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Deluded | Manolo's Shoe Blog


Manolo says, look, the calculating hippie devils behind the Birkenstocks, they enjoy the abuse heaped upon them by the peoples of sensibility and style.

“Nothing says, ‘I want to tell you how to live your life’ more than Birkenstocks,” said Jason Reitman, the director of the film, which is to open in New York, Los Angeles and Washington on Friday. “The visual registers immediately. There’s something about the shoe that is universally understood that makes it so funny.” The sandals are emblems of liberal do-gooderness, he said, and the senator — a villain in the movie — wants to “regulate the world.”

Though real Birkenstock wearers may come in all political persuasions, using the sandal to represent the pushier side of liberalism is a long-running joke. As it turns out, Birkenstock doesn’t mind at all.

“He’s wearing the Vermont costume,” Scott Radcliffe, the marketing director at Birkenstock Distribution USA, said of Mr. Macy’s character. Mr. Radcliffe said that the “Birkenstock-wearing, granola-crunching, Volvo-driving fill-in-the blank stereotype” emerged in the broader culture without any doing on the company’s part. The company finds it entertaining, he said, that the sandals have reached the kind of status that qualifies them for movie close-ups, even disparaging ones.

“To me a Birkenstock fan looks at that, laughs and is not alienated,” he said.

To me, the Manolo, the person who looks at the Birkenstock and is not horrified is the person who cannot be trusted.

But, chacun à son goût, everyone has the right to look as stupid as he or she chooses.

P.S. Many thanks to the Manolo’s old friend the Wayne for the link to this story.

26 Responses to “Deluded”

  1. Oh Navel March 11, 2006 at 4:17 pm #

    Oh Navel says, do not forget the Birkenstock of the otherwise glorious and fashionable Heidi Klum….


  2. Chessie March 11, 2006 at 5:07 pm #

    The Manolo was never the sweaty jock.

    The Phil has bad knees and feet from pounding the boards.

    The Manolo must have compassion for the multimillionaire, ex jock, coach types.

  3. Michele March 11, 2006 at 5:24 pm #

    I drive a Volvo and definitely DO NOT wear Birkenstocks I believe in wearing very stylish shoes :)

  4. Manola Blablablahnik March 11, 2006 at 6:00 pm #

    It’s just that, no matter how much bling bling you put em’, they STILL look like orthopedic geriatric sandals. I can definitely see wearing a pair from my hospital bed to the potty, but luckily, I’ll never be hospitalized.

  5. furlagirl March 11, 2006 at 6:48 pm #

    Not to mention the Dr Scholls.

  6. Steph March 11, 2006 at 7:28 pm #

    I like the idea that I can’t be trusted…

  7. Miss Meghan March 11, 2006 at 10:35 pm #

    I KNEW the Manolo would have something hilarious to say on this topic! see my blog entry: http://missmeghan.blogspot.com/2006_03_05_missmeghan_archive.html#114209328417896397

    Miss Meg

  8. pbird March 11, 2006 at 11:09 pm #

    Oh piffle! The Birkenstock is a perfectly useful sandal. Moss green suede ones are even kind of cute.

  9. furlagirl March 12, 2006 at 3:06 am #

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  10. Julia March 12, 2006 at 1:08 pm #

    OMGoodness, I just ordered a new pair of the sandals yesterday. I should have check with you first, but I seriously love them.

  11. tiptoe March 12, 2006 at 1:10 pm #

    Mon dieu! The Manolo, he speaks the Freench! “chacun à son goût”


  12. John March 12, 2006 at 6:06 pm #

    I am a seminary student and I can attest that there must be a factory somewhere mass-producing youth pastors. They are all 24 and have a beard, guitar, and Birkenstocks. They are also utterly unaware of their stylistic self-parody.

  13. lizwhiz March 12, 2006 at 11:28 pm #

    I am so glad that you continue to defend the world against birkenstocks, even though they are again trendy with the rich young hipster types.

