Birkenstock shoes- a winter tale

I’m reviewing shoes again, and although you may marvel at my uniquely ugly feet, I must tell you that I am not accepting foot modelling gigs at this time. 😉

My friends at Fitness Footwear have some sort of probe in my brain, I’m sure of it; last summer, I tried on Birkenstocks at a shoe shop in London. They didn’t have a size in stock that seemed to fit me and so I left without having to remember my PIN number. “Hey Dixon”, says the Fitness Footwear mind master, “it’s the coldest winter in ages- wanna try some Birkenstocks?”
OK, that’s not exactly how it was worded, but I’m all like, “Yeah! Snow be damned, send me thy sandals!” Or something like that.

Given that even my EMUs weren’t coping with keeping my feet warm, I thought sure I’d freeze to death in Birkenstocks, so I went super-hippy and adjusted the straps to accommodate giant wooly socks. To my surprise and delight, the socks plus sandals kept my feet warmer than the EMU boots. I can’t explain it, but I wore this combo around for days. It was excellent.

Fast-forward to today and I now remember why I didn’t like an old knock-off brand of similar sandals years ago…

I adjusted the Birkenstock straps back to a snugger fit for sans-sock wear and still feel like I’m swimming in the sandals. I don’t have petite feet, in fact I wore boys trainers as a child because my feet went wide before most little girl feet should, but these still slip around and I haven’t even totally broken them in, and so this makes me walk in a tense, grippy way. I am sure that as the leather loosens up, unfortunately so will the fit. Also, the upturned edge at the toes bugs me something terrible; the lip hooks my toenails randomly when I walk. This likely happens due to how roomy the sandals are and is rather uncomfortable. It doesn’t occur with socks on, and to continue wearing the Birkenstock Arizona sandals, I’ll need socks always.

The good parts? Very well constructed. The company has been making shoes since 1774 and so they’ve got the manufacturing thing down by now. The cork-latex footbed is moulded to fit the contours of the foot and has a little toe ‘lumbar’ area which keeps your feet in a home position and feels supportive and good. They say to order Birkenstocks a size smaller than you normally wear and I agree totally. I did and the smaller footbed fits like a dream.

So really, if the straps could be further adjusted (without me resorting to a leather punch) and the lip of cork in front of the toes could be shorter or not there at all, I think I could almost live in these Birkenstock shoes, even in winter.

Birkenstock Arizona sandals provided for the purpose of review by
I have not been paid otherwise.