Shoe brands Birkenstock and Dr. Martens and are renowned for their hard-wearing footwear with orthopedic qualities. A woman who found relief after wearing the cork-soled sandals was what launched Birkenstock’s success, and it’s no secret either that Dr. Martens boots were on the feet of factory workers, union workers, and mailmen way before anyone else.
So when these two well-respected shoe makers try to marry their original designs with a fashion trend – in this case, the gladiator sandal, - we kind of expected the results to knock us out.
Who wouldn’t want both comfort and fashion all in one shoe? And who else would you trust to create that shoe but 30 or 40-year old shoe brands who are dedicated to giving comfort and fashion?
What came out of that endeavor are these:
The first gladiator sandals are from Pedro Garcia. The straps are suede and they’re studded with genuine Swarovski crystals. Although not from the Birkenstock company itself, the molded cork footbed with metallic leather lining is clearly from the original Birkenstock sandal.
The second pair of gladiators are really from Dr. Martens. They still have the air-cushioned footbed and PVC rubber outsole that Doc Martens boots have, except these have a “strappy lace-up design for style appeal”.
The verdict: Disappointed. We want more.
The Birkenstock-inspired gladiators still look like a hippie sandal. The Swarovski crystals don’t really make the sandal more sophisticated-looking are in fact making it look like it’s trying too hard. These are supposed to be glamorous sandals that you can walk in, but with its $520 price tag, we’re not quite sure we’re willing to even scuff the soles.
As for the Dr. Martens gladiator sandal, the thick triangular heel is what’s really bringing it down. We can forgive the oddly-shaped toe and the not-quite-the-same-color shoelaces, but the heel is so unsexy, it practically screams “orthopedic sandal”.
Birkenstock and Dr. Martens orthopedic gladiator sandals – yay or nay?