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Birkenstocks suddenly became the fashionable thing to wear on one's feet a couple of years ago.
Birkenstock have been manufacturing shoes in Germany since 1774. In the 1980s they became increasingly popular, firstly among the medical profession and then more widely as casual footwear.
Their trademark sandals have contoured cork or rubber soles.
According to the Birkenstock website "your toes and heel should not touch the rim of your sandals while standing in them. The extra room is needed to perform the natural rolling motion of the foot without restrictions - just as if you were barefoot. Birkenstocks are designed to be roomy". They come in European sizes and although I would usually go for a size 6.5, the size 6 equivalent (EU 39) fits perfectly.
The sandals come in a variety of styles and the Gizeh model is one of the most iconic. It has a T-bar strap with a toe-post stud and adjustable side buckle. They come in a variety of colours. The ones I own have dark brown patent leather strap, The cork base has a ridged EVA (which is like expanded rubber) sole which makes them shock-absorbing and a leather lined insole. The heel height is only just over an inch. The theory is that the sandals work with the mechanics of the foot to improve circulation and weight distribution. So you can be fashionable and do your feet some good.
Although initially the footbed or base seemed quite hard, I now find them very comfortable and the toe post does not rub at all. It took me a couple of wearings to get used to them - they aren't like normal flip-flops because they are rigid. The advice from Birkenstock is to break them in gently and that the footbeds will become softer and more flexible with wear.
They do vary enormously in price. As of today (9 Aug 13), John Lewis have them on sale - £34.97 reduced from £49.95. To a certain extent you are buying the label, but I love mine and they are holding up well after 3 summer seasons. I wouldn't be without them.
The Birkenstock Gizeh is downsized for juniors to enjoy wearing / The thong style sandal is made with a patent white manmade upper and an adjustable fastening / A leather insole sits on the shock absorbing EVA sole for a comfy finish.