Birkenstock is a leading name in high-quality footwear, specializing in sandals that people prize for their support and durability. However, it isn’t always easy to find the right size shoe to fit your foot.
In this guide, we’ll go over the Birkenstock size chart and discover how sizing can affect the shoe. Read on to discover how to find the perfect fit for your next pair of Birkenstocks.
About Birkenstock Shoes
The Birkenstock Group was first founded in 1774 by Johann Adam Birkenstock in Langen-Bergheim, Germany. His flexible footbed insoles gained widespread attention, evolving over the late 19th century until Birkenstock developed the first contoured arch support in 1902.
By 1966, Birkenstock shoes had hit the U.S. shoe market and gained widespread popularity. In the 1980s, the company began to shift its focus towards more eco-conscious practices, managing to reduce energy consumption by 90% by 1990.
Nowadays, Birkenstocks are world-renowned for their contoured footbed, cork soles, and suede leather lining. They set the standard for all-purpose sandals in terms of both comfort and durability, including features such as:
- Flexible yet supportive arches
- A deep, cushioned heel cup
- A toe bar for grip and alignment
- A shock-absorbing reinforced sole
In addition to the classic Birkenstock shoe, you can also find more cushioning in the company’s soft footbed. Their Blue Footbed, first designed in 1925, will fit inside most closed-toed shoes to offer additional support.
The Birkenstock Group’s company policy revolves around ethical and responsible business practices, paying homage to its European roots. Many of the materials in Birkenstock shoes come from natural, sustainable sources, including:
- Cork harvested from living trees
- 98% water-based, solvent-free, and eco-friendly adhesive
- Renewable, natural latex instead of synthetic
- Treated jute plant fibers
- Wool felt and leather
- Copper and brass
Birkenstock offers a wide variety of different styles and patterns in addition to their classic sandals. You can find everything from clogs to boots in their lineup, all boasting the company’s famed contoured support. Shoes come in men’s, women’s, and children’s sizes, with both regular and narrow options available.
Read Also: Are Birkenstocks Comfortable
How Does Birkenstock Sizing Work?
As a European company, Birkenstock manufactures its shoes in European sizes. As a result, it can be a challenge for U.S. consumers to determine the best shoe size to fit their feet.
Fortunately, it’s fairly easy to figure out your European shoe size if you know your U.S. size. Women should simply add a 31 to their shoe size, while men should add a 33.
If you find yourself stuck between two sizes, it’s always best to opt for the larger option. Feet tend to expand during the day, so a smaller size that feels fine in the shop may be too tight later on.
All men’s and women’s shoes come in both regular and narrow options. People with normal to wide feet should opt for regular sizes, while people with dainty or delicate feet may find superior support with a narrow size.
The Birkenstock Size Chart
|U.S. Size||Womens Size||Mens Size||Kids Size|
|1 – 1 1/2||–||–||32|
|2 – 2 1/2||–||–||33|
|3 – 3 1/2||–||–||34|
|4 – 4 1/2||35||–||–|
|5 – 5 1/2||36||–||–|
|6 – 6 1/2||37||–||24|
|7 – 7 1/2||38||40||25|
|8 – 8 1/2||39||41||26|
|9 – 9 1/2||40||42||27|
|10 – 10 1/2||41||43||28|
|11 – 11 1/2||42||44||29|
|12 – 12 1/2||–||45||30|
|13 – 13 1/2||–||46||31|
|14 – 14 1/2||–||47||32|
|15 – 15 1/2||–||48||33|
|16 – 16 1/2||–||49||34|
|17 – 17 1/2||–||50|
Birkenstock Size Guide for EU, UK and US
use from the Society of Shoe Fitters.
|35||2.5||4 – 4.5|
|36||3.5||5 – 5.5|
|37||4.5||6 – 6.5|
|38||5||7 – 7.5|
|39||5.5||8 – 8.5|
|40||7||9 – 9.5|
|41||7.5||10 – 10.5|
|42||8||11 – 11.5|
|43||9||12 – 12.5|
Do Birkenstocks Run Big or Small or True to Size?
In most instances, Birkenstock shoes fit well and are true to size. Fitting can be especially important when it comes to Birkenstocks, as some people prefer a shoe that is a little bit bigger and has extra space in the forefoot and heel.
Another important factor to consider when buying Birkenstocks is where the arches of the shoe hit your feet.
The Birkenstock maker recommends you size your shoes so that your heel stays in the heel cup while your toes approach but do not touch the front lip. This will help the toe bar and arches of the footbed fit you better.
If the straps are too loose, your feet will move around more on the footbed which can affect arch placement and comfort. It’s recommended that you have a quite snug fit on your Birkenstock straps. However, you don’t want them so tight that they are uncomfortable.
When trying on shoes, make sure to check that the footbed is the right size for your feet. The footbed can offer a lot of comfort- with the right size- or cause a lot of discomfort if it is too small or too large.
If you don’t know how to get your footbed fitting right then you need to simply measure your feet or go to the store and try on different styles of Birkenstocks.
How to Measure Your Feet
It’s always best to measure your feet before ordering a new pair of shoes. There’s no standardization between brands, making it difficult to know your true shoe size. Birkenstocks may end up running smaller or larger than your other footwear.
