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Shopping Expedition:Birks, Mephestos, Danskos, Jospeh Soebels

Posted by Beverly on 6/15/00 at 22:07 (021894)

Hi gang!

I took my shopping expedition today. Off to the big city I went.

I took Nancy's advice about sales people, and not just taking anyone.
I called the store last night, asked to speak to the manager, and I asked him which salesman he would most reccomend for fitting problem feet at this 'healthy shoe' type store. I asked for that specific guy when I got there, and I'm glad I did. He knew alot about all these shoes. I was not lucky enough for him to be a Birks wearer. (He said he wears Dansko's, Joseph Soebel's and Havanna Joe's.) But he knew alot about all of the shoes.

Here is what I decided:
1. Of the Birks, the only shoe I felt sure felt good was the leather Arizona. I took a size 40 regular. (In a regular shoe my average size is a 9.5, but I have worn as small as a 9 and as big as a 10, depending on the shoe.) I would have picked out a 41 left to my own devices, and I still wonder about that, but both the salesman and my Birk loving friend who went with me, both felt like the 40 was the best fit. Plus, the 41's toebar was hitting my big toe in the wrong spot, and it was not snug like you all have instructed. So I went with the 40. The only place it seems small is at the toe length on one toe. I'm not used to having my toes that close to the edge, but they both felt it would be ok and comform to my foot.
I really wanted to try that Nebraska Nancy likes, but they didn't have them.

2. I also liked the Mephesto's very much. Almost all of them felt good. I wish the store had a bigger selection. I ended up getting the Mephesto Altina in a 40. It is almost identical to the Arizona Birk but has a less pronounced arch and no or little toe hugger. It was the most comfortable shoe I tried. Once again, I hope I didn't get it too short in length. One other thing I noticed is that it runs more narrow than the Birk... a good thing for a narrow foot. I am not used to these European shoes, and so I really don't know what I'm doing. I'm rather dependent upon the salesman and what I've learned here on the board.


3. I also tried Dansko's. To look at them, they didn't look comfty, but I was surprised how comfty they were. Here, I was told, to go with roomy. They had one pair in my size drastically marked down. I figured I might as well try it too. I liked it because it was dressier and had plenty of heel height. I don't plan to do much walking in Dansko's. I just need something to wear with dresses.

That was all I could afford to buy, but I also tried Joseph Soebel.
Another German shoe... very, very comfortable...a roomy shoe that I was told was meant to be roomy. I wish I'd been able to get it too. I hadn't heard of it, and running out of money, I felt like for my first trip,I'd better go with names I know.
Have any of you worn it?

So, a small fortune later, I came home with three pairs of shoes. I hope I can figure out which ones work around the house on the carpet; so I can send the 'bad' ones back.

See ya,
Beverly


Re: Mistake on name/size/toe questions

Beverly on 6/15/00 at 23:16 (021900)

Oh, I made a mistake on a few names.

That Mephesto that looks like the Birk Arizona was a 'Heidi' not Altina. It got in the wrong box.

The Dansko was a size 41.

The more I wear this Mephesto around the house, the more I think I got it too short, but it's so hard to know. I read on the internet Mephesto's are suppose to be roomy unlike Birks which are to fit snug.
Oh well, store said I could mail them back for refund. I guess I'll have to use the internet if I want to see what a 41 feels like.

When in doubt about a Birk, is it better to go a bit short in toe or go longer? I hope I didn't mess up. But I know for sure the 41 was too loose and the toe bar hit in an uncomfortable place. So, my only other choice was going with the snugger fit that works perfectly everywhere except in that toe length. But what do I know? These are my first Birks.
Feedback?
Beverly


Re: Mistake on name/size/toe questions

PattyS on 6/16/00 at 00:16 (021902)

Beverly,
if you have narrow or average feet you can try the Betulas by Birk. I had posted about them at Costco and went to a shoe store today to try them on and see if they still bothered me. My foot is borderline wide and the salesman said that is why the Betulas don't work for me. The Mephistos and Noats were too narrow for me as well. Patty

Re: Mistake on name/size/toe questions

Nancy S. on 6/16/00 at 05:26 (021904)

