Walk a Mile in my Birks


There is an ongoing joke in my family because I have worn Birkenstock sandals since my university days in Heidelberg, Germany. The joke goes that I am the only one my family knows who wears them year-round including during our snowy winters. Very briefly while walking into buildings, I will don snow sneakers but then change to my beloved Birks.

Ah, the places my Birks have been and the things they have seen and done could tell volumes. The Birks are with me as I arise at 4 AM and follow me throughout the day and into evenings. From time to time, the soles have been replaced or new ones have been purchased, and nothing quite matches them for comfort and ease. Walking on the cobblestones in Europe was a piece of cake since the cork used in the construction absorbs the shock to the body. I suppose one could say they have become a part of me and my identity.

Students have traveled to Germany or gone off to college and then return to visit and show off their Birkenstock sandals. They too have discovered the ease and comfort of wear. University professors sometimes visit my classes to see what we are learning. Afterwards, the first thing a student will ask me is if I had noticed the shoes he was wearing. What a teaching moment to be able to say that most people in Germany and in Europe wear these shoes. Now they are in style here as well.

In our global society, I have noticed how we love to imitate one another. It is the highest form of flattery. It is becoming the norm in US department stores to stock Birks for sale. During my last Fulbright in Berlin, I noticed the German students wearing t-shirts with English written on them. Try as I might, I could not find any with German writing to purchase and bring back. Even the US and German students look very much alike in clothing styles, hair and now shoes.

In some places, school has started already. In Upstate NY, it won’t start until September, but the newspapers carry ads for shoes and clothes in back-to-school sales already. So as I continue to shop and walk in my Birks, I smile when I see them in stores and at people wearing them. They have discovered what I have known since my student days in Heidelberg: the unrivaled comfort of Birks makes them the ideal every day shoe/sandal. At least for this educator.


“Walk a mile in my Birks,”
is a joke my family makes
about me and my choice
of foot gear. Go ahead, laugh.

In the aging process
I have noticed that comfort
takes precedent over
style. Long ago I

opted for these sandals.
On most campuses, it is
the norm to see them
in all shapes, sizes, and colors.

I am quite content,
thank you. My feet
are happy too. How
about you?

selfie with E, MA & JM 12.6.14 at WegmansKevin Quinn 2014SAM_0181IMG_0426Bob & M A100_0008100_0007Alana

This entry was posted in Berlin, Birkenstock sandals, clothing styles, colleges, comfort versus style, Europe, Fulbrght, Germany, global society, Heidelberg, schools, students, Upstate NY and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Walk a Mile in my Birks

  1. Bob Crabtree says:

    So many memories!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, indeed, and so many miles/kilometers seen around the world. What a wonderful, exciting journey this has been. Fond memories too. Time now to travel another road. I will miss your visits and kind words. Thank you for commenting too. Much appreciated.


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