Part of me agrees with Dusti’s previous post in this series. I don’t have a high degree of attachment to most of my things.
I do, however, frequently have an attachment to the function those things perform.
This post is about my Birkenstock sandals. Okay, I know it’s kind of cliche. But I didn’t arrive at owning a pair of Birkenstocks because other people had them.
I arrived at the decision to get a pair because I wear sandals almost exclusively, and every other sandal I found was missing at least one feature that I considered essential.
Put simply, I need a sandal to:
- Be durable. I wear sandals all the time, for at least eleven months out of the year (yes, including winter – until the snow is high enough that I have to wear something that covers my foot more.) You’d be amazed at how non-durable most sandals are if you wear them all the time.
- Be Reasonably Priced. I hate $100+ sandals – more particularly, I hate replacing $100+ sandals.
- Have A Heel Strap. It’s hard to run in flip-flops. I need something to make sure the sandal stays on my foot if I suddenly need to move quickly.
- Be Comfortable. Again, I wear sandals all the time. If it’s not comfortable, I don’t want it on my feet day-in and day-out!
Birkenstocks fit the bill.
Now…I can just hear some of you. “Most of that makes sense, but wait a minute – how are Birkenstocks reasonably priced?” It’s a fair question – after all, they’re $120 sandals. Here’s the answer:
Well, at least, not initially. But they meet all the other criteria (comfortable, durable, heel strap), and they have a feature that most other sandals don’t have:
If you’ve ever seen a pair of Birks, you’ll know they’re pretty simple. There’s only three real parts – a leather upper, a cork footbed, and a rubber sole.
The rubber sole can be replaced. The cork footbed can be repaired or replaced. The leather upper can be repaired if the damage is minor.
This adds up to less packaging (as I’m only replacing or repairing one part at a time), less waste (since only the worn part gets thrown out), and saves a substantial amount of money over buying a whole new sandal.
What could be better?
Best of all, the local shoe repair shop here where I live gives a substantial discount on repair if you bought the sandals from them to begin with. With discount, I can get either part of the sandal (footbed or rubber sole) replaced for about $25 per pair.
I like my Birks. They’re no-nonsense, comfortable, durable footwear, and they’re a fantastic example of the “own one nice item rather than twenty mediocre items” principle. Other than my one pair of dress shoes and my one pair of heavy snow boots (because I live in Wisconsin!), they’re my only item of footwear.
Like I said in the beginning, I don’t usually develop an attachment to most of my things – but I love things that perform their function well. And if you need great sandals that function perfectly, you just can’t beat a pair of Birkenstocks!
The next Favorite Things post will be from Matt Madeiro of Three New Leaves.
Previous posts in the Favorite Things series:
- Sharpie Pen by Craig Keirstead of Simple Black Coffee
- Clothing by Joshua Millburn of The Minimalists
- TUL Pen by Kevin Lemere of Ground Up Life
- Evernote by David Damron of Life Excursion
- Nothing by Dusti Arab of Minimalist Adventures
- Chrome Shoes by Seth Werkheiser of The Bike Nerd
- Work Boots by Andrew Odom of Tiny r(E)volution
- Safety Razor by Bernie Mack of Get Off This Wheel
- iPod Touch (+4 more) by Serena of The Everyday Minimalist
- Kitchen Tools by Cheryl Breuer of Peculiar Girl
- Headlamp by Jennifer Miller
- Books by Naomi Seldin Ramirez of Simpler Living
- Bicycle by Beverly Army Williams of PoMo Golightly