As you know, I love travelling but you can’t go very far if you don’t have the right shoes and your feet are hurting.
I discovered my favorite travel shoe thanks to one of my best friends who lives in Cannes; south of France. The weather is always nice and warm there so she had a great experience with long lasting sandals. She recommended the German brand Birkenstock!
I had heard of the brand of course but didn’t know much about it at the time. this company started way back in 1774! But the Birkenstock sandal we now know was crafted by Konrad Birkenstock in 1897, and the Birkenstock family has been making comfortable walking shoes ever since.a
Now they might not be the flashiest or girliest shoe out there but let me tell you they are the best walking shoes ever! You feel as if you were walking on a cloud and best of all they are very enduring and long lasting. I discovered them ten years ago and I just had to purchase a new pair this year during the semi annual sale!
So I thought I’d take the opportunity to post a little review as well as a wear and tear blog post.
I purchased the Arizona sandal in black patent because come on I’m still a girly girl and practicality has only so much sway!
The Arizona sandal has adjustable double straps for extra comfort and features :
- 1 1/4″ heel; 3/4″ platform (size 39 US size 8).
- Repairable and replaceable soles, footbeds, liners and buckles.
- Contoured footbed with arch support.
- Synthetic upper/suede lining/EVA sole.
If you’ve never tried Birkenstocks on before you’re in for a surprise, and they do take a little getting used to. Every Birkenstock features a deep heel cup that promotes correct weight distribution and foot alignment. If you’re like me and are always wearing heels, having your heel lower than the front of your foot is an unusual feeling. But after awhile you become acquainted with the feeling and can enjoy the comfort. The raised toe bar is designed to encourage the natural gripping motion of your feet, exercising your legs and aiding circulation.
The sandals feature a contoured footbed that adapts to the unique shape of your foot.Each contour in the footbed is precisely placed to stretch, flex and move naturally with your foot, ensuring health benefits including better circulation. I find this claim to be very true. At first I thought that because my heel was lower than my toes, the curve under the arch of the foot felt a little high, but eventually the leather sole just molded to my foot shape creating a custom footbed.
Another aspect of the shoe I needed to get used to, is that Birkenstock footwear is designed and sized to provide a roomy fit allowing your toes and feet to wiggle and be free. I’m used to having shoes that strap down to my feet, so the loose feeling made me feel as if the shoe would come off. This actually is only a feeling as the shoe is very secure. Also, most Birkenstock styles come in two widths: narrow and regular, so you can really find the best possible fit for your feet. For the most natural fit, your feet should rest comfortably inside the footbed and there should be about ¼” between your toes and the end of the footbed. I find that you can size a half a size down.
Finally, the flexible EVA outsole offers lightweight, shock absorbing support with lasting durability. The soft footbed has a foam layer inserted between the cork layer and the suede liner of the original Birkenstock footbed. Millions of microscopic air bubbles cushion your feet while providing moderate arch support.When you walk around for the whole day, let’s say for whole weeks at a time when travelling, a lightweight, shock absorbing shoe is really important.
Weight: 11 oz ; Product measurements were taken using size 39 (US Men’s 6-6.5, US Women’s 8-8.5), width Narrow. measurements may vary by size.
These shoes have been all over the world with me on my wanders and saved me from blisters and other such annoyances. They have more than proven to stand the test of time!
I’m incredibly impressed by the wear and tear that only really started to show a year ago. First the patent became a little less shiny but I did not baby these shoes at all. It started happening in 2011 on my trip to Africa where I used extra strength anti mosquito spray! The stuff was so strong it actually melted some of the patent right off!
Then a crack appeared on the inner leather sole of my right foot. I don’t know how many miles these shoes have taken but a whole damn lot!
And finally the reason I’m replacing these tired babies is that the inner leather sole on the left shoe has started to separate itself from the outer rubber sole. This started to happen on my week stay in Lisbon Portugal, that I’ve blogged about.
For 10 years, these shoes have to been all around the world with me on my travels.
- USA : New York, Las Vegas, Zion Park, LA
- France : Mont Saint Michel, Paris, Marseille, Lille
- Portugal : Lisbon, Sintra
- Japan : Tokyo, Sapporo, Fukuoka, Myajima, Hiroshima, Kyoto, Nara, Osaka
- Africa: Burkina Faso
- UK : London, Edinburgh, Dublin
- Turkey : Istanbul
- Sultanate of Oman : Muscat
- Belgium : Tournai
- Georgia : Tbilissi
- Italy : Rome, Naples, Capri
- Romania : Bucharest
These shoes are so comfy I just had to repurchase the same style, but I got them with a slight difference, a color block detail : white buckles on black patent.
I took advantage of the semi annual summer sale to purchase theses babies at a reduced price of at least 50% of the regular retail price. I got them off a flash sale site that you might know if you’re from France : showroomprive.com
Here is a link if you want to check it out : Showroomprive. But you can of course get them at the Nordstrom Anniversary sale too! You have a huge variation of color schemes to go through from classic solid colors to fun prints and fluorescent brights.
They are so comfy when you first put them on it’s hard to believe they’ll get even more comfortable as you wear them and the sole conforms to your foot.
My Sizzing tips :
As a starting point, add 31 to women’s US size and add 33 to men’s US sizing to determine Birkenstock size.
Before trying them on, flex the footbed. This will help them feel comfy sooner.
STEP IN & ADJUST STRAPS
Open all straps and step into the footbed. Close the straps comfortably, leaving enough space to allow feet freedom of movement.
TAKE A WALK
If your feet can move freely and they do not hit the footbed edge, the size and width are correct.
Limit the first 5 or 6 wearing to just a few hours. This allows your feet and body to gradually get used to the support, straps and buckles.
I can’t wait to see what new adventures these shoes will take me on ! Where will I go next?
What are your favorite hiking, walking shoes? And let me know in the comments where they have taken you!
I’d love to chat with you on :