There was a pretty good discussion recently (in our FB Insiders Group) about all of the new Birkenstock styles. Since Birkenstocks also happen to be my footwear of choice at home (well…when it’s not freezing outside because, then, slippers)…I figured that a bit of research was in order.
Birkenstocks: Which Sandal Is Just Right For Now?
So I ordered several pairs of new Birks (especially those exciting new ‘Big Buckle’ styles) and voila. Here we go.
Birkenstock Madrid Big Buckle Slide Sandal
These were the slides I was the most excited about. They are really cute on, but not…perfect. Like traditional Birkenstocks, they’ll need to be broken in a bit. And because the slide part covers the top of your foot on a slight angle, you can’t take a big stride in them without accidentally kicking them off of your feet (this is also true of regular Birkenstocks, but even more true with this pair.)
I also found that I couldn’t tighten the straps as much as I do with my typical Birkenstocks, because the buckle is so big that it dug into the top of my foot when walking. When I loosened the straps to a ‘normal’ setting rather than a ‘tight’ setting, this feeling went away. But that meant that you are very definitely walking in slides, not normal sandals.
Truth be told, wearing these is very much like wearing a really supportive mule slide. Most of my other mules have a perfectly flat bottom (and a very dainty sort of vibe)…these Birks do manage to capture that dainty feeling, but with a super-supportive bottom. Just don’t expect to stride around in any mule (S reminds herself), Birks included.
That said, the yellow suede was softer than the pretty tan (but only by a little bit).
Birkenstock Siena Big Buckle Slide Sandal
Know what we’re not going to do? We’re not going to look too closely at my…”pedicure,” K? K.
Anyway, these slide sandals are actually much more comfortable than the Madrid slides above…you are just limited to soft metallic colors. Still, so pretty, so comfortable.
Birkenstock Big Buckle Arizona Sandals
Classic Birks also get a fun upgrade with that big buckle. The buckle does upgrade the look nicely, and I suspect that Birks leaned in on that ‘almost fancy’ vibe, because the buckles come in either a soft brushed silver, or a pretty bright gold.
The suede (pink) is much more comfortable than the oiled leather (brown)…and even the footbed is different. The oiled leather will likely end up soft and gorgeous after a long break-in period (it’s hard to tell from the photos, but it’s the most gorgeous, almost perfectly worn-in brown)…but I don’t think I could stand it.
If you’re dying for a pretty brown…this sandal does also come in a ‘brandy nubuck’ leather, which is the exact same color/leather as the brown Madrid Big Buckle slides I featured at the top.
Birkenstock Arizona Platform Sandal
So…these are fun. They definitely give me some much-appreciated height, they’re as comfy as regular Birkenstocks, and they have a cool, chunky vibe I love.
The only problem? The white also gives off slight orthopedic vibes. But there’s something about them that made my heart skip a beat. Just a little. Hmmm…
ps. These also come in black, rose gold, and silver. There’s also a verrrry similar pair called Birkenstock Chunky that comes in black, white….or polka dot. Whoa.
Birkenstock EVA Arizona Sandals
People have been raving about Birk’s EVA sandals (waterproof and washable) for years. I had never actually tried them, so I threw ’em in this order. They are — and I don’t say this lightly — THE most comfortable Birks I’ve ever put on my feet. They are SO impossibly light…it literally feels like wearing Styrofoam sandals.
But, ya know, Styrofoam sandals that don’t squeak or crack. They’re just light and cushy and shockingly good.
NOTE: Nordstrom and Zappos both have all of the fun colors…but Dick’s Sports is the only one who seems to have this coppery brown EVA Birk. In hindsight, I should’ve ordered that one. That color might be my top pick.
Birkenstock Yao Sandal
These were my least favorite of the bunch. The angle of the straps across the top of my foot was uncomfortable when walking, but even more so than the Madrid slides. Based on the large amount of glowing reviews, though…it might just be me. (And I’ll admit that the leather straps are soft and pliable — not sure why I had so much trouble with this style.)
On the upside, they’re really cute, and not nearly as bulky visually as traditional Birks.
NOTE: One detail I didn’t notice (until AFTER I placed the order) is that the white pair has a rose gold buckle. Niiiiice.
But What About Birkenstock’s Soft Footbed?
Sooo…none of these new styles have the Birkenstock soft footbed. Traditional Birkenstock bottoms like the ones above and — if you’re a ’90s girl — like the ones we wore in high school, are super-supportive, but must be broken in. Over time, they’ll mold perfectly to the shape of your foot. It’s great. Eventually.
Relatively recently (since the ’90s haha), Birks came out with a soft footbed in limited styles. This footbed is soft and immediately comfortable — it doesn’t need to be broken in.
I have such a pair…and they’re great. Really soft and comfortable, even years after purchase. (Don’t be fooled by the ‘Birko-Flor’ footbed. It’s not the super-soft one I’m talking about.)
So. If you are a baby (like I am) about breaking in shoes…here are a few of the soft footbed styles that caught my eye.
Well…shoot. Now I can’t decide. I love the Madrid slides in that light tan…but I’m tempted to order the coppery EVA waterproof Birks. That ridiculous white platform makes me happy…or maybe I should just stick with what I KNOW works, and get a fresh color in the soft footbed styles (that pretty earth red (or the taupe) are both calling my name). GRRRRR.
On the upside, my Birks have been saving me at home all day. I can literally stand for hours in them — happily. So I guess I can’t go wrong here, but still.