These Birks are made for walkin’

November 18, 2011 | My Jottings

In 1979, when I returned to the States after living in Germany for almost two years, I bought my first pair of German-made Birkenstocks. And I loved them. They were dark blue sandals with two thick suede straps. I couldn’t believe how they made my feet and legs feel, the comfort and ease they brought to walking and standing for long periods of time.

Six years later my sandals were finally worn out and I bought another pair. Navy blue again, but this time with three thinner, more feminine straps. The style is called “Florida.”

Every 5 1/2 – 6 years I’ve purchased a new pair of Birkies, and this week my sixth pair in 32 years arrived. Birkenstocks are expensive, but I don’t know many other brands of shoes that last for six years of daily wear.

Here’s what my current old pair looks like:

And here’s the new pair — both are Floridas, but alas, they no longer make the leather navy blue Birks I like in that style. So I reluctantly decided to get black.

So now the old pair will be the gardening pair, for all the gardening I never do. The new pair will support my bare feet in spring and summer, and my SmartWool stockinged feet in fall and winter.

When the snow gets deep then I’ll have to set my Birkies aside for a few months, and it’s always a sad day to do that. Today it’s 28 degrees out (minus 2 Celsius) and with socks, my trusty Birkenstocks are warm enough.

Have you ever had a pair of Birkenstocks? If so, what did you think?


  1. Larry says:

    My Birkenstocks were a blessing from my sis and her hubby, and I too had never worn them before and like my younger sis, I too had extremely flat arches yet my feet are a lot bigger :-). I had never worn something like Birkenstocks before and now here in the south where it rains alot, I wear them while most people have shoes on. I wear then out side and inside, I like my sis have found they are such a real blessing not only to get around in but to just plain have on my feet. Mine are not quite so worn but are stained red from blood and brown from the sweat of time. They are my go to means of transportation for which I am ever thankful. Thanks Sis 🙂

  2. Just Julie says:

    Yikes Lar – stained with blood? I don’t know if I want to ask about that. I’m glad you like them, though. 🙂

  3. Jessica says:

    I haven’t owned REAL Birkenstocks but I have had the same experience and have the same feelings about my Chacos. Cost me a small fortune but I’ve worn them for YEARS and they show very little wear. I wear them every single day (inside and out) when it’s warm enough and I always feel sad when I have to set them aside for closed toed shoes outside. However, they are starting to sell a couple styles of closed toed shoes now too so who knows. A great pair of shoes or sandals is such a blessing.

  4. Just Julie says:

    I must live in a cave. I have never heard of Chacos, and will now look them up – they sound fantastic. Thanks Jessica!

  5. Ember says:

    I break mine out around March, wear then barefoot right through the summer and with reluctance go into socks then closed shoes late October. ‘Birkenstock’ is almost synonymous with ‘footwear’ for me now. Love ’em. You can get flowery girly ones in the Florida style too. Not got any, but seen them on the internet.

  6. Just Julie says:

    I agree with you Ember….I can’t imagine not having a pair of Birkenstocks. I’ve seen the flowery girly ones too, but I think I met my flowery quota when I was a little girl. Now I take my flowers in the form of beautiful arrangements around the house, a la Sara! 🙂

  7. Susan says:

    Julie, I have to laugh, today was the first day that I wore my “ground gripping treads to work”, I so hate giving up my sandels for winter! Ugh!! I too wear them to the bitter end!

  8. Just Julie says:

    And winter is so long here, Sue…. sigh. 🙂

  9. Julie says:

    I have thought of purchasing a pair of these every summer. I don’t know why but I can no longer wear a sandal. My ankle swells and my knees hurt. I feel better bare foot. I am stuck wearing tennis shoes all summer. Hot…. and inconvenient… and not too stylish.

  10. Just Julie says:

    Hi Julie! Whatever feels best is best, I say. If tennies work for you, go for it!

  11. Savannah says:

    I am unbelievably excited to see someone else voicing their love for Chaco’s!! EEEPP!!

    Chaco’s are the best shoes in the entire world.
    Expensive… but they last forever.
    A friend of mine still has her pair from her freshmen year of high school, and 10 years later they still show little wear!

    I wear my Chaco’s and “Berkies” from March to November.
    It’s horribly sad to put them away for the winter.

  12. Just Julie says:

    I looked up Chacos, Savannah – there are many styles! What are your favorites? What kind does your friend wear that have lasted so long?

  13. Helen in Switzerland says:

    I couldn’t live without mine Julie! Right now I have pretty ones with flowers on – which are difficult to find in Switzerland, so I always need a trip to Germany when i want new ones.

  14. Just Julie says:

    I’d love to see a photo sometime Helen – maybe you could show them when you put your next pair of knitted socks up on your blog! Have a wonderful week….

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