Birkenstock began its trek in the US in the 1960s as an earthy shoe associated with the hippie generation. This brand has continued its odyssey through the years and now Birkenstock is showcased on fashion runways all over the world. These days, Birkenstock carries a number of different style shoes. There seems to be a model to fit anyone’s fashion taste. Birkenstock makes open toed, closed toed, and now even soft soled shoes. Offerings include sneakers, loafers, mary janes, and even boots.
Until last July, I too thought Birkenstock only made the two strap sandal. In my journey to locate a new pair of Birkenstocks, I quickly learned how wrong I was. It was surprising to find such a variety of models available to the consumer in the US.
The Birkenstock brand carries even more styles in Europe. Many of the shoe styles that are only sold in Europe are featured on the Birkenstock box. For example:
Birkenstock states “if you think of Birkenstock as that famous sandal from the sixties, think again. Today, we have over 300 styles, textures and colors. “ Additionally, a post by Carmen from Clothes and Camera on 8/8/14 shows you a snippet of the diversity offered by the Birkenstock brand:
Since there is a plethora of options from which to choose, I will discuss 10 of the most common Birkenstock shoes sold in the US within the last year. Otherwise, this blog post would turn into a novel.
Let’s begin this tour of the Birkenstock shoe styles by discussing the most recognizable one on the planet, the Arizona.
1. Arizona - The Arizona has two thick straps for the uppers. This iconic sandal was originally made of leather. These days the Arizona is made in a wide variety of colors and materials. This model is offered in the Original Footbed and Soft Footbed. Please note, that not all colors are offered in the Soft Footbed. Of all my Birkenstock shoes, I find these and the Boston are the widest in width. These shoes are unisex.
2. Florida - Florida Birkenstocks have three thin straps for the uppers. Like the Arizona model, the Florida sandal is made in various colors and materials. This model is offered in the Original Footbed and Soft Footbed. On the one hand, many people prefer the Florida because the three straps allow for maximum customization on the foot. On the other hand, some people complain there are too many straps constricting their feet. This model is sold up to a size 42.
3. Gizeh - Gizeh is the upscale Birkenstock alternative to thongs. The upper of this model consists of a T-strap. The Gizeh has a toe piece that sits higher up on the footbed compared to a typical thong. Some individuals complain that the toe piece is painful. If you have the correct size and width and your foot is placed in the heel cup with the strap tightened securely, you should not even feel the toe piece. The Gizeh can be found in an array of colors and materials. Soft footbed Gizeh’s are a rare find in the US. Gizeh sizes up to a 42, unless they are specially ordered. If you need a larger size shoe take a look at the Ramses. The Ramses is the more masculine version of the Gizeh and sizes go beyond a 42.
4. Mayari - If you want a thong type Birkenstock and don’t like the toe piece of the Gizeh, consider the Mayari. Instead of a T-Strap, the Mayari consists of two thin straps and a stylish toe loop. The Mayari is a more feminine version of the Arizona. This model comes in leather and non leather options. Very few Mayari sandals are made with a Soft Footbed. This model goes up to a size 42, unless you specially order or have them recrafted.
5. Sydney - If you like the idea of having the support of dual strap and think that the Arizona straps are too bulky, and don’t like the idea of the toe loop on the Mayari, take a gander at the Sydney. The Sydney is a more feminine version of the Arizona. The straps on this model are sleeker and the buckles are smaller. The Sydney is hard to find in the US, I have only seen a few colors offered in non leather uppers. This model seems to only be sold in the Original Footbed in the US.
6. Granada - The Granada is another two strap sandal that offers a dressier option than the Sydney or the Arizona because of its design on the straps. Laser cut outs on the uppers offer a more elegant look. The Granada is made in leather and non leather materials and is sold in the Original Footbed and the Soft Footbed. This is a great choice for someone wanting dressier Birkenstocks without giving up the foot security of a two strap model. This model goes up to size 42.
7. Madrid - If you want a flip flop feel with Birkenstock support, then the Madrid is for you. The Madrid has one thick strap keeping your foot in the shoe. Although I have seen the Madrid in several colors and materials, I have only seen this model sold in the Original Footbed. This model allows for a lot of foot movement since there is only one strap. Of all the Birkenstocks listed on this blog, the Madrid is the least expensive option. The largest size this model is sold is a 42.
8. Bali- I was recently looking at Birkenstock shoes with a friend who needed an ankle strap for maximum foot security. We came across the Bali. From the reviews, it appears that many individuals like the ankle strap because it keeps the foot securely in the shoe. I have not seen this model in stores. Online I can only find it in a leather upper and in a Soft Footbed. Size 42 is the largest in which this shoe is made.
9. Milano - This is a three strap Birkenstock that offers more security than two strap models. The Milano is basically the Arizona with a heel strap. Which means the uppers consist of wide straps with large buckles. The heel strap keeps your foot from sliding off the footbed. If you like to slip your foot into a shoe without having to buckle/unbuckle a strap, this model is not for you. The Milano comes in leather and Birkibuc uppers and can be found in the Original Footbed and Soft Footbed. This is a unisex model.
10. Boston - This is one of Birkenstocks most popular close-toed shoes. The Boston has one adjustable strap that goes over your instep. It is a slip on clog that keeps your toes warm on cooler days. I love wearing my Boston Birkenstocks around the house as slippers. In the US, this model is only sold in leather uppers. You can purchase it either the Original Footbed or Soft Footbed. This is a unisex model.
After reading about these 10 styles listed above, what did you notice about the names of each shoe? That right’s, the shoes are named after European cities and US cities and states. By describing these styles, I feel like I have taken you through a walking tour of Europe and parts of the US.
The aforementioned information provided may seem overwhelming and that is the reason I limited this blog to 10 models. As stated previously, there are over 300 styles offered by Birkenstock. This blog is just the beginning of a long road to discovery about the Birkenstock brand. I would love to hear from my readers, what Birkenstock styles are your favorite? Which styles would you like to learn more about? Please leave me a comment so I know which fork in the road to take for a future blog post.
I invite you to find the right Birkenstock style to meet your needs. Life is a journey. Birkenstocks help make your life journey more comfortable.
NOTE: To learn about how to recraft Birkenstocks to your size, width or to a different footbed option, please read this blog.