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I always wear Birkenstocks...but feel frumpy...

Posted by Angie J on 3/26/04 at 08:03 (147808)

I was diagnosed several years ago with plantar fasciitis in both feet and have had plantar fasciotomy in both feet. It helped some, but I always felt best when wearing tennis shoes and had unbearable pain by the end of the day when I would wear dress shoes (even flats). About 6 years ago, I discovered Birkenstocks and have gotten to the point where I wear them all the time. I even wore my 1st ratty old pair for my wedding! Now that I'm married, my lifestyle has changed more and I dress up more often, but I feel so frumpy in by chunky birks. I have 'dress' birks - closed toe shoes that look fine with pants or jeans, but a little questionable with skirts. But I wear them anyway because I've chosen comfort over fashion. I'd like to choose fashion sometimes, though, and feel pretty again! Any suggestions on other kinds of shoes to wear that won't leave me limping by the end of the day?

Re: I always wear Birkenstocks...but feel frumpy...

Suzanne D. on 3/26/04 at 08:17 (147810)

Hi, Angie! Many of us here understand exactly what you are talking about! I have black and camel Annapolis (Mary Jane style)Birks which get me through most events, but sometimes I wish I could find something that looks 'lighter', especially for summer. I wore SAS dress sandals to my daughter's wedding last spring. They certainly don't have the support of Birks, but they were the best I could find for the occasion, and I didn't have much foot pain. I wouldn't wear them often, but I was thankful to be able to wear them that day.

Now, with that said, have you seen a new Birkenstock catalog or looked at new styles online? For me, the dressiest ones don't work because my foot is just a little bit too long for them, and the ridge hurts because my toes touch it. But perhaps you could, and they might really be the answer for you!

Here's one of the new styles that I think is pretty.
http://www.birkenstockexpress.com/products/style.cfm/id.260320040607-143142/style.Chelsea/collectionsub1.Cork%20Footbeds/collection.Tatami

Good luck!
Suzanne :)

Re: I always wear Birkenstocks...but feel frumpy...

Angie J on 3/26/04 at 08:24 (147812)

Thanks, Suzanne...It's good to know I'm not alone!

I have been wanting a black pair of Annapolis - those are so cute! My chunky ones are Charleston, I have a black pair and a brown pair (not 2 tone like these - http://www.shoeshistory.com/items/2888274050.html) .

I like that link you sent, I'll have to check that company out. I've ordered from Birkenstock Central before and been happy with them. Part of the problem, though, is that they're so expensive. I wait until they discontinue a style and go on clearance. (I'm cheap and I hate to spend money on clothes and shoes!)

I'll look into SAS, too. Those might work for short periods of time.

Re: I always wear Birkenstocks...but feel frumpy...

Suzanne D. on 3/26/04 at 09:19 (147815)

I understand what you are saying about the cost, too, Angie! I ordered both my black and camel Annapolis shoes from the German Birkenstock site with considerable savings. (Also, I have never seen the camel color in that shoe offered in the US.)

Here's the link to the German site in case you don't have it:
http://www.gobuyeurope.com/Merchant2/merchant.mv ?

Good luck!
Suzanne :)

Re: I always wear Birkenstocks...but feel frumpy...

Carole C in NOLA on 3/26/04 at 10:57 (147827)

I understand exactly what you mean, Angie! Although my PF is better and seems gone by now, I still prefer to wear shoes like Birkenstocks, New Balance, or SAS, just to stay on the safe side. If I am going to something especially fancy, I wear less practical flats but I only do that on perhaps one evening every few months or so. I do wish that Birkenstocks looked less clunky!

The Birkenstocks that I wear most, since they seem a little more feminine to me than some, are the Granada:

http://www.birkenstockexpress.com/Products/Style.cfm/id.260320040838-651847/style.Granada/collection.Classic/collectionsub1.Slip%2DOn

Granadas have the classic footbed that helped me to recover from my PF. I have them in cocoa nubuck and wear them with pretty toenail polish (Revlon 'Deeply Chili' is my favorite color right now) during the summer.