Hi Beverly, I couldn't stay up late enough last night to hear about your shoe adventure, but I was eager to learn how it went. It was smart of you to call beforehand and get the name of the best salesperson! I'll remember that for future forays to new places.
If the Birks toebar was in the wrong place in size 41, that definitely would have been the wrong size. Exactly what is happening with the toe length? Are your toes going up over the rim at all, even if your heel is snug back against the back rim? (Be sure, like Robin said, that the front strap, closest to your toes, is holding your foot firmly enough so that you're not creeping up in the shoe.) Or are your toes just touching the rim? Because the footbed will conform more to your foot over 1 or 2 weeks. When I got my first pair, I couldn't believe they should fit as snugly as everyone said -- people in the store kept showing me their feet in their own Birks to prove it to me.
If your toes truly feel crunched, the style just may be one of those where you need something between the sizes offered, and maybe you will need to continue to try other styles, since some do fit differently.
But give the Arizonas some time around the house. The feel of Birks is different from any other shoe I know of and they can take getting used to. When I brought mine home I had doubts about the toe fit, but like you, the next size up were way too roomy and uncomfortable. The conformity happened and as you know I now wouldn't be without Birks for anything. Keep us posted, also on the other brands you bought. Thanks --Nancy

Re: To Nancy on Birk toe fit

Beverly on 6/16/00 at 08:28 (021907)

Nancy (and Robin & Alan too if you're out there):

Thank you for posting.

In answer to the Birk toe fit question, I have a couple of smaller toes (primarily the third toe) that are pushing against the rim. To some extent the third toe is going over the rim, but it is not going off the rim. In other words, it feels weird that it is hitting the raised rim area, but at NO time is it hanging off in thin air. It's just hitting the rim. But the big toe is well/safely within range and most of the other toes are within range. I think my third toe is just long for a third toe. What the store and Birk friend both thought was that my toes would mold the rim down... 'beat it down' and the rim would not be a problem. Yes, I have the stap pulled tight... tighter than I would ever think to pull it, but I am following both your advice and store's advice. I have it in the tightest hole. Right now, I can just get my little finger under it. (I have VERY small hands and fingers.) I'm wearing that second strap a bit looser... can't stand it tight too.
I am curious if there is a style of Birk that runs long.
One problem for me is that with an extra 20 lbs, gainned these last few years, I am not the 'true' size I used to be. There was a time when I was a perfect 9N all the time. I suspect that if I could even get 10 pounds off, these Birks would be a better fit.
Well, one more reason to keep trying to loose weight.

Oh, also... I know I've read somewhere here about breaking in the Birk... take it easy. But I don't remember details. How long and how much should I wear them at first?

Finally, I think I will have to giveup that silicone insert. It was somewhat comfortable, but it is raising my foot so much off the ground that my even my roomy running shoes are rubbing me ontop of my foot. The shoe salesman noticed it and said I had the beginning of a bursa.
My Dad has bunions; so I sure don't want that. I am so frustrated with all these orthodics and inserts. They help one problem and start another. One helps heel pain but causes arch pain. Another helps arch pain but causes heel pain. And my latest somewhat help both arch and heel pain but cause my feet to be lifted too high off the ground and rub the top into this blister/beginning bursa! And consider, all this is happening in a pair of running shoes that are otherwise roomy. Other than perhaps giving Superfeet one more try, I am ready to pack all my orthodics in a box. That is why I am trying so diligently to find the perfect Birk/Mephesto sandal - so I can get rid of these orthodics. I will say this much, the Birk gives far better support than any orthodic. I like the Mephesto too. It too feels firm and supportive.

I'm sending the Mephesto 40 back to the store. My heel keeps trying to go off the edge. So frustrating after an allday trip, but otherwise it is a very comfortable shoe. I think I will order a 41 in the same thing over the internet. I think I just needed a tad bit bigger size and the store's Mephesto stopped at 40. Because I can tell that if I can just find the right size, Mephesto may be the perfect shoe for me. I like the amount of arch support it gives... not too much, not too little.
Every one of those Mephesto's felt good the minute I put them on my feet... just a little too small.

I'm still curious to hear from anyone who has tried the Joseph Seibel.
Thanks,
Beverly



Re: To Nancy on Birk toe fit

john h on 6/16/00 at 09:18 (021909)

you ladies sure get into this shoe thing! my wife would crawl to the shoe store if that is what it took. i would wear frankenstein boots if it would make the pain go away.

