Record scratch, wait what?!? Somehow, I don’t think that’s what Sir Mix-a-Lot had in mind when writing his song “Baby Got Back”, but I’ve been inspired by my favorite shoes to write this piece, and the title pun worked, so here we go…BABY GOT BIRKS!!!
In this feature, I want to share my tips for finding the best deals on Birkenstock sandals for the entire fam bam and how to tell if they’re legit. When shopping online, there are so many dupes and shady sellers, it’s feels like you need a safari guide or to cruise in on a Jeep Wrangler like in Jurassic Park. I typically have the best luck in-store, but here’s The Real_Mrs. Roybal guide to finding the perfect Birkenstocks!
First things first, let’s start with sizing and fit. Traditional Birkenstock sandals/shoes run in regular or narrow footbed widths. I have flatter feet, so the regular fit is the only kind my foot sits in comfortably. You’ll also notice all Birkenstocks are in European sizes, cue those sneaky Germans, but fear not gal pals, you can use this chart as your guide.
I tend to size down in all of my Birks so there isn’t a lot of room in front of my toes and my heels sit right on the curve of the back of the footbed. For example: I typically wear a Women’s size 9.5/10 in regular US sized shoes, so I always get my Birks in a size 40, which is a Women’s 9 in US shoe speak. Some folks like the extra room, and I too have purchased my true US size match (Birks size 41), but I prefer the way the smaller size breaks in and molds to my feet over time. In my experience, the larger size stretches too much, but its total personal preference on this one, so be sure to try both options and get your foot fitted if you can. Local Sonoma County tip – the retailer Birkenstock Village located at 1155 Yulupa Avenue, Santa Rosa, CA 95405 (next door to Whole Foods) will fit you for free and they’re experts in all styles, so I recommend starting there my Santa Rosa friends!
Another thing to keep in mind – you WILL have to break those footbeds in, and the first half a dozen (or more) wears will not be comfortable. If you purchase traditional footbeds, the break-in period to adjust to your foot arch, size, and way your foot moves will be longer. But don’t give up, because once you break those babies in, it’s like walking on clouds of comfort for hours on end. No joke, once you go Birks you never go back! Pay attention, if the style you’re looking at comes in a soft footbed option, get it! You’ll thank me later 😉
The next piece of the puzzle is to figure out what style you like best. So far, I only own their sandals, but Birkenstock has really grown their portfolio and offers so many other options to choose from. Be bold my friend!
For purposes of this post, I’m going to share my three favorite styles and what’s next on my wish list!
My Styles List:
- The Arizona Sandal (double buckle sandal with soft footbeds – ahhhh!)
I have both a Softbed and Flor option in this style. Both have their own perks and I really love the adjustable straps, support and comfort of this sandal. My favorite Softbeds are the Copper Metallic with white soles, and my Flor style is black-on-black, super sleek and a staple in my closet! I also found these silver/gray ones with gold buckles at Nordstrom Rack for $79.99. They’re a soft strap and I love the two-toned color option and endless outfit-pairing possibilities!
2. The Gizeh Sandal (single buckle between the toes)
I found a discontinued pair of this style at Nordstrom Rack, and although they were size 41, I still couldn’t pass up on the deal of getting them for $41.95. Not to mention they’re navy with gold metal accents, can you say AH-MAZING?!? I’ve also contemplated getting these in white patent or the pearl iridescent color, both are definitely on my wish list. Only con of this style, you have to break in the footbed and the piece between your big toes, so patience grasshopper!
3. The Madrid Sandal (single strap with buckle)
Much like my Gizeh sandals, I scored my Madrids on mega sale at Nordstrom Rack (seeing a trend yet?), and really loved the olive green snakeskin, shiny print. This is probably the least worn style in my collection because they flap on my heel like a flip flop, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love them. I also tend to go for my Arizona styles first, which means I need to work on breaking my Madrids in. Wish list item are these big buckle oiled ones in the camel/tan color with gold accents. SO GORGEOUS!!!
