Try-On Sesh: Birkenstocks (The Latest Styles)

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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

Find them: Nordstrom | Zappos | Free People

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.

Duh.

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).

Find them: Nordstrom | Zappos | Free People


Birkenstock Siena Big Buckle Slide Sandal

Birkenstocks happen to be our footwear of choice at home. So we're trying all the cute new sandals — Arizona, Yao, EVA + platform & big buckle. See 'em here.

Find them: Nordstrom | Zappos | Free People

Know what we’re not going to do? We’re not going to look too closely at my…”pedicure,” K? K.

Desperate times.

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.

Find them: Nordstrom | Zappos | Free People


Birkenstock Big Buckle Arizona Sandals

Find them: Nordstrom | Zappos | Free People

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.

Find them: Nordstrom | Zappos | Free People


Birkenstock Arizona Platform Sandal

Birkenstocks happen to be our footwear of choice at home. So we're trying all the cute new sandals — Arizona, Yao, EVA + platform & big buckle. See 'em here.

Find them: Zappos | Nordstrom | Free People (black or white) | Free People (metallics)

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.

Find them: Zappos | Nordstrom | Free People (black or white) | Free People (metallics)


Birkenstock EVA Arizona Sandals

Birkenstocks happen to be our footwear of choice at home. So we're trying all the cute new sandals — Arizona, Yao, EVA + platform & big buckle. See 'em here.

Find them: Nordstrom | Zappos | Free People

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.

Find them: Nordstrom | Zappos | Free People


Birkenstock Yao Sandal

Find them: Nordstrom | Zappos | Free People

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.

Find them: Nordstrom | Zappos | Free People


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.

Thoughts????

xo,

S

41 COMMENTS

  1. I have the Big Buckle Arizonas in brown–can confirm they do break in nicely. I get a ton of compliments. I call them my “formal” birks 🙂

    • Haha – I LOVE that. I ended up keeping the big buckle madrid slides (in the tan) and wore them to the grocery store yesterday. Not only did they break in pretty fast, but…”formal birks” is THE best description.

  2. Well I just purchased a pair of the EVA Birks after reading this. I’ve been wondering about them and needed this justification/validation so thank you.

  3. I’ve never owned a pair of birks and back in March I asked my husband for a pair for my birthday.  He got me the Siena Hex Slide in black and they are beautiful.  Unfortunately, I had to send them back because they had this terrible suction that caused them to make farting noises.  That can’t be normal with Birks, can it?  For $140 I want a shoe that doesn’t make flatulence noises…just saying.

  4. I have been thinking about trying these. I am a size 9.5 should I stay with 9.0-9.5 to break in properly or go to 10.0-10.5

  5. I find that the footbeds of the oiled leather ones harder and/or need more breaking in time too. Not sure because I reach for them less for that reason. All the new colors and buckles are so enticing…sorry, I am no help in making any final decisions.

  6. Oh this is great timing! Those yellow and pink birks completely lifted my spirits. Can’t wait for warmer weather and I’m ordering up some big buckles. Thank you Shana–as always, you look fabulous!

  7. After walking around my tile floored house for the last month barefoot, my feet are starting to hurt. Two days ago I started wearing my UGG slippers, but they’re not giving me the best support. I think I need to invest in a new pair of Birks that are strictly for inside. (We’re a shoes off kind of house.) thanks for helping me narrow down the choices. Original soft bed Birks are my favorite and do take a super long time to break in…so worth it though. I’m still breaking in a pair of rose gold beauties from last summer.

  8. Aah!!! The big buckle Madrids are so cute! I think the pink ones are in my future. And the white platforms look so much cuter on you than I expected them to!

  9. Have you looked into any of the 1774 styles? They are amazing. Bold colors in a fully leather covered footbed. I got the red Valentinos and I have never loved a shoe more.

  10. I have the Gizeh birks in black and they are wonderfully broken in. But I want a white pair now… I think it will help lift my spirits, at least that’s what I’m telling myself. Trying to decide which ones is the problem. I’m not a fan of the platform but I love the new big buckle styles. I like the ones I saw Laura wearing… Decisions are not my forte lol.