Carole C

Re: I always wear Birkenstocks...but feel frumpy...

Kathy G on 3/26/04 at 13:31 (147851)

It's true that Birks are not the most attractive shoes in the world. Back when I was working, I couldn't wear my Birks because my feet hadn't healed enough so I was stuck wearing running shoes with my long skirts and dresses. Truly charming!

For casual wear, I'm very casual and favor jeans in the winter and khaki shorts in the summer. Birks work well with them and now that I'm not working, if my feet will still accomodate the Birks, I'm going to go back to my Pod and get a second pair of custom Birks. That is, unless our tester, John, likes the new sandals he's trying better. He and I have similar issues with our back and I also cannot tolerate the toebar.

This summer's wedding, and we seem to have at least one a year these days, even in our small family, is in July and it's a very dressy night wedding in Pittsburgh. I have yet to figure out what I'm going to wear on my feet but since last year, as mother of the groom, I eventually ended up wearing running shoes at the reception, I'm not going to sweat it as aunt of the groom! Comfort first!

Often I remember my mother saying that if your feet hurt, it showed in your face. I thought it was pretty stupid because, let's face it, if anything hurts, it probably shows in your face but I can't tell you how often her saying comes back to me.

By the way, here in NH anyway, people who wear Birks aren't considered frumpy, they're considered 'crunchy' types. You know, back-to-earth, conservation-minded individualists!

Re: I always wear Birkenstocks...but feel frumpy...

Angie J on 3/26/04 at 13:45 (147860)

I'm so glad I found this board today! Thanks, ladies, for all your great suggestions and links. I feel better about wearing my Birks!

Kathy - I'm considered a little crunchy too, but in Charlotte, NC that's not always a good thing! The women here dress very 'foofy' and classy. I actually got a dirty look from a woman at the mall a couple months ago because I was in jeans and birks!

Re: I always wear Birkenstocks...but feel frumpy...

Carole C in NOLA on 3/26/04 at 15:08 (147871)

I wore my granadas to my brother's afternoon wedding in August, 2002. My long skirt nearly covered them up so they hardly showed. I'm glad I wore them, to keep my feet from hurting.

I don't know if sandals would work for an evening wedding, but they didn't seem out of place for an afternoon wedding in August.

Glad to hear that a place exists where Birkenstocks aren't considered frumpy. My objection to them is that sometimes they look pretty rough and masculine, which is fine sometimes but other times I'd rather look more feminine. But I like your characterization of them; definitely I'm a conservation minded individual, within practical limits, that is. :)

Carole C

Re: I always wear Birkenstocks...but feel frumpy...

Suzanne D. on 3/26/04 at 16:37 (147874)

Angie, here in this part of KY women tend to dress either 'foofy', as you said, or trendy/cool - however you describe dressing like the teenagers dress. That seems to mean, from my observations, cute sandals or those dressed-up flip-flops in warm weather. Definitely, no one wears Birks anywhere I go except for me! One lady at school (I'm a first-grade teacher) said they looked like 'old hippy shoes', and my husband thought they looked like I was getting ready to be in a Bible drama. :D

Oh, well, good thing I don't really get too upset about being different. I wear crazy (to the rest of the world) things to school like a dress made from Curious George fabric and denim shirts with book characters appliqued on them. I guess with such an attire, why should I complain about odd-looking shoes?!

I was really glad to find the Annapolis shoes and to have good luck with them (although I must tell you that the removeable footbeds were modified for me with extra arch support and soft footbed padding). I feel like they have a different look than the sandals and can be worn more places.

Good luck to you, and I'm glad you found this board, too! We have all received so much help here that we like to try to help others in return.

Take care,
Suzanne :)

Re: I always wear Birkenstocks...but feel frumpy...