Re: To Nancy on Birk toe fit

Nancy S. on 6/16/00 at 14:32 (021929)

Hi Beverly, I usually wear socks, so today I've worn the Nebraskas without socks in order to see where my toes are in the shoe. My second and third toe hit the rim; it sounds exactly like what your third toe is doing. But I've had these now for 3 or 4 weeks, and the rim has conformed to my toe needs. (Toe needs -- I never would've thought I'd have to think about that!) They're just touching now, and the shoes have accommodated them, so I'm not aware of them. The toes are not crunched-feeling in any way.
In general, they seem to say to start wearing them, say an hour or two, at first, and then gradually increase the time each day. But I found them such a relief after ORTHOTICS! that I wore them more and it was fine. Maybe I was just lucky.
John h, do remember that we are focused on shoes here for health reasons, you rascal. I never cared a whit about shoes before this. But, like your wife, I WOULD crawl to a shoe store now if I had to, to get some Birks!
Nancy

Re: A bit of humor... donating my spikes to the poor

Beverly on 6/16/00 at 15:23 (021932)

Hi all!

Nancy,thank you so much for your Birk toe info. I had to laugh when you wrote 'Toe needs, never thought I'd need to think about that!' Me neither! I'll keep working on breaking in these Birks. So far, I like the way they feel on the heel. If your toes made that rim mold, then I figure mine can too! I'm in a race to the finish to see if my toes push down that rim before getting 'toe bruised'! But I will perserve. If only Birk made 1/2 sizes!

Dr Z: I wonder what affect a Birk has on a small bursa? Could it help cure that too? I can thank orthodics and inserts for my baby bursa.

Are you all in need of humor?
I've decided to donate all my spikey heels, flimsy flats, and trendy 'fashion' Keds to a needy person with big feet. My rational is that even when and if my feet recover, I will not be so stupid as to suddenly start wearing unhealthy shoes. So, I have put the word out to all my broke friends that if they or anyone they know want to fall into 'shoe heaven', they are only a closet away. All they need is a 9/9.5 N to enter! Plus, my new 'healthy' shoes need room on that shelf! Sure would love those Dansko's to work. They're not even ugly.

Hey, something else funny... The salesman said the Birk toe bar bothered his foot and he first tried whacking it with a hammer... didn't work... He finally pounded it down with a REALLY BIG HAMMER. (Fellas, I'm sure there is some 'offical tool title' for that instrument, but that's the best I can remember. I barely know a Philips from a straight edge!) Well, at least my toe bar feels pretty good!

I have a new idea for the insurance industry! I think that with a doctor's prescription, we should all be able to buy at least 2 or 3 pairs of shoes a year and have insurance foot the bill! It would certainly be cheaper than further medical treatment.

Keep in touch,
Beverly


Re: A bit of humor... donating my spikes to the poor

Lori E. on 6/16/00 at 17:17 (021936)

I also am getting ready to go through my closet to make room for my 'healthy' shoes. I have a pile of those flimsy flat shoes. Who knew, until something like this happens. I found that my Dansko clogs are great for around the house or on a day that isn't too busy at work. If it's busy I wear my Dansko shoes with orthodics. It sounds weird, but I got the shoes a size bigger than the clogs and it works. I am patiently waiting for my German website Birk order to arrive. I went to the shoe store and got fitted and then ordered them over the web. I got 2 pairs of Birks for about a $100 including shipping figuring in the exchange rate for the euro. Good luck with your new shoes!

Re: my experience with Birks

Robin B. on 6/17/00 at 16:31 (021964)

Beverly, I think the No. 1 factor with Birks is where the arch support hits your arch. If you get too long a shoe, it will strike in the wrong place. Unfortunately, the only way to determine if you get too long (or short) a shoe is by the placement of the toes and the toe rim.

As you know, I am definite 38 and occasionally a 39, although in regular women's shoes I used to wear a 9, 9.5 and sometimes a 10. With the Birk 38, my foot fits exactly in the shoe. There's no excess room at either end, and if my foot slides forward at all, my toes do hit the rim and begin to creep over.

I am a bit concern about all this writing about 'snugness.' I don't tend to think of my Birks as snug, and my feet DO have some room to move a bit. The lower strap nearest your toes should fit comfortably. You should be able to stick a finger under it -- but for me, anyway, I can't stick a finger ALL the way under it, just partway. Nevertheless, it doesn't particular feel snug to me. The upper strap or straps should fit comfortably enough to keep your foot in the shoe when walking -- but not tight or snug, just comfortable.

