I love Birkenstocks so much that I want everyone dear to me to have a pair. When my best friend’s birthday rolled around last month, I gave her a pair of Birkenstocks. Actually, I bought her 2 styles from which to chose. A pair of Arizona’s and a pair of Florida’s, both in the soft footbed. My friend, who grew up in Berkeley during the height of the hippie era, has never worn a pair of Birkenstocks in her life. Can you believe that?!
I was confident that with the feminine, sparkly uppers, and the soft footbed option that my friend would ease into the Birkenstock lifestyle. Upon giving her the gift, I explained in detail the process of breaking in a pair of Birkenstocks. After just 2 days, my friend decided to return both pairs, claiming “they are just not comfortable for me.” There was no point in trying to persuade her, she was just not ready.
At first, I was sad that she did not like her gift. Then I became heart broken when, the next day, she ordered a pair of look-alike Birkenstocks. Gasp! You read that right, knock-off Birkenstocks.
These shoes look like a Birkenstock with the two straps, but have a sneaker-like sole. My friend exclaimed “they are so much more comfortable than the Birkenstocks right out of the box”. Of course, I reminded my dear friend that if she had given the Birkenstocks time, that they would have molded to her foot.
I think many people are turned off when they try on Birks because the shoes feel hard and uncomfortable at first. Some people purchase look-alike Birkenstocks because they are comfortable from the moment they slip on and they tend to be less expensive. The problem with this is that you get a shoe that looks like a Birkenstock but does not have the quality and support that comes with an authentic Birkenstock footbed.
To elaborate on the Birkenstock brand, allow me to introduce to you, Terry the Master Cobbler who describes the Birkenstock footbed as a “miracle”.
This “miracle” footbed will not be found in a pair of knock-off Birkenstocks.
I would like to take a quick detour from talking about shoes to discuss Oreo cookies. When you go to the grocery store to purchase a bag of Oreo cookies you have two options.
Option #1: pay the price asked for the original Oreo.
Option #2: save a few pennies and purchase the store brand cookie.
When you go with Option #1 you buy the original Oreo cookies. You get two delicious wafers joined together by sweet creme filling, you savor every cookie in that bag.
When you go with Option #2 you purchase a cookie that looks like an Oreo but the ingredients are not 100% the same. These cookies taste a little “off” from the original Oreo recipe. You don’t fully enjoy eating the cookie and the remainder of the bag is tossed in the garbage. The next time you go to the store, I bet you buy the original recipe Oreos. In essence, you get what you pay for.
When you purchase a pair of Birkenstocks you are paying for the real “recipe”. You are getting quality shoes that have a shock absorbing EVA sole and can help relieve joint pain. Birkenstocks are fully repairable and can last for years. Birkenstocks are recommended by podiatrists all over the world because the footbed keeps your foot in the proper position, while also supporting the natural rolling movement of your foot. You might pay a fraction of the cost for a pair of knock-off Birkenstocks, but you are not getting the aforementioned benefits of an authentic Birk. Birkenstocks are worth every penny because over time they feel like custom made shoes. Save yourself time and money and buy the real thing if/when you are ready to welcome Birkenstocks into your life.
While my friend’s shoes are cute, they are by no means true Birkenstocks. Her shoes look like Birkenstocks, however, they are not going to provide her long-term peerless comfort. I would like to make a bet with this friend. I bet that in 10 years that I still have my Birkenstock Arizona’s pictured in this blog and your beauties will have long since seen their last day. What should we bet? How about a pair of Birkenstocks?!
Although my friend did not like her birthday gift, I have not given up. I am convinced that we have not found the right model of Birkenstock to best fit her foot. I am waiting for the Mayari, in a soft footbed, to make a re-appearance in the US. Once they do, I am buying my friend a pair for a belated birthday gift.
I Love Birkenstocks and I want my loved ones to love them too.
NOTE: Want to learn more about the different Birkenstock Styles? If so, then read this blog.