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I owned a pair of Birkenstock Madrid sandals for at least five years, until I discarded them a couple of months ago due to the sole becoming cracked and ultimately unwearable. This was my own fault - please see details towards the end.
I cannot recall where I bought these shoes, but I do know that I'd lusted after them for several years. The reason: I had felt that Birkenstock was a luxury item that was too expensive when there were many similar but more affordable shoes that would do the same thing. How wrong I was. These are one of the most comfortable pairs of shoes I have ever worn.
Originally from Germany, Birkenstock shoes have been made since 1774 in one form or another, according to the company's website. The shoes are designed to follow the wearer's foot's shape and contours. The website also explains that every Birkenstock has a deep heel cup to ensure proper weight distribution and foot alignment. There's a spacious toe box that gives toes room to move and a" footbed" that adapts to the wearer's foot's shape.
Many of the shoe styles are named after cities, and most are unisex. The Madrid style, which is not, is what I would describe as the classic or original Birkenstock. Apparently it was first called the Fitness Sandal here in Europe, as it is designed to tone the foot and calf muscles while improving circulation. I didn't know any of this when I bought my pair - I simply thought that they looked good and felt astonishingly comfortable when I tried them on. I understand that some people have difficulty with the sizing of Birkenstocks being a little large, so I'd recommend trying on a pair in a store so that you get this correct.
The Madrid comes in a very wide range of colours. It has a single, adjustable leather strap; the remainder of the shoe is as above. The footbed is made from cork and natural latex. The rubber sole is flexible and supposedly shock absorbing. I didn't keep track as to how long it took for my feet to be molded, but I think that it was just a couple of days. They quickly became very comfortable, so much so that I'd wear them all day for most days in a row and anytime when I wasn't at work. They then received a full-time workout once I was pregnant and no longer working.
The one drawback to these shoes is that they should not come into prolonged contact with water, such as when walking along the beach, as it alters the cork. My pair ultimately became unusable because of my lack of care. I did several things with my trusty Birkenstocks that the website says I should have avoided: I left them in direct sunlight on multiple hot days, I left them in my car in the hot California weather, and when wet I then dried them in the aforementioned sun rather than air drying slowly in the shade.
I love my Birkenstock Madrids. I wish that I'd bought them when I'd first wanted them nearly 20 years ago. I wish that I'd taken better care of the pair I owned. I'll be buying a replacement pair in the next couple of weeks - once I decide which of the many colours I should get!!!
Highly!! If needed, I'd skip meals to ensure that I could afford a pair.
I own several pairs of flip-flops, it's all I wear in summer. I don't like shoes/pumps as my feet get way too overheated - they like to breathe! And I don't do heals! So over the years I have built up a nice collection of flip flops. However, since buying my first pair of Birkenstocks I have to admit that most of my collection sit neglected and lonely in the bottom of the wardrobe as none of them come anywhere close to the comfort, style and practicality of my Birks!
I now own two pairs, both are Gizeh's, the thong style. I have a white pair (to go with everything!) and a couple of Christmas's ago I was given a pair of red patent ones which are absolutely gorgeous! But it's not just how the style that I like. It's the comfort, something I discovered last summer when I walked past a local shop and spotted some lovely turquoise Birkenstock looky-likey's in the window. They were in the sale and a bargain at £15! I snapped them up and went home feeling very pleased with myself. But I have only worn them a couple of times because in terms of comfort they are a very poor comparison to my Birkenstocks. I even set off to work in them the other week, only to make a quick return home because I wanted my Birks on!
