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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

23 Models Considered
7 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
318 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best Birkenstock sandals for women

Last Updated July 2020

In the shoe business since 1774, the Birkenstock name is synonymous with quality construction. It’s this dedication to quality that has won so many loyal customers. No longer just a niche brand, Birkenstock sandals for women come in a wide variety of feminine styles to suit almost any outfit or occasion.

Many wear Birkenstocks because of the comfort they offer. The company was among the first shoemakers to introduce anatomically designed footbeds. Made of firm cork, the footbed has natural contours that hug and support the foot. But all that doesn’t mean Birkenstocks can’t turn heads. European styling lends Birkenstock designs a timeless simplicity that never goes out of fashion. Whether you’re looking for flats or wedges, Birkenstock offers a design for every woman.

Sandals especially lend themselves to Birkenstock’s ageless elegance. Dress them up with a breezy skirt or go casual with your favorite jeans. Your perfect pair is waiting. Keep reading to learn more. When you’re ready to buy, check our recommendations for the best Birkenstock women’s sandals on the market.

Birkenstock cork footbeds are made with surplus materials from companies that bottle wine and other beverages. This allows the natural resource to be repurposed rather than wasted.

Key considerations

Flats or wedges

Flats: When you think of Birkenstocks, you probably picture flats. The original, classic Birkenstocks were flat sandals with two wide straps, and this timeless look is still a staple in the company’s lineup. Today, strap width and placement vary greatly by design, but the classic flat footbed remains the same. Flat sandals offer women the greatest amount of stability and support. They’re the best for those with balance challenges, and they can be easily dressed up or down. 

Wedges: But not everyone needs maximum support. If you covet Birkenstocks for their quality, consider a pair of wedges that will give your foot — and your style — a boost. Choose from strappy sandals, modified gladiators, mules, and more to complete your feminine look. 

Uppers

Leather: For years, Birkenstock sandals have been recognized by their classic, natural leather uppers. Surface leather on most styles is left untreated for a more natural, one-of-a-kind look. Some sandals are also available in patent leather — a high gloss paint or plastic coating — as well as soft suede, nubuck, and others.

Vegan: More recently, Birkenstock has begun offering vegan designs that do not contain any animal products. Uppers in these cruelty-free shoes are made from durable synthetic microfiber, but they resemble nubuck leather. These fashionable vegan styles also eliminate the brand’s traditional leather-covered footbed and use animal-free adhesives as well.

Thongs or slides

When it comes to this option, most sandal-wearers have firmly chosen a camp. Either you love the secure grip of thong sandals, or you can’t stand the feel of a toe post between your piggies. If you’re among the undecided, weigh your options.

Thongs: Thong sandals give your feet a physical object to grip, so your soles rest in the footbed without additional straps. This gives you greater control, but ongoing toe flexion may increase your chances of plantar fasciitis. Some individuals find they don’t like the feel of the toe post.

Slides: With slides, you simply slip your toes below the straps. Many find them more comfortable because the sandals lack a toe post. Slides do not give you as much grip or physical control, but they don’t promote tight foot and calf muscles either.

Combination: A number of styles combine thongs with straps around the ankles or other parts of the foot. These straps reduce the need to grip the toe post to keep the sandal on your foot, which decreases the strain on foot muscles.

Supportive and stylish

While feminine cutout straps catch your eye, the footbed is the real star of the show. The Granada combines superior arch support with a foam-padded footbed to deliver a stylish pair of sandals you can wear all day long. Oiled leather uppers lend a rugged feel to the three straps and will create a nice patina over time.

Features

Straps

Straps are almost synonymous with sandals, but the type of strap can make all the difference in how they look.

Narrow: Thinner straps give your Birkenstocks a more delicate, feminine look. They pair more easily with dresses and skirts than thicker, chunkier straps, but they don’t clash with more casual outfits. However, narrow straps can dig into your feet more frequently than wider straps. If you go this route, look for Birkenstock sandals with multiple straps that distribute the weight and pressure across your foot instead of focusing it in one area.

Wide: Wider straps usually give you an edgier, bolder look. They can be more comfortable than narrow straps, and they distribute pressure more evenly across the foot. Sandals with wider straps are harder to pair with frilly, feminine outfits, but they look perfectly natural with earthier dresses and bohemian skirts. They’re an instant winner with jeans and capris.

Buckles

Buckles help you adjust your sandals to get the perfect fit. In thong sandals, they can take pressure off the front of the foot and help prevent your foot from slipping. In slides, they ensure a better fit by keeping the straps flat across the top of the foot. Look for straps that complement the style of the sandal rather than distract. Contrasting metal buckles can add a tailored look to this traditionally casual style. Buckles should give you several options for making your sandal looser or tighter.

