"People who buy shoes for comfort are cops," writer Jon Caramanica jokingly wrote in the New York Times at the beginning of the year. Tell that to the millions of people who seek out Birkenstocks; the “unattractive” sandals that have adorned the feet of political rebels, German tourists, queer icons, and now, those who look to the fashion industry for sartorial dictation. In recent weeks, Birkenstock’s associations have reached new heights: Rick Owens debuted his second collaboration with the brand while Valentino’s Pierpaolo Piccioli—who dressed his FW19 men in socks and sandals—labeled Birkenstock “the definition of inclusivity.”

In 2018, the footwear company expected to sell 25 million pairs of shoes, reports The Business of Fashion. That figure has risen to 30 million for 2019. And since 2012, sales are said to have tripled to $800 million, according to The Cut. I say "said to" because the brand's figures tend to remain secretive, making Birkenstock a rare unicorn in the business sphere.

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