Birkenstock: Everything you need to know before buying the sandals that celebrities love
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Birkenstock: Everything you need to know before buying the sandals that celebrities love

During the course of the German shoe brand’s 250-year history, there’s no denying that Birkenstock’s sandals have become associated with a range of less-than-complimentary stereotypes.

But, thanks to A-listers, the brand has gained a new wave of fans. Kanye West, for example, was spotted wearing a pair of its signature Boston clogs, while Kendall Jenner, Gigi Hadid and Alexa Chung have all been seen sporting the manufacturer’s Arizona leather style.

And in the spring lockdown of 2020, when we all adjusted to working from home, there was a 225 per cent spike in sales of the brand’s shearling-lined Arizonas, with the likes of Reese Witherspoon and the Beckhams donning theirs.

There has also been a string of surprising collaborations, including with the likes of Proenza Schouler and Valentino, which may have also helped the brand gain its trendy reputation.

With so much hype around the instantly recognisable sandals, it can be difficult to work out which style is perfect for you. Luckily we’re on hand to answer your questions and select some of our favourites, including, of course, the Arizona eva, clogs, mayari and slippers.

How do you clean Birkenstocks?

Cleaning your Birkenstock sandals isn’t a difficult task. When cleaning the cork footbed, simply mix one part of lukewarm water with two parts of bicarbonate of soda until it forms a thick paste. Cover the footbed with the solution using an old toothbrush in circular motions, avoiding the cork sides as you go. Remove all of the mix with a clean sponge, being careful not to saturate the footbeds with water. Dab dry and leave in a cool place before using a suede brush to soften the soles.

As for the straps, it’ll depend on which sandals you have – for suede, remove the dust and dirt with a brush before opening the straps and cleaning the insides with a damp brush. If your sandals are leather, we’d suggest removing dirt with a slightly damp cloth. As for the plastic sandals, these wipe clean.

Can Birkenstocks get wet?

It’s commonly thought that you can’t get Birkenstock sandals wet, which is not entirely true. While it is best to avoid prolonged exposure to water, they can get wet occasionally. If you do get caught in a downpour, the best thing to do is let your sandals dry slowly and naturally, away from direct heat.

How should Birkenstock sandals fit? Are Birkenstock sandals comfortable?

Birkenstocks are designed with comfort in mind – providing arch support, a deep heel cup and adequate room in the toe area, the sandals help distribute weight evenly across the entire foot. As such, they are very comfortable.

The fit of your sandal is a personal matter, but the most important thing to consider when trying a pair of Birkenstocks on is where the arch in the sandal hits your foot. You’ll know your sandals fit if your heels sit flush in the heel cup and your toes approach, but do not touch, the front lip. We’d also suggest making sure the straps are done up nice and tight to avoid your foot sliding around in the footbed.

Are Birkenstock sandals true to size?

Birkenstock offers regular and narrow widths to accommodate most people’s feet – the regular is an ideal shoe if you have normal to wide feet, as the straps can be adjusted accordingly, while the latter is best if you have slim feet. If you’re between sizes though, it’s best to size up for a more comfortable fit.

How to wear Birkenstock sandals?

The joy of Birkenstock sandals is that they can be styled with just about everything in your wardrobe. Women can wear theirs with straight-leg jeans and a plain white T-shirt or a midi dress, while men may opt to dress down a linen suit.

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