More Mom chic -- your thoughts on these sandals?

Since last year's furry Birkenstocks (Celine), this style shoe has made a come-back.  (The link is further down in the article.)  This is part of the overall fashion trend of comfort right now, which Inge blogged about recently.   

I have purchased three sandals that fit in the comfort category from Zara, two are modeled below, the third pair on its way.  I've seen other ones but for $300 I'm preferring Zara's lower price points.  What do you think?  

I really like the comfort they promise.  But are they in any conceivable way, stylish looking?  Or is this another example of me drinking the Mom jean Kool-aid?  Can I pull this off, and are they suitable for someone my age?

Pictures 1-3.  Zara Birk knock-off with buckle.

Pictures 4-7.  Zara Bio sandal.

Picture 8.  The awaited Track Sole sandals.

This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.


  • karymk replied 6 years ago

    Denise OMG you are my psychic twin or something because I have been putting all these shoes in my cart for weeks! I love them! I think we can wear them absolutely, especially for you because you appear tall. I'm small so I don't know if they will overwhelm but hey--when a fashion shoe comes out that is also comfortable I am jumping on it! 

    How does the sizing run on these? I would keep all three for variety. I'm ordering!

    You don't style them mom-ish, I don't think you have it in you at all.

  • karymk replied 6 years ago

    PS your hair looks great did you just get a cut? Is it all one length? I love the shoulder length and bluntness on the bottom. 

  • Marmee replied 6 years ago

    I've been thinking about buying a version of these, too, and can't wait for the weather to cooperate!  I like all three, but #1 is my favorite!

  • rae replied 6 years ago

    I think this trend is killeriffic. I think this type of shoe modernizes skinny jeans, too. I never saw this style as a Mom shoe... all I remember is the Grunge scene. 

    Hm... want some.

  • viva replied 6 years ago

    I was never a fan of Birkenstocks so I have had a verrrrrry slow warm up to this trend. However.....I am loving the track sole sandals. The color and white sole is pretty amazing and interesting. Might need to jump myself depending on your assessment of look and fit.

  • Jeanie replied 6 years ago

    Ohhh, I really like these on you!  I like Birkenstocks but these are much hipper.  I'm not sure which ones to pick.  Are they comfortable?  Do they have the arch support like Birkes?   I love all your looks.  #6 is my favorite.

  • Caro in Oz replied 6 years ago

    Full disclosure - as someone who has been wearing Birkenstocks for 40 years regardless of trends, I feel I should excuse myself from a vote :) :) I will say I LOVE my mine.

  • CocoLion replied 6 years ago

    karymk -- you are the only one who noticed!  Yes I got my hair cut (2 weeks ago) a bit shorter this time.  I've been switching who I go to, a friend of my boyfriend's and my Mom's hairdresser.  This is the work of my Mom's hairdresser.  She owns the salon.  She is the first person who doesn't miss hairs.  Blunt cuts don't work if they aren't neat.  I may be crazy but I feel my hair falls out less at this length because it isn't getting caught on things.

    Back to shoes -- these are a size 36 and fit me perfectly.  I wear a 36 (6) in sandals, 37 (6.5) in boots and sneakers.  I have fairly wide feet and the unadjustable second pair fit there just fine.  

    They do have a stiff feel to them though.  The first pair are more comfortable than the second since they are leather and adjustable.  I'm a bit concerned that the second pair will frustrate me since they are "Bio" e.g. non leather, and when I walk I already feel something that might turn into a problem where my arch meets the vegan leather.  Is this a sign that I should return?

  • ramya replied 6 years ago

    These type of sandals are big in India. It's practical there and hence I never saw it as mom shoes.
    Well I love them the second and last pair more than first

  • ramya replied 6 years ago

    Oh we cross posted. That's sure sign for return Denise.
    I can only afford non leather items and these are signs that I am wary of

  • rae replied 6 years ago

    I've had bad experience with vegan sandals, too. :T 

  • CocoLion replied 6 years ago

    I love these but the price…
    I can buy three from Zara and still have money left over.;refRID=

  • viva replied 6 years ago

    Those Derek Lam are very cool. Zara sets a tough price precedent but if they're going to hurt, does the low price even matter?

  • shevia replied 6 years ago

    Tough one. I love the Derek Lam option but have hope for your third Zara pick. If it is not comfortable you will not wear them and the money is wasted. Does it read Celine or normcore? Are they the same? Does it matter?That is the questions I ask myself. But mostly are they comfortable.

  • replied 6 years ago

    The rose gold bio sandals I think are fab too.

  • Janet replied 6 years ago

    I have to confess, I have never been a fan of Birks or Birks-like sandals, but if anyone can make them look anything near cool, it would be you, Denise. :-) that said, I prefer the second pair. I have a really hard time getting past the flipper foot effect of the first ones. That's just my personal bias. If you love them, rock on. :-)

  • El Cee replied 6 years ago

    I have always had a secret love for Birkies, so I am biased. But, in all honesty, you really rock both these styles. (Love photo #8 as well -- and can't wait to see them on you.) They look so chic on you that you are tempting me to pull my old ones out of the closet. I personally would opt for a leather style as I find the vegan ones uncomfortably stiff and sweaty.

