Poshmark. Friend or foe? Poshmark might be a little of both. I have a love-hate relationship with Poshmark. But, then I have a love-hate relationship with most social media venues.
For those of you unfamiliar with Poshmark, it is an online community where one can buy and sell fashion items. It started out as a community for women users only and now it is growing to include men’s fashion as well. According to Poshmark, the app “…connects you to people whose style you adore, allowing you to shop Closets and Boutiques, anytime you'd like. Have items in your closet that you love, but just don't wear anymore? List items for sale on Poshmark in less than 60 seconds. Sell what you have in your closet so you can shop for what you really love today. With Poshmark, the possibilities are endless!”
I have a friend that has been utilizing Poshmark since its inception. For years she has urged me to join the Poshmark community. This is the same friend that gave me the nickname "Gina Mama", 25 years ago. I have been listening to her advice for two and a half decades and I finally decided to give Poshmark a chance. I figured it might be a good way to destash some of my Birkenstocks.
Poshmark provided me a safe environment to sell my gently used Birkenstocks. I have sold most of my Birks for almost the amount that I paid. My Birkenstocks were purchased by others who loved this brand too. It was easy letting go of some of my Birkenstocks because I knew my shoes were getting new homes.
It is like in Toy Story 2 where all of Andy’s toys go to a new home. The toys are played with by a happy child, thereby making the toys happy too. The Birks that I bought with love and rarely wore would be cared for by another person. Making the buyer and my rarely worn Birkenstocks happy.
By destashing, I could make room to buy a few pairs of new Birks. I would use the money made from my sales on Poshmark to purchase a pair of Birkenstocks from their seasonal collection. The seasonal, limited edition offerings by Birkenstock are hard to resist for a hardcore connoisseur.
In addition to purchasing the latest and greatest models of Birkenstocks with my Poshmark earnings, I could buy used pairs too. What? Buy old, worn out Birkenstocks? You betcha!! All those models and colors that Birkenstock has discontinued were now a click away for me on Poshmark.
Sellers on Poshmark often list used Birkenstocks for a fraction of the price of what they paid. Many sellers don’t realize that Birkenstocks are fully repairable. Aficionados, like myself, are happy to purchase what other sellers are trying to get rid of because we know that Birks can be recrafted. And, as a collector, may never have another chance of purchasing a discontinued style.
It is not only used Birkenstocks that I find on Poshmark, but also new ones. In the last 7 months I have found two brand new pairs of Birkenstocks for less than half the original price. Both of which are not currently being manufactured by Birkenstocks. I like to think of such discoveries as my diamonds in the rough. The first, was a pair of Graceful yellow Papillio Rom sandals, with diamonds on the buckles!
The second pair were blue oiled leather Mayaris.
Neither had been worn by the previous owner. The footbeds were imprint free! Maybe these sellers did not want to go through the Birkenstock break-in process. Their loss is my gain!
I ended of up reselling the Rom’s on Poshmark because I could not adjust the top strap. I have a high instep and appreciate the flexibility of all my straps having buckles, not just one. But, that is an entirely different blog about the Papillio line.
One of the great things about Poshmark is that if you don’t like something, you can reposh it. There is always someone looking to buy what you have to sell. Depending on the brand or style, your item might sell quickly or it may take a few months. Either way, it will eventually sell.
One of the things that I do not like about Poshmark is that replicas make their way into the Poshmark community. You have to know what you are looking for so that you do not buy fake Birkenstocks. Recently, I have seen a number of fake "Mayaris" being sold in the marketplace.
As a user, I am able to report a listing as unauthentic to Poshmark and it is eventually taken down. However, I wish that Poshmark was more proactive in monitoring replicas being posted.
Sometimes I find things on Poshmark that just give me a good belly laugh. How about these Birkenstocks?
This seller claims that her mother paid a cobbler to glue an insole onto the footbed to make the Gizehs more comfortable. Guess her mother did not know that Birkenstock sells soft footbed sandals! Interestingly though, anyone looking for a red leather uppers, in a size 40, could probably make an offer get these for a steal. Of course, they would have to be recrafted.
Just as with any social media forum, Poshmark has its share of creeps and trolls. Like the creeps that track me down from my blog page and leave inappropriate comments on my listings. The good news is that Poshmark makes it easy to block such individuals.
The positive aspects of Poshmark certainly outweigh the negative. Poshmark gives me the opportunity to connect with other people who love Birkenstocks as much as I do. It also provides me the ability to market my blog for free. On Poshmark, I can locate rare styles that are not sold in the U.S or find models that have been discontinued. Best of all, I can easily sell some of my Birkenstocks that need to find a new home.
