I took a class in Berlin January of 1993. I am from the NW, where Birkenstocks are common place. I decided that buying my first pair in Germany was very appropriate. I knew what kind I wanted, found a place that sold them, and made my purchase. I remember walking around the cold, snowy streets of Berlin with wool socks and my Birks. I enjoyed breaking them in, having them mold to my feet. In true NW fashion I only wore them with socks.
Years passed and the cork wore out, which I had replaced. Driving a stick wore the rubber off the left heel, so that repaired as well. With a little maintenance my Birks had a good, long life. Living in Saudi Arabia I wear sandals every day. My Birks were my relief for my feet when I was home.
20 years of use and they were finally thrown out. Why? I went to get them out of the closet and the foot beds were growing mold. That decided it. Thus ended the life span of my first Birks.