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Birkenstock, the German footwear company that will celebrate its 250th anniversary in 2024, has done a remarkable job of keeping up with the times. I (Marketplace Editor, Elizabeth) bought my first pair of Birkenstocks in 2010: the single strap Gizeh model, in a bright pink patent leather. I wore them for about five years, and took them to a Birkenstock store more than once for repair. Sadly, the repair program has been discontinued, but I was thrilled to find I could compost my Gizeh’s footbeds. Birkenstock offers an astounding array of options, including vegan leathers. We wish that they used Leather Working Group Certified leathers and published clearer goals regarding environmental initiatives. And, we miss their repair program. That said, any product that lasts for years and can (mostly) go back into the ground when you’re done with it remains a winner in our book.
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A person's feet shown in cream-colored suede, two-strap sandals with a white fuzzy lining, wearing oat-colored socks underneath and white pants. Photo credit: Birkenstock

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