Top pilgrim tip: Birkenstock EVA Madrid

I thought I would start a small and irregular series of Best Buys on this blog, but to clarify: I will not be advertising stuff I have been given or asked to review, I will only give the Best Buy stamp of pilgrim approval to products I have researched and bought myself, but which I have found to be excellent for my use or lifesavery in any way.

The item which gave me this idea is the humble Birkenstock EVA Madrid, simply a plastic slip-on sandal which seemed to be too flimsy to even consider. I was a firm fan of my Mary Jane style Crocs, which I could use with or without socks. Later I saw the sense in walking sandals, specifically Teva Terra Fis (original and later the light version), but that meant not having a quick-on-quick-off shoe to go to the bathroom in the night, and also they took too long to dry if I wore them to the shower. I thought about bringing three pairs of footwear but it never happened, not when I am packing light. Then when I walked with L, she had a pair of flip-flops we shared – she put them between our beds at night and we would both slip them on to make a quick dash to the bathroom. I liked the idea of flip-flops, but again it would mean three pairs of footwear …

Someone on the Forum mentioned the new Birkenstock EVAs, in durable plastic, practically weightless, takes hardly any room in the pack, can be strapped to the outside etc. I thought it might be worth a try and got a black pair (even though they do sell pink ones!) at a good price. They look quite classic and simple:

Birkenstock Madrid EVA

Not only did I take them to my Camino Sola in September 2015, but I wear them around the house all the time. They are soft underfoot, can be tightened or loosened to allow for socks, thick socks or no socks, are non-stinky and non-slippy and are perfect for in the shower, walking across wet or dirty floors or even wading through water, doing a spot of sightseeing, nipping to the loo and also for walking short distances on a flat surface. I do love my walking sandals, but the Birkies have knocked them down to third place in my pack now. They are also very lightweight and easy to pack, so if I know I need backup footwear, I might still take three pairs. Highly recommended!



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