Today's post is for people who have never worn Birkenstocks. For those individuals who are contemplating the idea of slipping their feet into the most amazing shoe in the world......allow me to present to you:
Gina Mama’s Top 10 Tips for New Birkenstock Wearers
10. Figure out your WHY. Why do you want to wear Birkenstocks? For fashion? For comfort? Search deep in your soul and figure out if you are committed to this journey. You must be willing to tough it out for a few weeks, as you slowly break-in a new pair of Birkenstocks. For first timers, breaking-in a new pair of Birks may be the most excruciating thing that you ever do. But, having a footbed that is completely conformed to the shape of your foot, is soooo worth the pain.
9. Responsibility. Are you willing to truly respect your Birkenstocks? If you are going to treat a new pair of Birks like some dime store flip flops, then keep on trekking. You must love and respect your Birkenstocks. TIP: read my previous blog post, “How to Care for your Birkenstocks", to learn how you can keep your Birks lasting years and years.
8. Think positive. It is time to let go of all the negative stereotypes that you have ever heard about Birkenstocks. It is all about mindset. If you think you will love Birkenstocks, then you WILL grow to love Birkenstocks. Read my previous blog, “Wearing Birkenstocks does not make me a Hippie”, to learn more.
7. Get Help. Do not order your first pair online!!! Since this is your first pair of Birkenstocks, there is so much to learn about size, fit, width, footbeds (original vs soft footbed), models, styles, etc. Find an authorized retailer and get properly educated on your Birkenstock options and have your foot fitted by an expert. Then buy your Birkenstocks from the retailer who helped fit you! (Don't leave the store and buy the pair online, support small businesses!)
6. Time is your best friend. Know that perfection and comfort are not to be expected the moment that you take your Birkenstocks out of the box. It takes time, a week, two weeks, or maybe even longer to completely break-in your Birkenstocks. For all you newbies, be sure to read this blog about “How to Break-In your Birkenstocks”. Breaking-in Birkenstocks is about the shoe molding to your foot.
5. Intuition. Follow your intuition and find a style that feels most comfortable on your foot, not necessarily the one that you think is most stylish. You might love the look the of the Gizeh, but your foot might crave the straps of the Arizona. You won’t know which is best for you, until you try them on in a store. Remember Comfort is King/Queen.
4. Remain positive. Don’t give up. Positive energy will get you through the break-in period, whereas if you remain negative about the process, you may give up when you get your first Birkenstock blister. Just know that even the most experienced Birkenstock wearer might get a blister with a new pair of Birks.
3. Trust yourself. Don’t let outside influence sway your commitment to wearing a new pair of Birkenstocks. Wear your Birkenstocks with confidence, it is an integral pair of this journey. Who cares what anyone else thinks? Are you comfortable? That is all that matters.
2. Socks. Buy yourself a new pair of cute socks. Socks may be your best friend as you break-in your first pair Birkenstocks. Even though I may not regularly sport a pair of socks with Birkenstock sandals, I always wear a pair of socks when I am breaking-in a new pair of leather Birks. Doing so helps prevent hot spots and blisters from forming. Tip: look up Tabi socks for Gizeh and Mayaris.
1. Save. Once you learn about the peerless comfort that Birkenstocks provide, you will want another pair. It is never too early to start saving for your next pair.
If you need more suggestions and advice before purchasing your first pair of Birkenstocks, please refer to the blog list below:
Stepping into your First Pair of Birkenstocks
Original vs Soft Footbed Birkenstocks
In 2016, I wrote a blog on shearling lined Birkenstocks. Back then, shearling lined Birkenstocks was a new phenomenon and there were two major issues that I discovered with the shearling lining:
1. Exposed glue on the inseams
2. Slippery lining when wearing socks
At the time, I also could not put my head around a shearling lined Birkenstock sandal. I felt that either you are hot (and need sandals) or cold (and need shearling). A shearling lined Boston made perfect sense. But, a shearling lined Arizona, not so much.
I am happy to report, three years later, that I now truly comprehend the pure luxury of a shearling lined Arizona. Maybe it took the right color shearling lined Arizona to pique my interest and see the light. In my opinion, a shearling lined Arizona gives one just the right amount of warmth and comfort on the foot, but allows breathing room for your tootsies. And, you can wear them with socks, for extra warmth!
