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Birkenstock Gizeh Essentials EVA Review

A lightweight and affordable version of the leather original, this flip is fun and functional
Birkenstock Gizeh Essentials EVA
Photo: Birkenstocks
Best Buy Award
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Price:  $45 List | $44.95 at Amazon
Pros:  Comfortable, no break-in period, affordable, waterproof
Cons:  Material doesn't breathe, less durable
Manufacturer:   Birkenstocks
By Penney Garrett ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Jun 11, 2021
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75
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#5 of 14
  • Comfort - 30% 8
  • Support - 20% 8
  • Traction - 20% 7
  • Versatility - 15% 7
  • Style - 15% 7

Our Verdict

The Birkenstock Gizeh Essentials EVA is a lightweight foam version of the classic leather-and-cork version. If you've been eyeing the original version but can't commit to the price or are worried about sullying the expensive materials, the Essentials EVA may be just the ticket. It still has the same ergonomic contouring and adjustable straps you know and love, but it's less than half the weight and impervious to water and dirt. It's also less than half the price. From the beach to the garden, this cushy flip is fun, unique, and comfortable.

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Pros Comfortable, no break-in period, affordable, waterproofVery comfortable, grippy footbed, stableSuper comfy, simple, true to size, lightweight, made from yoga mat materialCute, molds to feet over time, affordableFun colors, simple, lightweight, good traction, budget-friendly
Cons Material doesn't breathe, less durableSporty look, runs a bit bigNo footbed contouring, minimal outsole traction and supportNot super durable, straps can chafe, pinkie toe slips out side for some peopleNot good for long walks, not great for steep terrain
Bottom Line A lightweight and affordable version of the leather original, this flip is fun and functionalA durable flip flop that feels amazing, offers good support, and handles water like a proThis simple flip flop is impossibly comfortable with wide, supportive straps and a squishy, pillow-like footbed made out of real yoga mat materialThis lightweight, stylish, and affordable sandal is a great addition to any summer wardrobeThis simple plastic flip is equipped with surprisingly adequate outsole traction and is lightweight enough to take with you anywhere
Rating Categories Birkenstock Gizeh E... OluKai Ohana - Women's Sanuk Yoga Mat Teva Olowahu Crocs Kadee II
Comfort (30%)
8.0
10.0
9.0
8.0
6.0
Support (20%)
8.0
8.0
6.0
6.0
5.0
Traction (20%)
7.0
7.0
6.0
5.0
8.0
Versatility (15%)
7.0
7.0
6.0
5.0
6.0
Style (15%)
7.0
7.0
8.0
8.0
6.0
Specs Birkenstock Gizeh E... OluKai Ohana - Women's Sanuk Yoga Mat Teva Olowahu Crocs Kadee II
Sole Material EVA Non-marking rubber or gum rubber Rubber Lightweight EVA-foam Synthetic
Footbed Material EVA Molded EVA with soft ICEVA drop-in footbed EVA Mush topsole (a trademarked type of EVA) Croslite
Strap Material EVA Water-resistant synthetic nubuck leather lined with quick-drying jersey knit 95% synthetic/5% polyester Fleece-filled polyester webbing Synthetic
Weight (per pair) 6.5 oz (size 40) 13.7 oz (size 9) 5 oz (size 8) 6.4 oz (size 9) 3 oz (size 8)
Length 11" (size 40) 10.75" (size 9) 10.25" (size 8) 10.75" (size 9) 9.5" (size 8)
Length of Toe Box (just above toe post) 1.375" (size 40) 1.75" 1.50" 1.75" 1.75"
Unique Features Adjustable straps ICEVA (soft EVA) drop-in footbed Made from real yoga mats Unique strap pattern Texture on footbed
Animal Products? No No No Yes No

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Gizeh EVA is a great way to experience some of the unique features of the classic Birkenstock design without having to commit to a hefty price tag and high maintenance materials. Ultra-lightweight with a much easier break-in period than the original version, this fun foam sandal is a great companion for the beach, garden, or hiking trail.

Performance Comparison


A classic Birkenstock reimagined with light moldable foam, perfect...
A classic Birkenstock reimagined with light moldable foam, perfect for the beach or the garden.
Photo: Penney Garrett

Comfort


The Essentials EVA is comfortable right out of the box. The toe post can take a little getting used to for some, but in most respects, this modern take on the classic is a total win.


The EVA foam is super flexible, cushy, and lightweight. Some foam sandals can feel underwhelming, but this one is skin-friendly and contoured to cradle the anatomy of your feet. The material doesn't breathe as readily as the natural cork and leather version, so when wet or sweaty, you might find yourself suctioned to the footbed with some occasional farting noises. The straps can also feel a bit tacky on the top of the foot. But overall, this is a surprisingly stretchy and shock-absorbent shoe that's super easy to find comfort in.

