Why ‘OITNB’ Star Dascha Polanco Will Never Get Rid of Her Birkenstocks

Dascha Polanco has serious shoe game.

When she’s not on the set of the Netflix hit series “Orange Is the New Black,” the actress never misses a chance to dazzle and inspire the masses from the feet up.

But when she sat down with Footwear News recently to dish on all of the glamorous brands winning shelf space in her closet, Polanco made sure to note that she doesn’t mind keeping things cute and casual every now and then with her beloved Birkenstocks.

Read on for details on Polanco’s favorite labels, her red carpet rules and how she styles her kids.

Dascha Polanco Orange is the New Black OINB
Dascha Polanco, photographed for <em>Footwear News</em>.
CREDIT: Clint Spaulding.

Number of pairs: 50-plus

Go-to brands: “I love Jimmy Choo, Prada, Balenciaga, Ferragamo — they’re the most comfortable. I also [love] Ruthie Davis because of her creativity when it comes to the shoes. New Balance is another favorite.”

Best shopping spots: “Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Lord & Taylor. I love when they have their annual sales. I also like the actual brands’ stores.”

Closet staples: “[I’ll never get rid of] my Havaianas and Birkenstocks. I have a rainbow of Birkenstocks. I love the silver, and they’re super- comfy.”

Gym essential: “Definitely New Balance.”

Red-carpet fave: “My go-to [shoes] are my Philipp Plein platforms. My publicist literally had to tell me not to wear them anymore. They’re super- high and they have patent leather and studs.”

Biggest shoe horror: “I bought some shoes to wear to the Billboard Latin Music Awards last year, and they didn’t work with my outfit. We had to go find another pair. [But we discovered] there are these two different styles in Jimmy Choo: the Anouk, which has a higher heel, and then there’s the regular standard.
So I got my size in the Anouk, but because it has such a high arch, you’re supposed to go up one size, and I didn’t know that. So I had to be at an awards show, on the red carpet, in a chain dress with pounding pain in my feet. I had blisters, and it was so painful.”

Fashion time limits: “This is the thing with me and shoes: I have hour limitations. I have two-hour shoes, five-hour shoes and 10-hour shoes. Anything that is strappy is going to have [less wear time]. Any heel that is broader tends to be more comfortable and have longer wear time.”

My core ground rule: “On red carpets, I’ve had to train myself that it’s not about comfort, although I always keep a pair of foldable flats by Dr. Scholl’s with me because I don’t want to end up barefoot at the end of the night. That’s just tacky.”

Shoeing my kids: “My [15-year-old] daughter is obsessed with Jordans and all different types of sneakers. She [only] has two pairs of heels. I’m saving a pair of Jimmy Choos for her until she learns how to walk well [in heels]. She’ll thank me later. My [8-year-old] son is also obsessed with sneakers and loves Jordans. He has Stephen Curry’s Under Armour shoes, and he also loves New Balance and the Nike Roshes. And he actually just asked for a pair of Timberlands.”

Best looks on a man: “My man has to have nice, clean shoes — you can’t come around me with dirty shoes. He has to have nice little suede booties with little velvet tassels. No boat shoes. I love Gucci on men.”

Dascha Polanco Orange is the new black
Dascha Polanco, photographed for <em>Footwear News</em>. (Jacket and sweatshirt courtesy of ASOS.com; shoes by Ruthie Davis x Minions.)
CREDIT: Clint Spaulding.

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content