Newsflash: Birkenstocks are officially high fashion

Birkies are the comfiest shoes known to woman, and we knew comfort was the new cool - but not this cool

(Image credit: Photo:

Birkies are the comfiest shoes known to woman, and we knew comfort was the new cool - but not this cool

It’s the footwear revolution that has been quietly gathering momentum while no one was really paying attention. But ever since Kate Moss popped on a pair of those 'grandpa sandals' back in the 1990s, the Birkenstock brand has filtered into our lives and our daily wardrobes. Comfortable flats are the new cool, with luxury houses like Celine, Acne and Givenchy churning out chunky, fugly sandals aplenty – and ensuring their place on Insta feeds everywhere.

Now Birkenstock have stepped up (see what we did there) and seized their place in the spotlight – and quite right too, given they invented the whole concept of The Sensible Sandal. They’re not pushing Dalston’s cool kids to slide into Arizona 2-straps as they pop out on their matcha latte runs. Nope, they’re throwing cool fashion shows and partnering with designers like Rick Owens instead.

We got a front row seat for the Birkenstock summer presentation, which took place in the sublime Torrigiana Gardens in Florence. The scene was very much a fashionable one, with the good and the great including Christopher Raeburn, Michele Lamy, and Helmut Lang alumni Andreas and Kostas Murkudis in attendance; models paraded down a snaking eliptcal runway in pared-back Rick Owens to allow the footwear to stand proud.. and so it did. It was impossible to choose between eye-popping coral, lilac and mint hues. We’re also slightly obsessed with the newly launched Sport Tech range of logo'd velcro sandals that nailed this summer's sports trend head on.

Post show, the fash crew lounged on the recently launched Birkenstock beds (it was difficult to get out of them) and supped on herbal tinctures and handfuls of cherries. We chatted flats with the impossibly elegant Yvonne Piu – the label’s CMO was previously a die-hard heel fan, and is now a total sandal convert. “When you wear our sandals for the first time, it seems strange on the foot,” she admits. “But after two days you’ll want to wear them always. Our footwear choices have changed, and fashion forward women need footwear that can support their ever-speedier lives. There is a lot of conversation around food and diet, but the feet are so important, their treatment impacts on your whole body. That element of well-being is a really important focus for us.”

The well-being was certainly flowing by the end of the show. No one tottered off gracelessly in cumbersome heels. Instead they glided out of the gardens looking effortless and chic – or was it just that they were comfortable?

The party deets...

The setting: One of Italy’s largest private gardens, opened only for the Birkenstock guests. EIP’s (the new VIP's (extremely important people) dahlink

We ate: Personalised picnic baskets brimming with, sunshine sweet tomatoes and buttery mozarella, sigh

We drank: Fresh mint cocktails, and champagne served up by dashing men wearing Birkenstock (obviously)

We loved: The Delhi in optical white, effortless urban cool to team with our summer striped maxi’s

Whats next: We can look forward to a natural skincare range - our toes are tingling with the excitement.

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