Birdies Shoes Review (for 2024): Are They Worth the Price?

A woman in a teal skirt wearing Birdies cheetah print shoes next to a rose garden, birdies shoes review featured image

Last updated: October 17th, 2023

TL;DR: After testing the Starling Cheetah Calf Hair shoes for the past two years, I highly recommend Birdies if you’re looking for comfortable and stylish shoes that provide plenty of cloud-like support. These are the key takeaways from my Birdies shoes review:

  • Birdies are more comfortable than other brands of flats because of the memory foam insole and arch support, although I still had to break them in a bit.
  • Half sizes are available, and I went up half a size.
  • Birdies shoes range from $98-$180, which feels expensive, but they last a long time. Mine are still going strong after two years.
  • They’re not the most breathable shoes–your feet can get a little sweaty on hot days.

I first came across Birdies slippers on Instagram. This is probably because I’m a fan of Tieks, and social media algorithms know me better than I know myself these days.

When I found out the company was San Francisco-based, I was even more intrigued to potentially support a local business. However, Birdies don’t come cheap.

I was still on the fence until I went to a birthday party and saw my sister looking comfy and content wearing her Black Velvet Starlings.

I had mostly only seen her wear Tory Burch flats in the past, so I peppered her with questions about how she liked her Birdies and if they were really worth the price.

She gave me an emphatic “Yes!”. That was the last push I needed (social proof is a powerful thing!). I bought my Cheetah Calf Hair Starlings the next week and started testing them out.

After giving myself ample time to break them in and try them out, I wanted to write an honest review of Birdies shoes to help anyone else who might be on the fence about buying them.

By the end of this Birdies review, you’ll get the full rundown of my personal experience with this shoe brand, what to know before you buy them, and whether I consider Birdies worth the cost.

Note: this article contains affiliate links, which help run this site at no extra cost to you so I can keep providing free recommendations.

Short on time? Here’s a quick overview of Birdies Starling Flats.

Birdies Starling Flats

Birdies The Starling
ProsCons
Who are they for?Stylish leisure shoes
Casual & business casual
Comfort
Read Review
7-layer memory foam comfort
Some arch support
Initial heel rub that went away after a few longer outings
Not the most breathable on hot days
Versatility & StyleCheetah Calf Hair Starling
Statement piece
Pairs well w/ casual & business-cas
The shape is more casual than traditional ballet flats – but Birdies has other styles
QualityWorth the price
Luxurious feel
Sizing
Read Review
Available in half-sizes
I sized up from a 9.5 to a 10
Returns
Read Review
Fast and easy–even after wearing outside
I returned mine for a size up
30-day moneyback return policy
Returns & exchanges from outside of the US aren’t free
Materials
Read Review
Vegan options
Comfy memory foam insole
Durable rubber outsole
Company
Read Review
Female-owned company
B-corp certified sustainability
Discounts
Read Review
Sometimes there are coupons
Refer a friend for $20 off
20% discount for some service workers
$98-$155
A woman looking towards a rose garden while wearing Birdies The Starling cheetah print shoes.

A Quick Look at Birdies as a Company

Birdies was founded in 2015 by Bianca Gates and Marisa Sharkey, who wanted to design products for women by women.

These two moms started the Birdies company with the intention of having comfortable but stylish slippers to wear around the house.

They wanted to create slippers that look more like a designer flat, which wouldn’t be too socially unacceptable to wear even if you were hosting a dinner with friends at your house. As they say, a “stylish flat that’s secretly a slipper.”

Eventually, with how popular their slippers became, customers started requesting shoes that could also be worn outside on long walks.

So, they re-designed their shoes to be versatile enough to wear inside and outside the house without losing too much of the original slipper comfort.

With more funding and growing popularity over the years, the shoe brand expanded from their initial slipper line with other styles of shoes, including flats, slides, and even Birdies sneakers.

My Experience With the Birdies Starling Flats

A photo showing Birdies packaging, including the box the shoes came in and a hand holding a Birdies bag that came with the shoes.

My Birdies flats arrived within a week after buying them in a small shoebox with minimal packaging and a soft white bag to carry them in.

I ordered the Cheetah Calf Skin Starling style flats and immediately started wearing them around the house. But I soon noticed my toes feeling pinched and my heels sore after wearing them for long periods.

I ended up sending this first pair back and ordered a half size up, and immediately noticed that the larger shoes feel more comfortable once I put them on.

I spent the next month walking as much as possible in my Birdies, and the fit of the shoes felt a little better each time I put them on.

