Birdies is known for their luxurious yet comfortable footwear. Just recently, they launched their line of machine washable flats, which are made from a soft, knit material.
More About Birdies
Birdies was founded by two long-time friends, Bianca Gates and Marisa Sharkey, in 2015. Realizing they didn’t have a pair of go-to-loafers to wear at home, they set out to create their own. By the end of the year, they had sold 1,800 pairs to family and friends.
In 2017, they opened their first store, a flagship in San Francisco. Since then, they’ve opened a second store in Los Angeles. Their products are also available at Nordstrom and other retailers across the country.
What Kind of Footwear Do They Offer?
Birdies offer a variety of footwear, all of which are ‘secretly slippers.’ Aside from flats, they also sell slides, sandals, sneakers, and more. What’s more, is that many of them are vegan.
It depends on the style, but generally speaking, you can expect to spend around $150 for a pair. Take their washable flats, for example, they go for $140. With that said, they do have sales so be sure to check their website regularly. And shipping and returns are free for all orders within the U.S.
Tip: You can get 10% off your first order if you sign up for their online newsletter. Just scroll down on their site and enter your email.
What Materials Are Their Shoes Made Of?
Their shoes are made from a variety of materials from satin to suede. Here’s what you need to know about them:
Suede is a type of leather that’s made from the underside of animal hide. Not only is it soft, but it also adapts easily to the shape of the foot. As with most leathers, however, it tends to be more expensive. It can also be difficult to clean as it can’t be washed with water like regular fabrics.
Velvet is a soft, sleek fabric that’s usually made from natural and synthetic fibers. Known for its luxurious look, it blends in with many different styles. It also has a warm texture, which makes it ideal for colder weather. However, it can wear out quickly with use. For one thing, it tends to absorb dust. Not only that, but the texture is also sensitive to damage.
All Birdies footwear is made with a rubber sole, which allows them to be worn outside. Not only will the rubber sole prevent slipping (it’ll give you a better grip), but it’s also resistant to water and many other substances. It’s also easy to clean with water.
How to Wash Engineered Knit Blackbirds (JUDY+BIRDIES and THE BLACKBIRD)
Their washable flats are made from a soft knit material that can be put in the washer. We’ll be outlining the process step-by-step below.
Throwing the Knit Flats In the Washing Machine
Start by taking out the insoles. Once you’ve done that, place both the shoes and the insoles in a laundry bag—that’ll prevent them from being tossed around, which can cause damage. If you want, you can also wash the insoles by hand. Soak them in a bit of soapy water and rinse them clean with water (more on this later).
Zip up the mesh bag and put it in the washing machine. While you don’t want to wash the flats with clothes, you can put in a few towels to help balance the load. That way, the washer won’t shake during the wash cycle.
Add one scoop of ACTIVE detergent. Never use bleach; it’ll damage the knit material. Select a delicate/gentle setting and run a cold water cycle. Minimal agitation is key. Never use hot water as it can damage the adhesive on the flats. Not to mention that it can cause the knit material to shrink.
Wait until the wash cycle is completely finished before taking out the shoes. Place them in a well-ventilated area and allow them to air dry. Do the same with the insoles. Don’t put either of them in the dryer—the high heat will permanently damage the material. And don’t leave them out in the sun; the UV rays can cause fading.
Reinsert the insoles into the flats once they’re fully dried (it can take a few hours).
Hand Washing the Flats In the Sink
Fill a large bucket with water. You can also use a sink—as long as it’s big enough to fit your flats. Add half a scoop of ACTIVE detergent to create a bath. You’ll have to swish the water with your hands to dissolve the powder.
Once you’ve done that, prepare the flats. Remove the insoles and place them in the bucket so that they’re saturated with the solution. Do the same with the shoes. Make sure that they’re completely covered by the water.
If necessary, you can clean the outside of the shoes with an old toothbrush. Dip it in the detergent solution and use it to scrub the knit material. Remember to be gentle as you don’t want to damage the fabric. You can also do the same with the rubber soles.
Leave the flats in the bucket for 15-20 minutes. You want to give the detergent time to dissolve any dirt and oils.
Rinse the shoes and insoles with clean water afterward. You can refill the bucket with water from the tap and do it that way or hold them directly under the faucet. You can even bring them to the tub and rinse them with the shower head, if you want. In any case, you want to continue until all of the soap is gone.
Place the flats in a well-ventilated room and allow them to air dry. Do not throw them in the dryer; you don’t want to expose them to direct heat.
How to Wash Birdies Sneakers
Their sneakers aren’t officially ‘machine washable’ but you can still put them in the washer—there are just a few things you want to be careful of, which we’ll be going over below.
Throwing Your Birdies Sneakers In the Washing Machine
Remove the insoles and place them in a mesh laundry bag. Place the sneakers in the same bag—the bag will act as a barrier and protect the shoes from damage during the wash cycle. Never put the sneakers directly in the machine as they’ll get damaged from being thrown around. Don’t have a laundry bag? You can improvise with a clean pillow case. Just seal the end with an elastic or a pin.
Tip: Consider giving your sneakers a wipe down first if they’re excessively dirty. For example, you can use wet wipes or a soft shoe brush.
Place the mesh bag (or pillowcase) inside the washing machine. Add 2-3 towels. That’ll prevent the sneakers from banging around inside, which can damage your shoes or the machine.
Measure and add one scoop of ACTIVE detergent. Don’t use bleach as it can damage the shoe material. Next, set your washing machine. You want to run a cold water, gentle cycle with minimal spin. Avoid hot water as the heat can warp your sneakers.
Let the washer run. Once it’s stopped, remove your sneakers from the laundry bags and set them aside to air dry. Don’t put them in the dryer—the high temperature can warp the rubber soles.
Wait until the insoles are completely dry before placing them back in the sneakers.
Hand Washing Your Birdies Sneakers
First things first, remove the insoles. Fill a small bowl with warm water and add a small amount of ACTIVE detergent. Dip an old toothbrush into the solution and gently scrub to clean the insoles. Soak up any excess soapy water with a sponge.
Do the same with the outside of the sneakers. Gently scrub away the excess dirt and debris that’s on the outside. For tougher stains, you may have to let the detergent sit for a few minutes before scrubbing.
The next step is to remove the excess solution. Pour some warm water on a clean cloth and use it to wipe away any remaining detergent. Once you’ve done that, let them air dry. Don’t leave them in direct sunlight or next to a heater as that may damage the shoes. And don’t use the dryer—it can warp the rubber soles.
Note: Depending on how dirty your sneakers are, you may have to soak them in the detergent solution (you want to leave them in for about 15 minutes before rinsing with cold water). Remember to take the insoles out first—that’ll help cut down on the drying time.
Other Tips For Cleaning Birdies Shoes
- It’s highly recommended that you brush off any excess dirt with a soft brush or towel before putting their knit shoes in the washer
- Wash their shoes on an as-needed basis. Washing too frequently can cause the fibers to wear down prematurely, which will shorten their lifespan
- Stuffing your Birdies shoes with newspaper or paper towels will help them dry faster
- Plan ahead as it can take up to a couple of days for your shoes to dry completely