  14. Lauren March 13, 2006 at 2:36 am #

    En fait, c’est “chacun a son goût,” because the “a” is a verb: each person has her or his own taste. What you typed is not nonsensical but is more like “to each person, her or his own taste.” As you can see it is not wrong. But the phrase is actually “chacun a son goût.”

    Unless I’m wrong, which is totally possible.

  15. Lauren March 13, 2006 at 2:38 am #

    P.S. I love my vegetarian Birkenstocks. So does my new dog, who seems to like to chew them up. I think she is your friend, Manolo!

  16. anon March 13, 2006 at 7:55 am #

    Um yes Lauren, as it happens you’re wrong & Manolo’s correct about the French phrase. The sense of it is, basically– ah well, ‘to each his own’ (i.e. taste). (Heh, this makes me more pedantic than you, so no worries.)

  17. Sfandra March 13, 2006 at 8:21 am #

    I am more annoyed about the portrayal of my home state as being the bastion of leftist fascism than I am by the critique of the Birkies (the which I left behind many many moons ago in favor of simple black leather slides). Not all Vermonters are birk-wearing leftist loonies out to control your world. Many of us are simple hardworking souls, saving our money for decadent splurge vacations, shopping in Montreal or NYC…..
    In truth, most of the birkie-wearing leftist fascists are from New Hampshire, or Massachusetts-escapees.

  18. VeddyVeddyBadAng March 13, 2006 at 9:08 am #

    I was introduced to the Birkenstocks 10 years ago when I arrived at college. Due to peer pressure, I did buy a pair of cheap knock-offs at the time (No way would I buy the real thing. $80? You must be joking!), but soon ditched them in favor of my own style, which did not lurch towards the granolas of crunchiness. “Comfort” is no comfort when you’re walking around in public looking like a schlubby hippie.

    I find John’s comment especially amusing, since we called Birks “Jesus Shoes” in those days – how appropriate for the seminary students!

  19. Fern March 13, 2006 at 12:17 pm #

    They may not be a feast for the eyes, but the particular style you show does have its medical uses, Manolo. I wear them in summer because they help to prevent a fungal growth under my toenails. I get it when my feet sweat in a closed shoe. The fungus normally takes me six months to a year to get rid of it, so I wear something that looks very much like Birkenstocks– although mine are better constructed and are made by Ecco– when I am going to walk long distances and I know my toes will sweat. My “Eccostocks” give me excellent walking-shoe support, even though they are open, and they keep my toes cool. Since I have worn them, I have had no fungal problems. If my destination requires dressier shoes, I carry a pair with me and change into them.

    I love beautiful shoes too, and I know this is a blog about aesthetics not dermatology, but sometimes the two can be at war with each other. When that happens to me, dermatology always wins.

  20. jj March 13, 2006 at 1:55 pm #

    I own a pair of birkenstock ibizas and I must say that it gives me a perverse case of the giggles every time I think of how much the Manolo hates them so.

    But I’m a california girl and here one really does need a pair of hippie sandals to wear with the jeans and the boho skirts. I tend toward the classics in all things, so the birkies just seem right. Like the black slingback with the business suit.

  21. gidget bananas March 13, 2006 at 5:00 pm #

    “Not all Vermonters are birk-wearing leftist loonies out to control your world.” Oh, that is sad to hear just when the Gidget was thinking good thoughts about the Vermont.

  22. kasmic March 14, 2006 at 12:34 am #

    Michele, I am hoping that the Volvo you drive is a late model XC90–if it’s an old Volvo, you could be arrested for wearing anything but Birkenstocks ;-)

  23. Michele March 22, 2006 at 9:06 pm #

    Too funny kasmic ;) I drive the more modern S60 Volvo…..

  24. La petite anglaise July 10, 2006 at 12:12 pm #

    Actually it’s ‘chacun a ses gouts’ for those of you who want to swank without even learning a language so much easier than english….chacun a son gout is actually in pretty bad taste for a man who is meant to be an arbiter of good taste, and is instead showing himself up as simply ignorant. I mean come on, it’s such a schoolboy error Robbie Williams has got it tattooed on his torso.
    Go back to school!