Arizona Birkenstock Birko-Flor Review


New Pair of Arizona Birko-Flor narrow width sandals

I don’t think I’ve ever blogged about a shoe before and probably never will again.  I almost posted a user comment on Zappos where I bought the pair but decided not to give away my content to the website.  I was pleased with their service, Zappos that is. Buying the shoe, sandal, in this case, was easy.  Zappos has a wide selection of shoes in all sizes and widths, provides a UPS tracking link, and delivers on time for free.

But this review is not about Zappos, it’s about the Arizona Birkenstock Birko-Flor sandal, which I am now wearing or breaking-in I should say.  Where to start?  First, this is my third pair.  The first pair lasted about 10 years and the 2nd pair, darn near 15.  Both pairs were leather with the classic footbed.



Time to Retire the 15-year-old pair of Birkenstock Arizona leather sandal


My new pair is made of synthetic material that looks and feels like leather.  They are what some have called the “vegan” version.  I say “vegan” because only the uppers are synthetic (fake leather) not the footbed which is made of suede.  Strict vegans may be disappointed to hear this.  I’m not a vegan so the fact doesn’t bother me.  The only reason I bought the Birko-Flor synthetic version was the price, $10 cheaper than leather and along with the Birkibuc (synthetic suede) the only Arizona style under U.S. $100.

I can’t tell much of a difference between the leather and the Birko-Flor synthetic.  They both look about the same, although they may wear differently.  It does seem that the Birko-Flor is ever so slightly softer than the leather. As such, they don’t rub harshly against my feet at first as did the leather. The classic suede footbed is the same used with the leather uppers and will require a break-in period of several weeks as part of the foot molding process.  DSC_0691

My cat Ella is impressed with the classic footbed

Some people have commented that the Birko-Flor is waterproof and it is, but keep in mind that the footbed is not.  It is not a sandal you want to shower with or wear to the beach.  And I wouldn’t recommend washing them as one reviewer does.  If you care for them properly, they will last a decade or more as my first two pairs did.  Actually, I didn’t take great care of them and never applied cork grease to keep the cork from drying out nor did I  clean the leather with saddle soap.  With the Birko-Flor, there’s no maintenance on the uppers required other than wiping off dirt, dust, or anything else that might get on them, with a moist cloth.

About the footbed, I’d recommend the classic as opposed to the soft footbed.  My cat quite agrees. Apparently, the classic provides better orthotic support for feet and paws than the soft footbed.  And the classic saves you about $10.

So far, I’m happy with the Birko-Flor.  The sandal looks and feels like leather, is easy to clean up, is considerably cheaper than the leather version and should last just as long.  What’s not to like?  Oh, and they are Birkenstocks made in Germany, the sort of BMW of sandals, not so sporty perhaps but soundly engineered.  Do your feet right and get you a pair.


6 Responses

  1. How have the Birko-Flor’s held up the past year? Looking at buying a pair this weekend.

  2. They have held up well. I wear them everyday around the house mostly. The soles have shown little wear. The cork is a little dry but not peeling. I haven’t oiled them. Under the straps, some of the felt fibers have begun to flay, and I’ve pulled those off – small threads but there is plenty left to last years. They are nicely worn in and extremely comfortable. Great sandal. Go for it.

  3. How has the Birko-flor held up over the past five years?

  4. Any update on them a few years on? I am keen to try the birko-flor – seemed very comfy on the initial try on in the shop – but I would like to try and keep them for a good few years – so not sure wether to leather or birko!

  5. I still have them and wear them daily but the cork has split away from the footbed at the top near the big toes most prominently on the right. As I’ve mentioned before, I have never conditioned the cork so the separation is partly on me. The rest of the sandal is in great shape. The heel cork is fine and the tread is worn somewhat but still has plenty of traction. The birko uppers have few signs of wear or fading but has slight splitting at the straps. It’s almost time for a new pair, but I think these have held up better than the leather to be honest.

  6. Seriously..?$10 cheaper. Not a big difference when you’re choosing between actual leather, and some ‘flavor of the week’ synthetic version. If it were a 50 dollar difference then I could understand, but for $10 I’m going with the oiled leather / original Footbed version.

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