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Questions about Birkenstocks

Posted by Kathy G on 4/14/04 at 09:59 (148861)

I know these questions have been asked before but I'm asking again because I bought my first pair of over-the-counter Birkenstocks from QVC. As longtime posters know, I have one pair of custom-made Birks but thought that OTC ones were out of the question. I decided I had nothing to lose but the return shipping if I bought some from QVC so I went for it.

When I first put them on, I thought I was going to die. But I tried them for about a half hour. I figured they were out of the question and put them aside to return them but then I gave them another try. That time, I lasted for an hour and they didn't hurt as bad. They did seem to make one of my heels hurt and my arches burn but it went away after I got back into my running shoes and orthotics. Yesterday I wore them for about an hour and they didn't seem to hurt as much. Today, I'll try them for a longer period. With QVC, you have thirty days to return them and they are liberal about returns.

Now, my questions. I got Birkis in a style called Marseille. They look just like the Floridas. I didn't know they were Birkis until I got them. I thought I was getting regular Birkenstocks. I take it that Birkis uppers are not made of leather. Any pros/cons about Birkis? They seem much lighter than my Birks and that's a plus for me.

Secondly, I think they're too short. I have extremely narrow feet and I don't actually think they're narrow enough for me and my feet slide up and hit the raised ridge on the front of the sandal when I walk. They shouldn't do that, should they? On the other hand, my customs are really too wide and these are narrower than they are so maybe that's the best I can do. The custom Floridas are so different that I can't compare them as they don't really have much of a ridge on the top of them. I wear an 8 1/2 American and ordered a 39 which is what my customs are.

Thanks to Suzanne, I am slowly navigating the German site that she posted down below. I think I would still be best off with the soft-bed styles and that site offers more styles of them and some in narrow. Did someone say that this site takes a long time to ship? And has anyone ever returned anything to them? Does it cost a fortune?

I so much want to get out of these stupid running shoes! Any Birks I get I can bring to my cobbler and he can insert extra cork in them to make the heels higher which I have to do because of my back problems. He can also adjust them to accommodate my shorter leg.

I see they have some Bostons on sale and I'd just love some of those for the winter.

Now my final question and it's probably stupid but how in the world do you print the sizing guide they supply on that site? I only got half of the chart and it doesn't even show the various sizes. Is it my printer?

Thanks in advance to all of you and wish me luck with wearing these around the house today. Maybe I'll finally have an option and can wear something besides Asics!

Re: Questions about Birkenstocks

Suzanne D. on 4/15/04 at 12:36 (148965)

Hi, Kathy! I am going to try to briefly (that's hard for me!:) ) answer your questions the best that I can while I eat my lunch.

1) Birkis - A couple of months after I bought my first pair of Birks - Arizonas - I went back to the store to buy some Bostons for winter. There was a good sale on, and I bought a pair of off-white Birkis. Yes, they do feel lighter to pick up! But they didn't feel the same on my feet. They weren't soft footbed like my Arizonas, for one, but they also seemed more rigid to me and not as comfortable after awhile. I asked here, and Julie responded to my question. I tried to find that old post last night with the search feature, but I guess it didn't go back far enough. The best I remember, she said she had a pair of Birkis and used them around the pool or to the shower house but not for everyday wear. There is a difference in the composition of the shoe, but I cannot remember exactly how she explained that.

2) too short - hitting the ridge at the end. Ideally, your foot is not supposed to do that. But mine do in my Arizonas. Since they are soft footbed, the ridge is not as hard, and it doesn't really bother me. They are a size 42. I could have bought a 43 (the size of my Annapolis which fit great), but the arch in the Arizonas didn't feel in the right place in the 43's, so I got 42's. I felt ultimately the arch was more important than the ridge. It would be great for both to be perfect, but I couldn't find that in the Arizonas. If the rest of the shoe feels o.k. and the ridge doesn't hurt, I think it will be o.k. based on my experience.

3) ordering from the German site - I have had good experiences with that. I ordered my first pair from there - Annapolis shoes - 2 and 1/2 years ago. I paid the medium shipping price and got them in the specified time. A year later I ordered another color of that shoe with similar results. A month ago I decided to order a bargain pair of Venturas (look very much like Annapolis but come in a pretty burgundy color with some suede)and go for the free ground shipping. They were to come in 4-7 weeks and arrived in 3 weeks.

And you are right: the German site has more styles in the soft footbed than anywhere else. I hope you can try a pair and see if they help you.

4) I've never printed the sizing guide, so I can't help with that.

Well, Kathy...I was interrupted, and it's well past my lunchtime now! I hope this makes sense and will send it now.

Hope some of this helps.
Suzanne :)

Re: about soft footbeds...

Suzanne D. on 4/16/04 at 20:28 (149039)

Kathy, here's a good explanation of the soft footbed Birkenstocks. I hope the link works!


Suzanne :)

Re: about soft footbeds...

Kathy G on 4/17/04 at 10:27 (149049)

Thank you, Suzanne! The link worked beautifully. I've packed up the Birkis to return them and decided to just go for it and try some of these regular Birks with soft footbeds. When I wore the Birki's the other day, they not only hurt my feet but they knocked my back out of kilter. I'm cautiously optimistic that if I get the regulars with the soft footbeds and then have the cobbler adjust them for me, I can have some Birks to wear this summer! Ah, not to have to always wear running shoes!

Thanks for going to all the trouble of finding that link for me!

Re: about soft footbeds...

Beverly K on 4/27/04 at 11:26 (149636)

Why don't you just buy Finn Comfort Shoes or Sandals? They do not have a negative heel. They are more comfortable than Birkenstocks.