"Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness," Oscar Wilde said. Birkenstock its classic Arizona sandal very much deserves the "greatness" mantle, though I enjoy Balenciaga's output too much to call it "mediocre." Still, the luxury house's "Mallorca" sandal is verrrry familiar looking.
In this era of us all wanting to dress like chefs, the fashion biz has been dishing out all manner of easy, slip-on shoes that recall a certain German brand's signature strappy style: hence Louis Vuitton's definitely-not-a-Birkenstock "Trainer Mule," and Palm Angels' original-design-yep-nothing-to-see-here "Logo Sandals".
Balenciaga is only the latest luxury label to toss its hat (or sandals) into the ring, but to be fair, the Kering-owned label has made a name for itself in flipping recognizable shapes, so this platform sandal is well within its oeuvre.
Especially given that Birkenstock has seen a monetary infusion from rival conglomerate LVMH, it only makes too much sense for Balenciaga to try its hand at an original summer shoe. the Mallorca received jelly plastic and platform reworks this season but this version is cut from a plush sheepskin (no cork footbeds here) in Italy, lifted by a tall, molded footbed and tightened with a pair of sturdy straps that feature sturdy metal buckles with Balenciaga branding. If you're going to borrow from the best, might as well upgrade the rest, eh?
The Mallorca platform sandals are available in plenty of sizes on Balenciaga's site for a cool $750. If that's too steep a price for you, remember that regular platform Arizonas clock in at about $100.