Business Insights | Looking at the “lazy economy” through Birkenstock shoes, is comfort redefining fashion?

“Birkenstock fever” has been in existence for two or three years, and this year is especially hot. 250 years after the “ugly shoe” Birkenstock broke the circle, the fashion consumer market has become popular in a certain range of “lazy economy” that replaces exquisiteness with comfort. Under this trend, re-examining the market, whether it is the market share won by Birkenstock, Crocs or UGG, is essentially the same as the e-commerce operation that used to be extremely “rolling”. They are all in line with human nature and greatly satisfy consumers. new demands to win. Therefore, no matter whether the consumer market shrinks or not, there will always be unmet needs. For example, the demand for “lazy” has been brought to a new height by “Birkenstock fever”, bringing new opportunities for fashion business.

What’s behind the “lazy economy”?

“I can’t roll” and “not lying flat”, so I chose the most comfortable way to wear shoes, walk, and live. As a shoe brand with a history of more than 200 years, Birkenstock provides consumers with ergonomic designs for walking and standing, which fit the arch of the foot while providing excellent protection for the feet, and more importantly, satisfy the needs of consumers. A category of consumers’ choices and expressions of lifestyle.

To a certain extent, Birkenstock stands for sustainable, comfortable, practical and functional. Taking its slippers as an example, sustainable natural materials such as natural cork, natural latex and jute are selected as materials. Natural cork and natural latex are the core of the footbed, providing support for the body and reducing pressure on the foot; the upper and lower layers of jute provide additional stability and durability for the footbed; the footbed surface is also covered with a soft and breathable layer suede leather. Provides stable support and protection for the foot without compromising comfort.

Now, Birkenstocks have become synonymous with this category of shoes, in addition to single-pointing the Birkenstock brand. Similar shoe shapes or subtle differences in design make this functional shoe a popular shoe today.

Looking back on history, Birkenstock was founded by Johann Adam Birkenstock, a shoemaker in the German countryside. As early as 1774, the West German Birkenstock family was engaged in the service of making shoes for the royal family; in 1896, it began to manufacture and sell elastic insoles that fit the soles of the feet; in 1902, Invented the flexible arch support; in 1925, the market demand for products led by “blue insoles” was increasing, Birkenstock adapted to the surging market with acquisitions and expanded the scale of the Friedberg factory. In 1963, the Madrid series of sandals came out… …until this century, in 2013, the BIRKENSTOCK Group was officially established. But among them, Birkenstock began to cooperate with medicine in 1913, which was affirmed by the medical community at that time and established a position for Birkenstock in the footwear industry.

Birkenstock can be called a classic because of the science behind the footbed and the sole technology. At present, 95% of the brand’s product series adhere to German manufacturing, stable technology and high-quality natural raw materials, which not only meet the basic needs of durability, but also fit the arch of the foot, which is light and comfortable, and has become the favorite shoes of young people who “lie down”. , After the supermodel Kendou and Damei got on their feet, this century-old shoe became a must-have item for fashion Internet celebrities. “Birkenstock” and “Birkenstock wear” have more than 10,000 notes in Xiaohongshu, and have a separate ‘s entry.

How did Birkenstock, originally known as the world’s three “ugly shoes”, suddenly become popular? Become the new fashion icon?

As Birkenstock has received more and more attention, various international brands have also chosen to cooperate with this low-key brand to launch joint models. Dior cooperated with Birkenstock for the first time in the 2022-2023 winter menswear collection, and launched two redesigns. In February 2022, the legendary shoe designer Manolo Blahnik and Birkenstock will jointly release shoes; in May 2022, the Korean fashion brand ADERERROR will jointly launch a new shoe product.


Birkenstock & Manolo Blahnik

According to data from Euromonitor International, global demand for designer shoes fell by 21% in 2020, and the overall market demand fell by 19%. During the epidemic, the search volume of high-heeled shoes decreased respectively, while the search volume of sandals increased by 21%, the search volume of slippers increased by 242%, and the search volume of heelless loafers with toes increased by 110%; as the indicator of the secondary market of sneakers, the famous resale platform StockX released its mid-year Current Culture Index on July 20, 2021, local time. Compared with the same period last year, the fastest growing emerging brand in the first half of 2021 is no longer sneakers. In terms of comfort, it won two of the top three places in one fell swoop despite the lack of functionality. In the first six months of this year, the trading volume of German Birkenstock shoes increased by as much as 610% year-on-year, and Crocs, which is famous for its hole shoes, ranked No. Third, the transaction volume increased by 430% year-on-year. Senior economist Jesse Einhorn said in an interview with FootWear News that under the background of the epidemic blockade and home office, these brands are turning more to leisure and comfort needs.

In the years of “Birkenstock fever”, the blessing of Yeezy, a personal trend brand launched by rapper Kanye West, is making and slippers begin to trend.

In March 2018, Kanye West’s personal brand Yeezy released Yeezy slides, a line of slippers for the first time. The following year, the Adidas Yeezy Foam Runner debuted at the Fast Company Innovation Festival summit and sold out immediately after its official release. Subsequently, Adidas Yeezy strikes while the iron is hot and launches Adidas Yeezy slides in three colors in December. With the appeal of Kanye West and the influence of the Kardashian family on social media, Yeezy Slide has been hard to find since it was released. The price in the second-hand market is more than doubled, and the traffic in the fashion industry has flowed to slippers.

With the increasing attention paid to slippers, the fashion of this footwear category has also increased, and its functional attributes have also increased the trend of home functions. Wearing, fashion and comfort are indispensable, 94% of consumers believe that the appearance of goods will have an important impact on consumption, and the sales growth data of high-value products are often more impressive. Now, the main groups of people who buy fashion slippers are the post-90s and post-00s, because these two groups are the most active age groups in the current consumer market. Calculated from the proportion of the population, as of 2021, the population of the post-90s and post-00s in China will be close to 320 million, accounting for about 23% of the total population. They have obvious characteristics in consumption concepts and consumption habits: the pursuit of “self-satisfaction” and “pleasure” The consumption characteristics of “early adopters” are more sensitive and willing to consume the fashion trends of shoes and clothing.

From functionality to fashion attributes, slippers have gone from home to the door, and the wearing scene has also changed. Convenience and comfort make slippers the selected one in the lazy economy. With the rise of national tide and sports style, The fit of slippers is also higher, and with it comes a comfortable fashion that is defined by a new generation of consumers.  

Image source: Internet, brand  

Written by: Rita

Editor: Li Jun  

Design: Poplar Wood