You can’t BirkenSTOP me

birkenstopopinion by noellepick

I almost started my senior year off on the wrong foot. Literally. I was running late, my mother still needed to take my last first-day-of-school picture, and I could not find my shoes anywhere. I searched and searched while stuffing a granola bar in my mouth, when I finally saw them. As I slipped on my Birkenstock sandals, I realized that something was off.

My feet felt comfortable, cool, and free – the opposite of what I was used to for the past three years.

Finally, it dawned on me: I couldn’t wear my Birkenstocks to school! It’s against the dress code! I needed to go put on my 6-inch crew socks and closed-toe, restrictive sneakers instead.

I spent the first paycheck of my summer job on my Birkenstocks (Birks). I convinced my grandma to come with me to Younkers, so that I could get the senior discount to apply to them. My Birks accompanied me almost everywhere this summer, from Clearwater Beach in Florida to the Henry Doorly Zoo.   

I bought mine purely because I liked the way they looked, but I have come to realize that they are the most comfortable sandals I have ever worn. They have exceptional arch support, and the buckles are adjustable so they can fit any size of foot. The footbeds even mold to your feet after you break them in, providing a fit perfectly tailored to you. Birks are very durable. Almost the whole sandal is covered under warranty, so if any damage does occur, you can get them fixed for little or no cost to you.

Birkenstocks are a trend revived from the ‘70s, so you know that if they fall out of fashion, they will make a comeback.  You can hang onto your pair for the next few decades and break them back out from the depths of your closet when they become fashionable again.

If we were able to wear Birkenstocks at school, there is no doubt in my mind that I would wear mine every single day. Birkenstocks are the most comfortable shoes I have ever worn, beating out even the most expensive running shoes I have. In fact, if I did have to run in my Birks, I am very confident that I could, and my feet wouldn’t hurt one bit.

I recently had the opportunity to wear them all day at school because of a free dress day.  Never have I felt so comfortable at school! My little piggies could breathe, and I even received a compliment on them from Birkenstock aficionado and science teacher, Mrs. Linda Brock. Brock is a huge fan of the shoe, and owns seven different pairs.

According to the Marian Student/Parent Handbook, “Shoes and socks must be worn at all times. Boots, slippers, flip-flops and athletic slides are not allowed. All shoes must have a closed toe.” Sadly, Birkenstock sandals violate this rule because they have an open toe. As students, we must abide by this rule, even though the staff here at Marian is allowed to wear sandals.  If the reasoning behind the ban on open-toe shoes, like Birkenstocks, is that we are more prone to tripping and falling in them, then there should be a better reason.  Embarrassingly enough, I have taken a tumble many times at school in sneakers during the school day, but I can proudly say that I have never fallen in my Birkenstocks (knock on wood).

Birkenstocks are a good candidate for school footwear, and should be recognized by the school as such.  They allow for feet to be free from the sweaty and uncomfortable confines of the typical shoes allowed by schools.  Hopefully, by this time next year, Marian girls will be able to reach for their Birkenstocks without hesitation in the morning and proudly display them as they walk through the school.  After all, we can’t be BirkenSTOPPED.

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