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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In their Footprints line, Birkenstock sells some leather-soled, high-polish dress shoes: https://www.birkenstockexpress.com/Products/style.cfm/style.Kensington (click on the smaller black or brown shoes under "SAMPLES" to see shots from various angles)

Whilst bluchers, they do offer the ever so comfortable Birkenstock footbed and generous toe box.

Comments? Could I wear these with a sportcoat and tie? How about a simple suit?
 

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could but shouldn't

These look like comfortable shoes, which is always a thinly veiled insult. I would expect to see them on a mailman or police officer.
You could probably wear them with a sportcoat or suit without the general populace raising an eyebrow. Obviously not going to pass muster with the AAAC crowd.
 

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Birkenstocks get a raw deal on this forum because of their appearance. I like my bostons and wear them all the time around the house as house shoes and occassionally I wear them in very casual situations outside of the home. I like the look of them. I call them my Smurf shoes because the shape reminds me of the Smurfs for some reason.

Any way.....I would not spend $340 on the shoes you are looking at unless you were on your feet all day as a doctor or some other profession that requires you to stand on a hard surface all day. These would not be my first choice to wear out with a suit either. Definitely not with a suit.

All this being said.....style is very personal. I know they would be comfy and they really aren't all that bad in appearance. To each his own.

Let's us know what you decide.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
MSRP

Other than the toe box, they seem rather like a standard Blucher?

Anyway, they're readily available for under $200.

I've had earlier Birkenstock Footprints models (one lace up, the other monk strap), albeit with rubber soles. They were VERY comfortable and lasted six years with daily wear.

I saw these available, with the leather soles and as close to regular dress shoes as Birkies could get.

Pax.
 

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I was first exposed to Birkenstock sandals - a trauma from which I have yet to recover - by a German female friend living in London. This was long before queues began to form each Saturday at the Covent Garden flagship store; in fact, it was long before I saw anybody else wearing them. She only ever wore them as slippers, within the confines of her home. She insisted that none of her German compatriots wore them on the streets.

It is also interesting to note that they were originally adopted in the UK as an anti-fashion statement. I have NEVER seen them in Italy, for example.

If your feet are giving you hell, why not opt for Rockport? Not my cup of tea, but at least you'll acquire comfort AND something resembling a gentleman's shoe
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Why Birkenstocks?

I've been on my quest for "the perfect shoe for me" for 20-some years now.

-- AEs: I love the looks, but they're too tight in the toe box. Could order a longer or wider size, but then it doesn't fit anywhere else!
-- Eccos are great for about 6-8 hours, then just don't provide enough structure, way too flexible.
-- Same experience with Mephisto.
-- Aldens provide way too much structure, not enough flexibility.
-- I've had several pair of Rockports, just never fit right, especially under the balls of my feet.

I've had great luck with:
-- Vasque Sundowner hiking books (the classic, in GoreTex; yes, in that strange burgundy color), with the Birkenstock blue insert
-- Dansko/Sanita Professional "chef clogs"
-- Haflinger wool clogs (perfect as slippers in the winter!)
-- Anything Birkenstock: Arizona sandals, Boston clogs (summer slippers), the Footprints line of dressy shoes. The arch-supporting footbed, combined with the toe box, seem to be perfect. Have been wearing Footprints models exclusively for the past decade or so.

I have high arches and high instep (could never close the laces on Balmorals), I oversupinate (rather than overpronate, as many do), have disproportionately long toes (especially the big toe, the one that went to market), get Plantar Fasciitis without proper arch support, and my knees ache after a day of leather-soled shoes. I spend a fair amount of my day standing (an hour or so at a time).

Having said all that, are they any gentlemanly shoes out there that I should be looking at?

Thanks!
 

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In order to be beautiful, one must suffer a little!

Seriously, I've damaged my feet over the years by squeezing them into dainty pointed-toe models and cowboy boots with narrow, chiseled toes and cuban heels. (By the way, I am not suggesting that others should follow my path. Pun definitely intended.)

I have broad feet with a high instep and there are makes which are out of the question. Having said that, I have never suffered as poor old Pr B seems to suffer. More important, Pr B seems to have tried just about every available "comfort" brand. I therefore doubt that there exists a RTW dress shoe that would provide the comfort of a 'Birkie'.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Cruel Shoes?!

I'm reminded of Steve Martin's novel, "Cruel Shoes" (1978)!

Thank you, Cavaliere. Yes, I've tried most everything. Seems I've enjoyed the best luck with the German brands' lasts. Haven't tried Finn Comfort yet. Though they seem similar to Birkenstocks and Footprints.

Does anyone have any suggestions for "dressy, healthy/comfortable" shoes? Or is that an oxymoron, as Steve Martin claims?
 

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Does anyone have any suggestions for "dressy, healthy/comfortable" shoes?
Well... the shoes in the link... if those are dressy for you, fine.
To me they look extremely cartoonish. I understand if someone wants those because of health problems, but not most people have foot problems making regular dress shoes uncomfortable.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
Clown Shoes

I hear ya', Preu Pummel.

My reaction to them when on is they remind me of the parade boots (AKA ankle boots, a dressier variant of the ammunition boot) formerly worn by the British Commonwealth militaries--with their large, round toe box.
 

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I am surprised you struck out with Rockports. Now that you provided background that indicates you have serious foot issues I wont make the clown-shoe joke I had planned (Damn!) so the answer is yes you COULD wear those shoes since you can barely find shoes that work for you. You are basically struggling for options since the majority of shoes dont work for you which leads us to orthopedic and/or bespoke shoes. Have you looked into either of those options? I know they are expensive but you seem to be stuck here. If those Birkenstocks are the only shoes that will do it for you then save up and get some custom shoes because you shouldn't have to wear clunky bulbous and bland looking shoes like that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
Rockports and such

Yeah, I've had at least a dozen pair of Rockports. Bluchers, balmorals, slip-ons. Feel okay in the store. And for an hour or two. And then I start hating them. ... I always end up putting them in the bag for Salvation Army. And say to myself, "Why did I buy another pair of Rockports?!" ... I tried on a couple pair last year; now they don't even feel good in the store.

I'm not at the point where my foot health professional recommends proper orthopedic shoes. He says as long as the Birkenstocks, Footprints, Danskos/Sanitas, and Haflingers do the trick, to run with that.

I had looked into Moulded Shoe, in NY. I react to many of their shoes with the abject horror many here are reacting to the (Birkenstock) Footprint Kensingtons!
 
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