Birkenstocks are cool—but these waterproof ones are even better
I wear them everywhere now.
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I could go on and on about my love affair with Birkenstocks. They're the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever owned, molding to my feet over time and providing just the right amount of support for my arches. Whether it's the '90s-era Arizona slides or the more streamlined thongs, I'm a fan of all things Birks.
The classic sandals experienced a resurgence in recent years, work by celebrities like Katie Holmes and Reese Witherspoon. The brand has also ventured into waterproof footwear, which I finally decided to try for myself a couple of months ago.
The Birkenstock Eva sandals get their name from the material they're made of: ethylene vinyl acetate, a rubber-like foam often added to shoes to make them more shock-absorbent. This foam is similar to Crocs' proprietary material, and if you've worn the classic clogs or really any style of Crocs shoes, you'll be able to draw comparisons to the Evas.
What I love about the Birkenstock Eva sandals
If you’ve ever been caught in the rain in a pair of original Birks, you know that the cork footbed quickly turns into a soggy, squishy swamp. That is not the case with the waterproof Birkenstock Evas, which I bought in the Gizeh thong style. When I wore them out in a summer shower, the rain slid right off the lightweight rubber rather than being absorbed into the shoe and they were fully dry within 30 minutes (and only took that long because some water stayed trapped between my feet and the foam).
The sandals have great arch support, so I can walk around for hours pain-free, and they're a lifesaver for my flat feet and tight arches. They also don’t require the extensive breaking-in process that regular Birks do—they’re ready to wear right out of the box.
While leather Birkenstocks are hard to clean—the cork footbed can soak up sweat and unwelcome odors—the Eva sandals are easy to wash and thus never smell bad. A quick wash with dish soap and water and they look brand-new. Because of this, they became my go-to sandals while planting flowers and hanging out in my backyard this spring.
What I don’t like about the Birkenstock Eva sandals
While the sandals come ready to wear, they also wear out easily. The material ages quickly, and because they’re floppy, they’re annoyingly easy to scuff and scrape. You can smooth out scuffs with a nail file, but it’s impossible to get them completely flat. Unlike the traditional cork-and-leather sandals, which get better with time and can last you years, you can expect to replace your Eva sandals after two to three summers, at most.
Another pet peeve? The sandals can be noisy when you walk—the rubber squishes and squeaks—and I got a small blister on my middle toe the first time I wore them.
How to style Birkenstock Evas
A major selling point of the Birkenstock Evas is their versatility. You can wear them with almost any summer outfit: a breezy dress, shorts and a tee, a skort, overalls, and even exercise clothes. They excel as casual shoes, and are great for gardening, beaching, or hanging out at a backyard barbecue. Confession: I even used to squeak by wearing the Gizeh thongs as black dress sandals when I worked as a receptionist.
Why you should try the Birkenstock Eva sandals
Aside from being waterproof and offering amazing arch support, the Eva sandals are available in several styles, including the Gizeh thong, the traditional Arizona, a flip-flop, and a pool slide. They also come in a rainbow of colors, from metallic gold to bright pink to basic black.
The only downside is their lack of longevity, but that’s offset by their relatively cheap price compared to other Birkenstock sandals, which range from about $100 to $155. I consider the Evas’ $45 price to be a bargain and money well spent for up to three summers of comfort and style.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.