Although I have only worn the Gizeh style, Birkenstocks have a seemingly never ending range of styles/materials/colours and funky prints, including a vegan range and winter footwear. I have never paid any attention to the 'features' of Birkenstocks, I liked how they looked and after buying my first pair I discovered they were also comfy! Bonus! But, after buying my cheap copycat ones I realised that the extremetly flexible, cork latex footbed that Birkenstock bang on about may actually have some benefits! The Gizeh (and possibly other styles) also have a shock absorbing EVA sole and the edge of the footbed is raised to protect the toes - however this feature does make them a poor candidate for beach footwear as the sand just collects in the shoe, rather than falling back out again! The strap which goes across the arch of your foot is adjustable allowing you to get the perfect fit for optimum comfort. And they are made to last! I have been wearing my first pair for a few years now and they are still going strong and the red patent pair still look pretty new despite almost daily wear for two summers. So whilst they may seem pricey (price varies according to style, but the rrp for the Gizeh's is around £45) they are worth every penny...and next summer I shall be investing in another shiney new pair!
I own these in two different colours, white and hot pink and they have been my companions for two summers now. Birkenstocks seem to be somewhat of a cult shoe, it seems like everyone has a pair which they bring out for summertime. Birkenstocks will set you back around £35ish pounds, depending on where you get them from and considering how well they last this seems a fair price.
In terms of comfort, I have found with both pairs that these are initially uncomfortable to wear, until you have broken them in a bit and they have molded somewhat to your foot shape! The base of the shoe is made of cork latex which allows for a flexible base, according to the official Birkenstock website! In addition, the shoes are said to be formulated to provide support by having both cross arch and inner and outer arch supports, which promote the correct distribution of pressure across the foot as you walk. Once worn in, this would explain why they are so comfortable!
The one gripe I have with these shoes, is that despite their comfort if I wear them all day I find they leave my inner arch with some red sore spots, which I don't notice until I have removed the shoe. The skin on my foot is obviously very sensitive there but I would have imagined that the cork base would have cushioned that part of my foot more and not irritated it by rubbing.
Aside from that, I would still recommend these shoes as they have lasted me two years and are comfortable for periods of time, they perhaps wont last a long trek around town for the day though! I would give them a 4/5, if they didn't rub a little by the end of a long day it would be a 5/5!
My favourite summer sandal
A Birkenstock is a sandal that is actually good for your feet and the most comfortable summer shoe I own. According to an article I read the history of the shoe is this; "The Birkenstock brand traces its roots to a German by the name of Johann Adam Birkenstock. Birkenstock was registered in 1774 as a "subject and shoemaker" in local church archives. In 1897 it was Johann's grandson, Konrad Birkenstock, who developed the first contoured insole to be used by shoemakers in the production of custom footwear. The year 1902 saw another first in shoemaking by Konrad, when he developed the first flexible arch support to be inserted in factory-made shoes. In 1964, these inserts were developed further into a shoe by Karl Birkenstock, and what would become the Birkenstock sandal was created."
What I like about this shoes is that they are extremely comfortable to wear and do not rub at all which is great. I can wear these all day and not have tired legs or feet and be able to wear them the next day and the next and so on. When I was younger I used to think these shoes looked a bit ugly but nowadays I think they are actually quite stylish and I see so many people wearing them, they have almost become something of a fashion statement.
The shoes have a moulded black rubber sole and a brown almost velvety inside to them. I like the shoes with just one strap across the shoe. This is held together with a nice looking buckle with the word Birkenstock written across it. The shoes are easy to slip on and off and there is not buckles or anything to do up like some summer shoes. You can get these shoes in a great variety of colours and styles but I tend to stick to the classic looking ones and have a pair in boring black and one pair in white as these colours basically go with anything.
What I like about the shoe is that it has a really nice platform for your foot to sit against and the inside sole really contours to your feet. They tend to mould my feet and cushion them which is really like. This makes them easy to walk it even though they are slip on shoes and I never have a problem with them slipping off. I have a couple of pairs and I like the type that just have one fairly large strap that goes across the bone of my foot so my toes stick out the end. In this way my toes do not get rubbed and the strap across the arch of my foot is not tight nor does it rub either which is nice. What I also like about these shoes is that they do not have a toe post so the space between my big toe and next toe does not rub either. I have had both my pairs for a few years now. The only signs of wear are a bit of the rubber sole at the bottom has rubbed off where I walk on it but this is only on the heel area to the side and the inside is a bit grubby and that it is. These sandals last for years and I can see mine lasting for a long number of years yet. What I really like is that over the years the inside of the shoe has moulded even more to the shape of my feet so they fit perfectly.
