Often known as “those funny-looking sandals,” Birkenstock sandals have amassed a loyal following. Are you one of them? After many years of NOT liking them, I have finally picked up a pair and am sharing my review of Birkenstock sandals.
The History of Birkenstock Sandals
Birkenstocks have quite a history, dating back way before they became popular in the US. The Birkenstock brand traces its roots to Johann Adam Birkenstock in 1774. He was a shoemaker in local church archives in the small Hessian village of Langen-Bergheim. His descendants continued in the shoe business and began to make insoles with flexible soles for custom shoes. Then in 1964, Karl Birkenstock developed these inserts into a shoe — thus producing the original prototype of the Birkenstock sandal.
How cool is that?!
Birkenstocks as Fashion
In 1966, Margot Fraser first brought Birkenstocks to America. As the story goes, she was a California dressmaker who returned to Germany where she discovered these sandals. She loved the comfort the shoes gave her and brought them back to the US. They weren’t very well received and ended up being sold in health food stores. Hence, their connection to the Hippies in the 1970s!
The Arizona style, that I’m reviewing today, made its appearance in 1973.
Margo Fraser founded the company, Birkenstock Footprint Sandals, renamed Birkenstock Distribution USA, Inc. that remained the exclusive importer and distributor of Birkenstock name-brand products in the United States until 2007.
In 1986 Nordstrom became the first department store to sell Birkenstock sandals. Isn’t that interesting? (However, they do not have any included in this year’s anniversary sale!)
Kate Moss made Birkenstocks popular in fashion in the 1990s, followed by Gwyneth Paltrow, who was spotted wearing the Birks in the early 2000s.
Then, in 2012, “Furkenstocks,” Birks lined with mink, appeared on the runway in Paris, and In 2019 Valentino collaborated with Birkenstock to create their own version of the sandal featured at Men’s Paris Fashion Week. Their place in fashion history is firmly in place!
They picked up in popularity during the Pandemic. Like sweats and loungewear, comfort in shoes was equally important and Birkenstocks are well known for being comfortable!
And now, for my review …
My Review of Birkenstock Sandals
Having short feet, currently a Size 6 but a 5 until my mid-20s. (How does THAT happen, anyway?!), this style just never looked good on me. Over the years, as the popularity of Birks ebbed and flowed, I would try them on. I just couldn’t get the fit right and they made my feet look like square blocks! Lol!
However, I’ve been seeing them all over the place, and particularly on a blogger that I follow: Cheryl of Cheryl Shops. She styles them with everything and they always look just right!
So, after shopping around, I finally found a pair to try. And here’s the beauty of it–they even come in narrow! This has made all the difference in fitting this style on my feet. My feet are actually a medium width, and the description for narrow is “narrow to medium.”
Features of Birkenstocks
The size chart shows me in a European Size 37, but I ordered them in 36 which always fits me. I ordered the Soft Footbed version in taupe suede.
In case you haven’t tried a pair, here are the details for these Arizona suede sandals:
- Soft cushioned footbed
- Arch support
- Leather upper
- Leather lining and sock
- Flexible Sole
- Adjustable suede straps
- Available in Narrow and Regular
The result? Ta-da! The fit is perfect! Birkenstocks feel great and I think they look pretty cool. They are perfect for my current more casual lifestyle for sure.
I hope my review of Birkenstock sandals convinces you to give them a try. If you haven’t already! How would YOU style them?