As is becoming increasingly apparent, Birkenstocks and pool sliders have resurrected from their 90s grave – where I’m certain many of us still strongly wish they would remain – knocking this seasons SS14 staples off their pastel pedestal.
This new wave of anti-fashion that has been adopted by as many high-fashion as high-street brands has transformed into the absolute epitome of ‘trend’. Ironically, the footwear that was once universally shunned for being too plain, too hippie, too uncool, has designers fawning over its sturdy ‘comfort-shoe’ aesthetic juxtaposed with its recent fashionable renaissance.
Those who thought cork and rubber wouldn’t make a comeback were fiercely mistaken. Givenchy was the first to debut “the first designer Birkenstock of 2014” in one of the fashion houses’ most sought after prints. Whilst uni students and celebrities alike may well still be sporting the practical £65 ‘Arizona’ model, Riccardo Tisci has upped the style stakes on his floral patterned creation, and added a £545 price tag.
But credit where credit’s due: Céline’s Phoebe Philo is partly responsible for the flat-soled resurgence, presenting a haute couture, fur-trimmed adaptation of the Birkenstock – aptly named ‘the Furkenstock’ – in the brand’s SS13 catwalk collection. Since then, highstreet favourites have mimicked the look, with neon, studded and patterned versions sneaking their way onto the feet of Rachel Zoe, Ashley Olsen and Miranda Kerr.
For those with slightly tighter purse strings, Australia’s No.1 leading men’s and ladies footwear brand Windsor Smith has a wide range of slip-ons in different monochrome textiles at a fraction of the price. The ‘Cara’ for girls combines the perfect ratio of practicality and style. For a more laidback, androgynous look, the Adidas Originals ‘Mi Adilette’ is still about – having been released in 1972 – and is now customisable. Nike have also brought out a range of brightly coloured and printed unisex sliders that are an absolute steal, and as per, ASOS has a huge selection of leather, cork and rubber numbers.
It is yet to be seen whether the fashion masses will be convinced, and catapulted back to ’96 as the sensible shoe trend spreads, or if sliders are simply having a moment and will, again, fade into a distant memory, stashed away with similarly perplexing flash crazes UGGs and Jellies. Watch this space.
‘Cara’ black croc slider, Windsor Smith, £50
‘Mi Adilette’ unisex pool slider, Adidas, from £27
‘Feodore’ neon sliders, ASOS, £18
‘Fracture’ leather sliders, ASOS, £25
‘Benassi’ white printed sliders, Nike, £16