I should mention that I did order a pair of burgundy shearling lined Bostons, in the fall of 2016, after I posted my initial blog on Birkenstock shearling lined shoes. That one pair of shearling lined Bostons has gotten some heavy wear over the last three years. While I did find the shearling slippery right out of the box, they become less slippery as they broke in.
I am a sucker for shearling. I love the coziness of my UGGs, but hate their lack of support. After a few hours in UGGs, my feet hurt. Unfortunately, Birkenstock insoles do not work in my UGGs. Believe me, I have tried. So, I usually only wear my UGGs when I am sitting on the couch. Whereas I always wear my Birkenstock Bostons doing chores, walking the kids to school, or running errands.
I recently noticed that my Burgundy Bostons seemed a bit worn out. The shearling mattes down over time and leaves grooves of exposed cork footbed where your toes and heels rub most in the shoe. It is not a big deal if you are wearing socks. But, it is extremely noticeable if you slip your foot into the shoe barefoot.
When it came time for a new pair of shearling lined Birkenstocks, I purchased the Navy Arizonas and immediately fell in love with the shearling. So much so, that I frequented the Birkenstock webpage, waiting for Birkenstock to release the green shearling lined Boston in my size. Thanks to the back in stock notifications, I snagged a pair the moment they were available.
With my new shearling lined Birkenstocks, I did not have any issues with exposed glue seams. The shearling also seems more plush than previous releases. Even with the extra plushness of the shearling, I still found the shearling slippery the first few wears, but that issue tends to resolve itself quickly. It is such a pleasure not to have to deal with any quality control issues regarding the shearling or exposed glue.
While the quality of shearling lined Birkenstocks has been upgraded, there is one small problem that I think Birkenstock needs to take into consideration…..regular width options. When you take a narrow width Birkenstock and line it with shearling, you take away a lot of valuable real estate on that footbed!
I fell in love with the dove gray color this season, but it was only released in narrow width in the US. Why? It is SO LAME that Birkenstock does this. I don’t need to go into detail about my feelings on narrow width Birkenstocks. If you have been reading my blog, you already know my stance on that matter. If you are a new reader, you can learn more by reading this blog.
When I ordered the dove gray Bostons, I could not even fit my foot into the narrow width shoe. It felt two sizes too small!! Be sure to get properly fitted before buying shearling lined Birkenstocks. Some people who wear narrow width sandals, may need a regular width, if the Birk is lined with shearling, and some people may need to size up. I personally take my normal size and now I know that I cannot wear a narrow Birk with shearling...unless I call Michelangelo at Custom Made Birkenstocks, and have him stretch out a pair for me! You can call him too and ask him to stretch out your Birkenstocks! It works.
I realize that shearling lined Birkenstocks are outrageously expensive. This is part of the reason that I have decided to write an updated blog on the subject. I want everyone to know that shearling lined Birkenstocks are high-quality, well worth the money, and last for a long time. Custom Made Birkenstocks now has shearling lined footbeds and can recraft an older pair of Birks with a fresh, new shearling lined footbed! Imagine taking an older pair of your favorite Birks and recrafting them with a shearling liner!! The possibilities are endless.
Even though the price of the shearling lined Birkenstocks might seem astronomical, if you are like me, they may be the one pair of Birks that you wear the most! During the spring and summer, I rarely wear the same Birkenstocks twice. But come fall and winter, I pretty much wear my shearling lined Bostons every single day! When it is hella cold outside, my burgundy Bostons are on my feet from the moment I wake up, to the moment I go to bed. I have certainly gotten my bang for the buck with this one pair!
Would I recommend you give shearling lined Birkenstocks a try? Absolutely! If you like UGGs and love Birkenstocks, then shearling lined Birks are the perfect shoe for you. It’s a win win.
Read my original blog on shearling lined Birkenstocks here.
Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. For the last several years, I have been incorporating Birkenstocks into my Halloween costume. I do this for two reasons, Birks are cute and they keep my feet properly supported when I take the kiddos trick-or-treating.
This year for Halloween, my kids wanted me to wear my yellow Birki clogs, that I purchased from Sandy's Birkenstock Boutique. I initially purchased them to wear to wet, muddy, and gnarly soccer fields. But, the moment they arrived from Australia, the kids suggested that I wear them on Halloween and dress as a duck.