The style I like cost in the £35 region which I don't think is too bad for a pair of sandals that will last for ages and the style never goes out of fashion so you don't have to worry about being behind the times. One word of warning I would issue is to beware of cheap imitations!! A lot of high street shops do their own version of the Birkenstock which is not as comfortable and will rub so although they look the same they will not have the Birkenstock markings on them and they will not wear as well.
I have had a pair of Birkenstock classic Madrid flip flops for a few years now, they come in a wide range of colours such as pinks, purple, white, red, I have mine in black, they also do them in matt leather or patent.
The price of Birkenstocks varies considerably depending upon where you buy then and can range from around £45 to £25. I paid £25 for mine from TK Maxx, though you have to be quick as they sell out very quickly so if you want to purchase a pair get them as soon as you see them.
The shoe has a single strap that is wider at the outer edges, so the widest part is along your big toe side, it then tapers in a bit and extends out again to hold you little toe securely. The strap can be adjusted as it uses a buckle with four adjustable widths overall. The base of the shoe is made from cork and latex, giving it a bit of flexibility and it is supposed to be shock absorbing.
This is my second pair of Birkenstocks, now they are not the most attractive looking sandal, but they really are pretty comfortable for everyday use as they are moulded to fit your feet, so there is a raised bit to support the arch of your foot and the base of the sandal has a raised ridge all the way round to stop your foot fall out.
Overall they are very well made, last a long time and are very durable, the only issue I have and this is why I purchased a new pair, is that after wearing them for a while the base of the sandal looks very dirty, like you have had them for years, they do not smell, but look unsightly. I have also got my Birkenstocks wet, whilst walking in the sea and very muddy and sandy also and they always dry very quickly but the imprint of my foot still remains.
Overall I would recommend these to others as they are comfortable, very durable, come in a variety of different colours and are well priced if you have an eye for a bargain, they are however, functional looking and not that pretty, so overall they loose a star.
I am a total bargain hunter and you will often find me rummaging in TK Maxx for those hidden gems. I love Birkenstock shoes and I had a pair of sandals a few years ago that lasted me forever and were so unbelievably comfortable. I left them on holiday though and unfortunately never replaced them. I spotted these clogs and immediately recognised the Birkenstock sole as it is really distinctively shaped. I bought the Clogs as they fitted me perfectly and I thought them would come in for popping to the shops or wearing in the garden. They are not the smartest looking shoe but they are comfortable and easy to slip on and off.
==Price and availability==
The Birkenstock Range can be bought from various stores, a pair of sandals will cost you around £30.00 and the Clogs are priced at £64.00 brand new, however I picked them up for £19.00 in TK Maxx.
==Comfort, Fit and Feel==
These are exceptionally comfortable. The soles of the Birkenstock shoes are thick and cushioned. They absorb the impact of walking so your feet feel like they are walking on cushions rather than the floor. I have a raised arch and these soles are raised slightly cushioning the soft delicate underfoot areas.
The clogs I own are made from deliciously soft leather in a deep brown colour that is getting better with age. They are taking on a more weathered look that gives them character and style. The leather is so subtle and there are no seams that will rub or irritate your toes. You can tighten the clogs slightly with the adjustable buckle however they will always be quite loose fitting due to the clog design.
These shoes are perfect for nipping out in and they are so quick to slip on and off. They are used mostly in the garden and for walking to the shops in. I would not go out for lunch in them or wear them for a special occasion as they look a bit cumbersome and geeky but for days for slobbing these are perfect. I love how they feel and how the leather feels on my feet, they are perfect for summer as you can wear them comfortably without socks which allows your feet to breathe. Alternatively they are just as cosy being worn in winter with big fluffy socks on. I like how thick the soles as they really do comfort my feet. These are perfect for wearing after a night out in heels as they do not rub, pinch and feel soft and gentle. If I have a blister on the back of my heel, these are great as they allow the blister to heel without rubbing!
