Weekly Trend Section: The ugly shoe epidemic

Thaija Evans, Verge Designer

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Model sporting a pair of replica Birkenstocks.

Analicia Haynes
Model sporting a pair of replica Birkenstocks.

Nurses are not the only one’s sporting soft-soled, round-topped orthopedic shoes.

People are wearing comfortable yet typically unappealing walking shoes to their office jobs, students strut them across campus, and kids run all over playgrounds in the shoes.

The “ugly shoe epidemic” has even made its way to the runway.

Miuccia Prada, head designer of Prada and founder of its sister brand Miu Miu, was spotted donning a pair of black and red Teva sandals as she took her final bow at Miu Miu Spring 2017 show.

The rugged sandal is being called the epitome of fashion for eco-feminists.

Teva embodies the idea of freedom and versatility.

It has become the everyday free spirited person’s go-to style item paired with thick socks making for a quirky combination.

The brand collaborated with singer Jhene Aiko for a collection featuring three new styles earlier this year.

Teva’s director of marketing, Erika Gabrielli, said the brand loves what Aiko symbolizes through her music and as an entity.

“Jhené embodies the spirit of self-expression, search for positivity and sense of exploration that are at the core of the Teva ethos,” Gabrielli said.

Aiko added personal touches to the designs including natural earth tones, a Buddahist dharma wheel symbol and a map of her hometown, Los Angeles, featured on the tissue wrapping inside the box.

“There’s a little dharma wheel imprinted on every shoe to protect the wearer on her journey,” Aiko said. Crocs are practically taking over every popular shoe store across the nation.

The brand is known for a light and airy shoe made of a material called Croslite.

Crocs’ website said he material is said to be shock absorbing and odor resistant. The brand, who considers itself a “world leader in innovative causal footwear,” has sold over 300 million pairs of shoes over the past 13 years.

Crocs are sold in over 500 million retail locations worldwide in more than 90 countries.

Rapper The Game, Aerosmith front man Steven Tyler, and television personality Rosie O’Donnell have all been spotted rocking the lightweight shoes in an array of colors and styles.

The Birkenstock company dates back to 1774 when Johan Birkenstock was listed a “subject and shoemaker.” Birkenstocks, made in Germany, were introduced to the United States market in 1966.

There are three combined heat and power plants where the shoes are produced.

Most of the brand’s products are made of leather and suede, and 95% of their adhesives are environmentally-friendly.

The shoes were widely popular in the past, then dropped off the map for a while as new trends spread. History tends to repeat itself in the fashion industry making Birkenstcoks “cool” again around 2012.

Now, the brand is thriving making its way into urban stores like Nordstrom, the Chicago-based enterprise Akira, and Journeys.

Birkenstock is now offering career opportunities including territory manager, customer service associate style master specialist.

Bernie Mev has transformed from a brand traditionally associated with older women to a high commodity in upscale fashion boutiques and department stores.

Founded in 1974, Bernie Mev was originally only sold domestically. Since then, the brand has expanded globally and combines European and modern styles.

The company’s online profile said they do not have a target consumer making the shoe readily created for people of any age and demographic.

Before disregarding a shoe solely because if its rather unattractive design, consider its comfort and the story behind the brand itself. Quotes courtesy of billboard.com, berniemev.com, company.crocs.com, and Birkenstock.com.

Thaija Evans can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]