Classic and comfy, Birkenstock provides timeless sandals combining fashion and functionality to deliver essential footwear for every man’s and women’s spring/summer wardrobe. Even with the global appeal, Birkenstock can still be something of a maze especially if you’re new to the brand and its design.
Birkenstock footwear is produced in two widths: Narrow and Regular. According to the company’s website, the narrow width is designed to accommodate AA-B US widths for women (where B is the standard width) and C-D US widths for men where D is the standard width.
Birkenstock Regular fit meanwhile is designed for medium to wide feet- that is B-C+ women’s US widths and D-EE Men’s US widths. Most people find that they fit the Birkenstock’s narrow width, even though they don’t necessarily have narrow feet. Perhaps this is because Birkenstock shoes are generally a bit wider than most and are meant to accommodate your foot’s natural spread.
Regular or Narrow Fit Birkenstocks
Birkenstock designs footbeds in two width-fitting variants. This might seem fairly straightforward, but the naming of these fittings makes it quite hard to choose the right fitting. Some people are best suited for regular widths, but you might want to choose a narrow fit if you’re someone who usually narrows shoes and often hears remarks about your slim feet.
Narrow Fit: Based on customer reviews, we found that most shoppers opt for the Narrow width (nearly 80% of women). Most reviews however considered this to be more of a standard fit rather than a narrow fit.
Regular Fit: As stated, this width is designed for wider feet and those who prefer a little roomier on the footbed. Birks regular fit is the more common fitting for men but it’s good to note that many of Birkenstock styles are unisex including Arizona. That means even if you normally wear wide shoes, you’re likely to find that Birks regular width works for you.
The most reliable way to determine what size and width of Birkenstock shoes are best for you is to be fitted by a professional, someone who has the knowledge and experience to guide you for the right fit. Where that’s not possible, go with this method: Completely unfasten all the straps on the shoes in question and step into it. Then fasten the straps just properly around your foot such that they are comfortable enough to let your foot have some freedom of movement.
How to Know If the Footbed Fits Properly
Stand up with your Birks sandals on, strap completely open. Your feet will naturally spread on the footbed under your bodyweight. Your feet should feel supported but have some room to move freely. The toes and the heel should not overlap or rub against the firm outer ridge of the footbed.
Check that the shoes fit correctly and the toes are not rubbing against the edge at the front of the sandal. This will help to prevent the development of blisters and corns over time. Feel free to consider a size p and try it on. You might want to opt for a regular fit alternative if you need more width.
Once you’re satisfied with the footbed’s fit, you can then fasten the straps. The straps should hold your feet in the optimal place on the footbed, keeping you from sliding forward or backward during regular walking. Also, straps should accommodate your feet without feeling too tight because the feet tend to expand on hot days.
Make a few steps to check that the straps hold your feet securely and maybe adjust once more should the shoes feel too tight or loose. Properly fitting Birks should not make you feel the buckles digging in at all. So if it happens, it’s a sign that you need to lose the straps. Else, the shape and style of the Birks in question may not be ideal for you.
Which Birkenstock Are Unisex?
Most Birkenstock sandals are unisex. However, it’s great to note that specific styles are designed with women’s gait and styling in mind. For instance, classic Arizona sandals are offered in unisex sizes. Styles such as the Madrid and Gizeh, meanwhile, are women’s sandals that feature substitute styles for men (for example, the Ramses is a toe-post sandal designed for both men and women.
Some popular unisex Birkenstocks include Birkenstock Arizona sandal, Birkenstock Boston clog and the Birkenstock Milano. Women’s styles include Birkenstock Mayari, Birkenstock Gizeh, Birkenstock Madrid and Birkenstock Florida Soft Footbed.
Coming down to sizing, Birkenstock sizing can be hard to get the right first time, especially considering the size conversion between EU, UK, and US, which can be very misleading. We recommend ordering the shoes in the manufactured Continental size.
Alternatively, you can count on retailer size conversion, but that is just a guide and not really a guarantee. If you know that you take an EU 39 then that’s what you should consider rather than simply switching to UK or US equivalents. In fact, we found that different online stores tend to convert their sizes differently.
Here is our guide to Birkenstock size conversion for those who aren’t sure of their EU size:
|Birkenstock Size||U.S. Size||Birkenstock Size||U.S. Size||Birkenstock Size||U.S. Size|
|7 – 7 1/2||40||4 – 4 1/2||35||6 – 6 1/2||24|
|– 8 1/2||41||5 – 5 1/2||36||7 – 7 1/2||25|
|9 – 9 1/2||42||6 – 6 1/2||37||8 – 8 1/2||26|
|10 – 10 1/2||43||7 – 7 1/2||38||9 – 9 1/2||27|
|11 – 11 1/2||44||8 – 8 1/2||39||10 – 10 1/2||28|
|12 – 12 1/2||45||9 – 9 1/2||40||11 – 11 1/2||29|
|13 – 13 1/2||46||10 – 10 1/2||41||12 – 12 1/2||30|
|14 – 14 1/2||47||11 – 11 1/2||42||13 – 13 1/2||31|
|15 – 15 1/2||48||1 – 1 1/2||32|
|16 – 16 1/2||49||2 – 2 1/2||33|
|17 – 17 1/2||50||3 – 3 1/2||34|