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Birkenstock Gizeh Review

A beautifully unique sandal that provides amazing support and some of the most personalized comfort a shoe can offer.
Birkenstock Gizeh
Editors' Choice Award
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Price:  $100 List | $63.49 at Amazon
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Attractive, supportive, comfortable, adjustable strap
Cons:  Stiff, breaking in takes time
Manufacturer:   Birkenstock
By Penney Garrett ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Aug 13, 2019
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83
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#1 of 14
  • Comfort - 25% 9
  • Support & Stability - 20% 10
  • Durability - 15% 7
  • Water Resistance - 15% 7
  • Traction - 15% 7
  • Style - 10% 9

Our Verdict

Being an outdoor gear company, we honestly didn't expect to be overly impressed with this seemingly very urban shoe. And we certainly didn't expect said shoe to run away with our Editors' Choice Award. But the Birkenstock Gizeh surprised us at every turn, regularly outperforming our other tested models while cradling our feet in comfort. It molds to the foot, has exceptional security and support, and provides excellent traction. While the break-in period is a bit rough, if you stick with it, you will be rewarded in kind. This stylish sandal probably isn't the one to pick if you plan to get wet and dirty every day, but rest assured if the Gizeh does end up in a mud pit or a river it can handle it. We know because we put it through all that and more! This is a superbly well-made shoe that, while expensive, will last for years if properly cared for.

If the look of the Gizeh doesn't do it for you, but you still want something attractive and functional, we like the Top Pick for Stylish Adventures, the OluKai Lala. And if the price tags on those options are making you feel ill, check out the Crocs Sexi Flip, our Best Fashion-Forward Buy for a much more affordable option.


Compare to Similar Products

 
Birkenstock Gizeh
This Product
Birkenstock Gizeh
Awards Editors' Choice Award  Top Pick Award Best Buy Award Top Pick Award 
Price $63.49 at Amazon
Compare at 2 sellers
$64.00 at Amazon$56.21 at Amazon$59.99 at Amazon
Compare at 2 sellers
$109.95 at Amazon
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Pros Attractive, supportive, comfortable, adjustable strapExcellent traction, built in orthotics, very stableAnkle strap, water resistant, durable, lightweightVery comfortable, grippy footbed, stableComfortable, well-made, attractive
Cons Stiff, breaking in takes timeRuns big, arch support can hurt if you're not used to itContouring by toes is oddly placed, ankle strap can slipSporty look, runs a bit bigExpensive, narrow
Bottom Line A beautifully unique sandal that provides amazing support and some of the most personalized comfort a shoe can offer.A seriously impressive flip-flop with pronounced arch support and excellent traction.A fantastic choice for anyone that loves both flip-flops and sandals and wants everything combined in one shoe.If you're looking for a durable flip flop that feels amazing, this is an all-around great shoe to own.This is a beautiful and durable sandal that feels luxurious and is easy to break in.
Rating Categories Birkenstock Gizeh Vionic Tide II Astral Rosa OluKai Ohana - Women's OluKai Lala
Comfort (25%)
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
10
10
0
8
Support & Stability (20%)
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
7
Durability (15%)
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
8
Water Resistance (15%)
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
8
Traction (15%)
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
7
Style (10%)
10
0
9
10
0
5
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
10
Specs Birkenstock Gizeh Vionic Tide II Astral Rosa OluKai Ohana -... OluKai Lala
Sole material EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate) TPR (thermoplastic rubber) Granite Grip rubber Non-marking rubber or gum rubber Non-marking molded rubber with traction pods
Footbed material Cork lined with suede EVA Dual-density EVA Molded EVA with soft ICEVA drop-in footbed Molded polyurethane wrapped in full-grain leather
Strap Material Birko-flor (PVC) lined with fleece Woven textile fabric and leather with foam lining Cushioned synthetic leather with knit liner, ankle strap: polyester webbing Water-resistant synthetic nubuck leather lined with quick-drying jersey knit Full-grain leather with microfiber lining
Width of Strap (inches) Varied: .75"-2" across top of foot, vertical strap starts at .75" and finishes at 1.5" over toe post 1" Main: .625"-1", add-on webbing strap: .5" 1" 1.5" at side of foot, 3.5" vertically from top of foot to toe post
Length of size 9 (inches) 10.625" (size 39) 10.25" (size 8) 10.5" 10.75" 10.375"
Length of toe box (just above toe post) (inches) 1.25" 2" (size 8) 1.75" 1.75" 1.75"
Weight (pair) (ounces) 13.5 oz 12.8 oz (size 8) 12.7 oz (11.8 oz w/o ankle straps) 13.7 oz 14.3 oz
Dry time after being fully submerged Damp but very wearable at 26 min, underside of strap over an hour to fully dry Footbed 4 min, straps only slightly damp after 30 min Footbed dry to touch at 7 min but damp with weight until 15 min, main straps dry in 22 min, webbing straps damp but good at 30 min Feels damp but good by 11 min, fully dry in 40 min Footbed 4 min, straps 25 min
Unique features Adjustable strap, contoured footbed that molds to feet Built-in orthotic Extra strap converts flip flop into a hikable sandal ICEVA (soft EVA) drop-in footbed Hand-sewn toe post for comfort
Animal products? Yes Yes No No Yes

