The family-owned German brand has more than doubled production since 2012. This is the story of how stylish shoppers have embraced the sandals once regarded as the aesthetically challenged footwear of comfort-minded hippies.
If you didn’t know that Birkenstock has seen a huge resurgence in the past few years, it’s probably because you never stopped wearing them, like my friend Rob, who got his first pair 37 years ago, when he lived on a commune. This summer in Provincetown, says the stylist Miguel Enamorado, “since Birkenstock has made the rubber sandal, everyone in P-town is wearing them. It’s the new flip-flop.” He means the new polymer sandals, known as EVAs, which are molded in the shape of Birkenstock’s tried-and-true styles — the two-strap Arizona, one-strap Madrid, and thong Gizeh — and cost $40, as opposed to $100 and up for the traditional styles. The EVAs now account for as much as 15 percent of the 25 million pairs of shoes the company will make this year.
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