My Quest for Summer Footwear
This Summer I decided I was fed up with wearing cheap knock-off crocs and needed some proper Summer footwear.
I have fallen arches so I need proper support for my feet to stop me hobbling about with turned-in feet. I have those arch supports that you can slip in and out of your shoes but they're not really that practical for use with sandals. It's bad enough getting the stones out of your sandals without kicking your arch supports out too!
For most of my life I've been someone who buys cheap but this year I decided I wanted something that would last and something that would be good for my feet. I remembered about 5 years back a friend of mine telling me about how much she loves her Birkenstock sandals. Five years later she's still wearing them.
I went on to Amazon and found a pair of Arizonas at a great price. I'd heard that Birkenstocks were really expensive but these were a very reasonable price - especially if they're going to last 5+ years.
I've worn my Arizona sandals for most of the Summer and my feet feel great. In fact, the only time I did wear another pair of shoes (rainy day) my feet hurt even with my old arch supports.
Birkenstock Unisex Arizona Sandal
The Arizona sandals shown below and in the video opposite are the sandals that I ordered from Amazon.
This is a unisex sandal so it might be a bit chunky looking for some women out there. When it arrived I thought that maybe it was a bit too mannish - a little bit too much like something my Dad used to wear to the beach in the 80s but I'm really in love with my Arizona sandals now.
The Arizona Sandal has 2 wide straps with buckles and a cork footbed.
You can get this sandal in other colours. I chose brown leather. Other colours include mocha, yellow, stone and denim.
Breaking your Sandals in
You might not have any trouble with wearing your sandals at all but I definitely needed a couple of days to get used to them.
I wore my Arizona sandals around the house for a couple of days as the soles felt very hard and the straps chafed the fleshy part of the side of my foot a bit. After this they felt great - better than any other shoe I've worn. I recently went on a 6 mile walk (well a hike up and down a few steep hills during torrential rain) and my feet felt fine afterwards - even with my arch problem.
My only issue now is will I be able to feel as comfortable in my Winter shoes once the weather cools down.
My friend owns the Mayari sandals (shown below and one of the styles featured in the video shown opposite).
As I've said above they've already lasted her 5 Summers. I was impressed with this because I thought initially that the tow strap looked a little flimsy but I'm fond of a more chunkier style in my footwear anyway.
This is a much more feminine Birkenstock sandal but still has all the great support. I'm not a fan of straps that go between my toes but if you like flip flops maybe this is the sandal for you.
Like Mayari, Granada is a lighter-looking sandal.
Although you still have the orthopaedic support and quite thick wedge the sandals don't look so chunky because of the long cut-outs on the strap.
This is a great sandal for showing off your feet.
Just looking for something simple in design? Then the Madrid sandal might be your answer.
As you can see from the video opposite you can get the Madrid sandal with shiny patent coloured straps, although I must say I prefer the brown leather look.
This might not be the sandal for you if you need more support for your feet.
A one-strap Birkenstock sandal with the traditional supportive suede-covered footbed. Might not be right for you if you have bunions, according to the reviews!
Caring for your Birkenstocks
Looking after your Birkenstocks
When I bought my Birkenstock Arizona Sandals I didn't even think about looking after them and what I'd have to do to maintain them so that they lasted me several years.
I love that Birkenstocks can be brought back from the brink of death and be worn for many more years (check out the Arizonas in the video opposite).
Since making this page I've discovered that I should get "glue" to protect the cork base of my sandals. In the video opposite a product called "Kelly's Cork Renew" is used so I've featured it below. Check out the reviews on Amazon from happy Birkenstock owners that say Kelly's Cork Renew really does work.
Kelly's Cork Renew is a non-toxic product which protects and seals cork and also waterproofs it - essential when we're talking about footwear.
Choosing the Right Size for You
Birkenstock footwear comes in EU sizing but don't get caught out. You may think you know your EU shoe size but make sure you check.
Of course, finding the right size is no problem if you're buying your Birkenstocks in a bricks and mortar shop but if you're buying online you must check. Amazon will usually give you a link next to the shoe size options which says "sizing info" - this will let you know which size you should need.
You may also be given the options "N", "M" and "W". N=Narrow, M=Medium/normal and I presume W=Wide.
Not looking for a Sandal?
How about a clog?
Clogs still work great for a Summer shoe but they're also awesome for those transitioning seasons as Spring turns into Summer and Summer turns into Autumn. Of course, the other added benefit of clogs is that you don't have to worry about the state of your toe nails!
The Birkenstock clogs have the same comfortable, moldable foot bed as the Birkenstock sandals.
I love the Boston clog featured below.
The Boston clog would make a great easy-to-wear shoe. There are no laces to do up and you won't have to force your foot down into it.
Boston would be prefect for wearing around the house, or slipping on quickly to step out into the garden.
Boston comes in a range of colors including my favorite "Henna" - a lovely reddy-brown.
The Boston clog comes with an adjustable strap for a more comfortable fit. The clog upper material is made from thick and supple oiled leather.
London is much more of an enclosed shoe than the Boston and Paris clogs which is great if you love to wear socks or live in a rainy climate.
These Birkenstocks would be fine for wearing through Winter if, like me, you live somewhere like the UK where we don't necessarily get snow every year.
London comes in thick supple leather but there are some gorgeous oiled leather versions available too. London features a buckle closure and cut outs.
I'm very tempted by the Paris clog for Autumn/Winter sunny days.
Somehow I don't think I could get away with wearing thick woollen socks with my Arizona sandals but these clogs are already half-made out of wool.
This clog is also fully enclosed although I imagine probably not as good in wet weather as "London".
If you click on the product link below you'll discover that not as versions of Paris have the woollen part. If you don't like the look of 2 different materials you can choose an option that's all leather, or oiled leather. I love the Habana and Henna options.
I think I prefer the bigger cut-outs on the front of this shoe than the smaller ones which feature on "London".
Paris comes in a cute 2 material option and features big cut outs and a buckle.
Just Interested in the Support?
Don't like the style of Birkenstock's footwear but you'd love the arch support?
A pair of their arch supports means you can convert the shoes you already own into something that's going to take care of your feet.
The great thing about Birkenstocks is that they mold to your feet but give you the support that your feet need.
Birkenstock Arch Supports
These insoles provide arch support and are shock absorbing with a metatarsal pad under the ball of the foot.
Which would you Choose?
Which are your Favorite Birkenstock Sandals or Clogs?
Official Birkenstock Websites
- Shoes, Sandals and Clogs | Birkenstock USA
The official website for Birkenstock USA, LP. If you think of Birkenstock as that famous sandal from the sixties, think again. Today, we have over 300 styles, textures and colors. Plus socks, insoles and shoe care products.
- Birkenstock worldwide
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