To me, the strength of the Birkenstock is in the arch support. People who seem to need very specific and firm arch support seem to do pretty well with Birks. I am certainly in that group. If I don't wear Birks, almost immediately I can feel a 'stretching' or 'tearing' of tissue in my feet, predominantly around the heel. Once I get that arch supported properly, I'm fine again. For myself, I never thought of orthotics (other than OTC) because I found Birks fairly early in my healing process and they have worked for me. In particular, my favorite is Arizona. In fact, I'm getting ready to buy more within the next month.

From the sound of it, I don't believe you should be going to a 41. The gig with the toe bar is -- you pretty much shouldn't notice it if it's in the right place. If you can feel it predominantly, you probably have the wrong size.

Hope you find something that works for you (even if it's not a Birk).


Re: my experience with Birks

Beverly on 6/17/00 at 19:03 (021974)

Robin,

Thanks again for your detailed post.

I have high hopes for this Birk Arizona. The arch is as close to perfect as anything I have worn since I got PF. The heel feels like it is landing in just the right spot. This morning after reading the suggestion here on the board, I put on a pair of socks, and I noticed it made the toebar more comfortable and in general breaking in easier.
One one foot, the toe bar is as you described... comfortable, not noticable... pretty close to perfect. One the other foot, I am aware of the toe bar to the extent that without the sock it's a bit uncomfortable/irritating after extended wear, but the sock helps. (I might be able to make the toe bar less noticeable on that foot if I tightened the strap more, but right now while breaking it in, I just can't take it so snug.) I also loosened the strap on the tightest shoe earlier today. It feels better to me this way. I guess I will have to play with it. Right now, I can get two small fingers underneath. That may be too much, but realize I have very small bones and small delicate fingers.
I find myself not wanting to take them off; so this must be a good sign. After two days, I'm up to about 3 hours at a time in them around the house. On one hand, I am having to get used to how hard they feel, but on the other hand, the hardness/firmness feels good. My gut feeling is that if I can get used to the Birk, it will be a major improvement over an orthodic.

Thanks again to Robin, Nancy, and all who have written.
Beverly


Re: Birk wearers: Toe bar good on one foot. Bad on the other.

Beverly on 6/18/00 at 08:17 (021991)

Hi Robin and all Birk wearers:

I know you all say the toebar should not hurt, but is there a breaking in period with the toebar? I'm frustrated. One toebar feels great. The other is uncomfortable. Yet, I can tell these Birks have great potential for helping my heel pain. The right foot Birk is landing just where it should... no toebar discomfort... feels good. But the left foot toebar is just not comfortable. As it happens, my right foot (the comfortable toebar foot) is just a tad bit wider/bigger than my left foot (the offending toebar). I have played with tightening the strap. I can't tell if tightening it helps, because until the blister/bursa from wearing orthodics in running shoes goes away, I can't stand to have it too tight. I am wearing socks. That helps some. Without the socks, I could tell my toes in the left foot were 'gripping' but with the socks they don't seem to be as inclined to grip.

Did any of you go through a 'toe bar' breaking in period at first and then after the Birks were broken in feel comfty? My great frustration is that other than the toebar in this one foot, the shoe feels good... better than any shoe I've tried. I've always heard, 'fit a shoe to your biggest foot.' That's what I did, but now I'm wondering if I should have gotten the narrow. I know the shoe conforms to the foot, but I'm wondering about the toebar. It seems very rigid. Does it conform too?

I know I have asked you all zillions of questions. Thank you for your patience. My type A personality is getting very impatient with all of this. Oh well, I bet many of us are type A's. If I were not a 'more is more' person I might not be in this mess to begin with!
Thanks Beverly.



Re: Mistake on name/size/toe questions

Beverly on 6/15/00 at 23:16 (021900)

Oh, I made a mistake on a few names.

That Mephesto that looks like the Birk Arizona was a 'Heidi' not Altina. It got in the wrong box.

The Dansko was a size 41.

The more I wear this Mephesto around the house, the more I think I got it too short, but it's so hard to know. I read on the internet Mephesto's are suppose to be roomy unlike Birks which are to fit snug.
Oh well, store said I could mail them back for refund. I guess I'll have to use the internet if I want to see what a 41 feels like.