Overall, Poshmark has been a fun place to buy and sell. I am definitely selling more than I buy. Warning: If you have an addiction with shopping, Poshmark might not be for you. To join Poshmark, use the coupon code (GINAMAMABIRKS) and receive a $5 coupon off your first order.
What are your thoughts about Poshmark? Send me a message.
Believe it or not, I am passionate about things besides just Birkenstocks. I am passionate about advocating for the rights of older adults. It is my life’s work to help older adults manage their health, keep as active as possible, and remain safely in their homes.
Lack of appropriate senior housing has been on ongoing issue for years. There was a housing crunch in California before the fires and now there is a cataclysmic housing crisis after the fires. It is all over the news, from the local SFgate.com article, “Santa Rosa housing scarce before the fire — what now?”, to the national piece on CNN.com “They survived the California fires. Now, the crisis is finding housing”. What is not discussed in these articles is that the lack of housing for the geriatric population, who require caregiver assistance, has become a calamity after the fires.
According to KTVU, at least 5,700 structures were damaged in the North Bay Fires.
Of the structures that were damaged or destroyed, many were extended care facilities that housed dependent older adults. The California Department of Social Services has created a document listing the damage to all registered facilities. It is astonishing how many facilities were affected. In addition to extended care facilities, scores of seniors who were living in their homes, with part time caregiver assistance during the day, lost their homes in the fires too. Moreover, caregivers of seniors had their homes burn down as well. The magnitude of the devastation is far reaching. You don’t hear about this in the news, but those who work in the health care field are well aware of situation.
All these displaced older adults who no longer have caregiver help, whether in a facility or at home, now needed a bed in an a extended care facility because there was nowhere else for them to go. Their need for hands on assistance simply could not be met in a shelter. Sadly, due to the pre-fire housing crisis, there were a shortage of beds from which to choose.
The “global” Birkenstock shortage seems like a silly little problem when you take into consideration the lack of bed availability in extended care facilities, in California, for our most vulnerable older adult population. Through my work, I know for a fact, that finding a bed at an extended care facility for someone with custodial or skilled needs was next to impossible before the North Bay Fires. Now, two weeks after the fires began, there are simply NO BEDS available in the local Bay Area for our geriatric population.
Those who need a higher level of care are being placed in facilities in the Central Valley or North of Sacramento. Far from their homes. Far from their loved ones. Soon those beds on the outskirts of the Bay Area will be filled and it will become even more difficult to help California’s most at-risk older adults.
I understand that The North Bay Wildfires are a catastrophe for thousands of people.
FEMA and the Red Cross have come to help those displaced by the fires. However, the older adult population are a specialized group whose needs cannot be met in emergency shelters. Such stories are not being shared in the media and seniors are not getting the extra help they need during this crisis. In fact, the media has more stories about displaced pets after this disaster than the impact of the disasters on this care dependent group of the population. But, I hear their stories first hand and they are heart breaking.
The geriatric population and their ongoing need for assistance (health, welfare, financial) have been ignored for far too long. Their needs and their problems are swept under the rug by many politicians. It is time that Local, State and Federal agencies recognize that the lack of bed availability in Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly (RCFE) has been an ongoing problem and is now approaching a catastrophe of its own.
Before the fires, RCFEs would pick and choose who they would accept to their facility. I could tell you horrifying, unjust, and unethical stories about this, but then this blog would become a novel. I am surprised that there is not a law against such practices. If you have a bed, you need to take the first person who requests it. Plain and simple. First come, first served. The RCFEs are getting paid after all. Thousands of dollars a month when that bed is filled. So do your job, RCFEs, and help those that need assistance!
How can we help our most vulnerable population now and when the next catastrophe hits. The next wildfire? The next hurricane? The next big earthquake? Create protocols, create laws, create guidelines that require RCFEs to make beds readily available to anyone who has a need. Whatever is in place now is not working. I am on the front lines and I am telling you that the current placement process DOES NOT WORK. The more needs one has, the less likely an RCFE will accept that person.
The needs that older adults have revolve around managing their Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) and their Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs). Activities of Daily Living include tasks like eating, bathing, dressing, toileting, transferring (walking) and continence. Instrumental Activities of Daily Living involve functions like managing finances, managing transportation, shopping and meal preparation, housecleaning and home maintenance, managing communication and managing medications. Difficulties with ADLs and IADLs often correspond with how much help, supervision, and hands-on care an older person needs.
