Why is there a controversy about men wearing Birkenstocks? The stereotype of men being “effeminate” for wearing Birkenstocks is inaccurate. While some men may chose to wear Birkenstocks as an accent to their feminine style, other men can wear the same shoes and present total masculinity. I think a man who wears Birkenstocks exudes a sense of comfort, style, and total self-confidence. That is a winning trifecta of awesomeness!!!
Men wear Birkenstocks for many of the same reasons that women chose to wear them. Men like the style, the arch support, have wide feet, or have health issues that may require the support of a Birkenstock shoe.
There are many styles of Birkenstock available and most can be considered unisex. I wrote a blog about “Birkenstock Styles". While certain models may be considered more feminine by some people, I believe that all models can be worn by any sex or gender. There is such a wide array of colors available with Birkenstock uppers, that there is something to match everyone’s need.
The good news is that if one model of Birkenstock does not meet the needs of a man’s foot, another model can easily be selected. While some men might prefer the Arizona or the Milano models, others might not be able to comfortably wear that style shoe. For example, I have a friend who has bone spur on the top of his foot and the Arizona straps are painful for him because they go right over the spur. In his case, another model, perhaps the Gizeh or Ramses, would be more appropriate. Or guys who have hot feet might prefer the single strap Madrid because it allows the foot maximum breathability.
How a man styles his wardrobe while wearing Birkenstocks will determine how people interpret his appearance. The same holds true for how a woman chooses to wear her Birkenstocks. People can look sloppy in Birks while others can look fresh, clean, stylish or trendy. Regardless of sex or gender, people can appear masculine or feminine when sporting Birkenstocks. How you look in a pair of Birkenstocks all boils down to how you style the shoes.
It’s not about one model of Birkenstock being more feminine than another. It is all about how a man chooses to wear that model shoe. What color upper is the shoe? What outfit is being paired with the shoe? What other accessories are part of the total ensemble? What is the personality of the Birkenstock wearer? All this must be taken into consideration to determine how one presents his Birkenstocks to the world.
I have seen all types of men wearing Birkenstocks around the Bay Area. Just walking around downtown San Francisco makes me think of the song “Girls and Boys” by Blur. The first line in the song is “Street's like a jungle” and that is how you might describe a stroll through the streets of San Francisco. In the city, one may encounter all types of men wearing various models of Birkenstocks with just about any ensemble imaginable.
It’s not just Bay Area men wearing Birkenstocks. The trend has already spread through Europe and is growing across the US. Even celebrity men like Leonardo Di Caprio, Usher, Ashton Kutcher, and Christian Bale, have been photographed wearing Birkenstocks.
There is nothing “effeminate” about the man who won an Oscar for playing a 19th Century frontiersman that survived a bear attack. And for goodness sake, Christian Bale played Batman. BATMAN! Batman radiates masculinity.
If a man wants to wear Birkenstocks and present a masculine front, that’s awesome. If a man wants to wear Birkenstocks as a gesture of femininity, that’s great too. It’s all good. Men can wear the model of Birkenstock that best fits his foot and his style. It’s all about how a man chooses to rock the Birk. Wear what you want and be happy wearing it. I am not going to judge a man for wearing Birkenstocks. Rather, I am going to celebrate his choice of shoes.
It’s 2016 and these days we should not be limited by stereotypes. Men can wear Birkenstocks. Women can wear Birkenstocks. Anybody and everybody can and should wear a pair of Birkenstocks.
I Love Birkenstocks....and some men love Birkenstocks too.