When in doubt about a Birk, is it better to go a bit short in toe or go longer? I hope I didn't mess up. But I know for sure the 41 was too loose and the toe bar hit in an uncomfortable place. So, my only other choice was going with the snugger fit that works perfectly everywhere except in that toe length. But what do I know? These are my first Birks.
Feedback?
Beverly


Re: Mistake on name/size/toe questions

PattyS on 6/16/00 at 00:16 (021902)

Beverly,
if you have narrow or average feet you can try the Betulas by Birk. I had posted about them at Costco and went to a shoe store today to try them on and see if they still bothered me. My foot is borderline wide and the salesman said that is why the Betulas don't work for me. The Mephistos and Noats were too narrow for me as well. Patty

Re: Mistake on name/size/toe questions

Nancy S. on 6/16/00 at 05:26 (021904)

Hi Beverly, I couldn't stay up late enough last night to hear about your shoe adventure, but I was eager to learn how it went. It was smart of you to call beforehand and get the name of the best salesperson! I'll remember that for future forays to new places.
If the Birks toebar was in the wrong place in size 41, that definitely would have been the wrong size. Exactly what is happening with the toe length? Are your toes going up over the rim at all, even if your heel is snug back against the back rim? (Be sure, like Robin said, that the front strap, closest to your toes, is holding your foot firmly enough so that you're not creeping up in the shoe.) Or are your toes just touching the rim? Because the footbed will conform more to your foot over 1 or 2 weeks. When I got my first pair, I couldn't believe they should fit as snugly as everyone said -- people in the store kept showing me their feet in their own Birks to prove it to me.
If your toes truly feel crunched, the style just may be one of those where you need something between the sizes offered, and maybe you will need to continue to try other styles, since some do fit differently.
But give the Arizonas some time around the house. The feel of Birks is different from any other shoe I know of and they can take getting used to. When I brought mine home I had doubts about the toe fit, but like you, the next size up were way too roomy and uncomfortable. The conformity happened and as you know I now wouldn't be without Birks for anything. Keep us posted, also on the other brands you bought. Thanks --Nancy

Re: To Nancy on Birk toe fit

Beverly on 6/16/00 at 08:28 (021907)

Nancy (and Robin & Alan too if you're out there):

Thank you for posting.

In answer to the Birk toe fit question, I have a couple of smaller toes (primarily the third toe) that are pushing against the rim. To some extent the third toe is going over the rim, but it is not going off the rim. In other words, it feels weird that it is hitting the raised rim area, but at NO time is it hanging off in thin air. It's just hitting the rim. But the big toe is well/safely within range and most of the other toes are within range. I think my third toe is just long for a third toe. What the store and Birk friend both thought was that my toes would mold the rim down... 'beat it down' and the rim would not be a problem. Yes, I have the stap pulled tight... tighter than I would ever think to pull it, but I am following both your advice and store's advice. I have it in the tightest hole. Right now, I can just get my little finger under it. (I have VERY small hands and fingers.) I'm wearing that second strap a bit looser... can't stand it tight too.
I am curious if there is a style of Birk that runs long.
One problem for me is that with an extra 20 lbs, gainned these last few years, I am not the 'true' size I used to be. There was a time when I was a perfect 9N all the time. I suspect that if I could even get 10 pounds off, these Birks would be a better fit.
Well, one more reason to keep trying to loose weight.

Oh, also... I know I've read somewhere here about breaking in the Birk... take it easy. But I don't remember details. How long and how much should I wear them at first?

Finally, I think I will have to giveup that silicone insert. It was somewhat comfortable, but it is raising my foot so much off the ground that my even my roomy running shoes are rubbing me ontop of my foot. The shoe salesman noticed it and said I had the beginning of a bursa.
My Dad has bunions; so I sure don't want that. I am so frustrated with all these orthodics and inserts. They help one problem and start another. One helps heel pain but causes arch pain. Another helps arch pain but causes heel pain. And my latest somewhat help both arch and heel pain but cause my feet to be lifted too high off the ground and rub the top into this blister/beginning bursa! And consider, all this is happening in a pair of running shoes that are otherwise roomy. Other than perhaps giving Superfeet one more try, I am ready to pack all my orthodics in a box. That is why I am trying so diligently to find the perfect Birk/Mephesto sandal - so I can get rid of these orthodics. I will say this much, the Birk gives far better support than any orthodic. I like the Mephesto too. It too feels firm and supportive.

