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Birkenstocks - Need advice on buying my FIRST pair

Posted by Bonnie N. on 2/06/02 at 21:15 (072858)

I'm going to give Birkenstocks a try. But I have absolutely NO clue what to look for or ask about.

Here's my statistics:

51 year old overweight female
Diagnosed with Fibromyalgia for 13 years
PF for 3 years
Have worn orthotics for 2 years
Most of my pain and soreness is in the arch of my foot
I can ONLY wear clogs

Suggestions, specific Birkenstock names and footbed clues WELCOMED!

Re: Birkenstocks - Need advice on buying my FIRST pair

nancy s. on 2/06/02 at 21:55 (072863)

hi bonnie,
if you can wear only clogs, i highly recommend that you try birkenstock's 'boston' classics. they're clog style, with nice suede or leather uppers (i like the suede), and come in many colors. the footbed is the classic birk footbed. they come in regular width or narrow. although i usually wear a regular width shoe (or did), i find the narrow fits me better in the bostons.

do you have any shoe places near you that carry birks? it's important to get properly fitted, so you should make every effort to call around and find a store where you can try them on for as long as you need to, even if you have to travel a ways.

your birks should feel a little bit roomy, with neither your toes nor your heel bumping right up against the rim of the shoe -- but not so roomy that your feet are sliding around in them.

expect to give them some break-in time. i've been wearing bostons for over two years now, and i adjusted to them pretty quickly; but i just received new ones from the birk site in germany, and i find they need a little breaking in, until the footbed conforms slightly to my feet.

birks were the very first thing that seriously helped me on my long road to 'recovery' (or near-recovery). i hope they help you too! keep asking any questions here that you need to -- many posters here wear birks and can help.
nancy

Re: Birkenstocks - Need advice on buying my FIRST pair

Suzanne D on 2/06/02 at 22:25 (072871)

Hi, Bonnie! Yes, if you can only wear clogs, then definitely try the Birkenstock Bostons as Nancy recommended. They have the classic footbed, but in that shoe you may also get the 'soft footbed'. That is the footbed in my Boston pair as well as my Arizona sandals, and I really find them to be comfortable. They are still quite firm with all the benefits of the Birk footbed, but there is an extra layer over the cork which makes them softer. Ask to try on Bostons with and without the soft footbed and see which feels best to you. I think you will be pleased with this shoe. The toe box is roomy, and the arch support is good. Mine are also narrow width. Make sure and try enough sizes and widths on to be sure you have one which fits you and doesn't slide off. I find that thick socks feel the best with mine.

Good luck in your search for a well-fitting shoe! :-)

Re: Birkenstocks - Need advice on buying my FIRST pair

Carole C in NOLA on 2/07/02 at 05:58 (072886)

Nancy and Suzanne have given you some great advice. The Boston clogs in the classic footbed seem to be the clog that works best for most people. Since you have fibromyalgia, possibly the soft footbed might be something to consider.

After you have worn your first Birkenstocks for a while, you will know whether or not Birkenstocks are helpful for you. If they are, you will also know whether or not you need a higher or lower arch, or other 'non-classic-footbed' features, in your next pair.

Getting fitted can make a big difference, if that is at all possible. There's a list of Birkenstock stores at http://www.birkenstock.com (I hope that URL didn't just change in this post to the link to the store in Germany... what I typed was http://www.burkinstock.com but with an i instead of a u). If it's not possible to visit a Birkenstock store, then you can order them online but if they don't fit quite right, the arch support might not be in quite the right place, and so on. I have 3 pairs of Birkenstocks that I bought online, but I just got fitted for the first time at a Birkenstock store, last Saturday. Any future pairs that I buy will probably be a size smaller than what I was buying and hopefully the 'arch bump' be positioned a little better for me.

Carole C

Re: PS about the soft footbed

Carole C in NOLA on 2/07/02 at 06:05 (072887)

PS about the soft footbed - -

I don't have fibromyalgia, and personally I don't like the soft footbed. I tried it in the Birkenstock store last Saturday. For me, it feels just a teensy bit too mushy when my foot is seeking a very firm, hard, high arch support. But each to her own! If you can get the chance, try both and see what you think. Some like it, some don't, and I know that with your fibromyalgia you probably have to be pretty careful about what you select.

Carole C

Re: PS about the soft footbed

nancy s. on 2/07/02 at 07:55 (072890)

hi again, bonnie. suzanne and carole are right about the choice of boston footbeds. i forgot -- and i have both kinds! with pf and other foot problems, i've found that i need the firmer classic footbed at least 95% of the time that i wear birks. but now and then, if i've been on my feet too too much, the soft footbed feels great, for a break. i tend to return quickly to the firmer footbed. i think it's fairly rare for someone to wear the soft footbed at all times, but who knows, you may be one of them.

i never found a store in my area (maine -- not a lot of choice) that carries the soft footbed, so i just took a chance and ordered them online, but that was after i already knew i like birks and the boston style AND after being fitted and wearing the right size for some time.
good luck.
nancy

Re: Birkenstocks - Need advice on buying my FIRST pair

Bonnie N. on 2/10/02 at 21:03 (073314)

Thank you, Nancy, Suzanne, & Carol for your helpful information. I am still waiting for my 2 pairs of orthotics to be readjusted and will see how they feel when returned. I love this board and REALLY appreciate everyone's willingness to share their knowledge.

