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Truly one of the “don’t knock it till you try it” products: Birkenstocks. I used to really have a field day making fun of these and the people that wear them. I thought these were exclusively for people from Vermont or Colorado and only paired well with a tie-dye t-shirt. One day my best friend dug out his old pair of Birkenstock Boston clogs from his closet and started wearing them all the time. I initially snickered at them, but eventually realized they actually pair pretty well with normal clothes. I became jealous of the leisure aspect, of being able to slip them on and off in a moment while I frantically tried to tie my shoes to keep up. It all came to a head when I had to run outside to meet a delivery driver and slipped him on to do so, and holy hell these things were comfortable! We have similar-sized feet, so they just happened to fit me really well. I later learned that they mold around your foot after a break-in period, after which they really start to shine. I immediately decided to get a pair and was shocked at the price of $155. While they are durable, they definitely won’t last forever as the cork footbed usually starts to crack apart after a couple of years. With that in mind, I find dupes to be worthwhile, as they are very close in quality and comfort. Just know that you will get some comments and looks from people when you wear them. When this happens to me I just smile smugly knowing that I used to be the same and that one day they might come around.
A few important factors:
- Birkenstock makes their own budget versions of some called EVA, which sounds a lot better than what they are, ethylene vinyl acetate. These cost about $50 and should be kept in mind as a baseline comparison price-wise, as we’re aiming to get higher quality than these
- The leather and suede versions cost more, now in the range of 100-150. These also have the cork footbed which feels great on the feet
- The light color leathers look great, but they get dirty fast. I recommend dark brown or gray for this reason since they hide it better and will look newer for longer.
- For some reason, the men’s options on dupes are more limited
- I’ve noted if the alternatives look like a Birkenstock Arizona (two straps) or Boston (clog)
Here we go:
For women who want an Arizona style, this is the best dupe here. Available in multiple colors and sizes you’ve got tons of options. I’m honestly just mad that they don’t have a men’s option. Cork bed, suede insole, and vegan leather. Some of these are as little as 29.99 making them a no-brainer. People say they are true to size, or maybe a little small so perhaps round up a bit on sizing.
These really get the Birkenstock Boston look down perfect! Others have extra stitching that in my opinion brings attention to the fact that they are not actually Birkenstocks. With pricing between $35-65 depending on the size that puts it in EVA price territory but with better materials. The leather isn’t real, but not all Birkenstocks have real leather either. The only issue is that I can’t find a men’s option and the color options seem limited to black at the moment.
WHITE MOUNTAIN Women’s Bari Clog (Boston Type)
Adding in some much-needed color options are the White Mountains. Do note that some of these have faux fur which you may not want, as it wears out quickly and isn’t suitable for warm weather. Not quite as recommended as the Cushionares. Birks are known for the contour that they have and this seems to be a bit flatter.
CUSHIONAIRE Men’s Lane Cork footbed Sandal with +Comfort (Arizona type)
And here we have a men’s option for an Arizona style, same brand as the women’s above. While there aren’t nearly as many reviews as the Women’s version, I would assume the quality is similar, and the reviews that they do have are overall very good.
These are suede, unisex, and available in multiple colors. Most reviewers seem to like these but there are overall a bit more quality complaints than the others.
Eastland Gina Clog: Boston Style
I’m adding these in as I couldn’t find many variations of the Boston style with other brands, but these are available for men and women, and come in lots of sizes and colors. They have that extra stitching that the Birks don’t have, but the buckle and top material totally nail the look.
That’s all I’ve got for now. The Cushionaire’s are my top pick here as they seem to be the highest quality and closest to the real thing. This can be a good option if you’re not completely sold on getting Birkenstocks or just want to save some cash.