Now In Clogs

On May 10 I cracked a sole on my Birkenstock Chicago shoes. No biggie, they were six years old, and it was my second pair. The first pair failed the same way at about the same time. Not so bad: Spend $200 on shoes and wear them almost every day and they last six years. They were also super-comfortable—I could go to a trade show in NYC and walk on concrete for 16 hours and my feet were fine.
So on May 11 I went to the local store to buy another pair, and I found they had discontinued the Chicago model. Okay, what’s the replacement? I ended up in the Wexford, which looked a little more business-like, but had a thinner sole and the Footprints low-arch footbed. I like the high-arch footbed, but this model didn’t allow the swap. Oh well. $195 later I’m out the door.
The following week it rained. Not hard pouring rain, but a steady drizzle. And walking down Main Street, my feet got soaked. Not because I stepped in a puddle or anything, just from the rain. Bad sign; the Chicago’s never did this.
The week after that I noticed that my feet were killing me, and I was mostly just walking to work and sitting all day at the computer. Another bad sign: the Chicago’s never did this either.
So I stopped in the store to see if anyone had had similar problems. Of course the store hadn’t heard anything…. so I went on my merry way thinking, “No way am I wearing these for six years. I’ll last the summer, switch to winter boots when it snows, and then buy some Rockports in the spring, and put Birkenstock insoles in them for the high-arch comfort.”
Then this morning I went to put my shoes on and the right one was completely blown out on the side. I hadn’t noticed yesterday or last night, but there was a six-inch tear in the seam between the leather and the sole. When did I buy these again? It appears to me that they’ve either cost-cut this thing to the point of worthlessness, or I got a real bad apple.
I stopped in the store on my way to work, and the owner, who sold me the shoes, was there. He was genuinely surprised. His brother has worn these for the past two years without a problem. We talked about the history as related above. Long story short, not wanting another pair of Wexford’s, I’m now in some stylish Alton clogs. Comfy, easy on and off, a firmer sole, and a high-arch footbed.
We haven’t actually sorted out the money yet. He wanted to talk to Birkenstock, but if they didn’t “do something” he would. I said that weighing 160 lbs, with only three months of use, I didn’t really want to eat it, but I’d trust him to sort it out in the next couple of weeks. I’m a 15-year Birkenstock customer, so I’m assuming that they’ll do the right thing here.
Meanwhile, for business shoes, I’m headed for the waterproof Rockport with Birk insole option.