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How to Wear Birkenstocks This Festival Season

Cool comfort is the key to surviving the summer festival season in style. And shoes are your foundational piece. After all, you’ll be on your feet for hours and hours, likely over several days. No matter the weather, no matter the crowds, you need to be able to dash between stages, dance to songs, stand in lines and look great.

Birkenstocks have long been a favorite shoe of concertgoers. But forget their jam band rap—not that getting down to the Dead is anything to condemn—Birkenstock wearers cross musical genres and fashion styles.

Birkenstocks for Festival Season

So that your dancing feet remain ready and your fashion credibility doesn’t appear fishy—or Phishy—we recruited Nordstrom Senior Stylist Jodi Taylor to offer some simple tips on wearing these comfy, cork-soled sandals.

“They are a great festival piece that can be worn with cutoffs, mom jeans, flares or a jumpsuit—pair back to simple solids or a textural sweater or simple stripes,” says Jodi Taylor about Birkenstocks. “I like this style best when it stays normcore.”

Birkenstocks for festival season

Wear a high-waist pair of denim shorts or jeans with these flat shoes. The height at your center will help your legs appear longer. A simple shirt keeps your lines clean and flattering.

SHOP: high-rise jeans | high-waist shorts | Birkenstock sandals

If you’re facing scorching temps in your festival town (Bonnaroo, we hear you), denim might be too heavy a fabric. Pants, skirts or dresses in a light cotton offer a more breathable alternative and opportunities to layer. A loose cut that hits just above the ankle will taper your silhouette enough to remain complementary.

“A sleeker streamlined pair of Birkenstocks in black or white can be super cool with culottes, harem or long, wide-leg pants or a simple, solid sheath dress. Pair with a simple top and long trench or a soft overcoat to play with proportion,” advises Taylor.

SHOP: denim jackets | cotton pants | Papillio by Birkenstock Gizeh platform sandal

Birkenstocks for festival season

A sweet and airy sundress also pairs well with the simple sandal. Midi-lengths, especially, keep you comfortable and covered. Top off the dress with a military coat or other canvas jacket for when the evening chill—if you’re so lucky—descends. The mix of a feminine frock (choose one with a touch of lace or embroidery), masculine coat and practical footwear makes movement and comfort a priority while keeping you looking pretty.

—Britt Olson