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Are Birkenstocks Good for Your Feet? Guide for People Who Want Healthy Feet

The #Birkenstocks tag is gaining momentum — over 900 million views on TikTok for this hashtag only. We couldn’t pass by such a rising trend without analyzing its value from a vantage standpoint. Are Birkenstocks good for your feet or not? This Shakespeare-like question does pop up regularly, but a few will know an in-depth answer to it.

In this guide, our team wants to bust any myths related to this extremely popular option in the footwear market. Whether you are up for ignoring the risks to enjoy their stylish appeal as numerous models and actors do, or want to make a more knowledgeable decision — now is the time for your final choice. Let’s get it started!

Spoiler: Birkenstocks are not healthy shoes. If you care about your feet, we recommend reading our article about what barefoot shoes are. Also, do not miss our list of all barefoot shoe brands that have passed all tests and have already earned our trust.

How the Journey of Birkenstocks Started

Without a doubt, Birkenstocks are a hot trend. Worn by the likes of Katy Perry, Kendall Jenner, Dakota Johnson, and Heidi Klum, the distinguished style transformed from a typical type of shoe into a staple of the post-pandemic couture epoch. According to Lyst, one of the top spaces for fashionistas to discover new trends, was considered the Shoe of the Year in 2022. In its annual report, the team highlighted an ever-increasing popularity range of the style in The Lyst Index, including the rise of searches by around 600% in the first half of 2022.

Popular Birkenstock Models
Popular Birkenstock Models

In 2024, the popularity of Birkenstock’s Boston Clogs is unlikely to fade into obscurity — we share the same opinion as experts at Glamour UK and People. Nonetheless, our team would like to take another take on this type of shoe and provide you with more insights about its genuine value. In the table below, we’ve summarized the general strengths and weaknesses customers are aware of when it comes to purchasing their first pair of Birkenstocks.

With wide-toe boxes, you can easily move your toes even in closed-toe clogs.In the long run, wearing Birks with arch support will reduce your foot muscle flexibility and strength.
These shoes are made of natural materials following sustainability principles.Compared to their first appearance in the market and cheap price tags, the current cost can easily be over $155 at a random retailer’s store.
With adjustable straps, it is possible to make their fit more custom and comfortable.Birkenstocks aren’t water-resistant, not to mention waterproof.
They are pretty durable and can show no to little signs of wear and tear in the long run.They are not zero-drop shoes. Except for a few sandal models

Frankly speaking, we understand why people can fall in love with Birkenstock’s concept. For instance, this company was awarded for its eco-friendly products and considered the number one animal-friendly footwear manufacturer in 2018. After testing several brands with vegan offers, we would prefer famous products from Vivobarefoot — its collections are made with a nature-oriented conscience and customer’s feet health in mind.

Are you ready to see the results of our analysis of Birkenstocks? Let’s dig in!

Are Birkenstocks Flexible and Lightweight?

As practice shows, Birks aren’t the best choice to expect your toes to bend fully. Cork-based footbeds are rather sturdy, which results in shock absorption. Although experiencing every pinch from the rocks beneath might be out of your wishlist, Birkenstocks can feel quite heavy on the foot.

Flexibility of Birkenstocks versus Barefoot Shoes

What’s more, such designs come without secure straps. It requires you to move more carefully and intentionally “increase” the foot grip to avoid any oops-it-happened-again scenarios.

Please don’t get us wrong — you are free to choose the models you like the most and feel fabulous (If you are young, healthy, and value-chasing trends). From a practical and long-term perspective, it is better to be more cautious. Not all Birkenstocks are made equally. Even if the target model comes at a premium price, this tag doesn’t correspond to the up-market quality. If you don’t plan to wear Birks regularly and want to diversify your wardrobe, they can be a nice pair of shoes to buy.

Alternatives to Birkenstocks Sandals

For those looking for more versatile models, Birkenstock’s Boston clogs aren’t the only bestie to rely on. Instead, our team wants to recommend the natural efficiency of minimalist sandals. They are a fusion of beauty and comfort, resulting in foot stability, strength, alignment, and mobility. Presented in a wide range of shoe types, barefoot solutions are exactly what you need for an unforgettable and comfortable adventure time.

Check out our reviews of some sandals from Barefoot manufacturers. These are more affordable models than Birkenstocks. But that is not their value. These shoes will keep your feet healthy:

NB. Barefoot shoes aren’t a panacea for every case. Still, it is crucial to expand the range of your awareness to avoid the irreversible consequences of wearing non-comfy models. No matter how much we’ve tried to enjoy the aesthetical appeal of Birkenstocks, they make feet function counterintuitively.

Are Birkenstocks Zero Drop?

No, Birkenstocks are not zero drop shoes. Zero drop shoes are designed with the heel and forefoot at the same level, providing a flat sole throughout. Birkenstocks, on the other hand, typically have a slight heel lift, which means the heel is slightly elevated compared to the forefoot. This design is intentional and is part of the ergonomic structure that Birkenstock promotes for foot health and comfort. However, it is worth noting that any heel in the long term negatively affects the musculoskeletal system.

Most Birkenstock Sandals Without Zero Drop

What You Should Know About Birkenstock Plantar Fasciitis

The right pair of shoes will always make a difference, especially in cases when fashionistas suffer from foot conditions like Plantar Fasciitis. Once the tissue connecting the toes and the heel bone gets irritated or inflamed, expect trouble. Birkenstocks are famous for their arch support, which can relieve painful sensations.