After the fires, emergency shelters ended up being overwhelmed with older adults whose care needs could not be met. While emergency shelters may be useful for able bodied individuals, they are not safe for our older adults that cannot independently manage their own ADLs/IADLs. Untrained volunteers cannot safely and properly handle the needs of someone with dementia, advanced Parkinson’s Disease, or ALS.
For example, think about the older adults with memory loss that were evacuated or lost their homes during the fires. How can untrained volunteers in shelters handle behavioral issues associated with dementia? With any level of memory loss, anything outside of a normal routine can cause extreme anxiety, agitation, or increased confusion. Heck, such an event causes anxiety and agitation on individuals without memory loss. What protocols have FEMA or the Red Cross put in place to deal with individuals with memory loss who have been affected by catastrophic events? I recommend that they reach out to the Alzheimer’s Association and figure out a plan ASAP.
Many seniors who were evacuated arrived at evacuation facilities with their assistive devices. Canes, walkers, and wheelchairs are wonderful equipment to keep older adults mobile and active. However, most of the emergency shelters, like churches, schools, or auditoriums could not meet the needs of multiple individuals with adaptive equipment. Some shelters did not have wheelchair accessible bathrooms. Thus, one catastrophe lead to another crisis. How does the American with Disability Act (ADA) come into play during an catastrophic event?
From what I have learned over the last 2 weeks, there are no guidelines in place to aid older adults, that require hands on assistance, in the event of an emergency. Federal, State, and Local aid is more useful for able bodied individuals. Something needs to be done about this so that everyone’s needs, including the geriatric population, are met.
Birkenstock has different footbeds and widths for their shoes. Something to meet everyone’s needs. There needs to be Federal, State, and Local protocols in place to meet individual needs at various levels on the continuum of care. While there is some level of emergency preparedness in place for able bodied people, there is no such protocol for high risk individuals with specialized needs.
Perhaps this means having dependent older adults register with the local fire department. This way, if there is an unforeseen emergency, like a fast moving wildfire, emergency responders can better help those most vulnerable. The vast majority of older adults do not utilize smart phones and never had the option to receive the emergency text alert from Nixle. Others are hearing impaired and could not hear the first responders telling them to evacuate. There are so many different needs within our older adult population. All issues need to be taken into consideration when creating better guidelines so that no one is left behind.
Take a look at what happened to the residents at a senior living complex in Santa Rosa.
Over 40 residents were allegedly left abandoned by staff in this facility as flames rapidly approached. This is appalling on so many levels. I pray that the Federal government and the State’s Ombudsman office investigates how and why this happened!!! Who will be fined for such neglect?!
My hope is that FEMA, the Red Cross and other emergency agencies can learn from these glaring mistakes. Perhaps they can glean some best practice techniques from the staff at the Kaiser Permanente facility in Santa Rosa.
Kaiser staff tirelessly, efficiently, and safely evacuated all their patients and staff from their Santa Rosa facility at 330am IN THE MORNING to their hospital in San Rafael. Flames made it up to the property line at the hospital in Santa Rosa and yet, every single patient and staff member made it out safely. No one was left behind!! Many of the staff helped with the evacuations even though their own homes had been lost to fire. Later that same morning, Sutter in Santa Rosa had to evacuate their hospital as well.
Kaiser and Sutter, two separate health care organizations, worked TOGETHER to ensure that all patients’ needs were met. They set up a joint reunification hotline to help family members reunite with loved ones that were evacuated. They shared resources to help expedite the placement process of so many dependent elders. Maybe our politicians can learn how to work together, like Kaiser and Sutter, to ensure that no older adult is put at-risk during the next catastrophic event.
You already have local sites identified as evacuation centers in each County. I suggest that our Federal, State, and Local agencies create a unique evacuation site for older adults who are dependent on others for ADL/IADLs assistance. A location where trained volunteers can meet the needs of older adults, but where evacuees do not require hospital level of care.
This way, you keep the hospitals free to handle real emergent medical needs. Finding beds to relocate evacuated older adults with special care needs can be facilitated from such an evacuation site. People should not have to go to the hospital for placement. Sending someone to the hospital for placement is a poor use of resources.
However, with the current catastrophe, hospitals are where many older adults ended up because most evacuation sites could not meet the ADL/IADL needs of certain evacuees. Part of the reason so many seniors were evacuated to hospitals is because of the pre-fire bed shortage in California.
When the media talks about the housing crisis in California, let’s not forget about the bed shortage in extended care facilities. When we talk about rebuilding together, let’s include rebuilding those extended care facilities too.
