I have one pair of Birkenstock Madrids in Brown Magic Galaxy with an original footbed. They go with just about everything and are really comfortable. I love these Madrids and yet, I rarely wear them.
For those of you unfamiliar with the Madrid model, it is a single strap Birkenstock. The strap covers only the top portion of your foot.
The Madrid was the first Birkenstock sandal ever made. According to the Birkenstock Group, “in 1963 Karl Birkenstock launches the Madrid model, the first fitness sandal with a deep and flexible footbed, thereby laying the foundation for today's comfort footwear market”.
I have always admired the Birkenstock Madrid. It is a classic slide sandal. I have noticed more women wearing the Madrid over the last few years. This model of Birkenstock has a fantastic range of style. The Madrid can be worn for dressy occasions or worn causally like a flip flop.
When the Magic Galaxy uppers were unveiled a few months ago, I knew I had to add it to my collection. Finding this shoe in my size and width was as difficult as pulling a rabbit out of a hat. Why? This particular Madrid was only being offered in narrow width in the US. The only Madrid I could find in a regular width, on this continent, was in black. While black might be a good neutral color for some people, I associate neutral color Birkenstocks with the 1990s. Back in the day, Birkenstocks were only sold in brown, black, or grey. If I am going to spend my hard earned money on a luxury item, it has to be unique.
I did not want to be excluded from owning an elegant pair of Madrids in Magic Galaxy because of my wide feet. I went to great lengths to acquire this specific shoe in my size and I ordered it internationally. It seems that the US marketplace is not catering to women with normal to wider feet, compared to Europe, where Birkenstocks can easily be located in all widths.
Upon arrival, I was concerned that the regular width Madrid might still be too narrow. Out of the box, it appeared much sleeker compared to other models, like the Gizeh or the Arizona. However, when I slipped my foot into the Madrid, the footbed felt perfect. To compare, I put a Madrid on one foot and a Gizeh on the other. The footbeds felt the same. I was delighted. The one-strap sandal created an illusion of being more narrow. I am no fashion expert, but I assume this is because there was less material versus two or three strap model Birkenstocks. For a woman with a wide width foot, this was a welcomed illusion.
Before ever trying a Madrid, I had an assumption that it would be hard to keep on my foot because of the single strap. Sometimes assumptions are good, and other times they can cloud our judgment. In the case of the Madrid, my assumption was 100% wrong because my foot stayed put on the footbed while I walked. I still don’t know how a single adjustable strap can keep a shoe on one’s foot so securely. It must be the particular way that the strap is shaped and placed around the foot. It’s like magic.
For some odd reason, I felt like I could only wear the Madirds on warm days. Why? Maybe because so much of my foot is exposed with only a single strap. Perhaps the reason why I was not wearing these shoes so frequently was due to the fact that warm days in the Bay Area are a rare occurrence. When the temperature warmed up the other afternoon, I rolled up my jeans and slipped on the Madrids. I wore them around the house doing my dreaded Monday chores. Wearing these cute, sparkly shoes while cleaning the house made my chores much more tolerable.
That same day, when it was time to pick up the kids from summer camp, the fog started to blow in. I rolled down my jeans and thought about putting on a different pair of Birkenstocks. Instead, I slipped my feet back into the Madrids. It was at that very moment when I realized that they could be worn with jeans too! My assumption that Madrids could only be worn on warm days vanished as quickly as David Copperfield made the Statue of Liberty disappear.
This insight was spellbinding. My mind raced with ideas of various outfits that I could pair with the Madrids. It’s like a magician holding a deck of 52 cards out to an audience member. Which card would the audience member choose? Which outfit would I pair with the Madrids? I was filled with excitement as I had so many choices. No longer were my Madrids only shoes that I could wear on a hot day, I could also wear them on cool days. Jeans and Madrids looked awesome together.
I liked that the Madrids were supportive and comfortable while I walked around town. Even though Birkenstock marketed the Madrid in the 1960s as a fitness sandal, I probably would not chose the Madrids for walking long distances. Only because it takes more effort for my toes to grip the shoe without a second strap for added support.
One unique thing about the Madrids is the sound they make while you walk. You get the “flip flop” sound like you might hear when walking in beach-type thongs. Other two and three strap Birkenstock models do not make a “flip flop” noise as you walk.
The Madrids are less expensive compared to other Birkenstock models, they are available in a multitude of colors, and the uppers can be found in leather or synthetic materials. I have only seen this model sold in the Original Footbed. I am curious if any of my readers have come across this shoe in a soft footbed.
With a rainbow of colors from which to choose, I will most definitely be purchasing another pair of colorful Birkenstock Madrids in the future. Even though I won’t be wearing these for walking long distances, I will wear them just about any other time. Don’t let the flip flop style of this shoe deceive you. Even with just one strap, the Madrids provide just as much arch support as other Birkenstocks and they magically stay on your feet as you walk.
I Love Birkenstocks and I Love the Birkenstock Madrid.
Birkenstock blogger since 2016.