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kfeusse

Birkenstock sandals....why are these so popular?

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I was wondering why people say these are so great.  I have never owned a pair of these sandals, but I am super curious.  Also, is there a "cheaper" brand that is reasonably as good as the real thing....just so I can test out whether or not I would like these?  

thanks...

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My mom loves them. She finds them super comfortable after years of wearing high heels hurt her feet.

 I find them slippery and hard to walk in. Though I do like Altra sneakers with a similar “natural foot shape”.

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For trying out in store, check out REI, The Walking Company, Footwear, Nordstrom Rack. 

I don’t like the Birkenstock sandals as they aren’t as comfy for my feet as I need sandals with heel grip and slightly higher heels.  

I do like the Birkenstock shoes. I like the insoles and the wider toe bed. I have these

Duma loafers (brown) https://www.amazon.com/Birkenstock-Duma-Shoe-Womens/dp/B0100NJ4WQ

London clog (brown) https://www.birkenstock.com/us/london-oiled-leather/london-heritage-oiledleather-0-eva-u.html?dwvar_london-heritage-oiledleather-0-eva-u_color=5326

Myra sneakers (navy) https://www.amazon.com/Birkenstock-1011042-1-40-0-Womens-Myra-Sneaker/dp/B07GQ4QX4N?th=1&psc=1

 

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It's the footbed for me and how it keeps my spine and hips aligned. This is a very individual thing though and many may not find them any different than any number of other shoes or sandals.

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The footbed is perfect for my feet. I've had plantar fasciitis twice (once in each foot, 5 years apart), and Birkenstocks were the most comfortable shoe I could wear. It has an arch where my foot arches, and they're just shaped right for my feet. I get the soft footbed model, Arizona style.

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They are the only shoes I can wear all day and not be in pain at the end of it. When I first bought them and tried them on, I thought I would hate them but after a few weeks I was hooked. 

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That’s funny, I was thinking that I don’t see them much anymore. I figured it was because for years, they were the only well-known brand with a wider more natural footbed. Now there are others and you don’t have to have a local “crunchier” shoe store to get them since there is online shopping.

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Because hippies.

Honestly, thirty years ago or more, they were one of the few shoes that did what they do - tried to form to your body, lessen how much pain you had, etc. I think they're pricey because name brand, but also quality. They really do last for a long time if you do the thing where you reseal the cork around the edges.

There are lots of knockoff brands now. Dh has a knockoff. But I don't know what the brand is. If you just look on Amazon, I'm sure you'll see some...

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They were specifically recommend by my podiatrist. I am developing a bunion (thanks, mom) and she recommended Birkenstocks, Keens, and New Balance sneakers.

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I love mine. They make my feet happy. I had a pair - probably lasted 7-8 years, and I might still be wearing them, but I left them on the back porch one night, and one shoe disappeared. Neighbor dog? Coyote? Who knows? I bought a second pair, and I got the cork footbed this time. I'm almost glad that shoe disappeared so I could order these because they are even better!

These are one of two pairs of sandals I live in during the summer. They helped my plantar fasciitis. I'm not buying a cheaper one. IME, cheaper is rarely better. Besides, these last at least 7-8 summers, so spreading the cost over 8 summers = $15/summer. That sounds like a bargain to me!

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nm

Edited by ```

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My dad has been wearing them forever. He uses them as slippers, too. (My dad is only barefoot in the shower and in bed. Really! If his feet are on the floor he has on shoes.) My sisters and nieces wear them, too. 

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They give you really good support for standing or walking.  My dh got a pair of upscale knockoffs (if that makes sense) at 2x the price and doesn't like them as well.  His Birks lasted him well over 25 years.   I can't wear them because my first three toes are the same length and the not-big-toes hang off the end as the "cutaway" happens too soon.  But I still have a pair I got years ago that I use for slippers. 

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the main reason I want to consider a knockoff shoe is to see if I really like the style...as I have never worn a shoe like that before...because I wasn't "brave" enough to try it. 

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2 hours ago, Noreen Claire said:

They were specifically recommend by my podiatrist. I am developing a bunion (thanks, mom) and she recommended Birkenstocks, Keens, and New Balance sneakers.

Have you worn all three, and if so can you compare them? I've tried on SO many different brands and styles of shoes in the past five years and cannot seem to find anything that works for me except New Balance and Keen — literally ALL of my shoes and sandals are those two brands. It never occurred to me to try Birks (and I had no idea they made shoes as well as sandals), so if those three brands all fit the same type of foot well, then I will definitely try them out.

Edited by Corraleno

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9 minutes ago, kfeusse said:

the main reason I want to consider a knockoff shoe is to see if I really like the style...as I have never worn a shoe like that before...because I wasn't "brave" enough to try it. 

 

I know my daughter (22yo) tried a knock off recently. They are "in style" this summer, I guess. They seriously hurt her heel, and she does not have problem feet at all. Although the knock off looks the same, I don't believe it has a real cork footbed. That is what you are wanting with the Birkenstocks is the cork. It molds to your foot over a few weeks time. That is why they are not always so comfortable at first. It really takes time. They used to have a less expensive line of shoes that had the footbed but the tops were vinyl instead of leather. Not sure if that is still available.

 

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14 minutes ago, Corraleno said:

Have you worn all three, and if so can you compare them? 

 

I can only compare the shoes as I only have Keens sandals for hiking and beach.

In terms of shoes, the toe bed is the most pointed for NB running shoes, followed by Keens hiking shoes/boots, followed by Birkenstock walking shoes. 