VERY IMPORTANT TIP: do not, and I mean NEVER EVER EVER get your traditional Birks completely wet or submerge them. The cork soles will not absorb large amounts of water and it’ll almost instantly ruin the molding ability and make the surface very rough (think chalky/grainy on your feet). If you’re the outdoorsy type, there’s some cute options for you too! I’ve tried on these all rubber styles, which are 100% waterproof and come in so many bright fun colors. How cute are the pink ones for kiddos from Dick’s Sporting Goods?
Or these adult Arizona and Gizeh styles?!? Same sizing rules apply for these, and I would size down one from your normal US size.
Now onto the fun part of finding your perfect Birkenstocks! For reference, I live in Santa Rosa, California and typically purchase mine locally. Here’s my go-to buyer’s guide…
Brick and Mortar Shopping Tips:
Honestly, I’ve had the most luck (and scored the best deals) at Nordstrom Rack. I’ll wander the aisles every time I pop into my local store (or search online), shhhh, don’t tell my hubs! The most I’ve ever paid for Birkenstocks in the store is $99.99 (my black-on-black Arizona Flors). Believe me when I say that I don’t spend $99.99 lightly on any pair of shoes, but you’re investing in your feet with Birkenstocks, so you need to be prepared to let a BIG Benjamin go. With tax out the door, it’s about $108 and change, but totally worth it…OUCH! These shoes can also last you a lifetime and you can check with a local cobbler to get them re-soled. If you love them that much and wear the crap out of them, this is a great refurbish option – one that I’m in need of with my Copper Arizonas very soon! Also something to keep in mind, when you shop The Rack, you’re limited to the styles and color options they have at the time, but if you don’t mind digging, it’s totally worth it! The main Nordstrom store in Corte Madera also has a decent selection if you’re feeling adventurous and take a ride to Marin County.
The next place I prefer to visit/shop are local retailers such as Birkenstock Village or the multiple Sole Desire stores throughout Sonoma County. You’ll always find quality shoes at both of these gems and you’ve got in-store experts to rely on for sizing and fit. Big box stores such as Dick’s Sporting Goods also have a limited selection of styles and color options, but are competitively priced to any of retailers listed above.
My last brick and mortar trick is to check your local Costco or Sam’s Club (if you have one close by). I’ve seen both the Birkenstock Arizona Flor in black and the Gizeh in black at these locations for a fraction of the cost you’ll pay anywhere else. Again, very limited color and style options and you have to time it right, but it can be an option for you if you’re an avid Costco shopper.
Online Shopping Tips:
I only buy from reputable sites. I know that sounds like a no brainer, but it’s harder than you think. These are my top recommendations:
- Websites for the any of the Nordstrom brands (The Rack included)
- Birkenstock’s main website
- Famous Footware or DSW online
- Dick’s Sporting Goods online
Be careful when shopping on eBay or other commerce sites such as Amazon. You never know what you’re getting and where the seller is purchasing their product/supply from. I purchased my very first pair of Birkenstocks (those trusty Copper Metallic Arizonas) on Amazon and to this day I always wonder. The logos and specs match all of my other pairs from Birkenstock direct and the box and tags matched, but that’s not always the case. I tried to score a pair of gold Arizonas on E-Bay and it ended up with eBay refunding my money because the seller claimed they were delivered, but according to the tracking slip, they never left the port at San Francisco after coming from oversees. I learned my lesson, and fortunately eBay took care of it, but I’ve heard horror stories of the exact opposite happening, so shop smart.
My last tip is to never order any Birkenstocks online without installing and using Wikibuy. It’s hosted through Capital One and will scan any and all legit internet sites to make sure you’re not missing out on any coupons or the best deals. I love it and will always reference it to make sure there’s not a cheaper site to score my Birks from. Shop with Wikibuy now!
So the next time you hear “oh my God Becky, look at her shoes”, you’ll know they’re talking about you, sporting those new Birkenstocks! Because remember, that anaconda don’t want none unless you got Birks hon!!!