If you’ve not owned a pair before you’re likely wondering if Birkenstocks are worth it, before you spend money on a pair. I had this thought too before I tried them out for myself. They are pretty pricey, so I was worried about not enjoying them enough and getting my money’s worth.
Birkenstocks are worth it for those who enjoy comfortable, light summer footwear. The entire shoe is anatomically designed to provide correct foot support. The footbed has a cork and jute base, suede lining, heel cup, arch support, contours, a toe bed, and raised edge moldings. They are made from excellent quality materials and are a great investment.
I am a long term customer and big fan of the Birkenstocks brand. Currently I’m breaking in a new pair of the Birkenstocks Arizonas, as you can see here:
In my personal opinion I think Birkenstocks are worth the money. They are so comfortable and mold to the shape of your foot with regular use. Each summer my Birkenstocks are my go-to shoes, as they are easy to slip on and I know I’m guaranteed comfort when I’m out and about wearing them. It’s a no-brainer for me.
I find they last me a long while and can take a beating. I’ll wear them until they look scruffy, as I like to squeeze as much value as possible out of them. I love the contoured footbed and how light they feel on the feet.
Check out the current price of Birkenstocks here, to help you decide whether they fit your budget.
They aren’t waterproof however, so they might not be worth it for you if you plan on getting some for beach or pool wear. It comes down to what your needs are. We all have different requirements for our footwear.
What if you have flat feet, are they going to be worth it for you? Luckily I have a guide on how suitable Birks are for those with flat feet, that you can read here: Are Birkenstocks Good For Flat Feet? 2 Podiatrists Weigh In.
To help you further, here’s a video of me wearing my Birkenstocks and discussing why I think they are worth their price:
That Birkenstocks are a firm favorite with die-hard fans is not questionable. From what the brand embodies to the comfort of Birks, wearers wax lyrical about the Birkenstock experience. However, if you are skeptical or contemplating buying a pair of Birks, you may need some convincing.
So, let’s look at the history, facts, and accolades to help you determine whether Birkenstocks are worth it for you personally.
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Whether Birkenstocks Are ‘Worth It’ Starts With Their History
The Birkenstock story started in 1774 when Johann Birkenstock, a shoe maker, designed the first Birkenstock shoe with the sole purpose of supporting feet. The shoes of the day provided no support for the feet whatsoever. On the contrary, they ruined feet.
Birkenstock sought to design a shoe that supported the foot’s natural contour to alleviate aching feet. His design succeeded and as they say; the rest is history.
The ‘fussbed,’ the footbed as we now know it, started making waves in 1896 when its podiatric benefits were acknowledged by professionals in the industry. By 1925 Birkenstocks were in stores all over Europe.
Birkenstocks became the go-to shoe and solution for foot troubles.
Birkenstock Set The Standard For Footcare Footwear
From 1925 Birkenstocks began educational courses for medical practitioners to teach them about feet, how they functioned, and the importance of correct footwear. Birkenstock was already acknowledged as the leading anatomically correct footwear expert.
After this, Carl Birkenstock, Johann Birkenstock’s great-great-grandson, published his first book, Podiatry – the Carl Birkenstock System. The book detailed the Birkenstock approach to natural walking as it was meant to be. This book was the best-selling Podiatry book at the time. He went on to author numerous textbooks about the Birkenstock anatomical shoe design.
Margot Fraser Backed Birkenstocks And Their Value
Here’s where the story becomes relevant today and provides the 1st real insight into why Birkenstocks are worth their price.
In 1966, a German dressmaker who lived in California took a trip to a Bavarian Spa. Margot Fraser had worn too tight high heeled shoes all her life and foot problems were the result of this. She had suffered from foot ailments and extremely sore feet for many years.
When she mentioned her aching feet to the therapists at the spa, they recommended a pair of Madrid Birkenstocks. She bought them for the remainder of her trip and continued wearing them back home in California.
What surprised her was that her feet felt so much better, not just when she was wearing her Madrids but even when she was without them. This prompted her to import Birkenstocks to the U.S. When Birkenstocks hit U.S. soil, she started marketing them.
