Welcome to The Esquire Endorsement. Heavily researched. Thoroughly vetted. These picks are the best way to spend your hard-earned cash.
Birkenstocks are well and truly back. If you haven’t heard by now, consider this your official notice. And if you’re thinking back, with some degree of horror, to your days of pukka shell necklaces and that whole vibe, think again. Like you, Birks are all grown up. The core silhouettes haven’t shifted much, but the way guys are wearing them is entirely new (think slim chinos, not baggy cargo shorts).
And the EVA offerings—in tonal colorways that are light as air and fresh as hell—might be the easiest way in for folks who haven’t busted out a pair of sandals in a while. First off, they’re a steal at just $40, especially when you consider that signature contoured footbed is still there. Also, they just plain look cool. Whether you’ve never considered the brand’s flagship Arizonas or you’re looking for your fourth pair, you should have these in your rotation this summer. Here’s why.
They’re an easy addition.
Not to belabor the point, but the Birkenstock Arizona Essentials EVA sandals cost just 40 bucks. That’s the kind of price we can all appreciate. And while you don’t get the cork footbed that so many Birk evangelists know and love, you get something that, if you ask me, is potentially even more valuable for a summer shoe: zero break-in time. See, most of the German brand’s footwear takes a little time to really mold to your foot. But because these sandals are made of pliable, lightweight EVA foam, they’re ready to roll right out of the box.
They’re so damn comfortable.
So, about that footbed. It’s a pretty impressive feat of engineering. It cradles the heel (no slipping and sliding), supports the arch (no soreness), and even encourages the natural gripping motion your toes make when you walk. Put that all together and you’ve got a recipe for some very happy feet at the end of the day. Plus, the light, soft EVA construction—from the footbed to the straps—won’t weigh you down or rub you the wrong way. Blisters suck, especially when it’s hot and sticky. That’s not a problem here.
They’re super versatile.
Can you wear sandals to the office? Should you? These are questions that only you can really answer. But if you’ve got a creative workplace that’s down for a little sartorial adventurousness, I would highly encourage you to try Birks with socks—yes, socks—and see what it does for you. It’s a divisive look, and your mileage may vary, but it can be a whole lot of fun. Think I’m crazy for even suggesting that? No problem. Just consider this: It’s hot out. That means beach days and vacations are going to be happening soon. Not only can you rock these sandals on the shore, you can also wear them in the water. And to dinner. And when you’re shuffling from your hotel room to the bar on a Saturday afternoon. That’s the kind of versatility we all need when the temperature’s high and the sun is shining. Embrace it.