Gear · Hiking Gear

Gear Review: Birkenstock Jackson Boots

For over the past decade I have worn primarily Keen trail shoes, rather than hiking boots. Due to my aggressive working out schedule this past year or so, I developed some toe issues. Of the crippling pain kind. So I started looking for different shoes to wear, to lock my feet into place. I had dug out what I called my ancient “pregnancy” Birkenstocks out of the closet, and I noted my toes quit hurting when I’d shuffle around in them. But, if one knows Birkenstocks, your feet don’t stay in place due to their comfy nature and slop around.

I vaguely remembered that Birkenstock made boots, so I looked it up. After needing air upon seeing the price for a pair, I decided I was worth it. If it meant I could walk in a lot less pain and after hiking not having throbbing feet. But I won’t lie…spending $220 for a pair of boots is expensive. For anyone. But then I thought about it…I have bought 2 pairs of Keen Voyager shoes a year, at $120 or so a pair. So was this actually that much more?

The Jackson Nubuck Leather boots are old school design, and very simple.

The interior is the same as a regular pair of Birkenstock shoes. Same cork footbed. It features a water-repellant upper of oiled nubuck leather, and waxed seams, as well as a robust, rubber sole to ensure a secure grip. And for an oddity, not made in China. These are made in Portugal. And the quality shows when you open the box up (and yes, they shipped quickly).

Now then, there is an area to talk about. That is fitting them to your feet. Birkenstocks are fitted rather wide, but the boots are a bit different. They are sold in “Narrow” and “Regular” but most people will be in “Narrow” which is a regular (a B) in other shoe brands. The “Regular” is actually wide width (C to D in other brands). While my feet are regular, in some shoes I cannot fit them into “regular” width due to the width across the ball of my feet. So I hemmed and hawed on which to be. I went with Narrow, because that is what I wear in standard Birks.

My feet fit perfectly into them, but they were tight across the widest part. I was worried, would I end up rubbing badly and in pain? The first few hikes were not comfortable to say the least. I couldn’t get into my normal walking gait because I was hobbling in my boots. I was concerned, had I made a huge waste of my money into boots I couldn’t wear? But then I noticed, the boots were breaking in and suddenly I was walking normal again.

Oh wait….I had to break them in. I had gotten so used to a decade of trail runners that needed none. I noted that even the lacing area has a break in period on these boots.

But my feet loved me. They have that stiff supportive foot bed.

My advice: Buy direct from Birkenstock’s website or from an authorized dealer, to ensure you don’t buy rip offs. You want the real thing. If you take a wide boot, this might be a good option to try out, since they offer a real wide.

~Sarah

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