I’m sad to say that my first encounter with Birkenstock came in the form of an ancient pair of scuffed-up, dog-chewed sandals that an old boyfriend insisted on wearing. Despite my pleas my sweetheart would wear thesesandals everywhere, cheerfully bragging of their 17-year lifespan. Don’t get me wrong, the boy was a good dresser and I liked the simple style of the two straps and cork base (much nicer for a grown man than cheap rubber thongs), but like many 17-year-olds the old sandals looked pretty rough. Ipleaded, bargained and begged but the old sandals stayed put.
Of course this was years before we all got eco-conscious and had mortgages to worry about. When I think about those sandals today I realise that the boy was onto something. Heaven (and hygiene) forbid, I’m not saying that we should all wear the same pair of shoes everyday for several decades at a time, but isn’t it about time we start demanding a couple of year’s wear out of our footwear?
A while back I swore that if I was going to pay the one-hundred-dollars-plus that a store asks for a pair of sandals, then I want to know that they are going to see me through more than one summer. Surely this is not an unreasonabledemand. Yet I’ve searched at my local mall and have found nothing but flimsy soles, manmade linings and a complete lack of arch support. And so, I took the plunge and have finally joined the Birkenstock fan club.
Not only are my Birkenstock thongs unbelievably comfortable, they arebuilt to last (and last, and last). Their soles are lightweight, flexible and incredibly durable, their leather uppers are thick and soft. Plus, the style is a classic design so no matter how long I wear them I’ll never be caught in last season’s shoe.
As part of the company’s commitment to the environment many Birkenstock stores (including online retailer Birkenstock by Nature) now offer an affordable repair service. You simply hand in your old shoes and Birkenstock’s shoemakers will replace your heels, soles, buckles, lining orcork with the same products that they were originally made with. They can even upsize your children’s sandals – a great idea for growing feet!
So, for a fraction of the original price I can get my thongs fixed with exactly the same materials that they were originally made with. This means that I can keep them looking good and they’ll offer the same orthopedic benefits that they did on the day I bought them. I’m starting to think that my Birkenstocks just might be worth hanging onto for another 17 years…