Here’s an astounding fact; it’s estimated that we walk 3 times around the world in a lifetime. That’s a lot of work for feet. Walking 75,000 miles with sore flat feet cannot be pleasant. Considering this, we should wear shoes that provide optimal foot and arch support. Birkenstocks have a great orthopedic shoe reputation, but do they have arch support?
Birkenstocks have arch support. Arch support is key to their iconic footbed design. Birkenstock’s longitudinal arch is designed for optimal arch dimensions to alleviate foot pain and improve posture and gait. Every shoe has the Birkenstock footbed orthopedically designed for correct foot action.
Personally I’ve owned many pairs of Birkenstocks over the years (photos of which I’ve included in this guide for you!), and I love the arch support each style provides me. I’m a little fussy when it comes to comfort and I find they meet my needs.
Check out the current price of Birkenstocks here.
Foot pain, cramps, sore ankles, shin splints, sore knees, and lower back aches often go hand in hand and originate from the feet. Feet are so important that they warrant an entire medical field; orthopedics.
It goes with saying then that feet should be an important focus, and investing in the correct footwear is a necessity, not a luxury. Read on for an in-depth guide to the arch support benefits of Birkenstocks, before you grab your first pair.
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Birkenstock’s Claim To Fame Is Arch Support
Birkenstock is well recognized for the arch support it provides. Arch support is molded onto the shoe bed and is better than orthotics or insoles. Birks come standard with this feature. Unlike other health shoe brands, Birkenstocks were specifically designed with arch support in mind.
In 1774 when Johann Adam Birkenstock first conceptualized shoes with arch support, it was unheard of then. Shoe beds were flat and caused severe foot problems and discomfort. Birkenstock realized this and designed a shoe with the necessary molding to support the foot.
It wasn’t until 1896 that the ‘Fussbed,’ Birkenstock’s claim to fame, was designed. The footbed provided the ideal arch support to correct fallen and flat arches.
Birkenstocks were regarded as the leader in orthopedic footwear design. Carl Birkenstock published the book, Podiatry-The Carl Birkenstock System in 1947, a best-selling orthopedic book. Several books were subsequently published.
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Because Birkenstocks were orthopedically constructed and the current footbed has taken over 200 years to perfect, the dimensions of Birk’s arch support are scientifically correct and approved by Podiatrists.
Birkenstock’s footbed and arch support was designed to mimic ideal foot movement and positioning. The genius of this concept was born out of a foot’s movement through soft sand.
Walking through sand requires the heel to touch down first, then the arch, the ball of the foot, and finally, the toes. Sand also naturally supports arches and provides contours for every joint and muscle of a foot as it takes a step.
Arch Your Arches
Walking on hard surfaces is not ideal for feet. Nowadays, many surfaces we walk on are hard; sidewalks, shopping centers, tiled floors, wooden floors, and almost all surfaces. We only use our feet correctly if we walk barefoot naturally on grass or in nature.
Consequently, we need to exercise our arches more so they do not become weaker and flatter, leading to flat feet and fallen arches.
Think of ballet dancers who point and flex their feet a lot; they have high, strong, flexible arches because exercise strengthens the muscles and improves suppleness.
Dancers are trained to place weight across the ball of their feet, keep their feet straight, and not roll from side to side to ensure perfect posture and balance. Birkenstocks shape feet to do exactly this without spending hours exercising and training.
Birkenstocks Walk The Extra Mile For Arch Support
Birkenstocks support the entire foot, which makes the arch support more effective. The arch support on its own does just that; it supports the shoe-wearers arch. But the entire foot alignment must be correct for arch support to be most effective.
A foot comprises 33 joints, 26 bones, and over a hundred muscles, tendons, and ligaments. These must be aligned and work together correctly to ensure healthy, painless feet, easy movement, and walking. The Birkenstock footbed considers this and is designed to facilitate correct mechanical movement and foot flexibility.
