Archive for the ‘Birkenstock’ Category
This past week our Merchandise Manager and I attended the Atlanta Shoe Show, one of the largest shoe buying conventions in the country. Many buyers will tell you that early spring and late summer are their favorite (and also most nerve-wracking) times of the year in the business, because these shows allow us to review/refine orders that we’ve already placed (in this case for fall 2015) and at the same time continue our never ending search for the next big brand in our lineup.
Here are a few trends/highlights from last week’s show:
Trending Now: Women’s low boots: Low boots (boots that are no more than about 6”-7” in height) are very hot right now across the industry, with their popularity aided in part by their chic look when worn with tights or skinny jeans. For fall 2015, look for high quality leathers to be used in many low boots along with super-soft luxurious linings. What impressed us most was the wide selection of low boots for fall that included some kind of solid medial and metatarsal arch support, often provided by high quality cork and leather footbeds. Birkenstock, our top-selling brand, is even jumping into the mix, with four new low to mid-height boots for fall that feature the classic Birkenstock cork footbed, and we couldn’t be more excited. This coming fall will see the largest selection of high-quality, supportive boots that we’ve ever offered in our stores and online.
Hot Brand: Think!: Founded in central Europe in the mid-1960’s, Think! Shoes follows the simple philosophy that healthy shoes don’t have to be ugly, and Think! takes the concept a step further to design many of their healthy shoes as art for the feet. What truly sets Think! apart from the crowd are their smart combinations of supportive, cork-based footbeds fused with eye-catching colors, patterns, and adornments. This spring will see the launch of Think! at Happy Feet Plus, as we offer seven styles, one of which, the Mizzi black, is pictured below. And from what we saw for fall ’15, we believe that Think! has a bright future at Happy Feet Plus.
For the guys: Dress shoes with support: When is the last time you found a good looking men’s dress shoe with a footbed that offered as much support as something custom-made for less than $150? Anyone….? We thought so. Let’s face it, attractive and supportive are two terms that mix about as well as oil and water when it comes to men’s dress shoes. That’s why we were so pleased to find that Vionic has begun to offer a line of classic, stylish men’s dress shoes that come with a very supportive and removable insole. The result (for just under $150) is an extremely well-built shoe that you can wear all day without killing your feet. These Vionic men’s dress shoes will be available at Happy Feet Plus stores and online at happyfeet.com within the next six months.
Sure, there are a ton of great looking shoes out there that offer about as much support as a deflated pancake, and when we’re at the Atlanta show it sometimes becomes all too easy to get drawn in by looks over substance. All we have to do, however, to regain our senses and remember our company mission to offer the finest healthy footwear is to look to brands like Birkenstock, Think!, and Vionic. These brands have kept their focus on producing shoes that are better for your body, and many of their styles just happen to be pretty darn attractive, too.
By: Matt LaBarge, 2/17/15
With Birkenstocks being the hot Holiday shoes this year, here are some frequently asked questions about fit and care on your favorite healthy footwear brand along with our most time-tested answers.
Q: How big should I size my Birkenstocks? Should I leave extra space behind my heel?
A: Birkenstock fit can be a very personal thing, as some wearers like to size a little big and leave extra space behind the heel and in front of the toes while others like to size slightly smaller so that their heel sits flush in the heel cup and their toes sit just behind the front lip of the sandal. When considering the length of your Birkenstocks, probably the most important factor to consider is where the arches of the sandals hit your feet. In order to optimize the great support of your Birkenstocks, we recommend sizing so that your heel sits flush in the heel cup and your toes approach but do not touch the front lip. This type of fit will allow the arches of the footbed and the toe bar (the little bump that sits under your toes) to have a better chance of fitting you properly. Of course, Birkenstock fit and support can also be greatly affected by how snugly you fit the straps. Fit the straps too loose, and your foot will slide around more on the footbed, affecting arch placement, support, and comfort. We have found over the years that it is best to have a relatively snug fit on your Birk straps, and the key is finding a happy medium between stability on the foot and comfort.
A: The shape and size of a soft footbed is exactly the same as a regular (firm) footbed, however the cushier nature of the soft footbed can allow your foot to expand a bit more than a regular footbed. If you are right at the upper limit of a size in a regular footbed, it is worth considering going up one size in a soft footbed.
Q: I have medium-width feet, but all I see are narrow sizes available in the sandal that I want. Can I wear a narrow in Birkenstock?
