After trodding all over London last week, I came back and immediately ordered a pair of Birkenstocks for my next European adventure in August. I figured that since the aching back and hurt feet symptoms are actually real during pregnancy, I might as well get some sandals that actually offer support.
In terms of support, it doesn’t get much more orthopedic than Birks. My only problem was that my vision of Birks consisted entirely of granola-eating-drum-circling-dreadlock-sporting-live-in-a-tent hippies. However, after seeing half of Londoners in Birks that are actually semi-cute I decided to take the plunge and get myself a pair of the “less ugly going for more of the maybe-it’s-so-ugly-it’s-cute-kind-of-like-pugs” Birks.
I saw these all over London worn by not tourists, mind you, and thus by breaking-in adventure began.
I am here to tell you exactly how to break in your Birkenstocks with maximum success.
Step 1: Open box. Look at Birkenstocks inquisitively and wonder if they really are ugly-but-cute-like-a-pug or just ugly.
Step 2: Put Birks on feet and agonize over fit. Wait for husband to get home, have him analyze and assure you that they literally couldn’t look more perfectly fit to my foot if they were made for me. (Tip: order a size below. I’m a 7.5-8ish, leaning toward 7, and got the size that is a 7-7.5, or a 38 in those “European” sizes.)
Step 3: The next day when you go to walk your husband to work with your dog, wear the Birkenstocks on the 2.2-mile (total) adventure. This will ensure that even if you begin to wonder if maybe shorter bouts of breaking in might have been better-advised, there will be no escape.
Step 4: At mile mark 1 on said walk (aka, halfway), really begin questioning your logic here, since you already knew that Birkenstocks are notorious for needing to be broken in.
Step 5: Remember the review on Zappos.com that claimed they “didn’t need breaking in like other Birkenstocks!” Despite no other review claiming this, remember that if it’s on the Internet it must be true, and if this person took the time to write a review, then clearly they must have the same feet as you.
Step 6: Vow to find the person who wrote that review and question if they know what breaking in actually means.
Step 7: Arrive back at home with a slight blister from a 2-mile walk in un-broken-in Birkenstocks, perplexed at what the hell you were thinking.
Step 8: Know that even though breaking these damn shoes is a terrible ordeal now, they actually will feel amazing and worth the exorbitant cost, because the support that is sucking your life force out of your feet now will be the best thing ever when my feet and the sandals finally come to terms with each other.
Step 9: Pack for a 5-day trip to Florida. Leave out Birks to wear through the airports. Because clearly, what your feet at this point need the next day is to walk through the terminals of Atlanta’s airport.
Step 10: At 4:30am when waking up to rush to the airport, definitely do not think twice about slipping those little Birks on your feet the next morning. You haven’t had coffee yet, so feeling to your extremities will dull your senses anyway.
Step 11: Arrive into Atlanta and trod through the never-ending terminals wondering if these damn things ever truly DO break in, and when is it? And seriously, are they ugly-cute or just ugly?
Step 12: Question all life decisions to this point. Commence existential crisis.
Step 13: Get a croissant. Because you’re still pregnant, after all. And even if you weren’t, you deserve one.
Step 14: Avoid the bathroom mirror at all costs. Not only does pregnancy seem to eat some of the makeup you dumped on your face at 4:45AM, but your shoes seem to be eating the rest of it, somehow. Do not compare yourself to a gremlin for fear of insulting gremlins everywhere.
Step 15: Arrive at your destination, which also happens to be your mother’s house in Florida. Mutter incoherently about the mistake these damn sandals were and what the hell were you thinking buying such a luxury item due to your vanity and stubbornness in never wearing tennis shoes in tourist places “like a typical American”. Go eat some grapes. And then a cookie because clearly grapes were never going to satisfy that craving you’re having for a cookie. Because, again, pregnancy. We need to be honest with ourselves here.
Step 16: Tell the Birks that we just need a “little break” for a little bit and you’re going to be going back to your Rainbow flip flops for a little while. Assure the sandals that it has much more to do with the fact that you’re going to be around pools and sand and they are far too high-brow for such activities.
Step 17: Wonder if you always talked to your shoes, or if this is a result of three years of working from home and too little human interaction.
Step 18: Assure your mom’s dog that this definitely isn’t due to a lack of interaction, and you’ve probably always talked to inanimate objects.
Step 19: Eat another cookie.
Step 20: Come back to the Birkenstocks. Look at them. Remember the amount of money you paid for a pair of flat sandals and put them back on your feet.
Step 21: Grumble to yourself. The healing process is not complete. You need more time, okay?!
Step 22: Take the sandals out again. Put them on feet. Realize that, oh, this is what the hype is all about. You get it now. It’s all clear!
Step 23: Wonder if the shoes are singing or if it’s actually angels from above. Oh, no, I just hadn’t turned off my Pandora radio. No wonder the angels sounded eerily like Matchbox 20.
Step 24: Wear Birkenstocks incessantly. Applaud yourself for such a genius move in planning on how to avoid wearing tennis shoes “like an American” while walking through Belgium and Luxembourg at 32 weeks pregnant.
Step 25: Realize that no matter what you do, you’re still pregnant and back pain is just a way of life. There is no magic bag of beans for the side effects of growing a human. Though, for the price, the Birks could at least vacuum a few times a week to earn their keep.