I Love Birkenstocks so much that I started this webpage dedicated to all things Birkenstock. So, what I am about to say may shock some of you. It may even anger others, if you disagree with me. Or perhaps, you agree with me. In which case, you might be thrilled that someone finally has the courage to let Birkenstock know what the majority of their loyal customers really think about their white sole sandals.
Before I get all riled up and tell you how I feel about white sole Birkenstocks, I think I need to take a step back. I want all my readers to know that I realize that fashion is very subjective. I am by no means a fashionista. However, when it comes to fashionable Birkenstocks, I know a thing or two about style. After all, I have amassed quite a collection of stylish Birkenstocks over the years.
If you have ever taken a close look at my collection via my Instagram or Facebook accounts, the one thing that you will see very few of in my personal collection, are white sole Birkenstocks. Why? Because I hate white sole Birkenstocks!
Ok….let me back peddle again….that might be a little harsh and shocking….allow me to rephrase. I think that white sole Birkenstocks only look good with white uppers and should never be used on any other Birkenstocks with color — EVER.
There are several reasons that I do not like white sole Birkenstocks. First, white soles can quickly take the “chicness” out of any Birkenstock. Even a beautiful, exquisite, luxurious, limited edition Birkenstock. Second, white sole Birkenstocks can only be worn during Spring and Summer. Third, white soles might look crisp and clean right out of the box, but by golly, they are hard to keep clean as time goes by.
In my opinion, if white soles are placed on Birkenstocks with uppers on any other color besides white, it immediately makes the Birkenstock look less chic. White soles look rubbery and are reminiscent of Crocs. Go ahead and put white soles on Birkenstock EVAs, but, PLEASE keep them off Birkenstocks with cork footbeds! Birkenstocks are high quality shoes and deserve good looking soles. Not white rubbery soles that look like run of the mill flip flops.
In addition to appearing less elegant, white sole Birkenstocks are seasonal. In my opinion, white sole Birks can and should only be worn during spring and summer. Otherwise, it would be like wearing white after Labor Day, pattern mixing anything, or, GOD FORBID….wearing socks with Birkenstocks!! All total FAUX PAS!!
Ok, Ok, I know, I know… it is currently acceptable to wear white after Labor Day (I would not), some people can get by pattern mixing (I cannot), and socks with ‘stocks is now “a thing” (not my thing).
I understand that some people might find white sole Birkenstocks acceptable to wear anytime of year, just as some people enjoy wearing socks with Birkenstocks. I like to remain non-judgmental and neutral when it comes to other peoples’ fashion choices. People should wear Birkenstocks however they feel most comfortable. I, personally, do not feel comfortable wearing white sole Birkenstocks outside of the Spring and Summer seasons.
Let me provide you an example of white soles being seasonal. I purchased the Red Tango Arizonas in the Spring of 2017. Birkenstock only made a limited number of patent Red Tango Arizonas for Spring/Summer 2017. If I passed them up, Birkenstock might never make Arizonas in that perfect red color ever again. I rolled the diced and purchased them, knowing that I could always have them resoled. I happily wore them through the Spring and Summer of 2017, with the white soles.
Once fall arrived, I felt awkward wearing white sole Birkenstocks. To me, Fall screams earth tones, not bright white. During the Christmas Holidays, I thought about wearing my Red Tango Arizonas because they were the perfect red to celebrate the season. However, I opted for a different pair of Birkenstocks with dark soles because the white soles were totally “out of season” for December. It looked as if I was wearing candy canes on my feet.
In my Birkenstock collection, I have four pairs of Birkenstocks with white soles. Most of my white sole Birkenstocks I sold long ago on Poshmark or eBay. I simply could not tolerate the white soles enough to wear them in public. I sold them to purchase a different pair that better suited my style. These days, when I see new releases with white soles, I usually just scroll past the images unless there is an upper that I cannot live without (like the Red Tango Arizonas). Then I have to decide if it is worth the cost of resoling. More on resoling later.
Two pairs of my Birkenstocks with white soles, have white uppers. I have no issues when the uppers and soles match this way. The problem that I have with the white soles is upkeep. They get dingy and dirty very quickly. They have to be cleaned regularly or they look filthy.
