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Birkenstock’s Boston Clogs store Have Become The New Ugg Slippers

If Birkenstock’s affordable Arizona sandal was fashion’s great equaliser during lockdown, its Boston clog has become the lasting shoe of the pandemic era. The backless loafers, boasting supple moulded footbeds in line with the German footwear giant’s ergonomic design approach, have appeared in Lyst’s hottest product list for the fifth quarter in a row. Balenciaga bags have come and gone, but the Bostons have dug their heels in. Birkenstock is struggling to satisfy demand, and customers are paying upwards of double for pairs on resale sites.

What is it about the slip-on, buckled-up, cork-footbedded flat that’s so appealing? Its austere colourways – “desert dust”, “iron”, “stone coin” anyone? – don’t immediately signal stylish, while its fabrications – from wool felt to micro fibre and oiled leather – are more grandpa-friendly than fashion-forward.

The allure of the affordable Boston lies in its subtle hybridity. Part slipper, part chunky loafer, the lightweight adaptation of an old-school clog symbolises comfort, ease and the unspeakable relief of being able to walk out the door in two seconds wearing a versatile shoe that is universally seen as stylish. 

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Kendall Jenner’s taupe pair are the perfect companion for classic jeans and chic knits.


“In my book, the clog needs no defending,” says British Vogue digital director Kerry McDermott. “Especially when it’s the Boston in taupe, which I’ve been trying in vain to buy for some months now. The characteristically sensible shoe is suddenly infinitely more appealing than any designer stiletto. Life is hard enough without throwing sore feet into the mix.”

Sienna Miller agrees. Ditto Kendall Jenner, Kaia Gerber and Kristen Stewart – a group of women with markedly different personal styles who find common ground in the snug inner and smooth structural outer of the functional Birk. For the former, port-coloured, fleece-lined Bostons are in line with her innately bohemian sense of style. Originally launched in 1979, the cosy-casual clogs were a natural extension of Birkenstock’s sandals, but offered all-weather appropriate toe protection, as well as the orthopaedic benefits of its signature soles. They became a sleeper hit on college campuses in the ’80s and have remained on the periphery of fashion’s subconscious since then.

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Leave it to Sienna Miller to find a niche colourway of the clogs, which were originally designed as a light and flexible alternative to wooden versions in the ’70s.

When brands, such as Dior and Manolo Blahnik, came knocking on Birkenstock’s door, the Boston suddenly levelled up and entered the luxury market. For Jenner, a self-professed granny who finds happiness in quilted Bode jackets and griege Bostons, and her normcore-leaning Gen-Z friends, Birkenstocks were no longer a marathon runner’s favourite or a chef’s friend, but had viable fashion credentials. Like us, they bought in and found it hard to give up the podiatric perks once they succumbed to the supportive shoe.

Consider, then, the parallels between Birkenstock and Ugg. Like the Boston revival, there was nothing more 2020 than the return of shearling-lined surfer booties. We languished in them during lockdown and sought solace in the fact that Kaia, Kendall, EmRata, Irina Shayk et al were loafing around in slouchy, snuggly pull-ons too. Popular labels, from Y/Project to Molly Goddard, clamoured to collaborate with them, and we saw multiple hot takes on the nostalgic boots once beloved by Lindsay Lohan and Madonna.

Consider Birkenstock clogs and Ugg boots homely counterparts during an enduring period of chaos. How are we supposed to give up the footwear equivalent of safety when everything else is in flux? The Hemline Index suggests that skirt hems rise – and fashion gets more playful –  when the stock market is up, so it’s hardly surprising that we’re at the other end of the spectrum post mini-budget, hibernating in functional fleece-lined mules. Hottest product in the world? Most toasty more like.