These are my main pros and cons after testing them out for myself and breaking them in properly.

PROS

Comfort

Birdies The Starling Cheetah Print flats in the original box and packaging.

The biggest thing for me when it comes to shoes is the comfort factor. This is especially the case because I walk everywhere around town, sometimes for miles on end, and I need shoes that can keep up with that lifestyle.

Luckily for me, Birdies didn’t disappoint. The better-fitting shoes are super comfortable. They truly felt great, like my feet were walking on clouds.

Birdies flats feature 7-layer comfort technology that includes memory foam. I also love the arch support, which is hard to come by sometimes in a designer flat.

The only issue I had with comfort initially was a slight rubbing on the heel, which stopped once I wore them a few more times for longer periods.

Style & Versatility

A woman in a rose garden wearing Birdies shoes on a hot summer day.

The style and versatility of Birdies slippers were a slam dunk for me.

I’d been wanting to try out this new slipper flat trend that seems to be all the rage these days, especially since I work from home and comfort is a high priority for me.

When I slipped on my Birdies, I found them to be just as cute and stylish as how they looked online.

Although I was tempted initially by the Black Velvet Starling style, I’m very happy that I bought the Cheetah Calf Hair Starling style instead.

I’ve found that cheetah print is not only fun and a statement piece, but it pairs well with a lot of different colors and outfits.

I’ve been able to wear these Birdies slippers with most things in my wardrobe, including dresses, pants, and jeans, and for both casual and more business-casual outfits.

Quality

A close up of the Cheetah print Starling slippers, to show the individual calf hairs.

The aspect I’m always a little anxious about when it comes to buying shoes online, besides finding the right fit, is the quality.

With my pair of Birdies flats, it was easy to see as soon as I opened the box and took the shoes for their first spin that they were super comfortable, high-quality shoes that lived up to their price tag.

I could see the slight fuzziness of the individual calf hairs around the exterior. I also felt the luxurious dual-layered high-density foam arch support and memory foam cushioning with its quilted satin.

And I loved the overall build of the shoes, with a sturdy rubber sole that looked up to the challenge of getting me around town in comfort.

They Offer Half Sizes

I used to be a 9.5 for flats, so that’s the size I initially purchased for my Birdies. Once I realized they were too snug, I sized up to a 10 for The Starling, so a half size wasn’t necessary.

However, I appreciate the fact that Birdies offers half sizes for that perfect fit. It makes a difference, especially when you’re spending a good chunk of change on flats.

Not to mention, every shoe is different, and it’s not uncommon to have to size up or down.

Easy Returns & Exchanges

A close up of the shoe box that my Birdies shoes came in.

As I mentioned above, I returned my first pair of Birdies when they were a little too snug, and the return process was super easy and stress-free.

I just dropped them off at my local FedEx within the 30-day window and received my money back within a week or two.

I decided to return my previous pair and just buy another pair because I knew it would be faster than doing an exchange, but you could go about it either way if you want to get a different size.

They Have Vegan Options

This isn’t the case for my pair, but Birdies has a good amount of vegan options for their shoes if you’re looking for animal-friendly flats. Pretty much any of their velvet or satin shoes are 100% vegan.

They also have different styles, like basketweave, faux fur, and beaded vegan shoes. You can find the full collections of their vegan shoes here.

Female-Owned and B-Corp Status

Another pro to Birdies is that they’re female-run and female-founded by Bianca Gates and Marisa Sharkey. Personally, I love supporting women-owned businesses, especially in an industry as male-dominated as the shoe industry.

As a certified B-corp, they’re also a brand that gives back and focuses on sustainability.

Both of these things are just added bonuses that make me feel good about purchasing a pair of shoes from Birdies.

CONS

They Can Get Hot on Warm Days

A close up of Birdies Starling Cheetah Print flats in a rose garden.

I’ve worn The Starling Birdies on a couple of hot days (in the low 80s F), and my feet started getting a little sweaty inside the shoes.

I tend to wear sandals when it gets that warm, and the Bay Area generally stays cooler than that, so it’s not a huge deal.

But this is still something to keep in mind—a pair of Birdies aren’t the most breathable shoes once it gets hot.

They Take Some Time to Break-In

It took me a good couple of weeks until I felt like the shoes were starting to mold better to my feet. When I first tried on my Starling Birdies, they were pretty stiff, and I was worried that they might end up being uncomfortable.

It took a few longer wears, but they eventually softened up and became so much comfier after breaking them in properly.