I like my Birkenstocks to look pristine. Appearance is everything. You only get to make a first impression once. However, with two kids, I do not always have time to clean my white soles. So, if they look dirty, I don’t wear them until I find time to make them sparkle. And who knows when that will happen with little ones to manage? I wrote a blog about how to clean white soles a few years ago. Here is the link.
Don’t get me wrong. I appreciate various color Birkenstock soles. ANYTHING, but white. I even like off white. My Bellary Birkenstocks have off white soles and just that little hint of color makes all the difference in the world.
I think that if they had white soles, I would have sold them years ago or they would have sat in my closet unworn. My new favorite soles are the silver ones on the magic snake Mayaris that I found at Sandy's Birkenstock Boutique. These are just stunners and nowhere to be found in regular width in the US. See, Birkenstock, a little color goes a long ways.
The other two pairs in my collection with white soles are my beloved Tango Red Patent Arizonas and Graceful Sea Arizonas. Both of these I found in regular width and reluctantly purchased them with the white soles. These were two color uppers that I simply could not live without. Who knew if Birkenstock would ever make these color uppers again in the Arizona model? I had to add them to my collection.
I turned a blind eye to the white soles for the entire Spring of 2017. I told myself I would “try again” with the white soles. Unfortunately, in my opinion, dark uppers just do not pair well with a pure white sole. They make a nice Birkenstock look like it has a Croc sole. And that is not what Gina Mama wants. Gina Mama wants her Birkenstocks to look stylish and chic, not rubbery and childish. Hence, it was time to resole.
Fortunately, swapping out white soles is an easy and relatively inexpensive fix. Tango Red and Graceful Sea Arizonas are just too beautiful a Birkenstock not to be resoled and worn year round.
I sent these Arizonas to Michelangelo at Custom Made Birkenstocks to have them resoled. He recrafted Birkenstocks for me in the past and I trusted him with this request. He resoled both pairs of Arizonas, just as I requested, and had them back to me in a jiffy. A huge thank you to Michelangelo for his attention to detail and his high quality craftsmanship!
The moment I opened the box from Michelangelo, I put the Red Tango Arizonas on my feet and I was dancing with joy. The black soles made all the difference in the world. It was like the red uppers had found their rightful home on a proper color sole. The red and black color combination was perfection.
The Graceful Sea Arizonas also looked amazing with their black soles. After the resoling, both of these Arizonas, not only looked elegant, but they also got an extended shelf life and could be worn throughout all four seasons.
The thing with white sole Birkenstocks is that people think they are fashionable or trendy... momentarily. The problem is that the white soles will eventually get dirty and the trend will fade. Before you know it, white sole Birks will look dated. Dark soles hide the dirt well and never go out of style. After all, dark sole Birkenstocks have been in style since 1774, proving elegance is timeless.
My blogs on How To Spot Fake Birkenstocks are some of the most read posts on my webpage. Sandal season is in full swing in the US, and Part 1 and Part 2 of this blog series, are getting lots of hits. With that, is an influx of emails from readers, asking me to authenticate their recent Birkenstock purchases, from potentially shady online retailers.
The intention of my blogs was to help readers avoid purchasing fake Birkenstocks. Not for me to help every single individual authenticate a purchase, after the fact, via emails -- with pictures. In the post, Spotting Fake/Knock-Off/Counterfeit Birkenstocks (Part 2), I have VERY clearly illustrated 21 ways for a buyer to avoid purchasing fake Birkenstocks. And, yet, I continue to receive scores of emails asking for help determining whether an item is real or fake.
If, after reading this blog, you continue to have questions, concerns, or doubts about the authenticity of your Birkenstocks, please do not email me photos of your shoes! I do not work for Birkenstock!! I cannot and will not verify the authenticity of your Birkenstocks via email.
My blog is something that I do on my free time. It is a hobby and I do it for fun. Let me be clear. This is not my job. I do not get paid. The information that I share on my page is posted for FREE. The time that I spend replying to emails is my free time, it is not paid work time and it is starting to feel like it.
