My first love was a pair of Birkenstocks. I was on the brink of tweenhood taking cues from the cool older kids at my school, where, seemingly, one shoe was part of the mandated uniform: the Birkenstock Boston clog. The teens of the time insisted on wearing these so much that the principal eventually accepted the backless shoe as a viable option. I never looked back after that.
The Boston clogs of my youth have since been buried in the depths of my childhood home, and my love for Birkenstock took on a new form with the brand’s Arizona sandals (I now own three pairs and counting). But now, I want my Bostons back. I thought buying a new pair to call my own would be simple, and then I was faced with the rude awakening that the style, specifically in the Taupe colorway, is out of stock almost everywhere.
While the classic clog has been around for ages, it’s had a particular resurgence over the past year. Blame it on the trail of collaborations with luxury designers like Valentino, Manolo Blahnik, Proenza Schouler, and Rick Owens, or the need for all things comfort in a post-pandemic world, but this humble, podiatrist-approved shoe has now become one of the hottest must-have items of the moment. It was even named the Shoe of the Year in Lyst’s 2022 Year in Fashion report.
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If that wasn’t enough to convince you that the Birks are back—and in a major way—the number of people looking for the shoe on resale platforms like StockX has also surged. According to the StockX Big Facts: 2022 Trends report, searches for the “Birkenstock Boston” silhouette went up a whopping 741 percent compared to last year. After seeing the rise in popularity over the year, the platform, which had previously only listed the brand’s collaboration styles, added the classic Boston to its catalog to meet the demand.
StockX isn’t the only resale platform that’s seen an uptick in users vying for the shoe. According to Depop’s trend forecaster Agustina Panzoni, searches for “Birkenstock Clog” on the app were up 129 percent in Q3. In the past six months, searches for “Birkenstock” increased by 168 percent. Panzoni suggests that much of this has to do with the trend cycle, noting that the shoe was one of the biggest early 2000s trends, and with current Y2K obsessions, this comeback comes as no surprise. Additionally, the forecaster attributes the clog’s chokehold on consumers to recent TikTok endorsements, as well as celebrities like Kendall Jenner, Kaia Gerber, and Dakota Johnson, who’ve all been seen sporting it.
Naturally, with such a spike in interest, prices—whether they’re set by the brand itself or by others—are bound to increase. On StockX, the average price for the Birkenstock Boston in Taupe was $182 for 2022, marking an 18 percent increase from its regular retail price of $155. And while Depop isn’t able to disclose figures, a quick browse through the app will show plenty of new suede Boston clogs selling for almost twice as much as the original rate.
What is it about these unassuming shoes that have made them so appealing? Could it be the classic clog silhouette and the neutral hues of the leather and suede materials? Is it the orthopedic footbed that has us digging our heels in? Could it simply be comfort? Birkenstock’s CEO, Oliver Reichart, says it’s all of the above. However, the urgency comes from a need to be free of restrictive clothing. “When everyone was at home, people still cared about their desk, their chair, their jogging bottoms and, yes, their footwear,” he shares. “Birkenstock was a part of this self-reinvention, and the casualization of workwear during the pandemic was mirrored by the mass casualization of fashion. Cynthia Lee, the vice president of sneakers, apparel, and accessories at StockX, agrees. “We started to see more of our customers embrace comfort-oriented footwear like slides and clogs in 2020, and just a year later, brands like Birkenstock and Crocs were among the fastest-growing brands on the StockX platform,” she offers, adding that the trend has only accelerated in 2022.
Can we expect the Birkenstock Boston to maintain its current cult following into the new year? Odds are, probably. Panzoni mentions that the clog is perfect for those who loved the coastal grandmother aesthetic of last summer, saying it’s the perfect shoe to continue championing the look while embracing cozier winter vibes. Lee shares the same sentiment—especially in the resale market. “Given the success the brand has seen over the last few years, I think we should expect that Birkenstock will continue to leverage collaborations and scarcity to drive heat on both the primary market and the secondary market,” she says.
The proof is in the numbers: Birkenstock clogs won’t be going anywhere for 2023, especially as more and more people get their hands on them. If you happen to find a pair in your size and the price is right, I suggest getting them while you can. While you’re at it, if you see a pair in a size 37, be sure to grab ‘em (you know where to find me!).