Need a new summer sandal? Birkenstocks are podiatrist-approved — and some are on sale now (2024)

Much like Crocs or New Balance sneakers, Birkenstocks haven't always been considered the most stylish choice. But lately, it's become hard to ignore their appeal.

Are Birkenstocks good for your feet? | Are Birkenstocks good for foot problems? | Best Birkenstock styles to wear | Best Birkenstocks on sale | What are Birkenstocks? | How do you clean Birkenstocks? | Meet our expert | How we chose

Shop TODAY Snapshot: Best Birkenstock shoes
  • Editor's pick: Arizona Essentials EVA, $49.95
  • Most viral: Boston Soft Footbed Suede Leather, $160
  • Travel Gear Awards winner: Birkenstock Arizona Birkibuc, $110

From actresses to models, it seems like all our favorite celebrities own at least one pair of Birkenstocks. And the internet appears to be equally obsessed with the style. Videos featuring various versions of the shoes have racked up hundreds of million views on TikTok (and those are just the ones that use the #Birkenstocks tag).

In 2022, the brand's Birkenstock Boston clogs were deemed the "hottest shoe of the year" in global fashion shopping platform Lyst's Year in Fashion Report. According to the company, searches for the shoes increased by 593% in the first six months of the year. And the shoe's popularity isn't slowing down — the style is still a top search query in 2024, along with the brand's iconic sandals, based on a recent report on Google Trends. And as with most fashion must-haves, we can thank TikTok for their popularity.

But with everyone rushing to grab the hot shoe of the year, we had to know: Are Birkenstocks actually a good choice? We consulted podiatrist Dr. Asim Sayed to get all of the details.

Are Birkenstocks good for your feet?

There’s a reason why you've heard so many people raving about how comfortable and supportive Birkenstocks are through the years. According to the brand, the original Birkenstock footbed is at the heart of all the models of the shoes. Made from a mix of cork and latex, it features a deep heel cup, arch support and a roomy toe box.

The deep heel cup in Birkenstocks gives you some stability and can also help control pronation (which contributes to flat feet), Sayed says; whereas the average sandal or flip-flop offers little to no support and have flat footbeds. Birkenstocks also have a raised toe bar, which he says "can put the toes in a more comfortable position, especially if you have something like hammer toes or a flat foot. And it really helps with slippage."

Birkenstock is known for its classic cork footbed, but as it turns out, it's more than just a marketing ploy. "The material that it's made out of, it's cork and latex," Sayed says. "So we use cork in custom orthotics all the time because it has great shock-absorbing abilities and it can reduce moisture."

According to the brand, the cork and latex footbed is sandwiched between layers of jute, which are said to stabilize the materials and increase durability.

Are Birkenstocks good for foot problems?

Given all that, you might not be totally surprised to hear that Sayed says they can be beneficial for everyone (he added that he's been wearing Birkenstocks for years). "They're really good for if you have a flat foot or you have arch pain because they have a supportive longitudinal arch. But I would recommend them to most people — unless you have some kind of severe ailment that obviously needs a more personalized approach."

Because the classic, supportive footbed is at the heart of all its shoes, you can't really go wrong with any model you choose. But in case you're having a hard time making a decision, we rounded up some of the brand's bestsellers that are worth adding to your cart.

Best Birkenstock styles to wear

Birkenstock Arizona Essentials EVA

Arizona Essentials EVA$49.95

$

49.95

$

49.96

What we like

  • True to size

Something to note

  • Can make sound when you walk

If you're looking for something affordable from the brand, we suggest grabbing this version of the Arizona sandals (a previous Shop TODAY Travel Gears Award winner), which are made from a vinyl material. Modeled on the original, the brand says that they feature the anatomically shaped footbed, but they're also waterproof and lightweight, thanks to the EVA.

Editorial director Adrianna Brach says she wears these shoes everywhere. "I literally wear these all summer long — whether I'm running around with my daughter, or at the office or TODAY studio."

Birkenstock Boston Soft Footbed Suede Leather

Boston Soft Footbed Suede Leather$160.00

$

160.00

$

160.00

What we like

  • Toe coverage
  • Slip-on design

Something to note

  • Sells out quickly

Birkenstock's Boston clogs are on plenty of people's wishlists right now (including ours). According to the brand, they have all the features of a comfy shoe, including a contoured footbed, soft suede material and "exceptional" support.