I'm sending the Mephesto 40 back to the store. My heel keeps trying to go off the edge. So frustrating after an allday trip, but otherwise it is a very comfortable shoe. I think I will order a 41 in the same thing over the internet. I think I just needed a tad bit bigger size and the store's Mephesto stopped at 40. Because I can tell that if I can just find the right size, Mephesto may be the perfect shoe for me. I like the amount of arch support it gives... not too much, not too little.
Every one of those Mephesto's felt good the minute I put them on my feet... just a little too small.

I'm still curious to hear from anyone who has tried the Joseph Seibel.
Thanks,
Beverly



Re: To Nancy on Birk toe fit

john h on 6/16/00 at 09:18 (021909)

you ladies sure get into this shoe thing! my wife would crawl to the shoe store if that is what it took. i would wear frankenstein boots if it would make the pain go away.

Re: To Nancy on Birk toe fit

Nancy S. on 6/16/00 at 14:32 (021929)

Hi Beverly, I usually wear socks, so today I've worn the Nebraskas without socks in order to see where my toes are in the shoe. My second and third toe hit the rim; it sounds exactly like what your third toe is doing. But I've had these now for 3 or 4 weeks, and the rim has conformed to my toe needs. (Toe needs -- I never would've thought I'd have to think about that!) They're just touching now, and the shoes have accommodated them, so I'm not aware of them. The toes are not crunched-feeling in any way.
In general, they seem to say to start wearing them, say an hour or two, at first, and then gradually increase the time each day. But I found them such a relief after ORTHOTICS! that I wore them more and it was fine. Maybe I was just lucky.
John h, do remember that we are focused on shoes here for health reasons, you rascal. I never cared a whit about shoes before this. But, like your wife, I WOULD crawl to a shoe store now if I had to, to get some Birks!
Nancy

Re: A bit of humor... donating my spikes to the poor

Beverly on 6/16/00 at 15:23 (021932)

Hi all!

Nancy,thank you so much for your Birk toe info. I had to laugh when you wrote 'Toe needs, never thought I'd need to think about that!' Me neither! I'll keep working on breaking in these Birks. So far, I like the way they feel on the heel. If your toes made that rim mold, then I figure mine can too! I'm in a race to the finish to see if my toes push down that rim before getting 'toe bruised'! But I will perserve. If only Birk made 1/2 sizes!

Dr Z: I wonder what affect a Birk has on a small bursa? Could it help cure that too? I can thank orthodics and inserts for my baby bursa.

Are you all in need of humor?
I've decided to donate all my spikey heels, flimsy flats, and trendy 'fashion' Keds to a needy person with big feet. My rational is that even when and if my feet recover, I will not be so stupid as to suddenly start wearing unhealthy shoes. So, I have put the word out to all my broke friends that if they or anyone they know want to fall into 'shoe heaven', they are only a closet away. All they need is a 9/9.5 N to enter! Plus, my new 'healthy' shoes need room on that shelf! Sure would love those Dansko's to work. They're not even ugly.

Hey, something else funny... The salesman said the Birk toe bar bothered his foot and he first tried whacking it with a hammer... didn't work... He finally pounded it down with a REALLY BIG HAMMER. (Fellas, I'm sure there is some 'offical tool title' for that instrument, but that's the best I can remember. I barely know a Philips from a straight edge!) Well, at least my toe bar feels pretty good!

I have a new idea for the insurance industry! I think that with a doctor's prescription, we should all be able to buy at least 2 or 3 pairs of shoes a year and have insurance foot the bill! It would certainly be cheaper than further medical treatment.

Keep in touch,
Beverly


Re: A bit of humor... donating my spikes to the poor

Lori E. on 6/16/00 at 17:17 (021936)

I also am getting ready to go through my closet to make room for my 'healthy' shoes. I have a pile of those flimsy flat shoes. Who knew, until something like this happens. I found that my Dansko clogs are great for around the house or on a day that isn't too busy at work. If it's busy I wear my Dansko shoes with orthodics. It sounds weird, but I got the shoes a size bigger than the clogs and it works. I am patiently waiting for my German website Birk order to arrive. I went to the shoe store and got fitted and then ordered them over the web. I got 2 pairs of Birks for about a $100 including shipping figuring in the exchange rate for the euro. Good luck with your new shoes!

Re: my experience with Birks

Robin B. on 6/17/00 at 16:31 (021964)

Beverly, I think the No. 1 factor with Birks is where the arch support hits your arch. If you get too long a shoe, it will strike in the wrong place. Unfortunately, the only way to determine if you get too long (or short) a shoe is by the placement of the toes and the toe rim.

