4 Pairs Of Birkenstocks: A Comfort Shoe Gal’s Review

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I’m a year-round Birkenstock-wearer. Shearling-lined Arizonas in the winter, cozy Buckley mules in the fall, and cute Birk sandals in the spring and summer. Comfortable, supportive and pretty darn cute.

My love of Birkenstocks is likely not shocking news to many of you. For anyone new to TME, though, I’m the gal who LOVES her comfort shoes — Danskos, Fitflops, Borns, Gentle Souls and of course, Birkenstocks. My feet adore high-quality, supportive, comfortable shoes. I walk miles of hard city pavement daily and have picky picky feet, so when I find something that works (Birkenstocks), I tend to stick with them and explore all the style options.

*Some of you have asked about breaking in Birkenstocks…I put a section about this at the end of this post.

4 Birkenstock Styles Tried By A Comfort Shoe Gal

This past month, I tried four different Birkenstock styles for spring and summer. One pair is a complete no-go, one pair I really like (but don’t love), and 2 pairs I’ll be wearing on repeat in my spring-summer shoe rotation. Watch my video review and check out my notes below…

1. Birkenstock Madrids: My Fave Birks For Summer

At Nordstrom | At Saks | At Zappos | At Free People

Pros: Comfortable; walkable; adjustable straps; look great with everything (dresses, denim, pants, shorts…the list goes on); available in regular and narrow sizing; most “non-Birk looking” Birks I own (for those of you not sold on typical Birkenstock styles); great color options (I own black, cognac/gold, and now these dove gray ones); the cognac (they sell out fast every summer) are my favorite.

Cons: Some people have a hard time keeping them on when they’re walking (their feet slip out); my first pair in black I bought three years ago took a few wears to break-in and I got a blister on the top of my foot; the brown ones I bought last year and the gray ones this year were comfortable instantly.

Sizing: Size down. I wear a 7 in most sandal brands, a 7.5 in most boots, and I size down to a 37 in these Birkenstock Madrid sandals. I have a wide-ish foot (I don’t typically need wide sizing, but very narrow styles don’t fit my foot), and the regular width in this Birk fits me well.

Shop Birkenstock Madrids In More Colors


2. Birkenstock Kyotos: My Fave Birks For Spring

At Anthro | At Nordstrom | At Zappos

Pros: Comfortable; walkable; available in regular or narrow sizing; velcro adjustable strap that can go quite snug or quite loose; cute laid-back styling; great with jeans and linen pants; work well with spring cardigans and jackets as a sandal that covers more of the foot.

Cons: Style may turn some people off; a bit clunky to the eye; not as leg lengthening with dresses as the Madrids or Gizehs; some bad reviews at Nordstrom (I’ve had none of these problems); good mix of reviews at Zappos.

Sizing: Size down. I wear a 7 in most sandal brands, a 7.5 in most boots, and I size down to a 37 in these Birkenstock Kyoto sandals. I have a wide-ish foot (I don’t typically need wide sizing, but very narrow styles don’t fit my foot), and the regular width in this Birk fits me well.

Shop Birkenstock Kyotos In More Colors


3. Birkenstock Gizehs: A Crowd Fave

At Nordstrom | At Zappos | At Backcountry

Pros: Comfortable; walkable; adjustable strap; available in regular or narrow sizing; HUGE range of colors; style can be dressed up a bit (especially with the slightly shimmery colors); look great with summer dresses; can be worn with jeans, pants, and shorts too; a BIG crowd favorite (tons of readers love these and years of good reviews).

Cons: VERY summer-y (a bit more difficult to wear in spring with jackets and sweaters than the other styles); between-the-toe thingy (for me) takes a bit to get used to.

Sizing: Size down. I wear a 7 in most sandal brands, a 7.5 in most boots, and I size down to a 37 in these Birkenstock Kyoto sandals. I have a wide-ish foot (I don’t typically need wide sizing, but very narrow styles don’t fit my foot), and the regular width in this Birk fits me well.

Shop Birkenstock Gizehs In More Colors


4. Birkenstock Buckley (Unlined): Not For Me

At Nordstrom | At Zappos

Pros: Hmmm…they look cute in this photo? Can’t think of much else. I really didn’t like the unlined versions of the Buckleys at all. The lined versions, however, are ah-mazing!

Cons: The blue color was difficult for me to style; looked okay with some denim, but didn’t look good at all with dresses and skirts on me; not cozy at all; comfortable and walkable enough, but the lined version is SO much more comfortable and brown and black are easier to style.

Sizing: I wear a 7 in most sandal brands, a 7.5 in most boots, and I happily wore a 38 in the lined version of these this fall. I could have probably sized down (per my usual Birkenstock sandal sizing) because there’s a little bit of extra length, but I liked the lined ones a bit roomy. The un-lined in the 38s feel too big. My foot slides around too much, and I should have sized down to the 37s. I have a wide-ish foot (I don’t typically need wide sizing, but very narrow styles don’t fit my foot), and the regular width in this Birk fits me well.

Shop Birkenstock Buckleys In More Colors


Tips For Breaking In Birkenstocks

Some of you have asked about breaking in Birkenstocks. Some Birks require break-in periods for me, some don’t. I think it completely depends on the style of the Birk, your foot shape, how frequently you’ve already been wearing sandals, and the sizing of the shoe.

My feet never have a hard time with the supportive contoured footbed, but the harder leather straps do need to be broken in sometimes. The first pair of Birkenstock Madrids I bought 3 years ago gave me blisters for the first week along the top leather strap. Note…they were a size too big for me. I loved them so much, though, that I wore them through the blisters, and after a few times wearing them out and about with bandaids (maybe a week?) they were fine and continued to get more and more broken-in with each wear.

The next summer I bought the size smaller in the same Madrid style, and they gave me zero blisters and were instantly comfortable. My Kyotos took no time to break in…the suede is SUPER soft. The lined Buckleys took no time to break in either.

Absolutely, the more you wear your Birkenstocks, the more comfortable they get. You’ll see pretty quickly, the indentations and markings of your individual foot and toe shape on the footbed. I don’t typically wear the more traditional Birkenstock styles with multiple leather straps–those take a bit more break-in period for many people, and they suggest wearing them in increased 30-minute increments to let the leather soften, flex, and mold to your foot, before committing to wearing them out-and-about all day long.

I know there are other Birkenstock fans out there. Any other styles you guys are loving? Any other suggestions on breaking in the Birks that have multiple harder leather straps?

-Linzi

Oh hey Pinners, this one’s for you…

I tried 4 different Birkenstock styles. The 1st pair is a complete no-go, 1 pair I really like (but don't love), & 2 pairs I'll be wearing on repeat this spring & summer. Here's my review...
I tried 4 different Birkenstock styles. The 1st pair is a complete no-go, 1 pair I really like (but don't love), & 2 pairs I'll be wearing on repeat this spring & summer. Here's my review...