How to Wear Birkenstocks for Maximum Style and Comfort

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Birkenstocks are a summer footwear staple, but they can be tricky to style in a way that reads ‘easy, breezy, beautiful’ rather than ‘hippie uncle in Vermont.’ (Not that there’s anything wrong with the latter vibe.) Still, if you’re wondering how to wear Birkenstocks for maximum style and comfort points, read on for some seriously chic inspiration.

How to Clean Birkenstocks

woman wearing a neutral top and shorts and birkenstocks
Jeremy Moeller/getty images

1. You Can Never Go Wrong with a Breezy, Neutral-Hued Outfit and Birkenstocks

Is the combination of a crisp button-down, longer shorts and Birkenstocks—all in neutral shades—particularly groundbreaking? Not necessarily, but it is one of the most foolproof summer ‘fits you can count on to keep you looking and feeling cool. Remember that when putting together a monochromatic outfit, the shades don’t have to be exact matches, just similar enough that they’re clearly from the same color family.

tracee ellis ross wearing a yellow tank top jeans and birkenstocks
Raymond Hall/getty images

2. Opt for White Birkenstocks for a Bold Pop Under Loose Denim

Though Birkenstocks come in tons of different colors at this point, we’re not all colorful shoe people. Still, if you want to think outside the navy/black/beige box without going too bold, white Birkenstocks are a great middle ground. Notice how Tracee Ellis Ross’s white sandals pop from beneath her (very on-trend) long and loose jeans without being too out there? If you’re going for ‘I like to have fun while getting dressed—but not too crazy,’ bright white is your answer.

woman wearing a black jacket and shorts and birkenstocks
Melodie Jeng/getty images

3. When in Doubt, Wear Head-to-Toe Black

You know those days when the last thing you want to do is search through your closet to painstakingly color-coordinate an outfit? Those days call for all-black ensembles, and luckily, Birkenstocks fit right into that equation, whether you’re in the mood for a breezy black shirtdress or shorts, a simple T-shirt and a jacket, all in shades of noir.

woman wearing a button down shorts and birkenstocks
Jeremy Moeller/getty images

4. Think Beyond Classic Arizonas

Once temperatures start to rise, Birkenstock Arizonas (you know, the classic two-strap sandal) are a no-brainer, but that’s not to say you should store your Bostons (the suede clogs shown above) until fall. The key to looking like you haven’t switched over to your summer wardrobe is to style Bostons with unquestionably seasonal-appropriate pieces, whether that’s a breezy, oversize button-down and loose-fitting khaki shorts or a swingy minidress.

man and woman wearing neutral outfits and birkenstocks
Jeremy Moeller/getty images

5. Let Flowy Pants Drape Over Your Birks

On the flip side, you can—and should—wear Birkenstock sandals with more covered-up outfits. To avoid overheating, stick to looser silhouettes, cooling materials (like linen) and lighter colors. Follow those tips, et voila: You look like you just hopped out of a Nancy Meyers movie. (Bonus points if your partner is also rocking Birkenstocks.)

woman wearing a yellow shorts suit and birkenstocks
Christian Vierig/getty images

6. Add Chill Vibes to a Shorts Suit

Maybe your office isn’t quite crop top-friendly, but swap out the midriff-baring tank above for a simple black or white tee and we’re willing to bet you’ll more than fit in at casual workplaces. Even if you have to swap out your coordinating sandals for a pair of loafers or even fresh white sneakers while at your desk, at least you’ll be commuting—and hitting post-work drinks—in cool Birkenstock style.

woman wearing a silver suit and birkenstocks
Jeremy Moeller/getty images

7. Don’t Be Afraid to Pair Casual Sandals with a Dressed-Up Outfit

OK, we realize that this combination is not for the faint of heart, but is there anything cooler than bringing an ultra-glam outfit down to earth with casual accessories like simple Birkenstocks or even a plain tote bag? The beauty of this pairing is that because it doesn’t make a ton of sense, you really have free reign to interpret it however you like. Black Birks with a silver suit? Go for it. White platform Arizonas with a sequined midi dress? The world is your sartorial oyster.

sarah stiefvater

Wellness Director

Sarah Stiefvater is PureWow's Wellness Director. She's been at PureWow for ten years, and in that time has written and edited stories across all categories, but currently focuses...