With that said, it’s good to keep in mind that it does take some time to break in Birdies. Don’t plan to be able to wear them for long periods right out of the box.

Price

Probably the biggest con to Birdies is their price point. The Starling Birdies are anywhere from $98-$155, which is steep if you’re not used to buying designer flats.

However, as I talk about more below, I still think the many pros make Birdies worth every penny.

Other Birdies Styles

  • The Heron (Flatsmade with rich fabrics and modeled after shoes worn by Venetian gondoliers)
  • The Blackbird (Flatsloafer with a slightly pointed toe and probably the most popular after The Starling)
  • The Vesper (Flatssoft suede and a rounded toe, meant to be easier to break in)
  • The Goldfinch (Flatspointed-toe)
  • The Songbird (Slidesglam and cozy)
  • The Phoebe (Slidesloafer-shaped)
  • The Swan (Slidesfancy and pointed-toe)
  • The Dove (Slidescomfy and pointed-toe)
  • The Swift (Sneakersslip-on)
  • The Road Runner (Sneakerssporty lace-ups)
  • The Cardinal (Sneakerseveryday style and comfort)
  • The Falcon (Booties—water-resistant)

Birdies Sizing Tips

A front view of Birdies Starling flats in a rose garden.

Birdies flats, slippers, and sneakers should fit snugly but not uncomfortably when you first put them on.

With the first pair I tried on, the backs of the shoes dug into my heels and my toes felt very crowded. A half-size up was perfectly snug but not uncomfortable, so that’s a good rule of thumb to keep in mind.

Each style of Birdies has more specific sizing tips as well if you look on the Birdies website.

Return & Exchange Policy

As I mentioned above, Birdies has an easy and quick return and exchange policy, especially if you live in the US.

You can exchange your Birdies within 30 days of purchase, no questions asked, even if you’ve worn them outside.

You just have to go here and insert your order number to get an exchange going. Then, it’s as simple as dropping it off at your local FedEx or USPS within 14 days after you request a return or exchange.

Unfortunately, Birdies doesn’t offer free returns or exchanges for customers based outside the US.

Birdies Discounts & Coupons

A hand holding one Birdies starling shoe for a close-up look.

Depending on the year, Birdies sometimes offers seasonal discounts for all customers. However, these are few and far between.

If you go to their website you can get 10% off your first order if you put your email into the pop-up on their website. Or, sometimes you can also click the “Get 10% Off” button in the left-hand corner on any page.

They also offer year-round 20% discounts for teachers, military personnel, doctors, nurses, medical professionals, and first responders once you show you’re eligible.

If you refer a friend and they purchase their first pair of Birdies, they’ll get $20 off their order and you’ll get $20 off your next order.

Also, the Birdies website has a sales page with current styles that can be found at a discount, which you can find here.

You can find out more about current Birdies coupons and discounts here.

Where to Buy Birdies

Birdies are mostly sold online on their website.

However, there are also now two physical Birdies stores in San Francisco at 1934 Union Street and in Los Angeles at 1112 Abbot Kinney Blvd.

FAQs About Birdies

How Long do Birdies Take to Break In?

At least for their slippers and flats, I would recommend giving yourself at least 1-2 weeks of wearing your Birdies regularly before wearing them for longer periods.

Where are Birdies Made? Are Birdies Shoes Made in China?

Birdies are designed in California and manufactured in China.

Are Birdies Waterproof?

No Birdies are completely waterproof. Right now, there’s only one water-resistant style: the Falcon Booties.

If you’re looking for waterproof shoes, I’d recommend checking out my guide to the best waterproof walking shoes.

Why Are They Called Birdies?

All of the different styles of Birdies are named after birds, so it makes sense that the founders named their shoes “Birdies.”

Why they went with the bird theme is anyone’s guess, but I’m assuming they must have a fondness for birds or thought it would be cute to name all of their shoes after birdies.

Are Birdies Good for Wide Feet?

Birdies can definitely work for wide feet, but you might need to break them in slightly longer and it’s probably a good idea to order a size up.

Can You Walk All Day in Birdies?

Yes, you can definitely walk (or stand) all day in Birdies.

With that said, although Birdies flats are comfortable and offer arch support, I generally choose proper lace-up walking shoes, like Allbirds, if I know I’ll be walking long distances.

What is the Difference Between Rothy’s and Birdies?

Although both are trendy shoe brands right now and they have some overlap in terms of product lines, Rothy’s and Birdies make very different shoes.

