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In the era of comfort fashion, Birkenstock sandals are everywhere, including in the new Barbie movie. But the brand is “Not Good Enough”, so we hunted down Birkenstock alternatives you’ll love even more.
Why you’re best steering clear of Birkenstocks
Birkenstocks—those chunky German sandals that have long been considered a fashion faux-pas. Yet they’ve defied odds, bouncing back from a hippy staple to iconic shoes. Comfort made them a lockdown must-have, while TikTok propelled the Boston clog to stardom, even gracing the feet of Kendall Jenner. But the climax? The brand’s recent appearance in the new Barbie movie feature, which propelled Birkenstock’s fame sky-high. “According to Lyst, the movie moment sparked a 110% increase on searches for Birkenstock Arizonas following its release,” reports Yahoo. And now the brand has set its eyes on an upcoming IPO valued over $8bn—a testament to the brand’s journey from niche to powerhouse.
But while Birkenstock’s making headlines, it’s crucial to remember that the brand’s sustainability record isn’t as stellar. Sorry to burst your Birkenstock bubble, but the brand is “Not Good Enough” across the board for people, the planet, and animals.
In our latest rating, we discovered that the lack of lower-impact materials, living wages, or animal welfare regulations put a damper on the whole outlook for this now iconic style.
Being fans of the look ourselves, we went on the hunt for more sustainable and ethical brands making sandals like Birkenstocks that match our ‘fits and our morals, and our beloved brands did not disappoint. This style of shoe has been around in Germany for hundreds of years, designed to support and contour the foot, rather than relying on a flat sole. Luckily for us and conscious consumers everywhere, the below brands have taken the popular style into their own hands and created conscious alternatives to Birkenstocks that deserve a spot on your tootsies.
As ever, don’t take this as a sign to toss your existing Birk’s: the most sustainable fashion is what’s already in your closet, so use those puppies until they’re falling apart at the seams, look out for second hand options, and only shop new if you need to.