Read on as we chat to the Owner of Birkenstock in the Hills about her love for the brand and her prized Birkenstock collection from over the years. Although we could not photograph every single pair that she owns (the amount was colossal), we have attached a few of her favourites. There were so many unique and amazing styles to see however, we recommend a bigger shoe cupboard if you plan on trying this at home! Enjoy.
When did you first discover/start wearing Birkenstocks?
My mum bought me my first pair of Birkenstocks when I was around 7 years old. We had many German friends where I grew up in Papua New Guinea who wore Birkenstocks daily and mum always admired them as she thought they looked incredibly comfortable. A friend was going back to Germany for a holiday so mum traced around my foot and gave it to the friend who then returned with my first pair of Arizona white leather. These became my school shoes!
How many Birkenstocks would you say you own?
My shoe cupboard shocks my family as I have so many Birkenstocks! I’ve never actually taken the time to count them. I get attached to my sandals and shoes as with wear they become like old friends. I don’t wear them very hard either so they have great longevity. I recently recycled an old pair of Birkenstock Orlando that I had relegated to camping sandals over the last few years. The upper was still great so I thought why not fix them. Now they should be right for at least another 15 years!
What is your all-time favourite Birkenstock style and favourite from your collection?
It’s difficult to say what is my favourite Birkenstock style because I love so many of them however, I think my Monterey Exquisite comes a close second to my first choice which would be my Zurich Suede Black that I purchased from the Birkenstock shop in Kyoto. This suede black upper was not available in Australia; as soon as I saw them I knew they would be a favourite. I’m worried about wearing them out, as I can’t replace them!
I have collected various Birkenstocks over the years that I don’t wear. For me, these are a record of Birkenstocks I find particularly interesting. Eventually I will likely display them in the shop for other Birkenstock lovers to enjoy looking at. The one that is my recent favourite is the Gorman x Papillio, Rainbow Beach with its psychedelic upper and chunky white platform sole. I tend to be quite boring with colour, as I usually wear black sandals and shoes, but this one caught my eye as it just looks so bright and cheery!
How have Birkenstocks changed from when you first started wearing them?
In the past few years we have seen some interesting changes from Birkenstock for example, Footprints became Birkenstock Shoes and more recently we have seen the arrival of Soft Footbeds, Platforms and Vegan sandals. Yet despite these changes, some things remain like my current pair of White Arizona, they are the same as the first pair my mum bought me in the 1970’s as a young child. Birkenstock have kept many of these traditional styles, which continue to be enjoyed by so many people, like myself, around the world. However, I must say I do really look forward to seeing new styles and variations in uppers that can create interest and excitement amongst staff and customers who are perhaps looking for something different. Two examples of these from the more recent pairs that I have, are the Birkenstock Maine in Suede Pink with a Purple sole and the Danbury Suede boot with lamb’s wool lining.
What advice/tips would you give to new Birkenstock wearers?
Birkenstocks take time to wear in; they simply get better with age. I have a pair of Boston smooth leather black that are nearing 9 years of age and in terms of comfort, they are perfect for me. I had them resoled last year and couldn’t wait to get them back! So take your time wearing them in and as they adapt to your walking pattern they will lose their stiffness to become more and more comfortable. My other advice is to avoid immersing them in water as this can affect the sealants used that protect the materials and can also change the look of the footwear. If they do get wet they should also be dried naturally, away from any direct heat source.
Why do you think Birkenstocks have grown in popularity?
The word has got out that they provide wonderful comfort and support. Once a family member or friend starts wearing them, we often see them buying a pair to see for themselves why they are so popular. Once you start wearing them its hard to go back as they become a lifestyle choice.
Lastly, where are a few places your Birkenstocks have taken you?
They have taken me to many places whether to a tropical place like Hawaii or cold climate location like the South Island of New Zealand in winter. The range is so vast, which allows me to choose anything from a sandal to a sheepskin-lined boot, whatever is appropriate. I can also just add a sock to a sandal if I need a bit of extra warmth!
LIST OF SHOES DISPLAYED IN IMAGES:
- Arizona Black Platform Exquisite
- Gizeh Kaduna Diamond (Metallic Silver)
- Miramar Big Buckle Cognac
- Tatami Volga Brown
- Gorman X Papillio, Rainbow Beach
- Footprint Garda Leather Brown
- Danbury Suede Leather Boot
- Madrid Red Patent
- Arizona Soft-Footbed Crushed Velvet Orange
- Arizona Black Exquisite
- Gorman X Papillio Pink Lakes
- Mayari Oiled Black Leather
- Piazza Black Patent
- Orlando Brown Leather
- Zurich Suede Leather Black
- Boston Smooth Leather Black
- Boston Soft-Footbed Suede Taupe
- Arizona White Birko-Flor
- Abilene Natural Leather Mint
- Maine Suede Pink
- Gizeh Nubuck Leather Rose
- Arizona Metallic Anthracite Diamond
- Arizona Injected Black
Feel free to browse our website: www.birkenstockhahndorf.com.au