These Waterproof EVA Birkenstocks Are Honestly Better Than the Originals—and Half the Price

Happy feet, happy wallet.

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Photo: Augustas Cetkauskas / EyeEm/Getty Images

I resisted the urge to buy a pair of Birkenstocks for about two years. They're pretty pricey for a sandal, and I just didn't know how long the crunchy sandal look would be in vogue, especially in New York City where I live.

Then I got an annoying, mysterious foot injury, and my podiatrist told me I couldn't wear any super flat shoes—effectively ruling out every single pair of sandals I owned—right as summer was rounding the corner.

So I did it—I pulled the trigger and bought a pair of orgeous, supportive, white Birkenstocks. My feet were happy. My wallet would get over it. But I was obsessed.

At the time, I was gearing up for a big trekking trip in Peru with REI Adventures; we'd be spending a few days in Cusco, Peru, hiking Macchu Picchu and then heading up to the high Andes mountains for a multi-day lodge-to-lodge trek. I needed to bring a pair of sandals that would keep my foot injury from flaring up (especially with all the time I'd be spending hiking), and could serve as my ~chill~ sandals in the lodges or while walking around town...but I sure as hell wasn't going to bring my shiny white, brand-new Birkenstocks on an intense hiking trip, complete with llamas and alpacas galore. Le dilemma.

Luckily, somewhere on the internet, I stumbled across the waterproof version of the classic Birkenstock Arizona sandals—and for less than half of the $100+ price tag of the leather and cork versions. (FYI, you're not supposed to get the classic Birks super wet because it can damage the leather and compromise the sealant, according to the brand.)

This time, I didn't even try to resist; I snagged a pair of black Birkenstock Arizona Essentials (Buy It, $45, amazon.com), which are made of EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate) a super light plastic polymer that's flexible and feels almost like foam under your feet.

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Zappos

Buy It: Birkenstock EVA Arizona Essentials, $45, amazon.com

And, TBH, I almost hate to say it, but I might even love these babies more than the originals. Because they're made of EVA, they're totally waterproof, easy to clean, float if you drop them in a body of water, and are also insanely comfortable. While they aren't quite as supportive as the classic cork Birkenstocks (which are known for being great for your feet, thanks to their orthotic-like footbeds), they're even more comfortable, since the EVA offers cushion-like give. It feels like you're walking on tiny memory foam platforms.

I've since worn them for long walks around New York City, to the beach, on boats, around the house, and for walks in the woods—these things go everywhere and still look pristine. I bought a black pair because I assumed I would get them dirty, but after seeing how easily they rinse off, I might need to buy some of their bright colorways too. (Which, honestly, at only $45, who can resist?!) The brand currently offers 11 different colors of the waterproof sandal on Amazon, including khaki green, bright pink, coral, metallic copper, and scuba blue. They also have a creamsicle orange color that's, like, pure, summer joy in a shoe.

Buy It: Birkenstock EVA Arizona Sandals in Zinnia, $45, zappos.com

Reviewers agree that these sandals are the freaking best; 75 percent of the 6,814 reviewers on Amazon give them five stars, and they're also ranked a #1 Best Seller on Amazon for women's slide sandals. One reviewer, who has worn leather Birks for "about 20 years now, usually getting a new pair every couple of years" says that they decided to give the EVA Arizona Essentials a shot, and ended up loving them: "I wore these nearly every day for about 8 months and I think I could probably keep going for a while, but they are looking a bit worn. I'm impressed with these. I feel as though I certainly got my $40 worth of use out of them." The reviewer also mentions that "for $40, these are a good introduction to those who aren't ready to shell out the big bucks for the leather versions, and they are also a great deal for people who like Birkenstocks but need something waterproof."

If you're interested but not into the traditional double-strap style, you can also grab a pair of their Barbados Essentials slides (Buy It, $40, amazon.com), Gizeh Essentials T-strap sandal (Buy It, $45, amazon.com), or even a pair of the Birkenstock Honolulu Sandal (Buy It, $40, amazon.com), a supportive flip flop, in the same EVA material.

All I can say is that once you've tried a pair of Birks (leather or EVA) you can't go back—you'll be hooked.

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