Brand: Birkenstock

Season: Fall/Winter 2021

Buy: Birkenstock 1774's website and select stockists

Editor's Notes: Now, when I say Birken-croc, I don't mean a hellish hybrid of the world's most famous clog companies — I mean a gloriously luxe take on the Arizona that's part of Birkenstock's high-end 1774 line. It's accompanied by a comparably fancy take on the Boston that's like an equally opulent counterpart to those Jil Sander Birks.

1774 is, as I mentioned earlier, Birkenstock's premium sub-label. It spearheads collaborations with lofty partners like Proenza Schouler, Stüssy, and Central Saint Martens while occasionally issuing its own in-house designs.

The first 1774 collection launched in January 2020 and did what Birkenstock does best: reiterate classic designs. Except that 1774's output is even nicer than the usual hardy Birk construction, bringing in all kinds of lavish leathers, hardware, and footbeds.

Seemingly taking a page from MSCHF's "Birkinstock", Birkenstock's new 1774 selection — a teaser of the full collection, which drops in February 2022 — delivers an actual croc-patterned Birk. Birken-croc. Of course, it's faux croc — the leather upper has merely been embossed to achieve the effect. But with that matte finish, tonal sole unit, flashy outsole, and gold buckles, it sure does feel elegant.

Then, there's that suede Boston, rendered in pale beige. It's an especially soft tone for the timeless mule, a perfect match for the nappa leather lining. Gold buckles and a new webbing-style strap yield a shoe that's kinda Western-y and very fancy. Like its Arizona counterpart, the Boston ships in a special shoe box and dust bag.

Just goes to show, you may not be able to put lipstick on a pig but you certainly can put a new face on a handsome old Birkenstock.

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