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Despite her enthusiasm, many shoe stores weren’t interested in selling them because they looked dowdy and purely functional. Fortunately, she persisted, and eventually, health stores began stocking them, albeit next to the Granola counters.
Because of the masculine design, these health shoes began making waves amongst men, and then flower children took to them. Birkenstocks were considered earthy shoes and fitted right into the hippie vibe.
In 1986 Nordstrom took an interest in them and was the 1st mainstream store to introduce Birks into their footwear department.
By 1990 Birkenstocks were popular amongst students and collegegoers, and celebrities started touting them too. This was the turning point for Birkenstock footwear. From here on, Birkenstocks began the true American journey.
Foot Function Has Always Been At The Heart of Birkenstock
Medically speaking, the foot plays an important role in our body’s function. It goes without saying that feet should receive the high attention they deserve. Birkenstock has spent hundreds of years studying walking, strides, gait, and feet to create shoes that let wearers walk as nature intended.
Footfall Has A Ripple Effect
Each foot is an intricate combination of bones, joints, muscles, cartilage, and muscles. Each of these works together to create a healthy foot that carries the body’s weight, enables the body to walk, and facilitates movement.
Consider the role that feet play. A step begins with the leg propelling your heel forward. The arch then guides your foot to the ball. The ball anchors your foot on the ground, and your toes touch down.
You continually take missteps when this action needs to be corrected. Then, missteps create a ripple effect right back through your foot, Achilles tendon, up your calves, to your knees and upper legs.
Conversely, if your knees don’t move correctly, your thighs, calves, and ankles put extra pressure on your foot, which doesn’t make the touch down correctly.
Think of the weight your feet carry. If this weight isn’t correctly distributed, your feet will feel strain and affect your movement. It’s safe to say that feet affect everything.
Many Years Of Practice Give Birkenstocks The Edge
Birkenstocks have spent years studying the feet and perfecting the ultimate footwear to ensure that feet get the correct treatment.
The Footbed Has Always Been The Focus
It’s no news that Birkenstock is lauded for its anatomically designed footbed. With a cork and jute foundation, the footbed delivers many benefits from the ground up.
Cork is a natural material and has excellent shock absorbent qualities. It’s comfortable and the perfect partner for jute, which adds flexibility and strength to the cork.
The layer on top of the sole is made from suede which is luxuriously soft and moisture-wicking, rendering friction under your feet a thing of the past.
Add to this the other design elements of the Birkenstock footbed:
- A heel cup cushions your heels, keeps them stable, and ensures that the 1st movement of your step is how it should be.
- The raised edge behind the heel prevents your foot from slipping and sliding around to keep blisters away.
- A longitudinal molding from the heel cup to the toe bar prevents feet from rolling over to the shoe’s inner or outer part. Standing on the outsides of your feet causes long-term problems with your knees, calves, and ankles.
- A sculpted instep does magic for flat feet. The arch plays a role in positioning the feet and knees correctly. Flat feet benefit from this. Ask anybody with flat feet whether they’re bothered by foot pain or knee pain; they’ll probably say yes.
- The raised edges around Birkenstocks effectively keep feet safe from sharp objects. The raised edge in front of the toes prevents your foot from slipping forward. It also guards against annoying toe stubbing. Interestingly, Birkenstocks are highly recommended for diabetic patients. Diabetes results in poor circulation and makes toe stubs and other foot injuries slow to heal.
- The toe bar spreads toes evenly and aids in distributing the body’s weight correctly on the football, so no one spot on your foot carries an extra load. This creates the perfect platform for good balance.
- The roomy toe box is heaven for toes. It allows your toes to move around and won’t irritate bunions, callouses, and skew toes. On the contrary, it’ll provide relief and prevent further toe troubles.
- Birkenstocks mold to your foot to keep you walking correctly with every step you take.
Fully functioning feet result in properly functioning muscles. This improves circulation and does away with swollen feet and ankles. Birkenstock fans can attest to this.
A Birkenstock Footbed Mimics The Perfect Footstep
From day one Birkenstocks were designed to improve gait and encourage putting your best foot forward. The structure of Birks is based on the best natural foot movement, as demonstrated by how a foot moves through soft sand, heel first, through the ball of the foot, and then to the toes.
