Birkenstock Arizona Essentials Review
Cons: Not as soft or breathable as leather
Our Analysis and Test Results
You would be hard-pressed to find someone that doesn't know the Birkenstock brand. The name conjures images of brass buckles and mocha-colored leather as well as an ultra-contoured footbed, generally regarded as one of the more comfortable and ergonomic flip flops out there. The Arizona Essentials is a new twist that takes some of our favorite characteristics and repackages it in a synthetic, lightweight design.
The Arizona Essentials is one of the most comfortable, totally synthetic flip flops we tested. The signature molded footbed we all know and love is one of the highlights of this flip flop. Like many of you, we have owned pairs of Birkenstocks until they completely wore through to the pavement mostly because of how comfortable they are. The EVA Arizona is no different, except for losing a bit of the suppleness offered by cork or leather.
Another small gripe is that the EVA straps can sometimes annoyingly tug at toe hair. Many of you are probably not from the Shire and therefore do not have shaggy hobbit feet, and this will make no difference to you. For those that are, vigorous walking could bring about this hair pulling discomfort.
In many ways, Birkenstocks really set the standard for support. The cupped/molded footbeds are consistently supportive and comfortable throughout the different models. The Arizona EVA variant is on par. The arch support is high and firm, and the depressed footbed worked well to keep our foot centered and planted. Remarkably, as this Birk is made entirely of EVA foam, it is quite dense which, when paired with its radically ergonomic form, makes for a highly supportive and confidence-inspiring sandal.
A downside of having a flip flop comprised entirely of foam is that traction generally takes a hit. Even the more dense EVAs, which feel more like rubber, aren't as tacky as the real deal. The Arizona Essential performed on par with other EVA soled flip flops but lacked the necessary traction to really perform on trails or other slippery surfaces like polished granite.
While they are a bit lacking in traction, which inevitably detracts from overall versatility, the Arizona gets a boost because of its great performance in the water. It floats, dries quickly, and doesn't saturate like leather. The cupped footbed also works well to keep the feet in the flip when things get wet. So, while you might not be doing much rocky trail hiking in these, they work well in the water and look good enough for most social gatherings.
It's like a computer scanned a classic Birkenstock and 3D printed a new one out of EVA foam. Out of the box, these were a bit too shiny but quickly broke in and looked a bit more subtle. They really just look like Birkenstocks, which is a good thing. They don't draw too much attention but look nice for backyard gatherings and lazy summer days.
Simply put, the Arizona Essential is excellent value for money. You will likely not find another flip flop with such a supportive/molded footbed for the money. On top of the comfort, these are excellent for anyone spending substantial time in wet environments as they won't rot or degenerate just because of moisture. If you're a lover of Birkenstocks, these are affordable enough to have a pair around for your next beach excursion.
Like classic Birkenstocks, the Arizona Essential is supportive and comfortable. Unique to this EVA model is how lightweight and affordable it is and how well it performs in the wet. These are a no-brainer if you already know Birkenstocks fit your foot well and offer you the high arch support you need. Two thumbs and two big toes up.
— Brian Martin
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