Lynda S. on 3/26/04 at 20:06 (147896)

Kathy,
I'm from N.H. also and only wear Birks. My Boston clogs in the winter and sandals in the summer. My daughter is getting married in June and told me she doesn't want me to wear them, they're not dressy enough. I haven't gone dress shopping yet, and when I do get a dress, I'm going to try to see how some of the new Birk summer sandals might look. I know how my daughter feels, but just thinking of having to wear some other shoe reminds me of the constant pain I used to have before Birkenstocks became my mainstay.

Re: I always wear Birkenstocks...but feel frumpy...

Ed Davis, DPM on 3/26/04 at 23:33 (147915)

Angie and Suzanne:
The other option is to move to Seattle where Birks are a mainstay... ;)
Ed

Re: I always wear Birkenstocks...but feel frumpy...

Ed Davis, DPM on 3/26/04 at 23:35 (147916)

Carole:
Birks are #1, in style, not frumpy in Seattle :) Goes with a cup of Starbucks....
Ed

Re: I always wear Birkenstocks...but feel frumpy...

Kathy G on 3/27/04 at 09:26 (147933)

Lynda,

Make sure you check out the ones that Suzanne mentions above. They come in a couple of styles and would look great with a long skirt. When my son married, I wore a long black skirt with my Joseph Sibels and got away with them until later in the reception when I just had to switch to my orthotics in my running shoes. I wish I could wear standard Birks.

I'm located in Milford in southern NH. Where are you? Was yesterday a delightful warm day for you? It hit seventy here! Of course, it's going to get colder and start to rain but it was so nice yesterday that we know that Spring can't be far away!

Re: more Birks to check out, Angie...

Suzanne D. on 3/28/04 at 13:52 (148006)

Try this page, Angie, and look at the closeouts on the Scarlet, Georgia, and Morgan, in particular. They are on sale for $40 and $50-something. I know a few years ago if someone had told me that $40 or $50 was a bargain for shoes, I would not have believed them! #-o But we who must wear Birks know these are good buys! :-?

http://www.sierratradingpost.com/EUI/controller.asp?N=0&Ntk=All&Ntt=Birkenstocks%20-&Nty=1&D=Birkenstocks%20-&Ntx=mode+matchallany&sid=4066158028C4E17F

Suzanne :)

Re: I always wear Birkenstocks...but feel frumpy...

Lynda S. on 3/28/04 at 17:42 (148009)

Kathy,

I live almost next door to you, I'm in Merrimack! Friday was my kind of weather. It was just beautiful. We have a little patch of snow left in the back yard, just waiting for it to melt. I am going to go shopping for a dress for the wedding very soon, and then I think I'll be able to figure out what I can wear, but I just got the summer Birkenstock catalog and there are several sandals that I really like.

Re: more Birks to check out, Angie...

JudyS on 3/30/04 at 21:39 (148163)

Suzanne, are you able to always order the same size in your Birks and feel confident that they'll fit?

Re: more Birks to check out, Angie...

Suzanne D. on 3/30/04 at 22:07 (148164)

Judy, I ordered my black Annapolis shoes two years ago based on what I knew about the Arizonas I had bought a few months before. Actually, my Arizonas are size 42, and my toes come to the end. If they did not have a soft footbed, the ridge would hurt. But when I tried on a size 43, the arch wasn't in the right place. I knew the arch had to match up with mine in order to have the right support, so I bought the 42. My feet hurt so much at the time, I didn't care that the length was a little too short. And they really were important in my healing from PF.

But I ordered a size 43 in the Annapolis, and they were just right. A year later, I ordered another color in the same shoe. It is a little confusing when the catalogs say that some of the Birks must be 'sized up'. The Annapolis are in that catagory, and yet the 43 is perfect. I ordered a pair of the Margaret Tatami sandal in a 43, and they were too short, so I sent them back. But they have a ridge at the end of the shoe, and it seems that Birks with that ridge just don't work out for me.

I guess it's just trial and error when it comes to ordering. That can be frustrating, and yet, sometimes it's the only avenue some of us have to try the shoes.

Suzanne :)