I even went as far as purchasing a Donald Duck Halloween costume (Daisy was sold out). I thought it would be hilarious. The yellow Birkis were the perfect accessory for the Donald Duck costume. Unfortunately, the outfit did not breathe well and I overheated just trying it on.
Since October weather in the Bay Area tends to be really hot, I sent back the Donald Duck costume and opted for something a little more elegant.
I just switched animal themes. I went from a duck to a zebra outfit. My Big Buckle, Lion King themed, exquisite Arizonas, from Bloomingdales, were fun to wear and brought a little class to the festivities.
I don't know what was more exciting for me, wearing the awesome Arizonas or the zebra striped face paint, to pull the outfit together. If I had to choose, I think the zebra stripes were more fun, since it made the kids the laugh and embarrassed them at the same time! #winning
Last weekend I posted this picture on social media:
I was immediately flooded with inquiries on where I found red Birkenstock Seres. I didn’t “find” them, I colored them. For those of you in the know, Birkenstock only released the Seres in brown and black leather. Needless to say, people asked for step by step instructions on exactly how to do this.
If you have read my previous blogs, you know that I am no stranger to blinging out my Birks. For the Seres sandals, I followed the steps from my blog “Birkenstock Diva”.
I used Tarrago shoe cream to color my Birkenstocks. Color cream is inexpensive, there are tons of colors from which to choose, it is easy to apply, it dries quickly, and it has a high pigment content and it stains leather extremely well.
My hope was to stain a pair of brown leather Seres a deep burgundy. I had three different shades of red Tarrago cream in my tool box.
I applied a dollop of each color to the underside of the Seres strap and let it dry. From past coloring experience, I knew that whatever color was in the bottle would turn a shade or two darker once it dried on a brown leather base. I wanted to get a rough idea of which shade of red would be that which I was seeking. I selected the Morello Cherry color for this project.
ITEMS NEEDED FOR PROJECT
STEPS TO COLOR THE UPPERS
1. Cover the footbeds of each pair of Birkenstocks with a few layers of paper towels to catch any spillage during the application process.
2. Apply non acetone remover (I prefer Angelus' Professional Leather Preparer & Deglazer ) to a cotton swab and wipe down the uppers. This step helps to deglaze the Birkenstock by breaking down the original finish.
3. Let the leather completely dry after applying the non acetone product. This may take several minutes.
4. Apply masking tape to the back side of the leather straps. This helps prevent getting unwanted color on the back of the straps.
5. Once dry, use a thin brush (about the same size of the straps) to apply the first coat of Tarrago shoe cream to the top and the sides of your Birkenstock straps. Do NOT color the backside (the color may bleed off with wear). Let each coat completely dry, about 5-10 minutes.
6. Keep applying coats of the color cream until you get the color you desire.
7. It took about 3-4 coats of the red cream to completely stain the uppers of my Seres.
8. Don’t get freaked out when the first coat does not give you the color for which you aim. This is a process and takes time. It may take several coats.
PLEASE NOTE: you cannot color your Birkenstocks lighter. You need to use a darker shade for this to be successful. If you want to go lighter, you will need to use Angelus leather paint and follow the steps that I illustrated in the blog “Bespoke Birkenstock”.
When you are finished coloring your straps, you may find that splashes of color have dripped onto the footbed or soles, even with all the precautions that you have taken. No need to worry, the color drips are easy to remove. Simply dab a cotton ball, soaked in non acetone nail polish remover, on the areas with the unwanted color. The color cream will come right off.
I set the Seres aside to dry for 24 hours. Then I sealed the color on to the leather to prevent fading, scratching, or peeling. For this step you can use any Suede and Nubuck leather protector. I opted to use Dr. Martens wonder balsam because it would serve two purposes. First, it would help seal in the color and protect the leather. Second, it would soften the leather straps prior to my break-in process.
Here are the before and after pictures:
The entire process took less than an hour to complete. And clean up was a breeze. I am thrilled with my red Birkenstock Seres.
