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OK, confession time: I was never a huge fan of Birkenstocks. They always looked too clunky and I thought they made my feet look frumpy. Lately, though, I’ve seen a lot of people pulling them off, and the brand has been rolling out new styles that look more on-trend than orthopedic. There’s no denying they’ve made a serious comeback. Having never owned a pair of Birkenstocks, I wasn’t sure if I’d like them or if my interest in them would fade with the trend. So when I came across a pair of Birkenstock dupes for just $15 on Amazon, I knew I had to give them a try.
Let me preface this by saying there is no match for the quality craftsmanship, iconic footbed and decades of experience that’s unique to an authentic Birkenstock shoe. The brand has been making shoes since 1774 and has thrived in an industry of fleeting trends — that’s incredibly impressive. But if you’re not quite ready to invest $135 in a pair of classic Birkenstocks, or you already own a pair but want something similar to stash at partner’s house or bring to the beach, these dupes are for you.
Seattle sportswear and apparel company UNIONBAY has a shoe called The Melissa Flat Sandal available on Amazon that looks a lot like the Birkenstock Arizona. It features a similar molded footbed (though it’s nowhere near as anatomically correct or supportive as the iconic Birkestock footbed) and double straps with adjustable buckles. It’s available in 10 colors and patterns, comes in sizes 6 to 11 and ranges in price from $15 to $40 on Amazon.
I ordered the UNIONBAY Melissa Sandal in black for $15 and in tan for $18. For that price point, I wasn’t expecting much from these shoes but was pleasantly surprised by the quality. They’re really comfortable, and the footbed offers quite a bit of support. I can walk around in them all day without any aching feeling in my soles or heels, which usually happens when I walk excessively in shoes that don’t have a heel or enough support because I’m flat-footed. It did take a few days of wear to stop the top strap from rubbing against my toes, but they’ve been broken in. I’ve only had these shoes for about a month so I don’t know how long they’ll hold up, but for $15 they’re already worth it.
UNIONBAY also carries a pair made from a rubber-type material called the Miami Flat Sandal that look a lot like those waterproof, EVA (Ethylene Vinyl Acetate) Birkenstock Arizona Essentials that have taken over city sidewalks this summer.
I’m happy to announce that these shoes have turned me into a Birkenstock convert. I love that I can slip them on quickly to run errands or style them with a cute summer outfit. I’ve gotten a lot of compliments on them, and a few people even thought they were actual Birks. Next time around, I’ll definitely be buying a pair of legit Birkenstocks because I can only imagine how much I’ll love the real deal and it’s the more sustainable choice. But for now, these dupes work for me.