I’ve never understood the hype around Birkenstocks. They’re not exactly easy on the eyes, and I’m convinced the cork footbed can’t actually be comfortable (someone back me up on this!?). So to be honest, I wasn’t sure how to feel when I saw Birkenstock Essentials Arizona Waterproof Slide popping up everywhere at the beginning of this summer.
At first, I decided it was just a coincidence when I saw a few of my favorite influencers rocking the colorful kicks. But a late-night scroll through Nordstrom’s shoe section proved otherwise. There they were again and when I clicked on them, I was shocked to see that over 2,000 other people were viewing them at the very same time.
A quick click of the review page revealed over 1,000 five-star ratings from happy customers writing things like “These are super lightweight and so comfy...I need more colors now! Wish I bought them sooner.”
“Pool, beach, river or just out and about with bike shorts, these are great casual shoes. They’re easy to clean too,” writes another.
And guys love the men’s version just as much. “These are the best sandals for working outside. They’re waterproof and keep my husband’s feet cool,” writes one happy wife.
I had to admit, after reading all those reviews, the not-so-cute kicks were growing on me. And somehow, the silhouette seemed a lot more palatable than the traditional Birkenstock style. Perhaps it was because there was no cork, whatsoever. All that, coupled with a $45 price point, was enough to convince me to hit “Add to Bag” and try them for myself.
When the slides arrived, I was immediately impressed: The reviewers weren’t lying about how comfortable they were. From the moment I slipped them on they felt like they were molded to my feet—no painful breaking-in process necessary. Apparently, I have the contoured footbed to thank for that. It’s made to mimic the shape of a healthy foot while providing arch support.
After a few days of wearing the Birks around my house, I decided to put the shoes to the test by wearing them to run some errands. Initially, I couldn’t get over how light they were. It almost felt like I was going barefoot (minus all the discomfort and grossness that comes along with that). And after trekking around the grocery store plus a couple of laps around the block, I was pleasantly surprised to find that my feet weren’t sore like they typically are after a whole day in unsupportive flip flops.
Next, I test drove them for a day at the beach. That’s where the waterproof factor really came into play. They got a little sandy on the walk to the car, but after spraying them down with the hose when I got home, they looked sand-free and good as new. Needless to say, I’m never wasting 20 minutes clapping the sand out of my sandals ever again.
The only downside? The rubber-y material does make my feet sweat a little on hot days. But honestly, that’s a small price to pay for the heavenly cushion they provide.
So, whether you’re looking for a new summer house slipper, an everyday shoe or trusty beach sandal, trust me when I say these Birks should be your go-to pair.
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