of chunky socks to layer in when needed.
Farm Girl Chic
As summer rolls around, it’s hard to resist the urge to get out of the city and spend some time in the countryside. If you’re feeling the same, pack your Birkenstocks for the occasion, as they’re functional for low key nature walks or just lounging around the house. And, of course, they go with most anything... but how cute is this cropped denim and a flowy blouse combination here?
Never Too Many Neutrals
I live in NYC, land of all-black outfits, which is why when I spot a fresh take on full-on noir dressing, I bookmark it. This look feels, at once, professional and sensual, plus the belt and clogs lend a unique effect that a pair of boots or ballet flats simply couldn’t accomplish.
One of the best parts about clogs is that they translate to the great outdoors pretty seamlessly, which means wearing them with a straw hat, socks, and comfortable separates makes perfect sense (as illustrated above). Wear this look to your next stroll around the park or weekend adventure to the countryside.
The New Prep
Some might think ‘granola’ when prompted about their opinion on Birkenstock, but that’s simply not the case. As proven many times over the years, these shoes can adapt to different style types from minimalist to preppy. This look with its plaid overcoat, button-down shirt, and slim slacks feels more interesting with a pair of clogs instead of the more predictable pair of loafers. Bookmark it for fall in a few months.
Sort of Sporty
When I’m working from home, I like to choose outfits that prioritize comfort but also differentiate my day from pajama-wearing hours. This sweater, retro leggings, and clog moment nails that vibe.
Don’t get me wrong, I love a colorful, graphic style moment but I tend to gravitate more regularly toward everyday outfits that lean on earthy color palettes, like this versatile look above. Plus, a sweater and oversized button-down shirt combination will never go out of style, and it looks particularly cool when paired with white denim.
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