These $45 Birkenstock sandals are my old-school summer staple

·3 min read

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I was first introduced to Birkenstock when I was in fifth grade. At the time, I didn't have much appreciation for the old-school designs or understood why the brand was so popular. It took a couple of years, but I finally got the hype after trying on a pair at a friend's house.

Birkenstock sandals are simple, comfortable and practical — but out of my budget.

The only dilemma I had when it came to buying a pair of the original Madrid leather sandals was the $90 price tag. But a few years ago, I discovered the affordable Arizona EVA sandals and I finally joined the Birkenstock club.

Birkenstock Arizona EVA Sandals

Birkenstock Arizona EVA Sandals

  • Birkenstock Arizona EVA Sandals $44.95 at Amazon

  • Birkenstock Arizona EVA Sandals $44.95 at Nordstrom

  • Birkenstock Arizona EVA Sandals $45.00 at Free People

The first Birkenstock sandals were created in 1964, but since then the company launched multiple styles including wedges, ankle-strap shoes and thong sandals. Most of the brand's popular styles are upwards of $100, but in the spring of 2015, the company released a style that was nearly half the price thanks to an innovative material named EVA.

EVA — which is an acronym for ethylene, vinyl and acetate — is a lightweight elastic material that feels a bit like dense foam. It's flexible, smooth and provides cushioning that makes shoes comfortable from the very first wear.

The Arizona EVA sandals initially caught my attention because of the price tag. However, my budget-friendly impulse buy quickly turned into one of my favorite purchases due to its versatility and all-day support.

Thanks to the comfortable padded footbed, I can easily wear them around my house throughout the day.  (Megan Foster / TODAY)
Thanks to the comfortable padded footbed, I can easily wear them around my house throughout the day. (Megan Foster / TODAY)

They're similar to other Birkenstock styles because they feature the brand's signature molded footbed. The sandals are designed with a toe grip, arch support and a deep heel cup that promotes stability. When I wear them, I feel like my foot gets a big hug from the entire shoe which provides support on long walks.

I also like that the Arizona EVA sandals are waterproof and easy to clean with a small amount of soap and water. Throughout the years of scuffing them up and wearing them around the city, they've held their shape and still look fairly new.

If I discovered this style back in the fifth grade I would have worn them to soccer practice or to the pool. However, the more I wear them, the more I realize they can be styled with everything including athletic shorts, denim skirts or a beach coverup. I currently own black pair and a white version but would love to add one of the vibrant colors to my collection. I now also have my eye on other EVA styles like the Barbados EVA and the Madrid EVA.

Without a doubt, these shoes have become a year-round staple in my closet. I slip them on before running to the store and use them as slippers when I'm lounging at home. For the price and durability, I plan on wearing mine for years to come.

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