I bought my birkenstocks in amercia in 2006, they are basic leather sling backs and they are soooo oomfty and not worn one bit, they look almost new and i live in them every summer. Def go leather, they last so much longer.
I have the birko flor - it tends to come in much prettier designs. It does seem to 'give' a bit even though man-made and one of my pairs is into their third year of wearing. They regularly get chucked in the washing machine as well and come out good as new. The arizona style seems much comfier, I could never get on with Madrids.
Really? You put Birkinstocks in the washing machine HangingBelly (great name!)? I have birko flor gizehs but would have thought they'd fall apart in the washing machine. Doesn't the cork go funny? Am tempted though as the footbed bit is getting pretty manky...
mine were so vile that it was washing machine or dustbin - they survived! the cork is fine, the leather insole bit does soak up the water so took a couple of days on the line to dry but were totally ok. I wouldn't do it every week but a couple of times in the summer wouldn't hurt.