A: In wider-fitting styles such as the Arizona, Florida, and Milano, there is a good chance that you’ll fit into a narrow even if you have medium-width feet. A narrow in these styles can fit a women’s A-C width and a men’s B-D width. This is slightly different from what Birkenstock suggests, but after 30 years of fitting their shoes, this is our best estimate of how narrows fit in the Arizona, Florida, and Milano styles.
Q: I have narrow feet. Do some Birkenstocks run narrower than others?
A: Yes, the Gizeh and Mayari styles tend to run narrower than many other Birk sandals. As a matter of fact, many of our customers that require a narrow width in a wider-fitting style like the Arizona will actually fit into the regular width in the Gizeh and Mayari styles.
Q: I have a pair of Gizeh sandals, and the toe post is hurting the area between my toes. What should I do?
A: Though this is not a common problem, when the toe post (the piece of material that sits between your big toe and second toe) on a Gizeh sandal causes discomfort it often occurs because the adjustable strap that goes over the instep is too loose, and the foot is sliding forward in the sandal This forward sliding causes the webbing of the toes to bang into the toe post. If you are having this problem, start by completely opening the adjustable strap of your Gizeh sandals. Slide your foot into the sandal, and make sure to slide your heel all the way back so that it is sitting flush in the heel cup of the sandal. Then, from a standing (weighted) position, and making sure that your heel is still all the way back in the sandal, pull the adjustable strap closed over the instep of your foot. Make sure that the strap is snug while you are in a standing position. A snug instep strap will help to better hold your foot back in the sandal and can prevent your foot from sliding forward and banging into the toe post. If, after trying this technique, you are still experiencing discomfort, try wrapping the toe post with a softer material such as medical tape or a thin foam.
Q: I noticed that there are care products available for Birkenstocks. Does this mean that I need to spend a lot of time taking care of my Birks?
A: The care products that are available from Birkenstocks are all designed to prolong the life of your shoes and enhance your enjoyment. We have seen some customers wear their Birks for years without ever doing anything to them, and they are happy with their shoes. Obviously, the more you care for your shoes, the more life you’ll get out of them, so the choice is really up to you. Probably the most important care process that we can recommend is using Cork Sealer regularly to help seal the area of exposed cork on your sandals/shoes. Regular sealing (once every few months if you wear the shoes every day) can greatly prolong the life of the soles of your shoes and can ensure long lasting support from the cork footbed.
Q: My Birkenstocks have developed dark brown spots on the footbeds. How do I remove these spots?
A: The Birkenstock Deluxe Shoe Care Kit comes with, among other very useful items, a Multi-Purpose Cleaning Tool and a bottle of Footbed Cleaner/Refresher. When used regularly, these items can help keep the footbeds of your Birks looking new and odor free. Another useful trick, for those of you who may have older Birks that have accumulated a lot of foot sweat and oils, is to use a small piece of fine grit sandpaper and literally sand the darkness off of the footbeds. You’ll want to experiment with how hard and how much you need to sand, and you don’t want to go overboard and eat away too much from the leather. When done properly this process can remove much of the darkness from the insoles and can revive the natural knap of the leather as well.
Q: Can Birkenstocks get wet?
A: While it is best to avoid prolonged exposure to rain and other moisture, Birkenstocks can get wet on occasion and still last for years with proper care. Many of our customers think that their Birkenstocks will get ruined if they get wet once or twice in the rain, and this is generally not the case. If you do get caught in the rain in your Birks, fear not! Simply dry them in a shaded place away from any heat sources. If you have clogs or shoes, insert wadded newspapers into the shoes, and the paper will help soak up the extra moisture. Do not dry your Birks near a stove, fireplace, radiator, or any other heat source. This can cause shrinkage in the soles. After your Birks have dried, apply Birkenstock Stain and Water Repellent (available as part of the Deluxe Shoe Care Kit).
We hope this helps! Happy Birkenstocking!
