Standard, cool, and comfortable, Birkenstock makes timeless sandals that have transformed fashion and functionality into an essential shoe in almost everyone’s spring and summer wardrobe.
It would bode well to think that a softer and well-cushioned shoe would be more comfortable. However, Birkenstock’s idea of comfort is mostly based on firm, orthopedically proper support.
Far from the global appeal, this brand can still be something of an enigma, especially if you’re new to the brand and its design. One of the most daunting inquiries among Birkenstock buyers is whether these shoes actually run true to size.
While Birkenstocks are largely made in Europe sizing, it’s good to understand that size conversation between EU, UK, and the US can be very misleading for some countries. We recommend buying the shoes in the manufactured EU continent size to reduce the risk of ordering the wrong size rather than relying just on retailer size conversion.
How Do Birkenstocks Fit?
Birkenstock fitting can be an exceptionally close to the home thing, as some wearers prefer sizing a little big and leave extra space behind the heel and forefoot, while others would choose something slightly smaller allowing probably for a snug, nearly hug-like fit.
Besides considering the length of your feet, another important factor to consider when buying Birkenstock is where the arches of this particular footwear hit your feet.
To ensure maximum support of your Birkenstock, the manufacturer recommends sizing so that your heel stays in the heel cup while the toes approach, but do not touch the front lip.
This kind of fit will help the toe bar as well as the arches of the footbed to have a better chance of fitting you appropriately. Of course, the Birkenstock fit can also be attributed to how snugly you fit the lashes.
If the straps are excessively free, your feet will slide around more on the footbed, affecting arch placement, comfort, and support. Previous users’ reviews show that it is best to have a fairly snug fit on your Birkenstock straps. That said, the key is to find a fair compromise between comfort and the overall stability of the foot.
When trying them on, be sure to check that the footbed is properly sized for your feet. The footbed can offer excellent comfort- with the right size- or cause serious discomfort if you have it all wrong.
This balance can be tough enough to secure, especially if you’re buying Birkenstock for the first time. Not to mention that the footbed can be a bit stiff at first and will definitely call for some time to break in properly, soften off and get accustomed to your foot.
So how do you get your footbed fitting, right? It’s simple. Stand up with your Birks on. Your feet will spread under body weight, providing your true foot placement.
Check both the heel and the toes to make sure they don’t overlap or rub up against the tough outer ridge of the footbed. You realize you have the right fit if there’s a few millimeters of space both at the back and front of your foot, probably after walking around.
Also, ensure your toes don’t rub up against the edge at the front of the shoe as this can cause corns and blistering. Your feet should fit comfortably within the footbed rather than going over the edges at the sides. You might want to switch to a regular fit as an alternative for more width.
When you’re satisfied with the fit of the footbed, you would now feel free to adjust the straps. The straps should keep your feet in the right place on the footbed. Not too far back that your heel presses on the ridges or too far forward that toes rub. They should comfortably embrace your foot without being too tight.
Take a few steps to check if the straps hold your foot securely and adjust them where necessary or when you feel that they are way too tight or loose. You also don’t want to feel the buckles digging. This might be a sign that you need to loosen the strap or the style and shape of the Birks are not right for you.
If you know you wear EU 39, then that’s simply what you should go for, rather than switching to US or UK equivalents. Note that different online stores will have other conversions.
Nonetheless, below is a guide to Birkenstock size conversion just in case you aren’t sure of your EU size.
Birkenstock Size Conversion Chart
|Men Women Kids|
|Birkenstock Size||U.S Size||Birkenstock Size||U.S Size||Birkenstock Size||U.S Size|
|7 – 7 ½||40||4 – 4 ½||35||6 – 6 ½||24|
|8 – 8 ½||41||5 – 5 ½||36||7 – 7 ½||25|
|9 – 9 ½||42||6 – 6 ½||37||8 – 8 ½||26|
|10 – 10 ½||43||7 – 7 ½||38||9 – 9 ½||27|
|11 – 11 ½||44||8 – 8 ½||39||10 – 10 ½||28|
|12 – 12 ½||45||9 – 9 ½||40||11 – 11 ½||29|
|13 – 13 ½||46||10 – 10 ½||41||12 – 12 ½||30|
|14 – 14 ½||47||11 – 11 ½||42||13 – 13 ½||31|
|15 – 15 ½||48||1 – 1 ½||32|
|16 – 16 ½||49||2 – 2 ½||33|
|17 – 17 ½||50||3 – 3 ½||34|
Some Birkenstocks Run Narrower Than Others
Birkenstocks are generally designed to be roomy and are likely to feel big when you first try them. However, the Gizeh and Mavari styles, for instance, tend to run narrower than other models in Birkenstock line-up. That means if you’re searching for a narrower width in a more accommodative style, you may fit well into the regular width of Mayari and Gizeh styles.
On the other hand, if you have medium-width feet, there’s a good chance that you will find an ideal fit in wider fitting styles like Florida, Arizona, and Milano.
Most people seem to be okay with a regular fitting, but if your foot is sliding side to side when you walk even after adjusting the straps, then you may be better off with a narrower fit.
Also, when dealing with Birks, the shape and size of a soft footbed fit is actually equivalent to that of a regular or firm footbed. However, the cushier idea of the soft-footbed may allow your foot to expand a bit more than with a standard footbed. For those who are at the upper limit size in a regular footbed, you may want to consider going up one size in a soft footbed.