Birkenstock Arizona Big Buckle Slide Sandal

Arizona Big Buckle Oiled Leather$160.00

$

160.00

$

170.00

What we like

  • Oiled leather upper
  • Oversized metal pin buckles

Something to note

  • Straps may be irritating

Editorial assistant Madison San Miguel loves these Birkenstock sandals for the comfort and style they offer. "It has been one of my favorite pairs of sandals the past two springs/summers for my casual outfits because the gold hardware elevates any look," she says. "While the leather can be a tad irritating when you sweat, it still is a trusted shoe of mine!"

Need a new summer sandal? Birkenstocks are podiatrist-approved — and some are on sale now (4)

Birkenstock Arizona Birkibuc Sandal

This Shop TODAY Travel Gear Awards pick is the winner of “Best Splurge Sandal,” for its durability and comfort cork footbed.

“The contoured footbeds are extremely supportive, and the construction is noticeably durable,” says SEO editorAmanda Fama. “I really like the fact these can be dressed up or down, too. I can see myself wearing these for quick walks around the city while running errands or pairing them with a cute outfit for a picnic in the park.”

Birkenstock Kyoto Slide Sandal

Kyoto Slide Sandal$150.00

$

150.00

$

150.00

What we like

  • Adjustable hook and loop strap

Something to note

  • Reviewers say it runs wide

Not a fan of buckles? This Kyoto sandal design does without it and instead features a wide nubuck leather strap with a hook and loop closure. But don't worry, the shoe still sports the classic cork footbed for comfort and support.

Birkenstock Arizona Birko-Flor

Arizona Birko-Flor$110.00

$

110.00

What we like

  • Footbed creates custom support

Something to note

  • Skin-friendly
  • Tear-resistant

The Arizona style is arguably one of the most popular and classic models of Birkenstocks. The simple sandals feature two adjustable straps, which, in this case, are made from the brand's proprietary Birko-Flor material, which is designed to be both durable and easy to clean.

Birkenstock Mayari Birko-Flor

Mayari Birko-Flor$99.95

$

99.95

$

99.95

What we like

  • Anatomically shaped footbed

Something to note

  • Straps are adjustable

With its crisscrossed straps and multiple color options (including a chic metallic silver version), we imagine that this pair of Birkenstocks would be easy to dress up or down for any occasion. "Got these for the arch support having recently been cursed with plantar fasciitis but quickly fell in love for the sheer comfort and laid-back style of them," one Nordstrom shopper wrote. "Happy feet! Wasn’t sure Birkenstock’s were for me but they are, I love them. Don’t hesitate."

Birkenstock Madrid Big Buckle Oiled Leather

Madrid Big Buckle Oiled Leather$140.00

$

140.00

$

119.96

What we like

  • Adjustable comfort

Something to note

  • Buckle may add pressure

The Madrid was the sandal that started it all! And it's still one of the brand's bestselling models all these years later. This pair has an accentuated buckle for a stylish touch and comes in multiple leather color options.

Birkenstock Arizona Soft Footbed Suede Leather

Arizona SuedeBirkenstocks are having a moment. We love the suede look of this Arizona style. $140.00

$

140.00

$

140.00

What we like

  • Supportive
  • Comfortable

Something to note

  • May run big

Another iteration of the Arizona sandals, these shoes feature the brand's soft footbed, which includes a foam insert for added comfort. They also have suede leather straps, which the brand says are "soft to the touch."

Birkenstock Gizeh Birkibuc

Gizeh Birkibuc$99.95

$

99.95

$

99.95

What we like

  • Comfortable
  • Stylish, thong design

Something to note

  • Need to break in toe strap

The upper of the strap on this sandal is made from Birko-Flor material with a nubuck look, so the brand says that it could almost be mistaken for real leather. The brand also says the cork footbed is 100% sustainable and the shoe's deep heel cup can help distribute body weight more evenly. Editor Rebecca Brown can attest to their comfort, having been a "die-hard Gizeh wearer" for about 10 years.

Best Birkenstocks on sale

Birkenstock Sahara Women Birko-Flor

Sahara Women Birko-Flor$87.75$135.00

What we like

  • Traction sole
  • Skin-friendly material

Something to note

  • Made for trails or water

Calling all adventurers! These shoes are designed to provide comfort and support, whether you're walking on the trail or taking a dip in the river. According to the brand, the insole and footbed are water- and dirt-repellent and the upper straps are tear-resistant to keep up with all of your adventures.