by Matt LaBarge, 12/12/14
The level of love for Birkenstocks has risen to new heights in 2014. They have been rediscovered by the fashion world, and sales are off the charts at upscale and healthy shoe retailers around the country. So, this week I figured that I would be quiet for once and share what others have had to say recently about this iconic brand…
“So, what’s so special about Birkenstocks? The German orthopedic sandals embody the rare and sought after combination of comfortable and chic. They provide the support needed for a long day of walking, but their simple style and variety of colors pair nicely with anything from a sundress to a pair of ripped boyfriend jeans. There are almost no rules when it comes to Birkenstocks; wear them to the beach with a sundress and bikini, pair them with some ripped boyfriend jeans and a leather jacket to grab a cup of coffee, or slip them on over cozy wool socks, throw on a chunky sweater and you’ve got yourself the perfect lazy Sunday outfit.” – thefashioncoverage.com, 10/19/14
“New Yorkers are sure putting the ‘stock’ in Birkenstock. Long beloved by the granola-munching Bay Area set, the practical German sandal brand has enjoyed a steadily building surge in popularity on the Hudson ever since Céline showed a fur-lined version at its spring 2013 show.” – NY Times On the Runway Blog, 8/14/14
“‘We’ve photographed them a ton—with boyfriend jeans, Chanel tweeds, and black work dresses—for the past six months,’ says Eva Chen, editor-in-chief of the shopping magazine Lucky, who double-checks each issue to make sure Birks don’t appear more than once. ‘The last seven years in fashion have been all about the statement shoe, a beautiful, spindly heel that’s not comfortable.’ The antidote, it turns out, is buckled and cushioned…” – Bloomberg Businessweek, 7/26/14
“This summer’s sole heir to the footwear throne is, without doubt, the flat sandal. Be it pool slider, strappy, jelly or gladiator, the once considered ‘lowly’ alternative to the much celebrated heel is now at the cornerstone of every summer outfit. And we’re not just talking in the day time, at a festival or at the beach. The flat sandal is now a very real fashion choice for date night, dinner with the girls and, hallelujah, for long sessions on the dance floor.” – Glamour, 6/2/14
“It appears all those normcorers were on to something. Birkenstocks’ contoured footbed actually creates a healthy walking environment for your feet. And the metallic finish on these is anything but granola-y.” - Bustle.com, 5/30/14
“This spring, thanks to their everlasting comfort, and the breezy, carefree attitude of the runways, Birkenstocks are bigger than ever. The brand hit the New York runways with Trina Turk and Houghton, and collaborated with the king of Japanese cool, Yohji Yamamoto. The cool kids, Isabel Marant and Riccardo Tisci, appropriated the classic style into their own versions. Whether original, or inspired, the sandal is now a bona fide Instagram star: hashtag #birkenstocks or #birkies, for short.” – Fashion, 4/29/14
“‘That silhouette was universally considered ugly,’ says Vogue.com contributor Katherine Bernard. ‘But Phoebe Philo’s luxe reinterpretation of a Birkenstock got me thinking. It’s like the most comfortable sandal in the world is having a stylish renaissance.’ With its squishy cork footbed, roomy toe box, and thick buckled straps, the sturdy, sensible sole has been embraced by others besides Bernard. In fact, fashion editors in these very hallways have been bringing their secret love of the jolie-laide shoe into the light of day. ‘I’ve been wearing them around the house forever, but recently I’ve taken fancier versions out into the world, too,’ says Associate Accessories Editor Jorden Bickham. ‘When my husband sees them, he says I’m lucky that we’re already married, but honestly I think it’s so much more sexy to be slightly underdressed, like you’re not trying too hard.’” – Vogue, 7/29/13
…All of this being said, I fell for Birkenstocks again last year after a long (and painful) bout of plantar fasciitis. So, for now I’ll stick to my high arch Birkenstock Bostons, because they give me all-day support, are super durable, and look good with a pair of jeans. For me, Birkenstocks are an old friend that eagerly awaits a trip to the office or a long walk at night, and I know that this friend will stick around with me long after the glare of the fashion world flashbulb has dimmed.
by: Matt LaBarge, 11/6/14
As we approach the busiest shopping season of the year, it is a good time to reflect on the idea of quality in consumer products. Studies in academia and across the web suggest that actual product quality and perceived quality, while closely tied, both rank near the top of the importance list, along with price, in the minds of consumers.
Over the past decade a few clothing and footwear companies have taken the idea of product quality to new levels. Some of these companies have begun offering their own in-house repair services to encourage customers to have damaged items fixed and reused instead of throwing them away. Still other companies have even gone so far as to begin to resell old, used items to encourage use by multiple people and even, in some cases, multiple generations. By setting aside traditional notions of discarding an item after it takes on a minimal amount of wear, these companies have infused their consumers with a sense of reuse/renew/recycle that speaks heavily to the product quality side of their business. The customers for these companies take pride in telling you the age of their jacket, for example, and in many cases, the older the better. As a consumer, wouldn’t you place a high value on a product that could be repaired over and over again to look and feel nearly like new?
