26 May 2017

Birkenstock Repairs

Well-loved, ~5-year-old Birkenstock sandals in need of repair

I bought my Gizeh-style Birkenstock sandals almost five years ago in Berlin, when Jane was just 9-months-old. What an adventure. These were my main souvenir (in addition to some wooden toys and Christmas decorations). They'd started to hurt my feet, with the cork cracked and parts of the soles rubbed flat. The part that touched my feet was disintegrating, or at least it felt that way.

I was torn between buying a replacement pair (the sparkly, blue-looking "snakeskin" style continues to haunt me across the Internet ... thanks, cookies) and paying for them to be re-soled. The cost was essentially the same. But if I didn't get them repaired what would I do -- throw them out? I've worn them so often and for so long. And the tops are still fine -- nice purple leather that just needs a little cleaning. And shiny, purple leather doesn't seem to be an option anymore, not even in purple-crazy LSU country!

I looked around online and found iBirks.com, which had been written about in the New York Times a couple years ago. There were good reviews, and I decided to take a chance. I sent my shoes off on a Tuesday. They arrived at iBirks (in Cincinnati) on Thursday and were back to me on Monday! So the whole thing, including shipping, took less than a week!

Birkenstock sandals repaired

I had ordered "The Package," which included an upgraded/longer lasting heel, leather conditioner and cork sealer. They didn't arrive with my shoes, so I wrote to ask about them. I don't think the heel can be added now (and I'm not sure if it actually is on or not, since I didn't fully understand that). The iBirks.com guy said he'd ship me the missing conditioner and sealer, so they should be here soon.

I can certainly tell a difference in the shoes, and it's taking a while for me to break them in. I'm wearing them as much as I dare. I think I read just 2 hours a day until you've worn them a few hours. At first they felt so tight because my feet were back up so close to the straps and I was used to them being very loose and floppy (realizing now I can adjust the buckles to keep them tight as the soles wear down). The new soles look great -- the cork and the nonslip base part. The leather uppers weren't actually cleaned (another thing listed in the package), but I have wiped them down and they feel like mine anyway.

Soon enough these will be my most comfortable shoes again!

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