These will last forever, they are well made and so comfortable. I would definitely recommend the Birkenstock brand and the Clog design.
I have a pair of Birkenstock sandals in the style "Gizeh" which I bought three or four years ago. I can't remember how much I paid for these at the time, but I think it was around £40. The current RRP on the Birkenstock website is £56.95 but you can sometimes find them cheaper. I saw some in TK Maxx recently for less than half price.
The Gizeh sandals are thong style with a thick toe post, and a kind of T shaped strap going up and then across quite close to the ankle. The strap has a buckle, meaning you can adjust the tightness and get a comfortable fit. The Gizeh, as with most Birkenstocks, has a comfortable foot bed which is molded to the shape of your foot and raised around the edges. There is a layer of cork and then a fairly thick, gripping sole, making the Birkenstock a sturdy sandal for walking in. The straps on my Birkenstock Gizeh sandals are a soft dark brown leather, but they come in various colours and finishes, and the strap is attached to the toe post with a metal stud with Birkenstock printed onto it.
I find these Birkenstock Gizeh sandals very comfortable and easy to wear. As they fasten quite close to the ankle, they give the whole foot a lot of support. Sometimes with flip flops which are quite loose or which only have a thin strap at the bottom I find I have to slightly curl my toes to keep them on my feet. This is actually really bad for the foot, so I am always glad to wear sandals which don't make me do that! The Birkenstock Gizehs stay put with no effort and I can easily run in them or walk long distances without them flapping around or feeling loose. When I first bought them I did need to wear them in for a day or so, as they rubbed very slightly to start with. However, after they had been broken in they didn't ever rub or give me any blisters or discomfort.
I have had fairly heavy use of these Gizeh sandals each summer, wearing them at least a couple of times a week in the summer months, and they still look in very good condition and have not yet started showing any wear and tear. They have not stretched and the soles have not worn or lost their grip.
The Gizeh sandals are not the most exciting or feminine of shoes and they do look quite functional, but I think they do look nice and I have had a few compliments on them. I'm not sure if I would really call Birkenstocks fashionable as such, but they are pretty popular. I think they go with a lot of outfits in the summer and I can wear them with most casual things such as shorts and t-shirts, jeans or casual skirts and dresses. I don't wear them with anything dressier or anything really girly, as I do think they look out of place. The Gizeh sandals are quite chunky and have quite an outdoorsy look to them in my opinion. Birkenstock have a variety of styles and colours and the Madrid style, with one thick strap across the bottom of the foot, seems to be the most popular. I think the Madrid looks a bit more delicate and goes better with skirts than the Gizeh. When I looked on the Office website, the Madrid was the only style of Birkenstock currently available there.
Generally if you want a comfortable sandal which will be a summer staple for your wardrobe then I would definitely recommend you to try Birkenstocks, whether you like the Gizeh or a different style. They are comfy and hardwearing, and because Birkenstocks are a popular classic, you can get a few seasons' use of them.
I've had two pairs of birkenstocks - Gizeh which didn't work for me, and Madrid which are perfect.
First the Gizeh, these were the first birkenstocks that I bought. I had heard lots of good things about birkenstocks and so I decided to give them a try. They seemed comfy enough in the shop when I bought them, and they do look nice on. However I found them to be really uncomfortable when worn for a longer period of time. I found the toe post to be really hard and uncomfortable between my toes. I also found that the leather strap rubbed blisters on the tops of my feet. The leather strap is adjustable to the width of your feet, however no amount of adjusting worked to make them comfortable for me. I also found that I was also clenching my toes around the raised footbed as I walked, which made it really uncomfortable when worn for a long period of time.
