I did a lot of research before committing to this purchase because I wanted to avoid the hassle of returns due to product quality or fit. This is also on the higher end of price when it comes shoes, for me. But - your feet and wallet are worth it. At first I was worried about the "hippy-dippy, granola" impression I have about Birkenstock in general but... it's an upfront investment with long-term ROI (dare I say better than Tieks?). Shoe build quality is excellent. I've read that folks wear the same pair for up to 5 years (your mileage may vary). Also - heeded advice to go down a half size. I have a wide foot and usually wear an 8.5-9 (depending on the design), so I opted for the 38 and it's a perfect fit. I know it will take some getting used to, but day 1 experience is stability and comfort. I wouldn't recommend wearing these in wet conditions, unless sealed with a protectant. Purpose is for travel (business and pleasure), perfect for ease of removal for going through security and since I anticipate a lot of walking. I've had enough of foot pain, discomfort, blistering and plantar fasciitis from wearing ballet flats and flip flops - this has great arch and heel support. Only downside is that it better pairs with casual wear than with business casual, otherwise I'd also wear them in more formal business settings.