The photo you see here just arrived over e-mail, with the comment: “For the record, this is craziness.”
What this depicts is the history of Rod’s Birkenstocks, dating back to 1998. I’d wear them (and wear them out), and resole them until they couldn’t be resoled any more, then buy another pair. But I wouldn’t get rid of the old ones, because if you’ve worn them that long, the inside surface of the sandal — the surface that touches your bare feet, I mean — is worn down so smoothly, and the shoe conforms so well to your feet, that they’re a particular pleasure to wear around the house (though they’re not suitable really for wearing outside). Look how beautiful those shoes on the far left are! I think I had them resoled twice, but the sidewalks of New York City finally defeated them.
What can I say, I love Birkenstocks. Ugly? Ja. But the best comfort shoes ever.
UPDATE: Terry Mattingly sends this photo of his own Birkenstocks:
He said, “Urbana, 1979. New liner and new soles at the moment.”
I bow in homage…