Birkenstocks are incredibly popular in the footwear niche. We spent an enormous time researching this footwear brand lately, seeking to know if it’s worth it to invest in a pair of Birkenstock sandals.
After reading hundreds of reviews, we found that reviewers were commenting on the Birks’ “Soft Footbed” where some loved the soft, easier-to-break footbed, while others did not, probably due to lack of that much arch support- thus opting for the regular footbed.
The Difference between Birkenstock Regular and Soft Footbed
A soft footbed from Birkenstock USA refers to a foam layer inserted between the suede liner and the cork layer of the classic Birkenstock footbed. This layer consists of an extremely high degree of rebound capacity that provides long-standing cushioning.
The regular footbed, meanwhile, is the standard in most Birkenstocks. The suede and the cork provide enough wearability to effectively mold to your feet while still maintaining rigidity to provide support.
A regular footbed is usually not the easiest to break in compared to a soft footbed. But once you break them in, they fit the shape of your feet. They’re associated with long-term comfort and will stay accustomed to the shape you have set. A regular footbed is great for those who have high or low arches.
The main reason why people choose Birkenstock is for the comfy footbed. Reading on the company’s website, Birkenstock wanted to replicate a footprint in the sand, by making a footbed that’s suitable for all shapes and sizes of feet. The cork footbed is meant for support and incorporates built-in shock absorption. It also helps in stimulating the gripping support that keeps the shoes in place, which, in turn, promotes circulation and exercise.
Of course, the footbed isn’t the only thing that makes Birks so popular. There are other additional benefits to wearing Birkenstock for those suffering from issues such as Mortis neuroma, high arches, and plantar fasciitis, and other conditions which can cause discomfort in regular shoes.
The anatomical moldings are meant to subside the pressure during movements and to provide relief for your feet, joints and back. Plus, the shoes are also stylish, last long, and are eco-friendly, meaning less landfill full of fast fashion items.
That said, the company has an entire page that explains the regular and soft footbed. You might want to review this page to help determine which footbed would work for you. If you’re new or need some help to make the best footbed decision for your feet, Birks are an investment so it makes sense to have as much info as possible before purchasing.
Birkenstock Soft Footbed
The company understands that it might cost you a little time before getting used to their regular footbeds. That’s why they decided to provide the soft footbed for someone who wants instant comfort straight out of the box. This Soft footbed is made nearly identical to the regular, only that it features a soft layer in between the cork and the suede.
The Birkenstock soft footbed is padded with anatomically shaped foam inlay and contains millions of tiny bubbles that ensure an exceptionally comfortable wearing experience. The foam creates an additional layer above the cork. That means the soft footbed will take longer to get accustomed to the shape of your feet despite being slightly softer. Moreover, it provides additional comfort from the outset.
One misconception that most people have regarding the soft footbed is that it’s way too soft, like a trainer or a sports shoe, which is not actually true. Well, it’s softer than the standard footbed, but it still offers a sturdier footbed experience, which is essential to the health benefits associated with Birkenstock.
When shoes are incredibly soft, they usually don’t provide adequate support. On that note, Birkenstock soft footbed is a combination of delivering extra comfort while maintaining proper footbed support.
Soft Footbed Pros
- Soft footbeds are a great transition back and forth between Birkenstock and normal shoes
- Comfortable straight out of the box
- Suitable for people with a low arch
Soft Footbed Cons
Due to the memory foam, soft footbeds may take longer to properly mold to the shape of your feet. That means if it’s comfortable right out of the box, it will likely stay that way. Else, don’t expect this to form to your foot so quickly.
The Regular Footbed
As mentioned, a regular footbed is a standard in most Birkenstocks. The cork and the Suede provide just enough give to effectively adapt to the shape of your feet while keeping rigidity to ensure proper support.
Birkenstocks made with regular footbeds can take a while to break in, like other quality shoes. This is because of the cork footbed which is designed to accommodate the contours of the feet to deliver the additional support.
Once the shoes have broken in, however, they become considerably more comfortable, molding to your feet shape and giving the much-needed support where it’s needed the most. Perhaps this is why most Birkenstock fans claim that Birks are the most comfortable shoes around. Regular footbed may take a while longer of an adjustment period but surely pays off in the long run!
Regular Footbed Pros
- They match your feet shape once you break them in
- Long term comfort as per the shape you have set
- Good for arch support for people with high or low arches
- Regular Footbed Cons
May take a while, usually between 1-2 weeks to break in. You might want to wear this in 2-4 intervals daily, then increase the time as the shoe breaks-in.
The Bottom Line
Birkenstocks footbeds are based on the anatomy of the wearer’s feet. It naturally distributes the weight of the body evenly over the sole, such that the foot is supported during its natural rolling motion.
The soft footbed is great for particularly sensitive feet. It has a layer of foamed natural rubber added between the cork and the latex mixture all wrapped in durable natural jute alongside suede lining. The regular footbed, meanwhile, counters the format of footwear that squishes your feet into a tight-toed and flat foot position.
Aside from improving your foot health, a regular footbed also improves your gait and knees by keeping your feet in a healthy position.
Of course, everyone’s feet are different but we hope that this post has helped you have a better understanding of the difference between Birkenstock Soft vs. Regular footbed and what type would suit you best. After all, Soft or Regular footbed; Birks provides a healthy alternative to your regular shoes.