I have been inundated with inquiries from readers, along with hundreds (if not thousands) of photos. Each one asking to verify the authenticity of a Birkenstock purchase. I simply do not have the time to answer each and every one of these emails. Frankly, it is a problem of which I recommend that you make Birkenstock aware.
I suggest that you use my blog more as a reference manual. Refer back to this blog to answer your own question(s). I am confident that you will find the answer(s) to your question(s). The answers are there. The fact that you are questioning the authenticity of your Birkenstock purchase, is an enormous clue, that the Birks in question, are most likely not the real deal.
Please contact Birkenstock directly or take your Birkenstock purchase to an authorized retailer and ask them your question(s) in person. Have an authorized expert look at the shoe, feel the shoe, hold the shoe, bend the shoe, and feel the weight of the shoe to help you determine whether your shoe is an authentic Birkenstock. If your Birkenstocks are counterfeit, then you will be in the correct place to buy yourself a real pair.
Thank you for your understanding and continued support.
It has been two years since I posted my very first blog on my website.
I never imagined that this webpage would turn into what it has today. I have made Birkenstocks friends all across the world. I appreciate your emails and other forms of communication via social media. If you are not already following me on Instagram or Facebook, please do so, I would love to hear your Birkenstock story.
Happy 2nd Birthday to Gina Mama's "I Love Birkenstocks" webpage.
I have known Gina Mama since our college days, where her Birkenstocks were lined up next to my Tevas and we both staunchly defended our shoe of choice. I’m not sure why I never even tried on a pair of Birks because I have always accepted that they are a quality shoe, that mostly everyone who tries them loves, except to say I too developed a preference for a quality, comfortable, supportive shoe and found that in a package that seemed more conventional than a Birk, and in my mind more practical for my needs. Now, roughly 25 years later, I have accepted Gina’s challenge to give Birks a chance. Is this a case of better late than never?
The night before my birthday, a package arrived, containing a pair of (Original Footbed) Gizehs in a brilliant purple (Graceful Magenta Purple Limited) color I absolutely love.
I should watch what I say because only days earlier I had told Gina that if I ever gave Birks a try, I’d want a purple pair. I had seen a metallic purple Birkenstock Arizona on a young lady in Breckenridge, CO and found myself admiring them. But as I know from her blog, the metallic uppers are prone to cosmetic problems and that is definitely something I would not want to deal with.
As soon as I got home, I put on the Birks and wore them around the house for about 30 minutes. I’m not a flip-flop wearer usually so the part between the toe on the Gizeh model felt a little weird. I didn’t develop any hot spots although I was ready to be back in bare feet when I slipped them off.
I should note, like Gina, I have firm shoe preferences that haven’t changed much in decades. I also live an active outdoor lifestyle that demands the proper footwear for both safety and performance. In an over-simplified statement, if it’s a shoe and you can buy it at REI then I would probably wear it. I live in Salomon trail running shoes (my “retired” pairs kept for walking), Keen/Merrel/Ahnu hiking and snow boots and Keen H2 closed-toe water shoe/sandals. My “dress” shoes are Merrells which still offer support and comfort. Luckily, my lifestyle doesn’t demand anything too formal.
I sent Gina Mama a text saying “I’m trusting you” and wore the Gizehs to a meeting at the school and later to school picks ups, which required more walking than would probably be recommended during the initial break-in period. Happy to report—no problems at all. Although I did find myself wanting to slip my feet out as I sat in the meeting.
Feeling great walking around the house in these Birks after a run. Usually I’m barefoot. The toe part doesn’t feel weird anymore, I don’t really notice it, Gina Mama says its because my foot is positioned properly. Cool. I told her I find the heel part of the footbed too firm right now. Not uncomfortably so, but just something I noticed. I wanted to note that sensation to see if it truly does soften over time. Another iconic requirement of my footwear choices has been user friendly out of the box! I’ve been fortunate to not suffer blisters or anything uncomfortable with my trusted brands. I’m not so gutsy as to hike a fourteener in a brand new pair of hikers, but still pushed boundaries compared to some stories about breaking shoes in. Blister-free always. I feel it’s because I have my brands and I just keep buying replacements for what I know and love. So admittedly, I’ve been put off by the idea of a break-in period for Birks. Will it be worth it? In two days I can say it’s looking good!