Now the Madrid, I was dubious about buying another pair as the first pair had gone to the charity shop. Lots of friends had the madrid however and raved about them, so I gave them a go. Once again comfy enough in the shop, and once again they look nice on. Second time definately lucky though, these are so comfortable when worn for long periods of time. Once again they have an adjustable leather strap, this is comfy, no problems with rubbing at all. The raised footbed is actually really comfy on these, I just walk normally - no clenching of my toes, in fact it is actually really supportive and comfortable when you wear them all day. I can wear these and walk in these all day, out shopping, sightseeing on holiday, they are perfect, they have also lasted really well, they are really well made and still look in good condition.
I have been hearing really good things about birkenstock sandals and they keep getting reccomended to me so this year as my summer shoe i have decided to buy a pair.
I have gone for the same type as in the photo above but my strap is a black patent leather one. I was extremley impressed by the selection of shoes they do both online and in the shops (to many i had differculty deciding what to go for and in what colour i could easily have brought a few pairs).
I have heard of people having trouble with the sizing and when you buy them in your normal size they are to big, i didn't have this problem but it is a good idea to visit a store to try a pair on just incase, especially if your buying online so you dont have to go through the hassel of sending them back.
They are very comfortable and when you put them on they do seem to mould to your feet, they do take a bit of getting used to and like any shoe need to be broken in but once they are you wont take them off.
They are the best pair of sandals i have ever owned and from what i'm told will last me a few summers yet (i do already plan to get a new pair next year anyway so i can have the choice of two pairs :) ).
I got my pair for about £30 so to me this is a reasonable price. I have seen them for alot more in other shops so would advise shopping around to get a good deal.
I own two Birkenstocks and they are a great, comfortable, summer shoe. Birkenstocks have an ever growing range so be sure to have a look at what they offer, whether online or in the shops. I normally get the basic one strap Birkenstocks (like in the picture). They comfortably sit around my feet, as they almost look like they are moulded for your feet.
I would advise for you to try Birkenstocks on before you buy, even if you find a good deal online. Go to a shoe shop selling Birkenstocks just to try first, as myself and 1/2 of my friends buy a size down from normal size as they can be spacey.
If you don't already, it might be handy to carry a little foot cream or just general moisturiser as I feel sometimes the material of Birkenstocks can make parts of my feet slightly dry if I wear them for a long time (or maybe it's just my feet). Otherwise, these are a great summer shoe, or even just for doing quick errands. Like I said earlier, be sure to check out their range (probably best to do this online, as it'll have a wider selection) and if you can, have a try on first before buying. Whether you are buying them instore or not, it's best to get a feel for how they fit/look on your feet instead of just buying them without trying.
Birkenstocks are normally reasonably priced wherever you shop, so you shouldn't have to dish out loads for a pair.
To be honest, I am not really a shoe person, not in the sense that I need to have the latest Topshop heels, or the latest knock off's of some big name shoe designer, I am for comfort all the way, I virtually live in either my trainers or my Ugg boots, and so when I first read about Birkenstock's, namely the Madrid design which I shall be reviewing here, I knew I had found my summer footwear!
I guess you could class them in the same class of shoes as Scholl, all though I have never worn Scholl shoes, I know that they like Birkenstocks are designed totally with the welfare of your feet in mind, infact, your whole body, because the way you walk has a big affect on the rest of your body, mainly your posture, and this can have a big effect on your wellbeing. A short extract from Birkenstocks website -before I go on and explain my experience with the shoes- virtually explains almost everything you need to know in a nutshell:
"High quality materials and unique construction give durable comfort and long lasting good looks. The concept of Birkenstock is easily understood when one considers the design of our feet and the mechanics of walking.
Each contour in a Birkenstock footbed is precisely placed to stretch, flex and move naturally. Your feet benefit from free movement, constant exercise and improved circulation, resulting in long lasting comfort and better health."
They really are precision designed to cover every aspect of care for your feet, that's German engineering for you! I work with a German girl, and she too swears by them.
