What if Birkenstock’s Boston Had a Crushable Heel?

Birkenstock’s Boston clog is basically perfect as is, right? Well, kinda. See, if there’s anything I could imagine improving the otherwise perfect sandal, it’d probably be an adjustable heel, something that can be raised or lowered as desired.

Luckily, Japanese brand Orphic has devised a solution and it’s pretty darn nifty.

Orphic is a Japanese footwear brand that’s been around since 2011. Founded by designer Takayoshi Shirakawa, the label makes hybrid shoes and weirdo sandals that’re unlike anything you’ve ever seen before.

Except, of course, for when its shoes are obvious riffs on familiar silhouettes.

Orphic’s Officer 2-Way Runner — available for ¥29,000 (about $200) via Orphic’s website — is oddly named but obvious in design. The buckled strap, the rounded toe, the raised forefoot vamp: this is obviously inspired by Birkenstock Boston.

However, Orphic upped the ante beyond the typical Birkenstock clone with a chunky sole sat atop a treaded, grippy outsole and, my fave, a crushable heel.

The crushable heel is an ultra-underrated mule feature that oughta be a feature on more sandals and slides. It allows for the wearer to either go backless for true slip-on comfort or add an additional level of heel security as the situation calls for it.

Crocs wearers describe the two modes as “sport mode” (heel strap down) and “4WD” (heel strap up).

Birkenstock, as heritage-minded as it is, does offer some Boston-style shoes with heels — consider the Tokio Super Grip and London — but Orphic’s chunky number is a step beyond.

Orphic’s also got some fancy options with kiltie decoration, though the original Officer Runner is a direct play on a classic and, as such, is pretty timeless.

I do have a soft spot for custom Birks and even similar-looking styles, so I’m admittedly a bit biased. Still, hard to go wrong with black leather or beige suede.

As we (hopefully) enter cooler weather, Birkenstock obviously provides plenty of cozy options for easy insulation, and that’s to say nothing of its killer collaborative models, but there’s always more.

Does Orphic’s Birkenstock-alike Officer Runner sandal need to exist? Probably not. But it’s different enough that I’d argue in favor of it justifying its worth, if only for that adjustable heel.

Mule designers, take note.

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