Colors

Classic Birkenstock sandals come in a variety of natural, earthy tones. Straps in black, brown, tan, and cream will coordinate effortlessly with almost anything in your wardrobe. Uppers with a glossy patent or reflective metallic finish elevate your look when you don’t want to sacrifice style for comfort. Uppers made with dyed leather or synthetic material allow Birkenstock to offer fresh new looks in a rainbow of vibrant colors. Cool blues, sunny yellows, rich purples and more can add an eye-catching pop to more basic looks.

CAUTION

Heat can damage cork and shrink the soles, so don’t leave your Birks in a sunny spot or a hot car.

Accessories

Supportive shoe insoles: Superfeet GREEN Insoles
You’ll be tempted to wear your Birkenstock sandals year-round, but eventually, you’ll have to swap them for something with closed toes and put those Birks on the shelf until spring.  When you do, be sure to use these Superfeet insoles to give your feet the support they need.

Birkenstock unisex sandals: Birkenstock Milano Unisex Sandal
Is someone in your life jealous of your comfortable new sandals? Get him a pair of his own! Birkenstock’s Milano sandal is advertised as unisex, but its thick, rugged vamp and ankle straps give this design a decidedly masculine feel. Oiled leather completes the look.

EXPERT TIP

Since they’re so supportive, Birkenstocks can take time to break in. Keep them on for a couple of hours the first few times you wear them.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

Protect your pedicure! Birkenstock intentionally raises the edge of its footbed to guard your toes, a feature most open-toed shoes lack!


Staff  | BestReviews

Birkenstock sandal prices

Quality footwear comes at a price, but many Birkenstock customers wear their shoes for years. Additionally, many sandal components can be replaced when they become too worn for comfort.

Inexpensive: If you catch a sale and you’re not picky about the color, you may find women’s Birkenstocks sandals for $80 or less in limited sizes and styles. However, if you’re looking for a specific style and color, expect to pay around $100 for classic flat, two-strap Birkenstocks in either traditional or vegan materials.

Mid-range: The next tier of Birkenstock sandals costs $100 to $120. You’ll find a wide variety of styles in this price range, from slides and thongs to feminine wedges. This tier also includes a greater variety of colors and finishes.

Expensive: If you’re looking at Birkenstock’s latest designs, expect to pay between $130 and $150. You have your choice of flats or wedges, intricate strap details, stylish mules, and other fashion-forward designs. You should also have your pick of colors and finishes.

Modern-day classic

Birkenstock’s traditional two-buckle design has staying power for a reason. The classic footbed design provides ultimate comfort, support, and stability. The wide leather straps distribute pressure and weight evenly across the top of the foot. While they may require a short break-in period, they’re sure to stand the test of time in your wardrobe.

Tips

  • Break in your Birkenstocks. Most Birkenstock sandals feel stiff at first. It takes time for the cork to mold to your individual foot shape. Flexing them gently with your hands may help speed the process.
  • Adjust the straps. Your straps should fit firmly but not too tightly. Leave enough room to fit and move a finger between the top of your foot and the straps. You should also be able to fit a finger between your ankle and the corresponding strap.
Birkenstocks tend to run large, so if you’re on the fence about sizing, choose a size smaller than your usual.

FAQ

Q. How will I know if my Birkenstock sandals fit correctly?
A.
Sit, unfasten any buckles, and place your heel in the very back of the heel cup. When seated, you should have about 1/4 inch to spare at the toes and heel and 1/8 inch at the sides. Make sure your arch hits the arch contour and the toe bar rests below the spot where your toes and foot meet. Fasten the buckle closest to your toes first, then any farther up the foot. Once everything’s in place, stand up and walk! If you’re still concerned about fit, make sure your arch rests properly against the footbed’s contours.
 

Q. Birkenstock sandals are supposed to be comfortable. Why are mine so hard?
A.
It’s possible you’re just not used to wearing a supportive shoe. Over time, the footbed — which is made of cork and latex — will mold to the shape of your foot. This takes a while, and also a bit of body heat. Wear your sandals in short spurts at first while the footbed gradually adjusts to the shape of your foot.


Q. What happens if my sandals get wet?
A.
One of cork’s few drawbacks is that it can be damaged by water. Wet Birkenstock sandals must be fully dried before you wear them again or you risk degrading the footbed. Unfortunately, the heat used to dry most materials can crack cork. Don’t set your Birks out in the sun to dry. Instead, set them down in the shade if it’s not too hot outside or indoors in a spot that doesn’t get direct sunlight.

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