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I haven’t driven a car in almost seven years. I got my driver’s license at age 16 (after two tries), just like many of you. But after moving to New York City, I never got behind the wheel of a car again — which, to be fair, is probably for the best. Just ask my parents.
My point is: I walk everywhere, so good walking shoes are important to me. And anyone who commutes in New York City can attest to the fact that uncomfortable shoes can be a day — and foot — ruiner. Of course, “commuting shoes” are a thing for a reason.
That’s where my love for Birkenstock’s iconic two-strap Arizona sandal comes in.
Shop: Birkenstock Arizona Sandal, $44.95
And before you judge them for their aesthetic appearance, know it’s truly not about that — although I happen to find the Arizona sandal (and similar two-strap iterations by brands like Isabel Marant and 3.1 Phillip Lim) chic and effortless. High-fashion house Proenza Schouler apparently does too, since it recently released a collaboration with Birkenstock.
But not everyone is immediately sold after the eye test alone. The important thing is a foot test — and once you do that, you’ll truly be sold.
The Arizona sandal (and other Birkenstock slides) have a roomy fit, molding to your feet in a way that makes them endlessly wearable. This means I can walk around New York City for hours without so much as a blister. I can’t say the same for some of my favorite pairs of sneakers, even — especially when it’s hot and sticky out and a closed-toe shoe just won’t do. Arizonas come lined with soft suede (rather than stiff, sweaty leather) for ultimate comfort and easy movement.
My other favorite thing about Arizona sandals is that they give a good amount of lift. While it’s technically a flat sandal, the sole is around 1.5 inches and the inverted interior molding leaves my feet feeling safe, secure and protected from city sidewalk sludge. Birkenstock’s website describes the feature as a “contoured cork footbed that conforms to the shape of your foot and features pronounced arch support, a deep heel cup, and roomy toe box.” Birkenstock also offers an edgy platform version with a chunky lug sole, in case you want even more of a boost.
Not to mention, they’re just easy. I can slide them on with any outfit and walk out the door without having to pull on socks or tie on laces. Call me lazy, but I love a shoe like that.
Granted, I do have relatively narrow feet, and I know certain sandals can be difficult for those who don’t — Birkenstocks included. But the brand has a helpful fit guide on their site to help navigate the size range.
I personally love the matte-black faux-leather buckles, but I also have a pair in white. They both go with anything, and can easily be dressed up and elevated. At this point, paid for themselves in spades considering how much I’ve worn them over the years. (Yes, they last years.)While I love the classic tan shade, if I had to choose, my black pair and white pairs are true wardrobe staples. When I’m feeling fancy, I’ll pair them with a contrasting, girly sundress for work or jeans and a T-shirt for off-duty.
They are the perfect vacation sandal, standing up to the elements and an easy slip-on to take from the beach to the hotel bar. And they look cute with cutoff jean shorts and coverups — aka, the other vacay essentials. True story: After forgetting mine on a trip once, I went out and bought a new pair, because I couldn’t fully enjoy myself otherwise. Maybe I have a problem — or maybe Birkenstock just made a really good shoe.
Do I sound obsessed? Absolutely. But I’m this passionate about Arizonas for a reason — and honestly, you probably will be, too.
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