  • Suz replied 6 years ago

    What Janet said! I have a bit of a poison eye because it is a sort of boho-hippie-mom look in my city. And my husband wore them for years -- until he tripped (because the sandal was too wide for his narrow foot) and broke his foot and very narrowly escaped a worse fate -- he also smacked his head and was fortunate not to get a concussion! Finally a doctor told him to start wearing more supportive sandals. 

    Back during the 90s when they were cool for a while, Mr. Suz tried to convince me to buy a pair. He found them so comfy. Well, for me, they were agonizing. I really found them horridly uncomfortable -- the inflexible sole, the arch support was in the wrong place, my foot slid around and I had to work to keep the sandal was just ...yuck. 

    So part of my aversion is my own feeling of discomfort. It's not just a style thing for me. 

    But...I do find the last Zara pair strangely appealing, and I also like those spongy soles (if they provide some actual softening effect) and so I can see myself succumbing to a version of these with straps of some kind and a less "Birkenstock" appearance. 

    In the meantime, you look fab in all of these (and Karen's right -- your hair is great) and if they do pass the comfort test, go for it! 

  • Jules replied 6 years ago

    I had some platform Birks knock-offs in the 90s. The straps rubbed my foot so bad I ended up at the doctor wondering if I had flesh-eating disease (I'm not usually a hypochondriac, but Canadians will remember some panic around this in the mid-90s due to a famous politician losing his leg).
    Anyway, that seems like a total digression. But my point being that sandals that appear "practical" can be absolutely terrible if the straps are wrong. And both times I tried to cheap out on the Birks look, the straps were very wrong, maybe due to cheap materials. Actual Birks were fine. So I'm personally wary of that style and would be wearing them around the house for several hours to make sure they didn't rub me raw.

  • April replied 6 years ago

    Hmm.  Those Birk-knockoffs are what in college we used to call "Peppermint Patty shoes."  In terms of style, perhaps that is enough said.  

    But members who are far hipper than I (like, everyone here) are giving you some love for those, so that could just be my middle-aged eye failing to see the appeal of an oldie when it trends again.  

  • Sara L. replied 6 years ago

    I like the yellow ones in the last picture but I just don't see birks as stylish.  They are pretty common here with the hippie/boho crowd and I just can't get past my internal bias.

  • replied 6 years ago

    I'm in Janet's camp I'm afraid. My poison eye is twitching. But as Janet also said if anyone can pull them off you can. I'm sure your cool styling will do the trick. :)

  • Glory replied 6 years ago

    I love these but have to confess that I also love the birks. Birks can be treacherous if you do not have a very good fit and I think 2 or 3 straps are needed (not the single). 
    I like the first and last pair (mustard) the most. The mustard pair looks like it is leather so will be more forgiving perhaps. Do you think the discomfort will go away with some wear?

  • Angie replied 6 years ago

    (I love how you jumped straight into hot weather Summer footwear trends, Denise. I will be covering those soon. Thanks for keeping me on my toes). 

    YES. The flat chunky '90s sandal is fringe trending. By all means get them at Zara - and not Givenchy - to road test the look for a bit of extra fashion fun. 

    This type of sandal (all three that Denise has linked to) is an excellent shape for wide feet, high volume feet, and feet with bunions. For example, my low volume feet would drown in the style, and they would never stay on my feet because I can't fill them out. Hope that makes sense. 

    Okay. Finally on to the sandals. Love #1 and #3. #1 is the hippest - Haute Birkies.  And #3 will come in handy as a low contrast option. #2 is my least favourite. I find them the least flattering. Too much toe exposure and too high platform. 

    Note: I'm a Euro gal and my eye is very adjusted to Birkenstocks. My entire Dutch family wears them - men too - and with socks sometimes. So it makes sense that I prefer #1. 

  • always trying replied 6 years ago

    A couple of weeks ago I found loads of Birkinstocks on Zappos and on 6pm, lots of pretty colors too.  so they are definately on my to get list.  I have worn them a whike back-and so happy to see them again.  Going to replace the flip flops with them, even if no one else around my area does. 

  • JAileen replied 6 years ago

    I like the ones in #3. As others have said, the first pair looks like Birkenstocks. Which are ok - I have a couple of pairs which I rarely wear. The last pair bothers me from a practical standpoint - how will they look when the white part gets dirty? Otherwise I like them.

  • CocoLion replied 6 years ago

    Thank you everyone.  The "Bio" sandals, the second pair are going back.  The rubbing factor is a deal breaker, it would be a waste of $80.

    Angie -- you are right!  These aren't Spring shoes for most of the country, except in California, where the temps climb up to the 70s this time of year already.  So I typically shop for sandals in late Feb/early March before they sell out.