Our Analysis and Test Results

This Editors' Choice winner started out stiff and hard but quickly softened and won us over with its lush materials, comfortable design, and unique style. While an expensive investment, if you're searching for an attractive sandal to last you for the long haul, this is a great one to consider.

Performance Comparison


Whether dressed up for a night on the town or scouting out flowers in mountain meadows  the Gizeh is a comfortable and stylish friend.
Whether dressed up for a night on the town or scouting out flowers in mountain meadows, the Gizeh is a comfortable and stylish friend.

Comfort


The Gizeh has the potential to be wildly comfortable but, like many worthwhile things in life, you have to work for it a bit. In the beginning, this shoe is stiff and unwelcoming but, if you persevere, the cork footbed lined with suede will soften and mold to your feet, rewarding you with a sandal sculpted perfectly to your unique shape. Add to that adjustable straps with a soft fleece-lined underside and a footbed design meant to cup and support every part of the foot's anatomy, and you have a very comfortable sandal.


The footbed of the Gizeh becomes soft and welcoming relatively quickly, though you should prepare for some level of discomfort for several days at the very least. The toe post is made of hard rubber, and it takes time and dedication to get used to and fully break-in. By far the most common complaint we see in online customer reviews is regarding the toe post, but the majority of people also seem to agree that if you continue to wear them through the uncomfortable and/or painful stage, you will be glad you did. This was our experience too; the very first time we slipped this shoe on the toe post felt shockingly brutal. Activities that caused our feet to slide into it with more pressure (like going up and down stairs or hills) bordered on excruciating. But, with some dedicated wear, this discomfort disappeared quickly.

The toe post on this sandal feels terrible at first and we worried that the shoe could never be comfortable. But with a bit of perseverance  the issue resolves itself.
The toe post on this sandal feels terrible at first and we worried that the shoe could never be comfortable. But with a bit of perseverance, the issue resolves itself.

With all shoes, sizing is critical. But the contoured footbed of the Gizeh makes getting the proper size even more important; if you don't, the arch support and toe ridge won't sit in the correct place, and you may not be able to achieve the same level of comfort you available with an excellent fit.

Support & Stability


The Gizeh has some interesting and unique features that add up to a seriously supportive and stable shoe. The contoured footbed provides a deep heel cup that's meant to hold the heel bone in its most natural position and give almost as much support as wearing a fully enclosed shoe. It also has strategically placed arch supports running down the sides and middle, and a toe grip ridge to help keep the toes in a natural spread out position. Finally, the footbed edges are raised and extra high in the front to protect the toes when walking. Whether or not these individual features do for you exactly what they are "meant" to do, this is a well planned out and executed sandal that remains comfortable even after hours of being on your feet.


Another aspect that makes the Gizeh feel so secure is the presence of wide, long, adjustable straps. For a flip flop sandal, you end up with quite a lot of your foot covered. Some people may not like this as it can feel constricting and hold in more heat and sweat when it's sweltering outside, but the natural materials also can breathe and dry quickly.

Well designed contouring and wide straps make the Gizeh our top performer for support and stability.
Well designed contouring and wide straps make the Gizeh our top performer for support and stability.

Durability


We couldn't help but appreciate the craftsmanship of the Gizeh from the moment it came out of the box. There's a reason Birkenstocks have been worn by professionals and enthusiasts alike for decades. It's clear that time and care have gone into the design and execution of this sandal. The high-quality materials and construction had no problem standing up to hikes on dirty, dusty trails, and even full immersion in a cold Colorado River hardly showed a scuff. On top of that, there are many viable options for repair, resoling, and strap replacement available, so you can keep your pair going strong for a very long time. Birkenstock also offers care tips and products on their website, meaning that, with the right attention, this sandal can quite literally last you a lifetime.


The Gizeh can absolutely take some abuse, but the cork and suede footbed will also deteriorate faster than rubber — it's just a fact. Natural materials need to stay away from concentrated heat and extreme temperatures; while this is a highly durable shoe, it's also not appropriate as your main outdoor adventure accessory.

