Appealing to granola treehuggers, liberal college students, and the “urban backpacker” types (among many others), these famous German-made sandals are well-crafted, simple, and durable. I bought my first pair of Birkenstock sandals during college in 1997 – an admitted peer pressure purchase – and I have loved them ever since. Though the company produces a variety of styles, the most popular Birkenstock sandals remain the classic, two-strap slip-ins marketed to Americans as the “Arizona” line. Birkenstock buyers will find a variations on this original design for both men and women, but no matter what kind of Birkenstock sandals you buy, you know you’re getting quality construction and comfort that comforms to your own feet – even if the pricetag seems a little high.
So what is this quality construction I’m describing? Well, Birkenstock created what they call “the world’s first contoured cork/latex footbed.” The sandals are designed to distribute a person’s weight out properly over the whole foot, making for foot-friendly sandals – something hard to find in a world of fashionable footwear. Birkenstock sandals tout two layers of jute as well as purposefully designed arch support and heel cups so that they not only fit your feet but also hug them as you move. People who’ve owned Birkenstock sandals for awhile talk about how they comform to your feet, sometimes becoming the most comfortable footwear in your closet. You might wonder how something relatively thin and un-cushioned could be so foot-cozy for walking, but it’s because (unlike most shoes) Birkenstock sandals are designed to take advantage of the natural shape of the human foot. Consider it high-quality German engineering in sandal form.
I’ve worn my Birkenstocks everywhere, and they hold up quite well even if you’ve treated them roughly. After a couple years, you may need to replace the soles. Or you can just treat yourself to another pair from the rack. Even though Birkenstock sandals retail in the $90 – $120 range, they are well worth the extra expenseÃ¢Â?Â¦.and this is coming from a real penny pincher. I stand by these shoes, literally and figuratively.
A few other things to know about Birkenstock sandals:
– They don’t follow American sizing, so you’ll need to consult a conversion chart. For example, I wear a US men’s size 10, which corresponds to a Birkenstock 43.
– You may not find them at your local mall or at most shoe stores. If you’re interested in buying Birkenstocks and aren’t comfortable ordering them from the company website without trying them on, you’ll need to find an authorized retailer using their store locator feature.
– They do make Birkenstocks for kids too, so a whole family of feet can wear them.
– People often refer to Birkenstock sandals as simply “Birks.”