As you know, I am definite 38 and occasionally a 39, although in regular women's shoes I used to wear a 9, 9.5 and sometimes a 10. With the Birk 38, my foot fits exactly in the shoe. There's no excess room at either end, and if my foot slides forward at all, my toes do hit the rim and begin to creep over.

I am a bit concern about all this writing about 'snugness.' I don't tend to think of my Birks as snug, and my feet DO have some room to move a bit. The lower strap nearest your toes should fit comfortably. You should be able to stick a finger under it -- but for me, anyway, I can't stick a finger ALL the way under it, just partway. Nevertheless, it doesn't particular feel snug to me. The upper strap or straps should fit comfortably enough to keep your foot in the shoe when walking -- but not tight or snug, just comfortable.

To me, the strength of the Birkenstock is in the arch support. People who seem to need very specific and firm arch support seem to do pretty well with Birks. I am certainly in that group. If I don't wear Birks, almost immediately I can feel a 'stretching' or 'tearing' of tissue in my feet, predominantly around the heel. Once I get that arch supported properly, I'm fine again. For myself, I never thought of orthotics (other than OTC) because I found Birks fairly early in my healing process and they have worked for me. In particular, my favorite is Arizona. In fact, I'm getting ready to buy more within the next month.

From the sound of it, I don't believe you should be going to a 41. The gig with the toe bar is -- you pretty much shouldn't notice it if it's in the right place. If you can feel it predominantly, you probably have the wrong size.

Hope you find something that works for you (even if it's not a Birk).


Re: my experience with Birks

Beverly on 6/17/00 at 19:03 (021974)

Robin,

Thanks again for your detailed post.

I have high hopes for this Birk Arizona. The arch is as close to perfect as anything I have worn since I got PF. The heel feels like it is landing in just the right spot. This morning after reading the suggestion here on the board, I put on a pair of socks, and I noticed it made the toebar more comfortable and in general breaking in easier.
One one foot, the toe bar is as you described... comfortable, not noticable... pretty close to perfect. One the other foot, I am aware of the toe bar to the extent that without the sock it's a bit uncomfortable/irritating after extended wear, but the sock helps. (I might be able to make the toe bar less noticeable on that foot if I tightened the strap more, but right now while breaking it in, I just can't take it so snug.) I also loosened the strap on the tightest shoe earlier today. It feels better to me this way. I guess I will have to play with it. Right now, I can get two small fingers underneath. That may be too much, but realize I have very small bones and small delicate fingers.
I find myself not wanting to take them off; so this must be a good sign. After two days, I'm up to about 3 hours at a time in them around the house. On one hand, I am having to get used to how hard they feel, but on the other hand, the hardness/firmness feels good. My gut feeling is that if I can get used to the Birk, it will be a major improvement over an orthodic.

Thanks again to Robin, Nancy, and all who have written.
Beverly


Re: Birk wearers: Toe bar good on one foot. Bad on the other.

Beverly on 6/18/00 at 08:17 (021991)

Hi Robin and all Birk wearers:

I know you all say the toebar should not hurt, but is there a breaking in period with the toebar? I'm frustrated. One toebar feels great. The other is uncomfortable. Yet, I can tell these Birks have great potential for helping my heel pain. The right foot Birk is landing just where it should... no toebar discomfort... feels good. But the left foot toebar is just not comfortable. As it happens, my right foot (the comfortable toebar foot) is just a tad bit wider/bigger than my left foot (the offending toebar). I have played with tightening the strap. I can't tell if tightening it helps, because until the blister/bursa from wearing orthodics in running shoes goes away, I can't stand to have it too tight. I am wearing socks. That helps some. Without the socks, I could tell my toes in the left foot were 'gripping' but with the socks they don't seem to be as inclined to grip.

Did any of you go through a 'toe bar' breaking in period at first and then after the Birks were broken in feel comfty? My great frustration is that other than the toebar in this one foot, the shoe feels good... better than any shoe I've tried. I've always heard, 'fit a shoe to your biggest foot.' That's what I did, but now I'm wondering if I should have gotten the narrow. I know the shoe conforms to the foot, but I'm wondering about the toebar. It seems very rigid. Does it conform too?

I know I have asked you all zillions of questions. Thank you for your patience. My type A personality is getting very impatient with all of this. Oh well, I bet many of us are type A's. If I were not a 'more is more' person I might not be in this mess to begin with!
Thanks Beverly.