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
If you have ever watched a fixer upper show, you know that some people have a creative eye for renovating homes that are in poor condition. I am not one of those people who has the “eye” for a home renovation. I do, however, have this skill when it comes to envisioning how a worn out pair of Birkenstocks would look after a recraft.
Sometimes when I am scrolling through used Birkenstock listings on Poshmark or eBay, I come across a pair of completely dilapidated Birks that I cannot pass up. To most people, they would scroll past such a listing and look for something that is not falling apart. But for me, when I see a unique pair of leather Birkenstocks, that appear to be in total disrepair, something draws me in.
I can look past the cracked cork, the uppers that are peeling away from the footbed, or the sole that has worn through to the cork. If the Birks are authentic, the uppers are unique and leather, and the buckles are in good shape, then I have to have them. It’s like finding a diamond in the rough! I like having uncommon Birkenstocks because that is what makes Gina Mama, Gina Mama.
When I came across these two pairs of Gizehs on Poshmark, I knew, immediately, that they needed to be added to my collection.
The bedazzled Gizehs were an extraordinary find!! I realize, that Birkenstock will be releasing sandals this season, and next, with rivets. But, none of those Birkenstocks have diamond like gems and star bling. The stars on these Gizehs reminded me of my Grandma (another blog) and I had to have them.
As for the pair on the right.....Red. Leather. Gizehs. Need I say more?
Unique. Rare. Awesome. There is no sacrificing here.
Guess how much I paid for these Birkenstocks? Now, I realize, that for some of my readers, the answer might be “too much!”. However, for those of you with an artistic eye, you will agree, that I got these for a steal. I only paid $20!! Whaaat?? For leather Birkenstocks?!
This is a true bargain despite their appearance. Once I get these recrafted, they will be brand spanking new. Plus, in my opinion, they will be priceless since no one else will have them!
For recrafting, I decided to send these Birkenstocks to Michelangelo, at Michelangelo's Foot Comfort & Pedorthic Shoppe because he specializes in Custom Made Birkenstocks. (I mean, who amongst us doesn’t want to commission something artistic from Michelangelo?) Michelangelo had emailed me after coming across my webpage. I learned that Michelangelo is a licensed and certified pedorthist.
What is a pedorthist? A pedorthist is a professional who has specialized training to modify footwear and employ supportive devices to address conditions which affect the feet and lower limbs. Michelangelo is also a certified orthotic fitter. Plus, his business is a certified Birkenstock repair center, as I confirmed via Birkenstock USA’s web site.
What intrigued me is that Michelangelo does more than just repairs and recrafts. Michelangelo's website states that he “can make your old Birkenstocks look like new again. We can heel you and save your sole. Repairs available on Birkenstocks: Heels, Soles, Lifts, New Foot Beds, Rockersoles, New Straps (whole or partial). You name it and I am sure we can do it. We can even do Golf Soles on Birkenstocks!” I might need to get my husband a pair of Birkenstocks with golf soles.
When I contacted Michelangelo about recrafting my Gizehs, he was extremely professional and responsive to my inquiries. My questions were answered promptly and honestly. When I sent my Birkenstocks to Michelangelo, he only had one pair of 38 regular footbeds in stock. He mentioned that it would take a few extra days to recraft because he needed to order another pair of footbeds from Birkenstock USA. He kept me informed about the status of the footbed order throughout the entire process.
Michelangelo is not only a skilled pedorthist who can work wonders on a pair of Birkenstocks, he also has a great sense of humor. Like when he fooled me with some Birkenstock humor. He asked me what color soles I wanted on each pair. He asked, “did you want the light black, dark black or medium black soles?”
Tough question. I had to think about it. I knew that Birkenstock has a rainbow of colors when it comes to soles. But, did they have different color black soles? Was I not familiar with the terminology of the variety of dark sole colors? He had me going there.
I answered, for the “Red Gizehs I would like dark black. Pearl Gizehs light black or dark brown”. I am sure he had a good laugh at my answer because I fell for his joke. After I replied, he told me that Birkenstock only makes one color black sole!!!
Here is what the Birkenstocks looked like when I sent them to Michelangelo:
Bedazzled Birkenstock Gizehs (before)
Red Leather Gizehs (before)
Here is what the Birkenstocks looked like after Michelangelo’s recraft:
Bedazzled Birkenstock Gizehs (after)
Red Leather Gizehs (after)
These recrafts turned out to be amazing. Michelangelo is truly an artist when it comes to Birkenstock repair work. Let's compare the before and after images:
I am so satisfied with Michelangelo’s work, I am wondering if I might need to order a custom made pair of Birkenstocks. To learn about the type of Birkenstock and Tatami sandals that he can customize, please refer to Michelangelo's web site. Michelangelo states that he “can make almost any type of Birkenstock…Unlike the other guys who market custom made Birkenstock sandals, we have the ability to obtain any Birkenstock sandal, take it apart and reassemble it just for you! The other guys only make styles that are available as parts from Birkenstock USA”. For a Birkenstock connoisseur like myself, such possibilities are endless and this offer is very intriguing.
If you are in the market for Custom Made Birkenstocks, a Birkenstock repair or recraft, or other unique footwear solutions, I highly recommend that you try Michelangelo's Foot Comfort & Pedorthic Shoppe on for size.
TIP: Want more information about recrafting? If so, please click here to read my original blog on the topic.