Shoes & Gear

Birki’s Sandals for Active Recovery™

Birki’s Sandals for Active Recovery™

As ultra distance trail runners we all have one thing in common regardless if you’re an elite runner at the front of the pack, middle of the pack runner or you battle every race for the coveted DFL trophy…when the race is over our feet need lots of TLC. In fact one of the very first things we do after we stop running is to remove our trail shoes and slip on our favorite sandals. For me it’s a pair of Birki’s Santosas.

While I write this I’m still recovering from last weekend’s Javelina Jundred Endurance Run. If the 2” blister on the bottom of my right foot, caused by electrolyte imbalance, wasn’t enough the continued on and off swelling in my feet have it so I don’t want to think about shoes any time soon. For me blisters are a rarity, in fact this is the first blister I’ve gotten during an ultra distance race, but swelling in my feet happens every time. The day after Javelina Jundred I ran into a friend who paced another friend through the final 25 miles of his race, as I sat on my lounge chair wearing my Birki’s Santosas the first comment out of his mouth was, “my feet are so swollen, I could barely get my shoes on”. It’s just a fact of ultra running life, long miles equals swollen feet, so we need to not only find the best pair of trail shoes for us to run in but also the best footwear for our recovery.

Active Recovery™

The basis behind Birki’s comfort is in their footbed and what they call “Active Recovery™”. All Birki’s are engineered to support your body’s natural movements and the footbed lets your feet exercise and recover naturally, especially while going about your daily activities. I can attest to this, normally I’m not a sandal wearer even on regular days because after a few hours my legs ache and my feet are killing me. But wearing my Birki’s Santosas after an ultra distance race has helped me survive the painful first few days when my feet are tender and very swollen (swollen enough that any shoe I own feels too tight).

Good for the Environment

Along with the comfort I get from my Birki’s sandals while I recover from long runs I also get a sense of satisfaction from the fact that Birki’s is an environmentally conscience company. Birki’s makes an effort to use materials found in nature, such as cork (harvested with the utmost care and consideration for the cork oak trees according to Birki’s) and natural rubber. Birki’s also utilizes solar technology and low-energy production with less waste and no solvents, what waste they do have from production is recycled for use in constructing playground equipment and surfaces at sports facilities (if it’s good enough to be used on a playground it’s good enough to wear on my feet!). If all this isn’t enough Birki’s gives back to the environment by establishing ecological areas, or nature reserves, near every facility to offset their environmental impact. As a trail runner and a person who generally loves to spend time in nature it’s important to me to know I’m doing business with a company that is as environmentally conscience, maybe more, than I am. I hate to think about what today’s generation is doing to the environment and how it will impact my grandchildren in 50 years. I wish there were more companies and consumers like Birki’s.

The Bottom Line

As trail runners we all have a closet full of running shoes and spend whatever is necessary to put the best shoes on our feet while we run. My favorite trail shoe retails for $110 a pair and normally lasts less than a month before they have enough miles they should be replaced. So why wouldn’t I buy the best possible footwear for my recovery? It’s possible Birki’s sandals might last you a lifetime, if not at the very least they’ll last you for years. Do yourself and your feet a favor and pick up a pair of Birki’s, after your next ultra long run you’ll be glad you did…I know I am right now!

You can learn more about Birki’s and all their sandals at I encourage you to check them out today.

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