Can anyone have too many Birkis?

lady-faceReally, can girls have too many shoes, or handbags?

I collect Birkenstocks – I have a few vintage sandals that predate my daughter Careid (and she is 30). I bought these sandals back in the day when I didn’t know any better and paid full price which had to be saved for (actually listed in my budget!). These sandals are no longer a part of my sandal rotation due to extreme wear although the leather uppers could be revived with a good polishing, it’s the poor condition of the cork and soles that keep them grounded. Birkenstock offers a refurbishing service but I haven’t taken them up on it yet, maybe I’m waiting for a worthwhile number of pairs to send out.

If my Birkie collection were teapots, Nascar minis, comic books, or owl figurines, then eyebrows wouldn’t arch and comments fly. I wouldn’t feel like I had to defend the fact that I own more than 67 pairs. I have moved beyond collecting by color and now chose by pattern. I have an excellent storage system based on, you guessed it, color and type: sandal or clog. My Birks get wild sometimes and threaten to overtake my bedroom and dining room; they especially like to loiter under the oval oak table, until I put my foot down and break them up, disperse them back to their rightful slots in the shoe-tree. Most of my sandals are not leather but are man-made of a material called Birki-flor, a felt backed “leather-like” material that takes color well, can be washed, repels rain and scuff marks. Probably 15% of my collection is real leather and suede – these sandals and clogs can be expensive and like in the old days require budgeting – they don’t get the same wear as their less expensive cousins.

The economy has reduced my purchases lately, although to be truthful, I don’t need too many new colors. purple-birki Violet and avocado green are the only colors that I am looking for this season. I saw a pair of green sandals in an ad featured in Real Simple magazine a few weeks back that inspired me to look through QVC’s offerings, then Zappo’s, where I found them but since they use American sizing (I wear European 40, 9 ½ -10 American – but sometimes called 10-10 ½ American in a few catalog stores; I don’t want to get sandals that are too large) I get nervous about ordering over the internet even though they have free shipping and returns. Amazon, my favorite on-line book and video store, sent me an email last Friday highlighting the exact Birki sandal I was looking for (how did they know?) with a $5 promo price and free shipping to boot! I snapped them up in a flash during my lunch break. Now I have the summer to hunt down violet sandals for school opening day in August.

While I’m listing my vices I feel that I must also add that I collect nonprescription reading glasses from Peepers.com. I can’t resist coordinating my readers with my sandals, and yes, occasionally my headbands, too! My students ask me why I do this annoying thing (why would anyone?) and I try redirecting their attention by pointing out that at the middle school a special needs teacher wears nothing but purple everyday, but they won’t be deflected – why do I have to do it – they have noticed my compulsion to match. When pushed into a corner, I reply, “Because I can.” I rationalize that a person can be known for worse than her color schemes and matching glasses, and hey, where are people’s sense of humor anyway?

One response to “Can anyone have too many Birkis?

  1. Hey, Kathy!

    Haha, I do think there is a limit to how many birks someone SHOULD (not necessarily can, since that is only limited by the amount available to own) possess. 67 is approaching that line.

    Then again, I’m not much one to talk, since I have a small obsession with buying yarn, and that’s not as practical as shoes… at least, until I make the yarn into something practical.

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