Birkenstock Madrid Big Buckle

Madrid Big Buckle $97.50$150.00

What we like

  • Adjustable comfort

Something to note

  • Buckle may add pressure

The Madrid was the sandal that started it all! And it’s still one of the brand’s bestselling models all these years later. This pair has an accentuated buckle for a stylish touch and comes in multiple leather color options, though only select shades are on sale.

Birkenstock Franca Natural Leather Patent

Franca Natural Leather Patent$97.50$150.00

What we like

  • Shiny patent coating
  • Lightweight sole

Something to note

Nothing to note at this time

Mix it up with these strappy patent leather Birkenstocks. Along with a style-forward design, the brand says that these sandals feature a comfortable leather footbedand flexible EVA sole.

Birkenstock Arizona Big Buckle

Arizona Big Buckle Natural Leather Patent$110.50$170.00

$

119.00

$

170.00

What we like

  • Soft leather footbed
  • Each strap is adjustable

Something to note

  • May make noises when walking

Don't miss your chance to get Birkenstock's iconic Arizona sandals for a discount! The bold color and oversized buckle will make a statement when paired with jeans or shorts.

Birkenstock Uji Nubuck Leather

Uji Nubuck Leather$120.00$160.00

$

96.00

$

160.00

$

99.95

$

150.00

What we like

  • Suede footbed lining

Something to note

  • Velcro may rub

The velcro straps on these sandals make them easy to adjust when you're on the go. Even better, they have tons of features that make them a comfortable choice for walks, errands and more, including suede footbed liningand a contoured cork-latex footbed.

What are Birkenstocks?

According to the company website, Birkenstock's humble beginnings date all the way back to 1774 in Germany, where Johann Adam Birkenstock was a cobbler. It's clear that the career path carried on with the name, because later in 1896, master cobbler Konrad Birkenstock began manufacturing and selling flexible footbed insoles.

In fact, the family became experts in footwear. In the 1940s, Carl Birkenstock released his book, “Podiatry – The Carl Birkenstock System,” which dove into his theories about “natural gait” and healthy footwear and, according to the brand, it was the highest-selling podiatry textbook at the time. Then, in 1963, the company’s first sandal, the single-strap Madrid, was launched.

So, while the shoes may be super trendy right now, the Birkenstock name has been associated with quality footwear for centuries. “They've been pioneering the arch support game and contributing to podiatry for a really long time,” Sayed says.

How do you clean Birkenstocks?

If you already have a pair of Birkenstocks and they're looking a little worse for wear, the brand has some helpful cleaning tips on its site that you can follow. To clean your shoes, you'll need a brush, an old toothbrush, a cloth, leather shampoo and two bowls of water.

If your Birkenstocks are Nubuck leather or suede, start by brushing off dirt with a shoe brush (if yours are smooth leather, you can remove it with a slightly damp cloth).

After cleaning the outside, the brand suggests opening up the straps and cleaning the outside with a damp brush. Then, switch to the toothbrush and use it to massage a mix of water and leather shampoo into the footbed. Birkenstock suggests using a wet cloth to wash them off with lukewarm water — but the brand adds that you shouldn't hold them under running water or submerge them completely.

To dry, the brand suggests placing them in a spot inside, not in the sun or on a radiator, as they may lose their moisture-absorbing qualities.

Meet our expert
  • Dr. Asim Sayed, DPM, is a podiatrist in Kansas. He is trained in all aspects of podiatry, including sports medicine, wound care and trauma and is a member of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons.
How we chose

We selected the best Birkenstock shoes based on insights and recommendations from a podiatrist and approved picks from Shop TODAY editors and staffers. Other Birkenstock shoes were sourced through verified shopper reviews.

Emma Stessman

Emma Stessman is a writer for Shop TODAY.

Need a new summer sandal? Birkenstocks are podiatrist-approved — and some are on sale now (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Ms. Lucile Johns

Last Updated:

Views: 5918

Rating: 4 / 5 (41 voted)

Reviews: 80% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Ms. Lucile Johns

Birthday: 1999-11-16

Address: Suite 237 56046 Walsh Coves, West Enid, VT 46557

Phone: +59115435987187

Job: Education Supervisor

Hobby: Genealogy, Stone skipping, Skydiving, Nordic skating, Couponing, Coloring, Gardening

Introduction: My name is Ms. Lucile Johns, I am a successful, friendly, friendly, homely, adventurous, handsome, delightful person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.