Re: forgot to mention break in period

Carole C in NOLA on 2/10/02 at 21:11 (073315)

Bonnie, if/when you decide to try Birkenstocks, there's something else I forgot to mention. They need to be broken in or else your feet will rebel! Wear them a half hour the first day, and hour the second, two hours the third, and so on.

You probably already know all about this, but I was re-reading the thread and didn't see the break in period mentioned.

Carole C

Re: Birkenstocks - Need advice on buying my FIRST pair

nancy s. on 2/06/02 at 21:55 (072863)

hi bonnie,
if you can wear only clogs, i highly recommend that you try birkenstock's 'boston' classics. they're clog style, with nice suede or leather uppers (i like the suede), and come in many colors. the footbed is the classic birk footbed. they come in regular width or narrow. although i usually wear a regular width shoe (or did), i find the narrow fits me better in the bostons.

do you have any shoe places near you that carry birks? it's important to get properly fitted, so you should make every effort to call around and find a store where you can try them on for as long as you need to, even if you have to travel a ways.

your birks should feel a little bit roomy, with neither your toes nor your heel bumping right up against the rim of the shoe -- but not so roomy that your feet are sliding around in them.

expect to give them some break-in time. i've been wearing bostons for over two years now, and i adjusted to them pretty quickly; but i just received new ones from the birk site in germany, and i find they need a little breaking in, until the footbed conforms slightly to my feet.

birks were the very first thing that seriously helped me on my long road to 'recovery' (or near-recovery). i hope they help you too! keep asking any questions here that you need to -- many posters here wear birks and can help.
nancy

Re: Birkenstocks - Need advice on buying my FIRST pair

Suzanne D on 2/06/02 at 22:25 (072871)

Hi, Bonnie! Yes, if you can only wear clogs, then definitely try the Birkenstock Bostons as Nancy recommended. They have the classic footbed, but in that shoe you may also get the 'soft footbed'. That is the footbed in my Boston pair as well as my Arizona sandals, and I really find them to be comfortable. They are still quite firm with all the benefits of the Birk footbed, but there is an extra layer over the cork which makes them softer. Ask to try on Bostons with and without the soft footbed and see which feels best to you. I think you will be pleased with this shoe. The toe box is roomy, and the arch support is good. Mine are also narrow width. Make sure and try enough sizes and widths on to be sure you have one which fits you and doesn't slide off. I find that thick socks feel the best with mine.

Good luck in your search for a well-fitting shoe! :-)

Re: Birkenstocks - Need advice on buying my FIRST pair

Carole C in NOLA on 2/07/02 at 05:58 (072886)

Nancy and Suzanne have given you some great advice. The Boston clogs in the classic footbed seem to be the clog that works best for most people. Since you have fibromyalgia, possibly the soft footbed might be something to consider.

After you have worn your first Birkenstocks for a while, you will know whether or not Birkenstocks are helpful for you. If they are, you will also know whether or not you need a higher or lower arch, or other 'non-classic-footbed' features, in your next pair.

Getting fitted can make a big difference, if that is at all possible. There's a list of Birkenstock stores at http://www.birkenstock.com (I hope that URL didn't just change in this post to the link to the store in Germany... what I typed was http://www.burkinstock.com but with an i instead of a u). If it's not possible to visit a Birkenstock store, then you can order them online but if they don't fit quite right, the arch support might not be in quite the right place, and so on. I have 3 pairs of Birkenstocks that I bought online, but I just got fitted for the first time at a Birkenstock store, last Saturday. Any future pairs that I buy will probably be a size smaller than what I was buying and hopefully the 'arch bump' be positioned a little better for me.

Carole C

Re: PS about the soft footbed

Carole C in NOLA on 2/07/02 at 06:05 (072887)

PS about the soft footbed - -

I don't have fibromyalgia, and personally I don't like the soft footbed. I tried it in the Birkenstock store last Saturday. For me, it feels just a teensy bit too mushy when my foot is seeking a very firm, hard, high arch support. But each to her own! If you can get the chance, try both and see what you think. Some like it, some don't, and I know that with your fibromyalgia you probably have to be pretty careful about what you select.

Carole C

Re: PS about the soft footbed

nancy s. on 2/07/02 at 07:55 (072890)

hi again, bonnie. suzanne and carole are right about the choice of boston footbeds. i forgot -- and i have both kinds! with pf and other foot problems, i've found that i need the firmer classic footbed at least 95% of the time that i wear birks. but now and then, if i've been on my feet too too much, the soft footbed feels great, for a break. i tend to return quickly to the firmer footbed. i think it's fairly rare for someone to wear the soft footbed at all times, but who knows, you may be one of them.

i never found a store in my area (maine -- not a lot of choice) that carries the soft footbed, so i just took a chance and ordered them online, but that was after i already knew i like birks and the boston style AND after being fitted and wearing the right size for some time.
good luck.
nancy

Re: Birkenstocks - Need advice on buying my FIRST pair

Bonnie N. on 2/10/02 at 21:03 (073314)

Thank you, Nancy, Suzanne, & Carol for your helpful information. I am still waiting for my 2 pairs of orthotics to be readjusted and will see how they feel when returned. I love this board and REALLY appreciate everyone's willingness to share their knowledge.

Re: forgot to mention break in period

Carole C in NOLA on 2/10/02 at 21:11 (073315)

Bonnie, if/when you decide to try Birkenstocks, there's something else I forgot to mention. They need to be broken in or else your feet will rebel! Wear them a half hour the first day, and hour the second, two hours the third, and so on.

You probably already know all about this, but I was re-reading the thread and didn't see the break in period mentioned.

Carole C