The Gizeh EVA is comfy and stretchy right from the get-go with...
The Gizeh EVA is comfy and stretchy right from the get-go with little-to-no break in period.
Photo: Penney Garrett

Support


This flip may not be quite as sturdy as its cork counterpart, but it's still highly supportive with excellent stability — especially for a foam shoe. The anatomical footbed, with its deep heel cup, makes for a sandal that feels like it's hugging your foot. Wide adjustable straps only add to this protective feeling.


We tested our Essentials in size 40 and, at first, thought we'd gone too big. But a quick tightening of the straps changed everything, snugging us up securely. The combination of contouring and adjustability on this flip means you have a bit of flexibility in sizing: if you like a longer footbed, you can go larger and make up for it by tightening the straps. Just the opposite, you can size down and open up the straps for some room. No matter the configuration, we felt solid, though tighter straps help if you're navigating complicated or slick terrain.

Whether you're walking in the woods, playing in the garden, or...
Whether you're walking in the woods, playing in the garden, or hopping around on rocks, this sandal will keep you decently secure, stable, and supported.
Photo: Penney Garrett

Traction


A lot of lightweight EVA flips have downright terrible traction, but not this one. The Gizeh Essentials is patterned after the original Birkenstock design, and they've figured out a thing or two in regards to a well-made shoe. For this metric, we take into account both the bottom of the sole and the internal footbed. Excellent traction will allow you to feel secure in both places.


We walked up and down steep pine needle-covered trails, hopped over fields of jagged rocks, and waded through cold river water. At every turn, we felt decently sticky, as long as we had our straps cinched up tight. If you loosen them too much, the possibility of your foot sliding around in the shoe is higher, which makes for insecure footbed traction. The material is also waterproof, so if moisture gets trapped under your feet it can't really escape, causing the inside to feel a bit less tractioned (or, conversely, you might get suctioned to the bottom and make a bunch of lovely farting noises!)

Even on pine needle-ridden trails we felt confident. This bargain...
Even on pine needle-ridden trails we felt confident. This bargain EVA sandal is pretty darn impressive.
Photo: Penney Garrett

Versatility


For a foam shoe, the Gizeh EVA is impressively versatile. Use it as a recovery sandal, a house slipper, or a boat shoe — it can handle it all. That said, even when done well, lightweight materials can only be so robust. If you take proper care of this shoe, it will certainly last, but don't expect it to be able to stand up to very many sharp objects or excessive heat. Quite a few online reviews mention excessive shrinkage if you leave it in the sun; the old adage is perhaps appropriate here: you get what you pay for. This is a great shoe, but it IS foam, and you will need to treat it accordingly if you want it to have a long and happy life.


However, the Gizeh EVA is waterproof! After walking around completely submerged in a creek on a late spring day, the whole shoe was bone dry in 3-4 minutes as though nothing had happened. Unless the footbed gets punctured, water damage is a non-issue. It dries super fast and, if you don't want to wait, a quick wipe with a rag or towel will do the trick. The one issue of note is the fact that, because the material is waterproof and the design contours around the foot, this shoe doesn't breathe well. This means that if the footbed is wet, it can hold in little pools of water below your feet. If the straps are tight enough, there won't be insecurity or slippage, but it can feel a bit slimy and create unpleasant noises while you walk. We remedied this by removing our feet, drying off, and then continuing on our merry way.

This is a great option for the beach, the garden, or anywhere else...
This is a great option for the beach, the garden, or anywhere else you may run into some mud or water. It's totally waterproof and dries super fast, so you don't have to worry about feeling damp or ruining nice an expensive organic material.
Photo: Penney Garrett

Style


The original Gizeh is a high-scorer in this category, so it's no surprise this one fares well, too, though it scores a little lower.


In comparison to its cork-and-suede cousin, this flip is a little cheap-looking. Instead of layers of natural materials, you have fake layers molded to look like the real thing. Don't get us wrong, this is a MUCH classier shoe than the cheap foam flips you find at the dollar store, but it's still not as elegant as more expensive materials. However, we love the fun take on a classic and appreciate the flattering shape. You can even find it in a variety of vibrant colors!

Leggings or jeans, in the park or out to dinner, leather or EVA, the...
Leggings or jeans, in the park or out to dinner, leather or EVA, the Gizeh has a flattering and stylish look.
Photo: Penney Garrett

Value


While this sandal costs more than many of your typical foam flips, it's also a far superior design and execution. It's well worth the price tag for what you get and, if properly cared for, should have no problem lasting you for a long time.

Conclusion


The Birkenstock Gizeh Essentials EVA is a fun ultralight take on an expensive classic. If you've wanted a Birkenstock but are stuck in sticker shock, here's your alternative. Supportive from anatomical contouring, this flip is comfortable, waterproof, flexible, well-tractioned, stylish, and affordable — a clear choice for one of our esteemed awards.

These EVA sandals can, within reason, take quite a bit of abuse, but...
These EVA sandals can, within reason, take quite a bit of abuse, but they will show wear and tear quickly if you're not mindful.
Photo: Penney Garrett

Penney Garrett