Now, if only Birkenstock would manufacture unique styles in colors other than just brown or black……….(hint, hint, wink, wink, nudge, nudge).....☺️
I may be taking a sabbatical from purchasing new Birkenstocks. With my recent experience of quality control issues and the lack of love for us regular width wearing customers, it should be no surprise that I am “disappointed”. Thankfully, I have an ample stock of ‘stocks, hidden in a vault, at an unspecified location. My supply won’t run dry until the Apocalypse hits and when the Apocalypse hits, my Doc Martens come out. But, this does not mean that I won't special order a pair from Michelangelo at Custom Made Birkenstocks.
I technically have a lifetime supply of Birks and don’t “need” another pair. Wanting another pair is a different story. Although I have hoards of Birkenstocks, there is one color missing from my collection. Ferrari Red.
When Birkenstock released the red Valentinos, I was drooling.
These Valentino Birks are the perfect shade red, but not the perfect price tag or the perfect width. After the Birkenstock quality control issues that I have experienced, I adamantly refused to fork over half a grand (after California taxes) for a pair of Birkenstocks that were only released in narrow width. Tsk Tsk Birkenstock for chubby foot shaming again! As if the powers that be are passive aggressively telling their most dedicated regular width wearing customers, that wider feet shall not be allowed to wear special collaboration Birks. Guess what, the reason that many people choose to wear Birkenstocks is because of the wider footbed! ARGH?!! Wide foot Birkenstock lovers want pretty, stylish sandals too. How many blogs do I have to write to reiterate this? Is no one listening?!
These narrow width only releases get my blood boiling. In fact, I was so fired up that these Valentino Birks were not available in a regular width, that I became anti-Valentino! Thus, I schemed a way to create the perfect pair of red Arizonas for myself. And, no, I was not going to paint another pair.
I wanted elegance. I wanted beauty. I wanted perfection. Cue Custom Made Birkenstocks.
I called Michelangelo, at Custom Made Birkenstocks, and asked him if he could make me a pair of Ferrari Red Arizonas. I knew his answer before he responded. He said, “Sure, I can do anything”.
I told Michelangelo my exact wishes. All red....rather....all Ferrari red Arizonas. Red leather uppers, red buckles, red leather lined footbed, and red soles. He immediately told me that Birkenstock would not sell him authentic red soling material. I agreed to settle for non Birkenstock soling material, so long as the soling material matched the leather uppers. Michelangelo ended up finding red soling material from Italy. This satisfied me, since all the best things, like Ferraris, (except Birkenstocks) come from Italy.
The entire process, from my initial call, to receiving the Arizonas took several weeks. I was in no rush, since I know all masterpieces take time. Do you know how long it took Michelangelo to paint the Sistine Chapel? (Not the same Michelangelo of which I speak).
Michelangelo communicated with me during the entire operation. He called to clarify things and emailed me pictures with options and choices. I felt like I was thoroughly included in the decision making process of these Birkenstocks, every step of the way.
It was a very easy and comfortable process to have Michelangelo create the perfect pair for me. As you well know, I highly recommend Michelangelo, at Custom Made Birkenstocks, to anyone that seeks that “perfect” color Birkenstock. For those of you who desire a pair of mustard yellow or acid green Birkenstocks, or any other color or pattern for that matter, give Michelangelo a call at
When my Ferrari red Arizonas arrived at my house, they were in perfect condition. No quality control issues with this hand made masterpiece! And the best part of this made to order pair of Birkenstocks is that they have been monogrammed with my name!!! It is the small details that make these extra special. Thank you, Michelangelo!!
Who needs a pair of too narrow Valentinos when you can have a custom pair of “Michelangelos” that fit beautifully?
I was so excited and pleased with my red “Michelangelos” that when I called, to personally thank him, I ordered another custom pair!!
This time I went with Leopard print!! These are lightweight and extremely soft. These beauties are elevated to pure elegance with the black suede lined footbed and the gold buckles.
Now that I have two perfect custom made Birkenstocks in my arsenal, I may never have to buy another pair of Birkenstocks again. I have been spoiled. I like this made
to order Birkenstock option. It makes me feel a little like a Diva.
If you could order a custom pair of Birkenstocks, what color or pattern would you choose? What model would you select? Send me an email and let me know.
Be sure to check out Custom Made Birkenstocks newest leather acquisitions. There are so many amazing prints from which to choose. Go ahead, have Michelangelo make you a custom pair. I give you permission to spoil yourself. You deserve it.