You can easily measure your feet by yourself at home to determine the best shoe size for your foot. All you need is a pencil or pen, some paper, and a tape measure.
Stabilize your heel against a wall and step down on a blank sheet of paper. Make sure to align the edge with the wall. Place your foot directly onto your tape measurer to get a reading for foot length.
Alternatively, it may be easier to draw around your foot and measure the markings. Make sure that you mark the sides and tips of your feet to get measurements for both length and width. You may even want to trace around your entire foot for more accurate numbers.
If you’re having trouble getting an accurate measurement, you can always ask a friend to help. Better yet, you can head to your closest Birkenstock location and have in-store experts measure your foot for you. They can help you determine the best size, fit, and style of Birkenstock to suit your needs.
Tips for Measuring Your Feet
If you plan to measure your feet at home, here are some tips and tricks to help everything go smoothly:
- When tracing, it’s best to use a ballpoint pen or a pencil. A marker or felt-tip pen may be too bulky, and it can impact the millimeter measurements you get for your feet.
- Always measure your feet at the end of the day, as they tend to expand in size. Otherwise, you may end up with shoes that are too small.
- If you plan to wear socks with your shoes, you should include them when taking measurements.
Finding the Perfect Fit For Your Feet
Fitting your feet for Birkenstocks is about more than just finding the right size. You need a shoe with a footbed that supports your body without causing pain or fatigue.
Your foot should fit into a Birkenstock with about 5 mm of room to spare in the heel to prevent chafing or pressure. There should be about 10 mm between your toes and the edge of the sole. The toe ridge should rest comfortably above the ball of your foot.
If your toes are too close to the edge of the footbed, the shoe is likely too small. It’s also too small or narrow if you notice your toes spilling over the sides.
Adjusting Your Shoe Straps
Part of finding the perfect fit with your Birkenstocks is adjusting the straps properly. Loose straps can make walking awkward and uncomfortable, while tight straps can irritate skin and impact blood flow.
Straps should feel comfortable when walking, leaving just a small amount of space for your skin to breathe. The lower strap should be around 5 mm away from the toe line of your foot, while the upper strap should leave 10 mm from the upper arch.
It may take some trial and error to find the perfect fit for your straps. New Birkenstocks can be relatively stiff before breaking in, so you may have to tighten straps over time.
To loosen or tighten straps, slide them through the metal buckle, most often located by the outer edge of the shoe. Birkenstocks come with a series of pre-punched holes to allow you to fit straps to the exact shape of your foot.
Breaking In Birkenstocks
One of the main complaints when it comes to Birkenstocks is that the shoes are too stiff. However, this is often because the straps and soles haven’t had a break-in period. Birkenstocks require a little bit of wear and tear to offer maximum comfort and flexibility.
Before putting your shoes on, use your hand to flex the footbed of your shoe and start breaking in the sole. You may also want to flex the straps before tightening them.
It can take several wear sessions to break in a pair of Birkenstocks completely. You may want to limit your first few wears to under a few hours to prevent blisters while your shoes adjust and your feet both adjust.
Does Birkenstock Have a Return Policy?
Even if you take all of the proper precautions, you may end up with a pair of shoes that don’t fit quite right. Fortunately, Birkenstock allows for returns or exchanges up to 30 days after the date of purchase or delivery.
If you purchase an item in-store, you can return it to the same Birkenstock location. If you purchased online, you must return your items via www.birkenstock.com/us/returns.
All returned goods have to be in their original packaging and brand new condition. Shoes are subject to inspection before any returns get cleared, so it’s best to avoid wearing them outside until after the break-in period.
Don’t return your Birkenstocks if they don’t fit right away. It can take days to weeks to properly break in a pair of shoes. After plenty of wear, you’ll find that the leather is softer, the sole more flexible, and the cork core molding to the shape of your foot.
The Importance of a Good Fit
Wearing shoes that fit correctly can have a huge impact on your day-to-day comfort levels. An ill-fitting shoe can end up leading to issues such as:
- Blisters, corns, and calluses
- Plantar fasciitis
- Joint problems in the ankles, knees, and hips
- Back pain
- Stress fractures
- Reduced circulation
It’s crucial that you make sure any new shoes you buy fit your foot properly to avoid causing short or long-term health issues. They should be both long and wide enough to accommodate your foot without any pressure or pinching that could impact blood flow. Your shoes should also allow enough space for your toes to spread without cramping.
It’s also a good idea to look for breathable shoe designs to promote healthy air circulation. This design prevents moisture buildup that can lead to blisters, sores, and even fungal infections. It also reduces the amount of odor that lingers in your shoe.
Birkenstock sandals allow plenty of airflow, but you need to be careful that designs such as boots and tennis shoes leave enough space around your feet. If you plan on wearing socks, you may want to opt for a lightweight, moisture-wicking variety to protect your foot.
Birkenstocks are a quality name in footwear, with an extensive line of all-purpose shoes and sandals that boast both support and comfort.
It’s important that you find the right fit to make the most out of your Birkenstock shoes. Otherwise, you may find yourself with back pains, blisters, and worse. The Birkenstock size chart can tell you what shoe will offer the best support,
Knowing how to measure your feet will let you zero in on the best Birkenstock size for your foot. Though they may take some time to break in, the right pair of Birkenstocks can offer comfort and stability for years to come.