no, really, check out how they show off a pedicure
oh dear, you're not at all convinced and I'm sounding a bit shrill, no? Well, at least they're not Crocs and besides, look how far I've come -- here are my old Birkenstocks, the oh-so-fashionable Papillio model with the double straps across the instep and the strap around the back for extra clunkiness! Looking every minute of their 20-year life (they've been re-soled once), these do very well on the cost-per-wearing test but not so much for their allure.
The (relatively) new pair, the sleek metallic ones, I got three years ago, before we went to Paris. I consulted with a young and fashionable friend who lived there (hello, Andrea!), wondering what would be the best option considering how much Paul and I tend to walk. We didn't want to clunk around in Nike runners, but neither did we want to curtail our activities over my sore feet. She said that the newer, sexier (I know, but stretch yourselves!) Birks were a regular and acceptable sight on the sidewalks of Paris and we've found this to be true, having logged 15 to 20 kilometres a day on each of our last three weeklong visits there. I alternate them with a pair of Diesel sneakers and then if we have a lighter walking day, I'll wear a shoe with a small heel (like the tan leather ones I showed you three weeks ago or the white-and-denim slingbacks from last week). And I generally have a pair of heels that I can walk a kilometre or two for dinner in the evening. I do make sure to keep the rest of my attire as smart as I can to offset any possible sloppiness that might be associated with a Birkenstock and I have been asked, in French, for directions, by French pedestrians, so I tell myself that perhaps I don't stick out as "the (fashion)-ugly Canadian."
Back in my small island city, of course, these only stick out as being more structured than the ubiquitous flip-flop and a lighter, cleaner look than that other ubiquitous horror, the Croc. In Vancouver, where we also walk long long distances, I don't feel embarrassed to walk along Robson or even into Holt Renfrew, but we Vancouverites are very tolerant. (Although I think my older Birks would be pushing it!)
What do you think? Do you have a similar summer workhorse shoe? Something you can pack to go with a dress or with jeans that will look reasonably fashionable and still let you walk? Do you prefer to suffer for style? Or do you think that comfort beats all other considerations? And, dare I ask, do you think I'm just fooling myself about the good looks of these silver Birks?