The “global” Birkenstock shortage pales in comparison to the shortage of beds available for the older adult population in Northern California. Let’s all work together to ensure that older adults have their care needs met in a safe environment. One catastrophe is creating another catastrophe and we can no longer ignore it.
Cork renew helps keep your Birkenstocks protected from the elements. Applying cork sealant to exposed cork on your shoes, helps to prevent them from drying out. Cork seal should be used when the cork on your Birks no longer looks shiny.
I have exclusively used Kelly’s Cork Renew on all my Birkenstocks. I have been very satisfied with their product. However, since Birkenstock makes their own cork sealer, I thought I would try it out. I had a pair of Birkenstocks with dull looking cork, so I decided to do a comparison. I would seal one shoe with Kelly’s Cork Renew and the other with Birkenstock Cork Sealer.
Kelly’s Cork Renew comes with a brush. It goes on evenly and can be used to get in between smaller areas of cork, when there are multiple straps. Kelly’s Cork Renew dries in about 10-15 minutes, leaving a high gloss shine.
Birkenstock Cork Sealer comes with a foam applicator. The foam applicator is wider than the area that I needed to reseal. Thus, it was hard to apply the sealer in between multiple straps and it did NOT go on evenly. I ended up removing the foam applicator and putting the sealer on to an old brush. The brush was the only way that I could avoid getting sealer on the uppers and the soles. The foam applicator soaked up the sealer and there was no way to return any of the unused portion into the bottle. The Birkenstock product took longer to dry compared to Kelly's Cork Renew, about 15-20 minutes. When the Birkenstock Cork Sealer dried, it resulted in a matte finish.
Here is a video that I made comparing the two products:
In my opinion, Kelly’s Cork Renew was the better product. It was easy to apply, dried quickly, and left a beautiful shine. I was so disappointed with the matte finish of the Birkenstock sealer that I ended up resealing the test shoe with Kelly’s Cork Renew. I wanted both shoes to have a matching shine.
Kelly’s Cork renew has the product down to a science. Birkenstock’s Cork Sealer is a clumsy product because you end up wasting a lot of sealer and it is messy to apply. I could only see using the Birkenstock sealer if one wanted a more matte finish on their cork. I prefer the shine offered by Kelly’s Cork Renew.
I usually re-apply cork sealant to my Birkenstocks once or twice a year. I live in a very mild climate and have several pairs of Birkenstocks in my shoe rotation. One would likely need to apply Kelly’s Cork Renew more often if one lived in areas exposed to extreme heat or if one wore the same pair on a daily basis. How often do you reseal your Birkenstocks? Which product do you prefer? Send me an email.
For more information on how to apply cork sealer, please refer to my previous blog, “How to Care For Your Birkenstocks”.
Fall is here and I am looking for a pair of closed toe walking shoes. I have a love/hate relationship with my "appropriate" athletic shoes and with the Birkenstock insoles that I sometimes place in those shoes. I am not a fan of wearing socks with ‘stocks, so I need to find a shoe that is totally enclosed. I have been known to wear my Bostons for walking in the cooler seasons. However, when I power walk, the Bostons slip around because there is no heel strap. Since I am such a fan of Birkenstock sandals, I thought I would give Birkenstock Shoes a chance.
Birkenstock has quite a few enclosed shoes in their current collection. Since many of these shoes are not carried in stores nearby, I have to purchase them online. From what I glean from the pictures online, they are not quite Gina Mama’s style. There is no way that I could possibly look attractive in any of the Birkenstock shoes. They lack style, are big and clunky, and they are as plain as plain can be.
Now, I realize that many non Birkenstock wearers feel the same way about Birkenstock sandals. But, coming from me, the creator of the “I Love Birkenstocks” blog, it says a lot. I absolutely adore Birkenstock sandals, but their attempt at sport shoes are simply an eye sore. Arran, Manitoba, Cincinnati, and Barrie — I am talking about you!!
I have had overwhelming requests to write a blog about Birkenstock Shoes. I have resisted for over a year to write a blog on this topic. Partly because I don’t own any Birkenstock Shoes and partly because I don’t want to write a negative blog. I like to keep my blogs positive. At first, I thought my blog would be about not even wanting to try them on because of how they look. But such a blog would not be fair to my readers.