Less than 1 week later
You know the expression, ”walk a mile in my shoes?,” well I figured today was as good a day as any to give it a shot. Gina Mama blogs frequently about the comfort of walking in Birks pretty much anywhere, and since these are starting to feel broken-in, I went for it. I kept up a steady brisk pace for 20 minutes on a paved path. And while it felt weird not to have my Salomons on, it didn’t feel bad. Great support and nice to have my toes exposed on a sunny day. By the end, I was feeling some hot spots but I know that’s part of the break-in process. Can I walk a mile in Gina Mama's shoes? Absolutely and happily!
I found their purpose!! A good looking and comfortable shoe that can be dressy. I do still love my Merrells, but I didn’t have ANY sandal style shoes in my wardrobe, nothing open toed, until the Gizehs, because I won’t put anything uncomfortable on. So I’m more than super excited to add these amazing shoes to my wardrobe.
One month later….
Well here I am, going on a trip- do I bring my Birks? Gina Mama has blogged about packing the right vacation shoes. As a believer in the “proper” shoe for the activity, I was in a dilemma with what to bring on my recent trip to Moab, UT. Hiking boots and my SPD clipless biking shoes were a MUST. But, I wanted to add a cool, comfortable shoe too, for time off the trails. It came down to Keen H2 water sandals vs Gizehs. I took the Keens. I willingly admit either shoe would have done the job. But—we planned some
fishing (= water, maybe mud) and the desert is a dusty, rocky place which seemed more suitable to a shoe I could get wet and not worry about washing. Gina would probably say as much as I adore my Birks, I’m not a total convert yet. :) Or is there space for me to be somewhere in between?
A few weeks later
I informed Gina Mama of a challenge to myself. If I’m not outside, (sometimes even if I am) or on a trail, I’m probably barefoot. My feet and joints are fine with this but a comment from a friend who recently moved into a new home floored primarily in tile and complained about aching feet made me think- 'would I notice a difference if I wore Birks instead of barefoot?' So, I’m giving myself a conscientious week to find out. It’ll be tough- putting on shoes at home isn’t natural like slipping on my bike helmet when I grab my Specialized Stympjumper. Come to think of it, this may need to be a 2 week experiment!!
Success!! By leaving my Birks in a convenient spot where I often abandon my shoes when I get home I was able to remember and fulfill this challenge. Comfortable? Definitely. Better for my joints? Probably. But, old habits die hard and as fall gave way to winter, and I came inside stomping off snow, I eased into my winter habit of no shoes, socks on. Now I know there has been much debate about socks with Birks, and I would certainly be a person who would push those boundaries (I have been known to wear socks with Keen sandals on cold camp mornings and knee high smartwool socks with boots and capri sports pants after snowboarding), but socks and Gizehs are pretty clearly a show stopper. So winter arrived in full force and my pretty Gizehs went back in their box.
Spring is here!
To varying degrees where I live at 7300 ft elevation in Colorado at least. In one week we can enjoy sunshine and low 70’s then bundle back up for a spring snow storm. So I’ve only had my Birks back out a few times, as Spring in the mountains doesn’t exactly feel springlike just because the calendar says its so, but the important point is—I’ve had them back out!! No time wasted. My feet eased right back into them where we left off. Comfortably worn in.
It’ll be interesting to see what summer brings, what choices I make in footwear. Certainly for casual dressy occasions I’m grabbing those Gizehs. No worries for me that I’ll have hot spots or tired feet. The break-in process was mild. For around town, probably the Gizehs. I can admit they are more stylish and TONS cuter than my Keen H2 sports sandals. For adventure trips, that’ll be a tough choice. I can’t change the minimalist in me, nor the need to have exactly the right shoe for the job. And there is one other factor to consider. Would I want to risk ruining my Birks? The answer is a resounding No! Which brings me back to the beginning. Is this a case of better late than never, giving Birks a chance? The ruling is in and my feet say YES!
A special thank you to Hiker Beans for 25 years of friendship and for taking the time to write this guest blog. - Gina Mama