Birkenstocks are pricey shoes with patented soles. When you are ready to invest in a pair of Birks you want to make sure that you receive an authentic pair of shoes and not a pair of knock offs. Believe it or not, counterfeit Birkenstocks are big business. Here are a few of Gina Mama’s rules to help you avoid purchasing a fake Birkenstock.
1. Purchase your shoes from an authorized Birkenstock retailer. BirkenstockUSA has a store locator tool to help you find an authorized dealer near you.
When you take your search online for an authorized dealer be sure to go through a reputable company like BirkenstockUSA or Zappos. Be cautious if you purchase through Amazon. Make certain that the Birkenstocks are sold by Amazon directly and not a third party. I have had experience of Amazon's third parties retailers selling me counterfeit Birkenstocks. Needless to say the fakes were shipped back immediately.
2. Your shoes should be sold in a Birkenstock Box. Not in an unmarked, plain cardboard box or (gasp) a plastic baggie. Closely inspect the box. This is what Birkenstock Boxes look like:
Birkenstock has an acutal picture of the shoe style, as well as your size and width, printed on the outside of the box. The style, size, and width pictured on the box needs to match the shoe inside the box.
3. Inspect the footbed of your new Birkenstocks. The Birkenstock logo is imprinted on the footbed of each shoe. The registered trademark symbol is situated immediately to the right of it. Just below the logo you should see "Made in Germany". Birkenstocks are made in Germany, not China. If you see that they are made in China they are 100% counterfeit.
A fake shoe might misspell the name, or not include it at all. I recommend you carefully check the spelling of all the words on the footbed.
4. The soles of Birkenstocks are patented. This is part of what makes Birkenstocks so amazing. The sole of the shoe should have areas with the word “Birk" on the design. Most soles of the Birkenstocks look like this:
Some Birkenstocks come in a sport model and the soles of those shoes are similar to the above picture, however, the color of the sole is lighter.
5. The Birkenstock logo should be imprinted on the inner side of each shoe. If you rub your finger across the logo, you can feel the imprint. Here is an example:
Birkenstocks are light. Fake Birkenstocks are heavy and weigh more than authentic Birks.
7. If you find clumps of glue inside the shoe attaching the uppers to the footbed, the shoes are likely not authentic. There should be no glue anywhere.
8. Check the buckles and buttons. The name “Birkenstock” should be shown on each buckle and button. On the smaller buckles you might just see “Birken”
The buttons and buckles ought to look similar to these pictures:
Birkenstock shoes are one of those brands that are typically not included in sale prices. Be wary if you find a pair Birkenstock shoes at a deep discounted price. If the sale sounds too good to be true, it likely is. The only way to be certain that the item you are buying is a genuine Birkenstock is to buy from an authorized Birkenstock dealer (see rule #1). Be vigilant online and always be attentive to the web site you are visiting, just as you would with any other purchase.
Since local retailers in my area tend to not carry regular width Birkenstocks, I often purchase mine online. I learned my lesson early about fake Birkenstocks when I purchased shoes via third parties on Amazon. I only did this a few times and all the shoes from third parties were returned immediately. Once I received a pair of Birkenstocks where the logo was not imprinted on the inside of the shoe. Another time there were clumps of glue between the uppers and the footbed. And the last time I received a fake pair the Birkenstock logo was not printed correctly.
Birkenstock has a quality control system in place to reduce defective merchandise being shipped out. That’s why I recommend going through an authorized dealer. If you experience any of the aforementioned issues, I would return your shoes, they are likely counterfeit. Bottom line, if your gut tells you that the Birkenstocks are knock offs, send them back.
By purchasing authentic Birkenstock shoes you will experience what Birkenstock USA describes as “peerless comfort, utmost quality and the best natural materials possible.” You and your feet deserve the best.
Do you want more tips on how to spot counterfeit Birkenstocks? If so, please refer to my most current blog on the subject, please click here.
UPDATE: For information about Birkenstock's "Logo Color Change on the Original Footbed" please click here.
UPDATE: Part 2 of "Spotting Fake/Knock-Off/Counterfeit Birkenstocks" was published on 3/26/18, for additional tips, click here.