Sizing, now there's a thing, sizing isn't as straight forward as you might imagine. Do you need regular or narrow? There's an in depth part of the website which throughly explains how to decide which is for you. Also, in my experience, I've found the sizing can be quite strange, on the website it explains that if you are a size 5 for example (which I am) then you need to purchase a size 38, which when I first ordered I did, but they were way too big, my feet absolutely swam in them and they were way too wide for me (the regular or narrow thing again!), so after reading up on the web that alot of people found that they needed to buy a size smaller, this is what I did, I sent the size 5's back and got a size 4 (37 in European size), and they are a perfect fit on me.
Like all good shoes (Doc Marten's anyone?!) they need to be broken in, and be forewarned, they will feel very strange at first, if not a little bit uncomfortable, but bear with them, this is because you are probably not used to your feet, mainly your arches, being so supported. I once found that after an afternoon of walking round the city in them, it started to hurt under my toes, this is because of the toe gripper which helps promote the natural rolling movement of the foot. But once broken in, this will be fine.
As I'm on my feet all day at work, I'm thinking of getting a black pair to wear there, (I currently only have pink and silver pairs) as after a long day standing and walking around my feet and my lower back start to hurt, and with these I'm sure it would really help, they are really brilliant for people who are on their feet all day, I know from experience of wearing these out and about and when at home sometimes too. Also, because they support your feet so well and stop any rolling, they help to promote good posture which can be very beneficial health wise.
The Madrid design which I wear are a simple cork latex footbed with a simple wide leather strap across with an adjustable buckle, the cork footbed really moulds to the shape of your foot and when walking fits so snuggly and securely, that you'll have no fear of these shoes flying off! They average in price at about £25, which I think is an extremely reasonable price for footwear which is made with quality materials and is extremely well constructed, and that is built to last for years. I've seen people say they are as ugly as sin, but I think they couldn't be more wrong, I think for a pair of flip-floppy type shoes, you'd be hard pressed to get anything much more stylish, they are very versitile and go with anything from a pair of combats, to being paired with a skirt. They also have a very large range of colours and designs, I fancy the Tango Red Patent ones next!
These come highly recommended by me! Once broken in, these are one of the most comfiest pair of shoes you'll ever find.
This year I have treated myself to a pair of Birkenstocks. I have arthritis in my toes and have been worried about what shoes to wear in the summer. In the winter it is easy to hide them away in snug boots and I have found sandals and flip flops uncomfortable in the past.
A friend recommended these to me and they have been fab in the recent nice weather. They are wide fitting and the strap on the madrid style is fully adjustable which means that you can ensure they fit snugly.
The sole is very well made, I must confess that I have bought cheaper versions in the past and these have fallen to bits after a couple of wears. These are much more robust so in my opinion they are worth paying a bit more for. I would definitely try before you buy as I can't get to grips with the sizing I am normally a 6.5 and bought a 6 which are fine but my foot does seem to work its way forward if I walk around a bit so a 7 may have been a better purchase.
The one disadvantage for me is that they do make your foot look a bit bigger than a less built up flip flop so at first I felt a bit awkward in them. Also they aren't very elegant so if you prefer a more dainty sandal/shoe then these are probably not going to be your cup of tea. They are great to wear casually but may look a bit funny with a pretty summer dress.
All in all I would recommend them as they are very comfy.
The time is nearly here for us all to get our flip flops out and air our feet! For the past three years I have treated myself to a pair of Birkenstock sandals for the summer and my holidays, which I intend to do this year as well, it is a bit of a tradition. Needless to say I am about to give them a raving review.
The Birkenstock Company was founded in 1774 in Germany by a gentleman called Johann Adam Birkenstock, his shoemaking skills and trade were passed down his family and by 1896 his grandson, Konrad Birkenstock had two specialist footwear stores. This family run business developed into a registered trademark and in 1964 the first Birkenstock sandal that is so iconic and recognisable is created by Karl Birkenstock. The business has bloomed and become a multinational company across the globe; I think its history is very interesting, though I have only dabbled in it here.