Birkenstocks Arch Support

With the orthotic design, they are advertised as a top-notch life-saver for plantar fasciitis shoes. However, remember that these contoured footbeds are prone to change their shape to match an individual foot’s silhouette in the long run. It means that the promised foot alignment will deliver relief temporarily. Over time, consistently wearing Birkenstocks with arch support can diminish the flexibility and strength of your foot muscles.

On the contrary, barefoot shoes are aimed at strengthening foot muscles. Such pairs are good for managing plantar fasciitis if you follow the best rules for transitioning from traditional to minimalist footwear. Get accustomed to these shoes slowly to get the best outcome possible — thirty minutes a day will be a nice exercise to begin with.

How Your Experience with Birkenstocks Will Really Go

Now is when we can show our hand and expose whether our cards for Birkenstock’s Boston Clogs are scoring or not. Overall, we are not happy about the quality of these shoes. Our team believes that the casual comfort and the similar aesthetic vibe did a good job for the style overall, providing ladies and gentlemen with what they wanted in the pre-and post-pandemic fashion eras — the freedom to choose simple footwear designs and remain extremely stylish.

In our hands-on expertise, the longer you wear them, the worse the negative aspects will accelerate their influence. At first, they seemed quite comfy. They are crafted to prevent foot pronation, and their ankle support may be worth praising in some cases. The problem is that such shoes don’t let your feet do what they are naturally capable of. Instead of creating a healthy and stable walking environment, they minimize the freedom of movement.

Birkenstock Sandals vs Barefoot

The style’s basis is usually the blend of such materials as latex and cork, which will change their fit to suit an individual foot’s silhouette — they react to natural body warmth. Given that cheaper alternatives aren’t made of high-quality materials, we can assure you — trying to cope with the aftermath of constantly smelling and swelling feet isn’t a battle you can always win.

On the other hand, a standard orthotic design isn’t universal. Such shoes won’t suit just any type of foot, including non-typical shapes like Roman or Germanic ones. If you have a special type of foot, read our article about barefoot foot-shaped shoes.

Another issue we’ve experienced is that Birkenstocks can easily slip off. If you don’t know how to wear them correctly, they will do you more harm than good. Experts suggest adjusting the strap that goes near your toe a bit tighter than needed. This recommendation doesn’t sound extremely healthy for your feet’s comfort, don’t you think? Anyway, it wasn’t the most advantageous purchase we’ve made so far.

Why Birkenstocks Are the Worst Shoe?

Our team doesn’t like the way Birkenstocks are promoted in the market — that’s what we call false advertising. A lot of customers know the distinguished product as the one that guarantees good posture and natural walking experiences. These effects are possible only when you wear shoes that enhance foot muscle strength. Our readers will know the answer — minimalist footwear will reduce back pain and pressure on the body during walking, hiking, and other activities.

In reality, arch support from Birkenstocks may be quite efficient in addressing discomfort and foot conditions. We just don’t recommend them as a universal tool to solve all shoe-related issues. If you constantly rely on the therapeutic benefits of Birkenstocks with arch support, one day you may find yourself feeling discomfort walking in other types of shoes and barefoot.

From this perspective, it is always better to develop your powers and let your body showcase its real strength. Although rebuilding foot mobility, stability, and load-resistance capacity takes time and exercise, the results are worth it. Our crew is a fan of minimalist shoes — from Chelsea boots and hiking shoes to sandals. We love that this selection provides us with exclusive models for large-sized and extra-wide feet, both for men and women.

Key Takeaways

Let’s highlight why wearing Birkenstocks may be a bad idea in your particular case:

  • While there are some zero-drop sandals in the Birkenstock collection, many models offered by retailers come with elevated heels.
  • Their footbeds are orthotic, but that doesn’t relate to the available palette of shoe widths. Without natural toe splay, you will increase the risk of unnatural toe bends, including mallet and hammer toe conditions development.
  • Their soles aren’t flexible. The model itself can be lightweight, but it will only cause more unpredictable deformations in the footbed construction.
  • The rigid soles of Birkenstocks don’t deliver the ease of foot movement and mobility.
  • At some point, Birks can come in handy to address foot conditions like plantar fasciitis. However, it will be valid in the case of authentic and well-constructed Birks and as a temporary relief measure only.

Final Thoughts

In our hands-on experience, purchasing authentic Birkenstocks provides fashionistas with more hustle and bustle than real high-end-brand values. Not only might it be challenging to avoid counterfeit products in the market, but original solutions are less captivating than they might seem at first. Instead of pain relief, arch support, and extreme comfort, they tend to weaken foot muscles, restrict overall foot mobility, and harm natural body postures.

There are no waterproof Birks for those living in regions with high humidity, and Birkenstocks are associated with summertime madness — we find this misconception confusing. Besides, you have to be careful about choosing the right style of the distinguished product. The wrong choice will enhance the risk of slippage and injuries.

Welcome to the comment section below! We’ll be looking forward to seeing your experiences with Birks in real life. For more details about barefoot alternatives, check out our blog’s articles!


6 thoughts on “Are Birkenstocks Good for Your Feet? Guide for People Who Want Healthy Feet”

  1. Why do none of the article promoting barefoot shoes talk about the weight of the individual? It is extremely important to note that issues with transitioning to barefoot shoes can be compounded and worsened if you are overweight. Be very very cautious about switching until you get back within your normal weight range or you’ll do more harm than good.

    • Hello David! We don’t have any validated research on this. Can you refer to reliable sources confirming this information? Our community will thank you. We will definitely update our article if this information is confirmed.

    • Thanks for your feedback! We have just updated the article and added alternative options for barefoot sandals. You can find even more healthy shoes on our blog! Thanks again

  2. This resource is unbelievable. The radiant data exhibits the manager’s excitement. I’m shocked and anticipate more such astonishing presents.


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