I like ankle support and for that Keens hiking boots win over Birkenstock booties. 

For running or gym/jumping, the NB shoes are the most lightweight and shock absorbing (heel) of the three. 

I wear Youth 4 or 5, Women 5 or 6. 

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I wear the "regular" width in Birkenstocks.  The narrow is too narrow for my forefoot.  I have not seen knockoff Birks in anything but narrow width.  Something to keep in mind if knockoffs don't fit your foot correctly.

Try on different models in-store.  You may find that some fit better than others due to arch height, etc.  For me, Florida and Milano fit great, but the Granada straps are in the wrong place for my foot and are very uncomfortable.

Edited by TrixieB

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I can't wear shoes that don't have something around the back of my heel, I just kick them off when I take a step!

Personally, I love Keens and although they are expensive, I just replaced my first pair that lasted me ten years of spring-summer-fall daily wear.  I literally wore through the soles, the uppers are still fine.  lol.

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my mother swore by them.  even fit the northwest stereotype of wearing them with white socks.  I thought they were really ugly.  I have no clue about any knock offs.  I've never wanted to wear them.  I adore my danskos and abeos. (the puppy chewed on one of my favorite summer walking sandals.  I'm sad.)

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I reallyl don’t think any cheaper knock offs have remotely the same support.   I wear other shoe brands now but they are all expensive.  For a couple years I had a pair of Birkenstock’s loafers and sandals that were my favorite.   Though they had a different look than most birks..  Sometimes you can find end of season deals.   But there are brands I’ve found with similar support and comfort with different styles.   My favorite brand right now is Alegeria 

Anyway I speculate maybe more high support brands are available so you see less birks around.   I do still see them.  We have a shoe store locally that specializes in high quality shoes, orthotics fittings, etc.   maybe you have something local.   This is ours.

 https://www.schulershoes.com/

Edited by FuzzyCatz

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11 hours ago, Noreen Claire said:

They were specifically recommend by my podiatrist. I am developing a bunion (thanks, mom) and she recommended Birkenstocks, Keens, and New Balance sneakers.

I have a bunion and 90% of my shoes are Keens. They’re great!

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5 hours ago, Monica_in_Switzerland said:

Personally, I love Keens and although they are expensive, I just replaced my first pair that lasted me ten years of spring-summer-fall daily wear.  I literally wore through the soles, the uppers are still fine.  lol.

I love Keens, since they are the only shoes that don't make my feet hurt, but sadly haven't made the experience that they are long lasting.

I have the sandals and the hiking shoes. The sole on the hiking shoes starts disintegrating, with chunks ripping off, after 2-3 years. The first pair of sandals lasted maybe 4 years, then the sole was worn through; on my second pair, the stitching on the straps has started coming apart within the first year.

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I like them for nostalgia reasons. They were popular when I was in high school and now they are back. I’ve been wearing my current pair for a couple of years, I reseal the cork every 6 months or so.

I have had a couple knock-offs (Sofft brand) and have not found them as comfortable but I am very picky about the fit of my shoes.

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13 hours ago, Corraleno said:

Have you worn all three, and if so can you compare them? I've tried on SO many different brands and styles of shoes in the past five years and cannot seem to find anything that works for me except New Balance and Keen — literally ALL of my shoes and sandals are those two brands. It never occurred to me to try Birks (and I had no idea they made shoes as well as sandals), so if those three brands all fit the same type of foot well, then I will definitely try them out.

I ONLY own Birkenstock sandals, Keen walking shoes, and New Balance sneakers. They all fit great. (I also have some random, no-name heels that I rarely wear and are very uncomfortable because of arch placement.)

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They were recommended for flat feet, so I had to switch from Crocs, which I wore around the house, to Birkenstocks. I do have less pain. Unfortunately I bought a size too big so I wear them in the house, not outside. I could get a size smaller and wear them out, but I rarely see anyone wearing them now that it would look weird. 

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15 hours ago, kap728 said:

I have a bunion and 90% of my shoes are Keens. They’re great!


Have y'll looked into the 5-toed shoes?    I went from bunion, and almost-bunion, to amazingly straight toes by staying barefoot at home, and wearing the 5-toed shoes when I need a thick sole.  Now I wear other shoes, but during the recovery period I stuck with those whenever I could.  Obviously not funerals, etc.   My little toes also went from "on vacation" as my foot doc told me, to touching the ground.   Before they would stick up in the air and never touched the ground.  Now at work, I wear these cheap shoes from Amazon that are shaped so that the big tow can be straight without looking weird.  

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I got a *really* cheap knock off pair at Ardene's thinking I would just wear them getting in and out of the public pool, but I really like them. I would want the real deal to hike the Great Wall, lol, but perfect for schlepping around the local grocery store

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Out shopping and found three different designs at three different price points.

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A friend of mine just told me that after she has worn her birks for a day, wearing other shoes (even ones that were previously comfortable) hurt her feet.  Is that normal? Because I have a lot of shoes I love and wear with no problem...I don't want to be "stuck" with just this one pair because my feet my hurt otherwise.

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@kfeusse I don't think that is specifically a birk thing.  I think that's just wearing a high quality shoe with support thing.  There is a HUGE difference in my ability to comfortably walk all day and not have sore feet with the nicer shoes.  I've also had plantar fascitis at points and cheaper shoes definitely aggravate it.  I think when you wear shoes with better support, you may not have realized before how much your other shoes aren't actually working for you.  I've slowly migrated to better quality shoes over the last few years and it's been a huge difference for me.  

Anyway - don't know if that would signal avoid or not!

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