  11. I have lost count of the number of Birks I have owned over the years. Like you, Shana, I cannot stride in slides and need a strap across the front of my ankle at least (and a thong between my toes if I can get it). I am currently having donator’s remorse over a pair of soft footbed Granadas I had when I was pregnant a decade ago and had such wicked plantar fasciitis that the regular footbed was not an option. But we live in a hilly area and I would kick them off walking downhill, so…

    Currently I have a pair of burgundy suede Bostons that I wear around the house, a pair of bronze Mayuris that are still irritating between my toes and might need to go or maybe I just need to bust out the moleskin, and a pair of neon orange EVA Gizehs that I LURVE in the summer. So much better than regular flips (did I mention that plantar fasciitis THAT HAS NEVER COMPLETELY GONE AWAY, THANK YOU CHILDREN). I’ve never liked the weird amoeba shape of the Gizehs where the top attaches to the toe thong and it rubbed the top of my big toe uncomfortably but I solved that by trimming it to a nicer shape. With a pair of nail scissors. While on vacation. And never bothered to tidy up once we got home. Still excellent. (Does get farty sometimes when wet. I imagine that depends on your arch shape.)

    BTW Mephisto brand sandals also have a cork footbed but they all (I think) have the layer of latex that the soft footbed Birks do. I have had a pair of their Helen style for decades and adore them. When I finally sent them in to be repaired/reconditioned it was like they returned me a brand new pair of shoes (for half the price of new.)

    I don’t think I made that any easier for you…

  12. I did a huge Birk try on session at home. My favorites were the Arizona in Yellow and the Madrid in Yellow, Brown and Black. I kept the yellow Madrid, because they made me happy. I would have kept the black too, but Nordstrom only carried the brown and black in D width, and I need B width. If I was a pink person, the pink Madrid would have been a no brained, it is the prettiest of all to me. Just like Shana, I love the color of the brown, but felt the big gold buckle was too gold and shiny for my taste. The yellow has a gold buckle, but it is is a soft matte gold.

  13. Don’t hesitate! Get the EVA ones in your fave color. They are especially excellent for travel because you can wear them walking around in a casual outfit but also poolside without worrying about ruining them, and they weigh almost nothing in your bag! Ah travel. Remember when we got to do that?

  14. I just bought the taupe Arizona soft footbed ones after wearing my black ones into the ground. I bought the EVA ones for my teens last summer and didn’t find that they help up very well. All three pairs developed a crack/tear in the EVA in the exact same spot (near the upper strap where the sandal would bend as they walked). Loved the waterproof lightness and price point for kids, but I’m hesitant to buy again bc they barely made it through one summer. I guess I should think of them more like flip flops and just know they’ll need replaced sooner? The kids did love them though! And FYI, we found the Eva ones to run a bit big (last year anyway).

  15. Get the EVA!!! I had them in white last year and I loved them so much I bought black and I’m contemplating the copper…I wear them to the beach, around the house because so comfy…or I just have a Birks problem?

  16. Hey! I am a loooong time follower and I do recall a time when you said that you would never ever wear Birks!!! Ha, times have changed. I am glad you came over to the Birk side!

  17. The EVA birks are my absolute favorite summer shoe. I wore them constantly last summer (in an olive color) and would not hesitate to purchase a second pair (because at $40, why the hell not?!).

  18. I am a 9/9.5 and regularly order a 39 narrow in Birks — including the Yao in silver, which I love! and has broken in well! — and that size is just big enough so there’s no toe/heel overhang and they break in perfectly. When I’ve tried a 40 regular they look like boats and feel less secure on my feet. I would definitely advise against sizing up, since even the non-leather ones stretch some.

  19. Thank you I bought the Sienna in rose gold. They arrived today and they’re just perfect. First pair of Birkenstock’s!

  20. I’m in the same boat wondering which ones are the best. I tried a slide that they never made again – and I sprained my foot. Is the Madrid for walks or more for formal? I love the Arizonas but are they ever not flattering! Is the platform better? Love the polka dots!

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