My first real glimpse of Birkenstocks worn eye-catchingly well was at a Sunday brunch out Wimbledon way, back in my early 20s when I was making my first foray into London life and my first job…
She was the girlfriend of a uni pal, and had a pair of dark brown (Regular width, this is important btw!) leather Arizonas which fit her feet so perfectly, and which, with floaty dress (possibly recently returned from backpacking) could not look more perfect to my comfort-keen and appreciative to the so-called ugly shoe eyes – somewhat before its time I’d say, given this was the early 2000s! Bottom line, I needed them!
Cue a visit to The Natural Shoe Store on the King’s Road, and my first ever pair of Birkenstocks. I’m not even sure if they came in a Narrow fit then (so less mistakes to make there!) and I fell hard for a pair of stone-coloured soft suede Arizonas. I remember having to snip off a bit of suede at the buckle as it seemed too long, and not as ‘neat’ as the girl’s I had seen. Of course, I didn’t realise at the time that this was the nature of the soft suede Birkenstock compared to the stiff leather ones… I would learn!
Nearly 20 years later (yikes!) I still have that original pair (a little worse for wear, I’ll admit) but they are precious to me! I also have many other Birkenstocks – each having played a particular story at a particular time in my life. The stiff leather Boston clogs which became my gardening shoes; the cool minimal-looking black pair which would go with every single summer outfit (updated recently to the Big Buckle style, I am obsessed!); to the single strap sandals which were such a summer hit when they first came out; and my now sadly moth-eaten shearling Arizonas in black (I now steal my Mum’s whenever visiting!); to my most recent obsession, the wool felt clogs which are seeing me through my current journey where we find ourselves relocated to the north Highlands!
They are all so comfy, god they are comfy! The soles curve to you feet, providing a kind of in-house basic massage and keeps you rooted solidly to the ground. I’ve worn the Arizonas, toes free, for every sort of outing in the warm summer sun – up and down dunes on the beach, through hilly forest, clambering up steep city steps on a tourist trail and really could not bear anything else on my feet in a hot London August, traipsing the streets of Soho and travelling the tube.
Occasionally I have erred and bought a pair in the Narrow foot style, usually because that’s all that’s been available – often buying online at places other than Birkenstock where, for some reason, you are limited to the (more female, what?) Narrow. And this just doesn’t feel the same on my ‘wide’ foot (I need to spread my toes!) nor does it look the way I want.
I’ve found the best way to guarantee a Regular fit is to buy direct from the Birkenstock site or End Clothing, which is where I bought my current faves – the cocoa wool felt Boston clog. You can see the rest of the their Boston clog range here. Next on my list at a leather pair for when it’s wet outside (most days in Scotland – those who know, know!).
I could go on, and probably will soon, but in the meantime you can read more about Birkenstocks and my styling & fit over on Farfetch! Enjoy 🙂
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