The Gizeh is a well constructed and highly durable sandal that  while performing outstandingly in all our crazy tests  probably isn't the best choice if you are going to get wet and dirty every time you go out.
The Gizeh is a well constructed and highly durable sandal that, while performing outstandingly in all our crazy tests, probably isn't the best choice if you are going to get wet and dirty every time you go out.

Water Resistance


This metric is where the Gizeh surprised us most. Initially, we didn't even want to do the full river submersion water test on these sandals because, well, they're just so darn fancy. But in the interest of fairness, they went into the river and under the hose just like all the other pairs. And, lo and behold, they did great. Many of the other models in our review feel slimy and insecure for a bit of time after getting wet, but the Gizeh feels good when wet — snug, secure, and cool on the skin.


After full submersion, the footbed of the Gizeh felt damp but completely wearable in under a half-hour. The underside of the straps took over an hour to dry, but they also felt nice on our skin on a hot day. This sandal takes longer to dry than other models due to the materials it's constructed with and because when on foot, the upturned sides and snug straps disallow as much airflow as you get with a more open and airy design.

Just your average day standing in a river while wearing fancy leather Birkenstocks  no big deal.
Just your average day standing in a river while wearing fancy leather Birkenstocks, no big deal.

Traction


The Gizeh offers both good traction from the bottom sole and excellent internal footbed security. This combination provides the essential balance needed to feel confident when navigating uneven terrain.


In some respects, the Gizeh feels more like a fully-enclosed shoe than a sandal. The bottom treads aren't as aggressive as some other options in our review, but the suede-lined footbed provides impeccable grip and comfort. We felt highly confident navigating all sorts of obstacles and terrain, our only complaint surfacing when heading downhill on steep slopes: the stiffness of the toe post, even after having broken it in, is noticeable.

Despite its urban look  the Gizeh holds its own in the traction department when put to the test out on dirt and rock.
Despite its urban look, the Gizeh holds its own in the traction department when put to the test out on dirt and rock.

Style


When talking to people about the look of this shoe, we received some strong opinions both ways. For the most part, all the women we polled love it, ranking it in their top three. But for some, the unique look of the Gizeh is unappealing. Of course, you will decide for yourself whether you think it's stylish enough to warrant the price, but since the consensus in our research was positive, we rewarded it with a high rating.


If the Gizeh doesn't do it for you, Birkenstock does make other less exotic styles that may be a better fit for your wardrobe. As far as the 17 sandals we tested, the clear winner is the OluKai Lala. Like the Gizeh, the Lala is an elegant shoe with wide leather straps, but it has a noticeably more streamlined look that is a bit more approachable. However, if you like the Gizeh, it's easy to dress up or down.

The Gizeh has the ability to be dressed up or down!
Dressed up or dressed down  out in nature or in the city  the Gizeh was a pleasure to wear and the runaway winner of our Editor's Choice award for good reason.

Best Applications


Even though the Gizeh performs excellently across all our metrics, it still isn't a model we recommend for aggressive or continual outdoor use. It can handle the occasional (or even semi-regular) rainstorm or mud puddle, but it is simply too nice of a shoe to subject it to that kind of thing all the time. We highly recommend the Gizeh if you're looking for a more urban sandal that's stylish, comfortable, and supportive, but consider something else if you will be spending most summer days playing in dirt or water.

Value


This shoe is an investment for sure, and you should be certain in your decision before committing to dropping so much dough. But it is worth the steep price tag for the right person, and not having to buy a new cheap flip flop every year or two could save you money in the long run. If you take proper care of your Gizeh, it can last you for decades, keeping your feet supported and your style high.

Our Editors Choice  the Gizeh  and the Olowahu. There is a huge price difference between these two style favorites and  while both have a place  the Gizeh has the ability to outlast the Olowahu by many  many years.
Our Editors Choice, the Gizeh, and the Olowahu. There is a huge price difference between these two style favorites and, while both have a place, the Gizeh has the ability to outlast the Olowahu by many, many years.

Conclusion


The feature-heaviness and aesthetic of the Gizeh isn't for everyone, but if you're in the market for a well made, highly supportive, and classically stylish sandal that becomes more comfortable with time, then look no further. This sandal is expensive and takes more time to break-in, but if it fits your needs and lifestyle, then we believe both of those small hurdles are worth it for what you get.

Breaking in the original Gizeh takes a bit of work  but you will be rewarded with a cozy supportive sandal that you won't want to take off.
Breaking in the original Gizeh takes a bit of work, but you will be rewarded with a cozy supportive sandal that you won't want to take off.


Penney Garrett