When I was in college in the 1990s, Birkenstocks were popular with a bunch of my hippie friends. I was curious about why, since at the time, the shoes weren’t all that attractive. “They’re sooooo comfortable!” was always the response — yet I couldn’t bring myself to buy such an ugly pair of shoes.
Fast forward to now. Birkenstocks are much more stylish than ever before, and so I finally got around to giving them a try. I’m glad I did. My friends were right; they are unbelievably comfortable. Additionally, they’ve turned out to be durable as well. I really put mine to the test, and they passed.
The Test: Miles and Miles Worth of Walking in My Birkenstocks
I’m both an environmentalist and a liveaboard cruising sailor. That means, among other things, that I don’t have a car. I walk just about everywhere. When I need groceries, I walk to the store to get them. When I want to sightsee, I take off on foot. When I need to get somewhere, if I can’t sail, paddle or walk there, most of the time, I won’t go.
All this to say that my Birkenstocks have taken a serious beating. Ever since I bought my Birkenstock sandals, they’ve been the only shoes I’ve worn.
I typically walk daily. At least twice a week, I walk 12 kilometers / about 6 miles to the local health food store. I walk to friends’ houses, language classes and all kinds of other places.
The Lifespan of a Pair of Birkentsocks
The photo above was taken when the shoes were in brand new condition. I had just bought them.
I’m writing this review close to one year later. At this point in time, my Birkenstocks are nearing the end of their lifespan. The sole at the back of the heel on the right shoe is wearing out, and I’ve broken the cork footbeds on both shoes. I’m still wearing them around, and they are still comfortable, but I’m getting pretty close to retiring them.
I did just discover that Birkenstock does shoe repairs, which could possibly be an option for mine. However, it’s possible that the cost of shipping may be prohibitively high. I’ll be checking on that shortly.
Answering 7 Frequently Asked Questions About Birkenstocks
Are Birkenstocks Back in Style?
Birkenstocks have always had a loyal following since they were first introduced in 1774. At times in fashion history, they’ve been more popular than other times — but they’ve never truly become outdated.
These days, the Birkenstock brand has practically reinvented itself, offering styles that are trendier and more fashionable than ever before.
Are Birkenstocks Comfortable?
Yes, absolutely. Comfort is the main selling point for Birkenstocks.
Are Birkenstocks Vegan?
Some models of Birkenstocks are vegan, and some are not. Typically, the footbed of a Birkenstock is made of cork, latex and jute, all of which are vegan materials. Generally, it’s the upper that might not be vegan. Some Birkenstocks have leather uppers, which vegans would want to avoid. However, there are plenty of other fabrications available.
Are Birkenstocks Made of Leather?
Some Birkenstocks have leather uppers, and some do not. It depends which model you’re considering.
Are Birkenstocks Worth the Money?
Are Birkenstocks Good for Arch Support?
Are Birkenstocks Good for Your Feet?
More Details About Birkenstocks:
- Genuine Birkenstocks are made in Germany.
- Absolutely do not buy Birkenstocks on Ali Express, unless you want cheap Chinese knockoffs that give you blisters and then fall apart shortly afterward.
Genuine Birkenstocks are a worthwhile purchase, scoring high on all the major important points: style, quality, value and comfort. I highly recommend them. To avoid disappointment, beware of knockoffs, and only buy from authorized retailers.
Note: I was not paid to write this review, and I paid more than full retail price for my pair of Birkenstocks (because I bought them in a country where high markup is typical.) I have no association or affiliation with Birkenstock. I do consider myself to have expertise on the topic of sandals and shoes, having worked at two different shoe stores in the past. This review reflects my totally honest and unbiased opinion.