Soft sand supports the entire foot and gives correct heel, arch, and toe contours. It’s not that easy to lose balance when you stand or walk in the sand, because your feet are steady and planted correctly. This is the Birkenstock shoe model.
Birkenstocks Made Fashionable Progress After Covid
The Covid pandemic and lockdown saw people generally find their way back to comfort. Sweet pants, hoodies, t-shirts, and comfortable shoes became the order of the day. Birkenstocks slotted right into this trend and became a hugely popular shoe choice.
Birkenstock began collaborating with designers such as Valentino, Dior, and Manolo Blahnik, and fashion-forward shoppers started buying the far better-looking Birks. 2020, 2021, and 2022 yielded the best results that Birkenstock had ever seen, with more and more celebrities and fashion icons sporting them down the high street.
Millions of wearers joined the crowd of delighted Birkenstock lovers. Birkenstocks are a staple, trendy shoe in many shoe closets now. Birkenstocks are considered a worthwhile shoe to invest in, from health shoe wearers to high fashion fundis.
Birk shoe designs have successfully moved to high-functioning, feet-first fashion, which is great news for shoe lovers who care about their feet.
The Birkenstock Range Makes Healthy Feet Hip
Shoppers are spoilt for choice. Today, the Birkenstock range provides over 1000 styles that cater to women, men, and children. There are clogs, sandals, thongs, home wear, wedge heels, closed shoes, and professional shoes.
Shoes are made from a variety of comfortable, foot-friendly materials:
- Leather such as Suede, Nubuck, Oiled Leather, and Smooth Leather
- Natural Patent Leather
- Birko-Flor and Birkibuc exclusive to Birkenstock
- EVA for professionals
- Wool felt
If You Still Need Convincing, Here’s More Evidence
Aside from the genius shoe design and impressive foot health benefits of Birkenstocks, there are other reasons to invest in a pair of Birks:
- The famous Arizona shoe goes through 17 stages of the manufacturing process. Each shoe is carefully hand and bespoke machine crafted to ensure every shoe element is correctly put together and lined up. Each shoe is touched by 50 hands to ensure quality, comfort, and durability.
- Birkenstocks are recommended as sports fatigue shoes and podiatric shoes for people recovering from surgery.
- Birkenstock won footwear company of the year in 2021. The award is all about excellence in design and retail for shoe categories. The award is presented by Footwear Plus magazine, a publication specifically geared to the footwear industry.
- Due to popularity, the Boston Clog’s sales increased by 593% in the 1st half of 2022; a lot of Birkenstock lovers put their money where their mouths are.
- Birkenstocks were voted the best overall sandal of 2023 based on comfort. This award was given by podiatrists who analyzed feedback and research on Birkenstocks.
- In 2020 British Vogue named Birkenstock Arizona the sandal of the year.
The adage “quality is remembered long after price is forgotten” rings true for Birkenstocks.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Do I Do If My Birkenstocks Aren’t Comfortable?
Birkenstocks are not comfortable at first. You’ll need to break them in. It takes 2 – 3 weeks to do this. Wear them around your home for at least 20 minutes daily until your feet get used to them. They also stretch, so don’t buy a size too big.
Where Can I Buy Birkenstocks?
Birkenstocks are sold at health shoe stores, shoe stores, and online.
Are Birkenstocks Expensive?
Birkenstocks are expensive, although styles vary in price. They are expensive because they are hand-crafted and made from quality material. The benefits do, however, outweigh the cost.
Birkenstocks are worth it. The company’s footwear expertise dates by to 1774, with foot health being the main focus. Birkenstocks have a unique footbed that comprises a cork and jute sole, a sole suede lining, a heel cup, arch support, longitudinal molding, a toe bar, and raised edges. Birkenstock’s popularity continues to grow. Birkenstock sandals have received accolades for comfort and style.
For more Birkenstocks content, check out:
Are Birkenstocks Comfortable? My Experience (Plus Photos)
Lorna is a footwear geek and the founder of Wearably Weird. She created a YouTube channel in 2021 for fellow footwear fanatics, dedicated to detail-rich footwear reviews and info. She has a fashion media qualification (awarded in 2011).