It was time to think outside of the Birkenstock box. I was able to change my way of thinking about Birkenstock Shoes only after I wrote my blog “Bespoke Birkenstocks”. Instead of looking at the plain white Birkenstock shoes as a monstrosity, I looked at them as a blank canvas. I figured, if they were comfy, then I would customize my kicks. It worked for my Arizonas and it would do wonders for any Birkenstock Shoe.
My first encounter with Birkenstock Shoes was in August 2016. I tried the Arran in white. Those shoes were painfully stiff. The heel area of these Arrans were hard, like a rock. No flexibility whatsoever. I am well aware that Birkenstocks need to be broken-in, but my feet should not be throbbing before I even take a step.
When I toured Birkenstock USA last year, I was informed that the next generation of Arran shoes (the Arran II) would have a softer, more pliable heel area. I gave the Arran II a chance and the leather was definitely softer and it had a thinner and more flexible heel. However, the shoes still did not fit! 38 Regular was too small, and the 39 Regular was too long. In the 39s, the arch support was in the wrong spot for my foot. I did feel like the width was wider on the Arran II vs the original Arran. Perhaps this was because the leather was more supple and flexible than the previous version.
Since the Arrans did not work out for me, I ordered the Maintoba, Cincinnati, and Barrie. I almost did not try on the Manitoba when it arrived because they looked like old school nursing uniform shoes. I respect all you nurses out there. Believe me, I do. I know some amazing nurses. Thank you for doing the work that you do. And thank goodness nurses in 2017 wear much more stylish shoes to work, including closed toe Birks!
I had the same problem with the Manitoba as with the Arran. My normal size shoe did not fit and the next size up was too narrow and too long. The one thing that I did like about the Manitoba was the sole. It was a soft, cushy EVA sole that had a lot of give, like an athletic shoe. It would be good for walking — IF it fit.
The Cincinnati was similar to the Manitoba expect that it has mesh on the sides vs an all leather shoe. The navy blue Cincinnati was the most “normal” looking Birkenstock Shoe that I tried. If it fit, I would have customized it with Angelus Leather paint and wore them for my daily walks in the Fall and Winter.
The final shoe, the Barrie, was the best looking of the bunch. The Barrie was great because it was a slip-on and reminiscent of Vans. You all know that I am a California girl and Vans scream California. I was excited to try the Barrie.
Birkenstock USA kindly gave me a pair of Barries after my tour. They were my normal size. However, they proved too narrow for my foot and I gave them to my dear friend. We wear the same size Birkenstock, yet she has a narrow foot. They fit her perfectly and she loves them. I am envious that they fit her because they are cute shoes.
When I tried the Barrie last week, I did not even bother with the 38s because I knew that they would not fit. I ordered the 39 Regulars and, yet again, they were too long. The width was more acceptable on the 39s because of the elastic on the sides of the shoe. Yet, there was no way that I could wear the 39s comfortably because the shoe slipped up and down when I walked. The sole of the Barries are like the Arran, they are more firm like a sandal vs the Cincinnati and Manitobas that are more squishy.
If I had to use one word to describe my experience with Birkenstock Shoes, it would be: disappointing!! I had high hopes for finding a pair of Birkenstock sneakers that I could customize with Angelus leather paint. I wanted to find a new “go to” walking shoe for the Fall and Winter.
Unfortunately, once Birkenstock encloses their footbeds, their regular width Birkenstocks are no longer wide enough for my foot. I think Birkenstock Shoes might work for those of you with more narrow feet. But, for someone like myself that requires a wide width shoe, they are much too narrow. After trying 4 styles of Birkenstock Shoes, I gave up on the rest of the collection. I had no desire to try on other styles like the Iona, Islay, Lismore, Jenks, or Bartlett. What's the point? They are likely too narrow and I would have to waste time returning them.
Birkenstock Shoes come with a heafty price tag and there are just too many discomforts that prevent me from keeping a pair. If I could find a pair that felt slightly comfy when I tried them on, then I would be willing to break them in. In all honestly, I do not feel like they are worth my time or money. Instead of buying a pair of ill fitting Birkenstock Shoes, I plan to re-establish my relationship with my Birkenstock insoles in my “appropriate” athletic shoes.
The entire purpose of Birkenstock sandals is to allow your feet to sit in their natural position. This is not what I experience with Birkenstock Shoes. Once I slip my feet into a pair of Birkenstock shoes, I feel like they are constricted to the point of my feet feeling claustrophobic. I Love Birkenstocks….and I have yet to find a Birkenstock enclosed shoe to rave about.
What has your experience been like with Birkenstock Shoes? Should I keep trying until I find a pair that works? Message me your thoughts.
Birkenstock blogger since 2016.