All shoes, sandals, sneakers, boots, and professional shoes are fitted with the patented Birkenstock footbed. The footbed ensures that from heel to toe, feet are positioned perfectly.
A Birki shoe takes care of every aspect of your foot:
- The heel cup keeps your heels correctly aligned with your arches. It also prevents the back of your foot from slipping and sliding around.
- The longitudinal graduated arch raises your arches at the correct degree to provide contoured support.
- A toe bar ensures the correct placement of the ball of your foot to stabilize arches, allowing weight to be distributed correctly across the foot.
- The toe bar also aligns toes correctly to ensure the correct grip for each footstep.
An underrated feature of Birks is the raised edges. These edges prevent your foot from rolling inwards or outwards. Add to this the often-overlooked benefit of the cork and jute soles which are specially made to provide shock absorption for each step you take.
A foot that rolls too far over to either side places extreme strain on ankles, shins, knees, thighs, and even the lower back. Arch support is not optimized if your foot rolls.
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Medically Speaking Arches Matter More Than We Realize
Aside from the obvious ache and discomfort that fallen arches or flat feet (pes planus) cause, the physical impact of arch problems is a medical concern. Several medical studies have been commissioned to research the long-term impact of flat feet and fallen arches:
- In 2018 the National Center for Biotechnology Information studied Foot Arch Height and Quality of Life in Adults. The study investigated foot structure and common lower limb conditions. Low arches put you at risk for toe deformation, medial tibial stress syndrome, pain in the ball of the foot, arthritis in the toe joint, bunions, bulges on the side of the foot, and even lower back pain.
- MediFind details a 2023 clinical trial study that examines different exercises’ impact on flat feet.
- Participants are currently being recruited for a study to determine appropriate treatment interventions for flat feet and the long-term effects of pes planus. Complications associated with flat feet and collapse of the medial longitudinal arch are noted as a musculoskeletal condition causing hip, knee, and foot discomfort.
- In 2014, research on the impact of arch height found that people with flat feet have less control over sway, which affects posture.
- Other studies have looked at the impact of surgery on reconstructing arches.
Considering the immediate discomfort and long-term effects of flat or fallen arches, wearing shoes with proper arch support is essential for orthopedic comfort, foot flexibility, and good foot, ankle, and knee function now and in the future.
Birki’s Arch Support Doesn’t Limit Your Shoe Collection
Even though Birks are medically supported shoes, it doesn’t mean that the brand confines you to dowdiness. The Birkenstock range is vast and offers different cool styles, materials, colors, and types of shoes.
Over 800 style variants and new looks are introduced regularly and each season. So, you don’t have to wear one look and style year-round. There are even designer collaborations in the Birkenstock range.
A vast array of shoe types make Birkenstocks ideal for any occasion; each of these styles has arch and foot support:
- Back Strap Sandals
- Kids’ Range
- Multi-Strap Sandals
- Professional Range
- Two-strap Sandals
Suppose your shoes need an insole, or your Birki’s insole needs replacing. Over and above the shoes in Birkenstock’s ranges, Birkenstock sells individual footbeds. Buy insoles on the Birkenstock website for everyday soft, active, and classic support.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Must I Consider When Buying Shoes For Arch Support?
It is important to buy the correct size. A shoe that is too short or too long won’t line your foot up correctly on the footbed lining, and you will not get optimum benefit from your Birkenstocks. Birkenstocks sell two widths for each shoe; select the correct width and length for your feet. Check out the size charts on the Birkenstock site.
Do All Birkenstocks Have The Same Footbed?
Yes, the footbed is designed to provide the best support and perfect alignment for your feet, so it does not vary from style to style.
Birkenstocks provide excellent arch support. Flat arches can lead to severe foot, ankle, shin, knee, thigh, and back problems. The Birkenstock footbed is designed to recreate optimal foot support and movement. The footbed is molded to provide longitudinal arch support, heel support, even weight distribution, and correct foot and toe placement.
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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).