When I began my time as a Store Manager in the spring of 2013 at our Happy Feet Plus store in Clearwater, FL, I heard a lot of talk about this mythical hand-made German brand that we carried called Finn Comfort. I had sold dozens of brands of shoes over my career to that point, but Finn had not been one of them. Then a customer walked into our store a few weeks into my time there, proudly holding his Finns and announcing that he just needed a resole, as he’d gotten his Finns from us in 1998. I was a bit skeptical, as the shoes looked to be no more than six months to a year old. The customer told me that he loved his Finns and that this would be his third resole since he purchased the shoes from us 15 years prior. He hadn’t needed to do anything else to the shoes other than just the occasional polish. Again, I was skeptical, but I tried to keep an open mind. Then, over the next few months, many more Finn Comfort owners arrived at the store proudly carrying their shoes and telling us that they’d had them for five, eight, ten years or more. All these customers needed were replacement insoles or new outsoles for their shoes, which could both be had for less money than purchasing a new pair. And every Finn customer seemed to take a special pride in how long their shoes had lasted.
Like the clothing companies noted above, at Happy Feet Plus we also offer our own in-house repair service, and we have been expertly resoling and repairing Finn Comfort shoes and Birkenstocks for over 25 years. We believe in the products that we sell, but we also take pride in being able to take a cherished 15-year-old pair of Finns and make them look and feel like new. This practice reduces consumer waste, so it’s easier on the planet, and it offers our customers the peace of mind that our hand-made German shoes last and last.
So, this holiday season, as you’re shopping for your friends and loved ones, take a moment to consider the quality of the items that you’re buying. Is it worth spending a little more for an item that may last four or five times as long? By purchasing for quality, you may just be creating another priceless experience.
-by Matt LaBarge 10/30/14
Interesting Birkenstock Fact:
Birkenstock Madrid Sandals – The original that started it all. Known as the Birkenstock Fitness Sandal in Europe, this design tones the foot and calf muscles while improving circulation. This timeless one strap features the famous Birkenstock contoured footbed, fully adjustable strap and shock absorbing EVA sole.
Not to mention when you purchase them online not only do you get $10.00 Off your getting FREE SHIPPING as well, you can’t beat it!!!
Celebration starts April 18, 2013 and ends on April 28, 2013. Come in to a local store to take advantage of this great offer and “Walk the Earth with Happy Feet!”
Also don’t forget our stores are also still running the Select 2 of any style, any size any brand and get $20 off until April 21, 2013. So hurry up and get inside for your 2 pair deal!
Interesting Birkenstock Fact: 1996: Birkenstock USA celebrates its 30th anniversary. Birkenstock offers almost 300 style/color combinations, and the footwear is distributed to millions of people throughout the United States.
The Birkenstock company has been in business making high quality footwear for more than two hundred years. Made in Germany, Birkenstock shoes, sandals and clogs are constructed with quality craftsmanship using only the best products and materials available. Their contoured shape of the insole, shock absorbing soles, the fine leather and non-leather tops and quality buckle create a shoe that will provide many years of comfortable wear. Every part of these shoes are able to be replaced if needed over time, making them last even longer.
The special designing of the Birkenstocks provide proper weight distribution, with built-in arch support conforming to the foot’s most natural and comfortable shape. The raised shape of the bar between the toes and the foot, known as the toe bar, allow the toes to grip the shoes which in turn creates an exercise for the feet, back and legs causing better balance as a result, along with being an aid to circulation. The deep curve of the heel part of the shoes allow for better stability. All of this put together makes for healthier feet and keep the back and legs in alignment.
The unique comfort and shape of this footwear encourages better health overall. Many people claim that the longer they own their Birkenstocks, the more their feet adapt to the excellent shape of the shoe becoming even more comfortable over time. The foot beds give way to the bones and shape of each individual foot, creating a positive way to keep your feet, knees, legs and back in better health and alignment.
In the course of a good many hours of standing and walking, proper shoes are essential to your good health. The essential fact that these shoes are actually helping you in your daily activities and overall well-being, is the best reason to own a pair of Birkenstocks. If your feet, legs or back have been suffering in low quality shoes for any length of time, wearing Birkenstocks will be a real treat for you, allowing them to take on their natural shape for the greatest comfort.
The high expertise in the manufacturing of these fine products combined with the very best materials such as smooth leather, suede leather, jute, microfibre, polyurethane and nubuck along with the fact that they are completely repairable, make them a sound investment in a person’s life and finances. They are even perfect for those wishing to live animal free, using man-made products.
These great items also have great orthotic support when it comes to open footwear and they are an appealing alternative to the usual orthotic shoes. They are available in two different widths to fit the needs of all people. The latex and cork are molded precisely to create the most ecological home for your feet when shoes are needed.
Although there was a time these shoes were well known and used among the hippie culture, this company has come a long way in developing their reputation as one that is accepted on all levels of society.