I favour the traditional Birkenstock sandal personally and have always bought these. They are a very simple design known as the 'Madrid' sandal and one of Birkenstocks best selling styles. It is comprised of a single padded Birko Flor strap which is available in a variety of patterns and colours as well as other material options. This single strap design is what makes your Birkenstocks unique to you (apart from the thousands of others who have it obviously) there is such an array of fashions and designs available that you can stand out from the crowd or pick your favourite colour, even get numerous pairs to match certain outfits if you are feeling flush.
Some options for making your Birkenstock sandals strap unique to you include;
Leather - Red/Navy
Patent Leather - Black/Plum/Rose
Natural Leather - Olive/Indigo/Emerald
Pearl - Coral/Opal/Amethyst
Birko Flor - Red/Silver/Khaki/Gold
For my second pair of Birkenstocks I managed to find a pink leopard pattern available in Office which were amazing, unfortunately I totally wore them out and for the last summer have been wearing a patent purple pair. You are also able to choose whether the rubber sole of the shoe is white or black, this is obviously not possible in stores but you are able to select these options online on Birkenstocks website.
The sole is made out of cork and latex which is shaped as the sole of the foot, it sits with a raised inside middle area that supports your entire foot area relieving any pressure points from standing for a long period of time. This is known as a shock absorbing EVA sole. On first wear I found the sole shaping quite unusual and almost uncomfortable as my foot was not used to being supported in the centre. This uncomfortable feeling did not last long however and the more I walked in them the more I appreciated their shock absorbing technology.
I found these shoes ideal for my holidays where myself and my partner like to explore and go on long days out, I could literally live in these shoes over the summer months. They are very hard wearing and I have never had to throw a pair out because they have broken or lost their grip, it is primarily because I have worn them in rain, wind and sand consistently for months and they do not look or smell particularly nice. You can wear these sandals with anything; they are very versatile and do not look scruffy with a summer dress and go great with denim jeans and skirts alike.
Generally Birkenstock sandals cost between approximately £25 - £40 depending on the style and materials used. The Birkenstock website has a lot of designs in their sale section which always has a wide array of choice, I have not often seen them in the sale on the high street, but they are widely available in Schuh and Office etc. They are definitely worth investing in and do not go out of fashion thankfully!
Birkenstock footwear have been around for over 200 years and seem to increase in popularity every year - their long success and popularity proves just how excellent their shoes and sandals really are. They aren't the best looking shoes around, but they now offer such a range of styles, colours and patterns that there should be a design to suit everyone. The more modern patent, metallic and print finishes that are updated seasonally help to keep them somewhat fashionable, if you are conscious of that kind of thing. Long gone are the days when they used to only come in black or brown, and the basic two strap rather old fashioned design. The original design is what many people think of when they think of Birkenstock, which is quite off putting for young people today. I myself only ever saw this style when growing up, and thought they were so ugly and never expected myself to wear them, or indeed love them as much as I do today.
So what is it about them that people love? Well ultimately it's the comfort and support they offer, which is purely down to the footbed. Made of cork latex with a suede leather top, it moulds to the shape of your foot to provide a totally custom imprint which supports every part of your foot. There is a deep heel cup to hold your foot in place, and a toe gripper to encourage the natural gripping motion of your toes. The arch support means that the pressure is taken off the middle of your foot and moved to the ball of your foot - this prevents and aids flat-footedness. Because you naturally have to grip the footbed with your toes and your heel sits in the deep cup of the sole, even the single strap designs are easy to walk in as they stay with your foot, instead of flapping on the floor like flip flops do. As your foot is encouraged to work in the natural position it was intended to, it means the overall strain on your foot and ankle is reduced, improving your general posture and resulting in ultimate comfort!