Most notably, Rothy’s is known for its environmentally-friendly flats made out of plastic bottles. Birdies is more known for its luxury comfort slipper flats.

Personally, I find Birdies to be more comfortable and well-made. You can read my full review of both brands in my guide to Birdies vs Rothy’s.

Should I Size Up for Birdies?

Since Birdies offer half sizes and you don’t generally wear socks with them, they should fit true to size.

However, if you have bunions or wider feet, I’d recommend going a half size up since the toe box is on the narrow side.

Does Meghan Markle Wear Birdies?

Yes, Meghan Markle has been spotted wearing The Starling and The Blackbird shoes over the years, which has only helped the brand’s popularity.

Are Birdies Shoes Good for Plantar Fasciitis

Although I generally recommend proper walking shoes for people who deal with plantar fasciitis, if you want to wear flats, Birdies are a good bet.

They provide more cushion and support than your average pair of flats, including at the bottom of your heel.

Is Birdies Legit?

Yes! Birdies is a legit brand that was started in San Francisco in 2015 and is currently one of the most popular shoe brands for women.

Conclusion: So, Are Birdies Shoes Worth the Price?

A hand holding a Birdies Starling shoe close to the camera, for a look at the top of the shoe and the comfy insert inside of it.

Yes! As you can probably tell from this Birdies flats review, I’ve been very happy with my Birdies so far.

I love that they’re extremely comfortable (gotta love that memory foam cushion, quilted satin insert, and supportive rubber sole) and go with a lot in my closet.

I also feel like their slippers are the perfect transition shoe, from working from home to going out at night.

So yes, I wholeheartedly recommend Birdies to anyone who is looking for a comfortable, yet stylish shoe.

When it comes to price, I generally look at how many years I plan to use what I’m buying and break it down by month.

Even if my Birdies only lasted for three years (I’ve already had them for almost two years and they’re still going strong), that means I’d still only be paying around $3.89 a month to own these shoes.

And for what I’ve gotten out of them so far, I’d definitely say they’re worth that price and then some.


Looking for more shoe recommendations? Check out these related articles below! 

Rothy’s Review

VIVAIA Shoes Review

Tieks vs Rothy’s Review

Allbirds Tree Breezers Review

Thursday Boots Review: Are They Any Good?

Atoms Shoes Review

Vessi Shoes Review

Allbirds Wool Loungers Review

Allbirds Tree Runners vs Allbirds Wool Runners

Allbirds Tree Dashers Review

Best Allbirds Alternatives

Best Tieks Alternatives

Best Rothy’s Alternatives

Best Wool Shoes

 My Honest Lume Deodorant Review

Best Shoes for Disneyland

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Hi, I'm Mimi! I'm an outdoorsy Californian who has spent over 28 years immersed in the incredible natural beauty that California has to offer. My goal is to inspire others to get out and find their next adventure in California. Whether it’s escaping to an alpine lake in the Sierras, finding peace among the giant redwoods, or road tripping down the PCH, there’s always more to explore in this beautiful state.

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4 thoughts on “Birdies Shoes Review (for 2024): Are They Worth the Price?”

  1. I actually do love the Birdies I own, but I will say their QC and customer service is lacking. I don’t know if this has always been an issue or if it’s a newer thing, but I received a pair of black leather Starlings size 6.5 in a sealed box labeled Black Suede Heron Sz 7 (which is what was ordered). I tore off the perforated strip and found myself looking at the wrong shoes. 😬 the only thing correct was the color. The return process was totally automated and not once did I speak with a real person. It’s been fixed but I’m seeing a lot of comments on their social media about similar issues, particularly lack of communication. I’m wondering if they aren’t able to keep up with growth/if the founders are less involved in daily operations lately. My recommendation is to get the shoes you love from them NOW because my guess is by December quality in all areas will decline and they’ll no longer be worth it. I’ve seen this happen with other online retailers – one good example is Joyfolie.

    Reply
  2. Hi Mimi, thanks for the review. I’m curious to find out how sweaty they made your feet and/or if they made them stink. I’m planning on getting a pair but worried about this possible issue.

    Reply
    • Hi Jenny, although they’ve made my feet sweat a bit on hotter days (when it’s in the high 70s and 80s F), they haven’t made my feet stink at all and the Birdies themselves haven’t started to smell either after wearing them for over a year now.

      Reply
      • Thanks! This is what I came to ask! My Rothy’s even with washing seem too get so stinky so fast!

        Thanks again for the review… made my hesitant YES a BIG YES!

        Reply

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