  • Janet replied 6 years ago

    Angie's comments made me realize why i have an aversion to these and a lot of other "comfort" shoes -- many of them are great for wider or higher volume feet, and mine most definitely are not. They're more like Angie's -- on the narrow side and fairly low-volume. Hence my ability to wear pointy toes and styles that would squish on many other's feet. On me, shoes like this truly do look and feel like swim fins. ;-)

  • karymk replied 6 years ago

    OH my gosh I have never heard of low or high volumed feet! I must study up! 

    I love the Peppermint Patties and the last pair so much I shall go order now.  

    Has anyone seen the Isabel Marant ones? I think they are lovely as far as "health shoes" are concerned.

  • Ingunn replied 6 years ago

    Denise, I think your selection is great, and like already mentioned, nobody can make these look more intentional than you. Have you seen this, btw?

    I'm interested in getting a pair of Arizonas (Birkenstocks) myself. I will wear them as sandals through the season, and as slippers through fall and winter. 

  • Echo replied 6 years ago

    If the knock-offs are slightly uncomfortable, have you considered going with the real thing? There's a reason people wear Birkenstocks regardless of trends! I've worn them off and on since college, and even wear my Arizonas in the fall with wool socks (that's full-on hippie style). Everytime I see similar sandals, I always look at them and think, "I wonder why someone would waste their time with a knock-off that's just as "ugly" and probably less comfortable?"

  • Aquamarine replied 6 years ago

    I have become a fan in the last year. I sigh with pleasure when I get home and slip on my Birkenstocks. Having said that, I haven't actually worn them out of the house but I am close :-)

    I think you will make them look cool, Denise.

  • unfrumped replied 6 years ago

    I really like the shape of the Bio's on your feet. I'm not using any trend or  hip-meter, though--just the proportions look good to me, they look like you're wearing the sandals. For black. Would really like to see how the lighter-colored sandals look too--I like lighter colors with shorts and cropped pants when I'm showing a lot of pale leg.

  • replied 6 years ago

    I love the Birks for you Denise! Would you consider anything in the brown or tan family for bookending, or is it important for them to be black? 

    For anyone with low-volume or narrow feet, Naot makes a great Birk alternative with leather/suede and a similar cork footbed. 

  • CocoLion replied 6 years ago

    I'm not sure about wearing real Birkenstocks yet.  What I like about these is that they are an updated version.  And they are comfortable and well made (not really the Bios though, they rub).

    If Zara made the first shoe in nude, I'd consider it.  However right now I really like the screaming high contrast nature of the black.

  • Angie replied 6 years ago

    Wooohoooo. Go Team Black Haute Birkie. 

    That means Denise, I need to get the Summer sandal trend post out asap for the Californians. xo

    High five Janet, for having low volume feet like me. 

  • rachylou replied 6 years ago

    That's all hipster footwear in my book. I've got sandals like the first pair, only in white. I'm really interested in the bio sandals. I think that's very fresh.

    These are definitely RATE shoes, tho, if you ask me. Sort of putter around the garden and neighborhood shops shoes.

  • CocoLion replied 6 years ago

    Angie you are 100% right that these are great on a high volume foot (that's my feet).  Plus I have super narrow ankles so I love the open ankle construction as well as the adjustable strap of the third pair.

    Those with low volume feet can wear the D'Orsay flat which I think is so cool looking but doesn't work on my foot.

    Rachy that's a good description for these, RATE.

  • LoriFLA replied 6 years ago

    I wish I would have kept my Birkenstock Arizona's in gray and brown, especially the gray.  I bought the gray after reading that Gwyneth Paltrow (interview in Vogue way back in the early nineties) had a grey flannel pair.  I thought that sounded so boho chic and cool and like a sheep I went out and bought a gray pair.  I couldn't find the gray flannel.  A couple months later I bought the brown (not terribly pretty I might say!) Even though they are not the most attractive,  I like them and would definitely buy the real thing over knockoffs.  Gray looks especially good to my eye but maybe I am tainted by Gwyneth.  I am pretty sure I got rid of them because my mother said they were hideous, and they are kind of hideous but still cool.  

  • Ariadne replied 6 years ago

    Denise, do the first pair have gold or silver buckles?

  • Sarah A replied 6 years ago

    I like the birk look in #1, the curve of the buckle is very attractive. Cant wait to see the track sole version arrive.

  • Adelfa replied 6 years ago

    Since I was 20 I've had at least one pair of Birkenstocks in my closet. Come to think, they were my fist pair of higher-quality footwear (compared to Leeds or Thom McCan, do you remember those Denise?) And since they were my favorite shoe, I soon got obsessed with the idea of wearing them with a stylish outfit and a great pedicure. Not that I've ever achieved this, but to me it's a great idea! I think you are perfect for this look since your look is super stylish and casual. Now off to dress for yoga, to which I'll wear my Birkenstocks....

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