I personally have quite wide feet with a high instep - they are the bane of my life quite frankly as I can never find "pretty" shoes or heels that fit. I had always tried to stuff them into poorly fitting shoes causing great discomfort and misery - that is until I discovered Birkenstock as they are today. I first started wearing them when pregnant with my daughter, as it was Summer and my already fat feet were swollen and none of my shoes would fit. My mother dug out a pair of Papillio Birkis from her wardrobe that she had bought but never worn and offered them to me. My god I had never experienced comfort like it!! It felt like I was walking on air, and from that moment onwards I was converted. Since then I have got some single strap "Madrid" Birkis in a pink pearlised finished in addition to my double strap Papillios, which are a bit more stylish! Be warned that Birkis come in two widths - narrow and regular (which is quite wide). The narrow ones have a solid footprint on the insole, whereas the regulars have just the outline of a footprint on the insole. I believe the Papillio designs (which are seasonal patterns) only come in the regular fitting.
The other thing people love about them is their durability - they last for absolutely ages and don't look tatty too quickly. I've had mine for two Summers so far and they look as good as new. My mother still has a pair that are over 10 years old!
I should point out that the comfort with Birkenstocks is not instant - as you have to wear them in to get the footbed moulded to your shape. The first couple of days wear can actually be rather uncomfortable until this happens as the sole is quite hard at first, and can put people off them thinking that they will always feel like that. Please be rest assured that once they've moulded to your foot it's comfort all the way, so totally worth persevering with! I suggest wearing them for a few hours a day indoors for a few days initially - don't go straight out in them for a day long shopping trip or you will be in pain afterwards!
These shoes really are the best things for the health and comfort of your feet, and I truly believe everyone should have at least one pair in their shoe collection - as my title says, if you respect your feet, buy a pair! I highly recommend them.
I absolutely love my 'Birks' and have now had about 3 pairs worn absolutely to death on our travels. The classic style as pictured at the top of this review is the Birkenstock Madrid and this is the classic, popular and most recognized style which Birkenstock produce. A testament to the popularity of these shoes is how many copycat designs you will find on the high street these days, but for comfort and quality they have to be real Birkenstocks.
Birkenstock is a German brand of footwear which is famous for it's unique and comfortable footbed of cork and rubber combined. This sole moulds to the wearers foot in such a way as to support your individual foot shape and arches. This means that buying a secondhand pair of Birks is really not a good idea as they will no doubt be moulded to someone elses footshape!
In any event, Birkenstocks are not that expensive to buy and some great deals can be found if you shop around. A standard pair of Madrid's (which every girl should have at least one pair of in her wardrobe) can be picked up for between £20-30 depending on the time of year and whether you search for special offers. Amazon have a great many pairs and they are available in pretty much every colour of the rainbow - sometimes it is the more unique colours which cost more. It is also worth checking TK Maxx who frequently have pairs in stock at less than the £20 mark.
I first discovered Birkenstocks about 10 years ago and bought a pair for travelling in, I have particularly sensitive feet and wearing any shoes without socks can cause me rashes, reactions and 99% of the time blisters like you wouldn't believe. However, because Birkenstocks mould to your feet and are soft leather under the strap I had no such problems and wore them until they pretty much lost all grip on the bottom. I have had two pairs since then, a pink pair and a lime green pair, the latter of which are just about broken in and the former are on the verge of being retired.
The fact that I have worn out a couple of pairs is not a criticism to them, I should point out that when we travel (which is a lot) we do absolutely tons of walking so these sandals get quite extreme bursts of wear. Add to this that they pretty much go with anything and get frequent day to day wear in the summer at home (and at work and socially) and they do last very well. There are no issues with the footbed coming away from the straps, it is usually only the wear on the bottom of the soles which render them retired for me.
Fab, bespoke fitting, colourful, comfy and affordable, I would not be without my Birkenstocks - an added bonus is that they are lightweight and take up minimal suitcase room, this makes them even more indespensible on my travels.
The award-winning shoes designer, Birkenstock, aims to make shoes with respect to nature, using modern technologies that are eco-friendly, comfortable and a pleasure to wear. With styles ranging from slip ons, to clogs, and even a 'vegan' range of non-leather footwear, Bikenstock have your footwear solutions covered.