Welcome to Shoe School
everything you need to know to find the perfect fit, material, and style
(plus care tips and more!)
Quick Cleaning & Care Tips
Learn how to make your Birkenstocks last EVEN LONGER!
The Making of A Birkenstock
Watch what goes into the cork footbed making process.
Place your foot on a ruler and measure from the heel to the tip of your longest toe. Birkenstock USA has a different size guide than ours. We've found this is a more accurate way to find the best fit.
We recognize that shopping for non-US sizes can be a bit overwhelming.
That’s why we do everything we can to empower you with the info you need to find
your perfect fit! Here’s what you need to know.
Birkenstock are made in Germany, so the number (such as 39) in your sandal is the German size.
You’ll also see the metric measurement (for example, 250). The smaller numbers (like L8 or M6) are Birkenstock’s conversion of Ladies’ and Men’s US sizes. HOWEVER, we find those US measurements to be different than what we see on our customers. The charts below will show you our best judgement of the conversion from German to US sizes.
Birkenstock sizes only come in whole sizing-typically ranging from 24-34 in kid’s sizes, and 35-50 in adult sizes.
Birkenstock sizes are unisex, but some styles are offered in only smaller sizes (36-42) and others in only larger sizes (41-46).
We recommend the following for Birkenstock sizes, but feel free to call us for advice.
Not all feet are created equal. You and your buddy might both wear a nine, but the way that same size feels varies from person to person, brand to brand, and even by style!
The regular width in a Birkenstock fits most customers.
You can think of a regular fitting medium to wide feet. It's marked in the footbed as the outline of a footprint.
The narrow width accommodates narrow to medium feet. If a Birkenstock is offered only in a narrow, consider going up one size. It's marked in the footbed as a solid filled-in footprint.
*note that some styles only come in Narrow, such as most EVAs and all Kid's sandals.
If you have high arches, you’ll probably immediately appreciate the feeling of support Birkenstock offers. If you have low arches, you’ll likely feel pressure in your arches until the cork and latex footbed softens with wear.
Once broken in, they may become the most comfortable shoe you’ve ever worn, for now the bones and tendons of your feet are in the proper position to support your entire body. We recommend wearing Birkenstock for only a short period to start and gradually increase the number of hours each day.
1. Flex the footbed to speed up the wear-in process.
2. Open all the straps completely and step into the shoe with your heel as far back in the shoe as possible. This will give you room to comfortably buckle the shoes, allowing freedom of movement, without them feeling like they could fly off!
3. After buckling the straps, you should have no more than ¼” around the heels and toes to ensure a natural rolling motion.
4. Take a stroll!* If your feet can move freely without stepping over the edge, then you’ve got a winner.
5. Limit your first 5 to 7 wearings to just a few hours at a time. This allows the feet and body to gradually get used to the new support, and for the sole to shape to your feet.
*Shoes must be in new condition to have the option of returning them.
We’re often asked whether a classic or soft footbed is better. This seems to be a personal
preference. The soft bed can help ease the adjustment time for a new pair of Birkenstock.
Most people can enjoy either and your choice may be based on color or style preference.
The original contoured cork footbed conforms to the shape of your foot and features pronounced arch support with a deep heel cup and roomy toe box.
The Birkenstock Soft Footbed has all the features of a classic footbed, plus an additional foam layer, which offers extra comfort and pampers feet – all day long! Millions of ultra-fine air bubbles make sure that the insert always returns to its original shape to provide consistent, durable cushioning.
EVA (Ethylene Vinyl Acetate) a lightweight, waterproof material lends itself perfectly to the
anatomically shaped footbed of the Essential Birkenstock collection.
Latex is a sustainable material harvested from rubber trees and is the binder for the cork in the Birkenstock footbed
The flexible leather lining, which is gentle on the skin, nestles up softly against your foot and adjusts to its contour. The open-pored and thus very breathable surface makes for a comfortable foot climate, even during more strenuous physical activity.
Cork is a sustainable, lightweight material harvested from the bark layer of the cork oak. This natural product is insulating and offers very good cushioning.
Jute is a sustainable material harvested from an annual plant. A layer of jute fabric is placed above and below the cork/latex to strengthen the footbed and it makes future repairs easier.
We want you to be equipped and empowered with all the information you need to find your "Cinderella pair". That's why we've provided information on all the vocab terms for upper-materials, construction and footbeds.
Birko-Flor nubuck is made of easy-to-care-for and hygienic PVC, which has been lined on the inside with a soft, breathable layer of felted nylon. The surface looks like natural leather. This high-quality material is very gentle on the skin and comfortable.
Birkibuc: The upper is made from the skin-friendly, hard-wearing synthetic material Birko-Flor® in a sophisticated nubuck look which boasts a texture and color that could almost be mistaken for real leather. This high-quality material is very gentle on the skin and comfortable.
Natural leather can be recognized by its untreated surface. Birkenstock purposely does not treat surface grains and other characteristic features. Birkenstock uses sturdy leather with a thickness of 2.8 to 3.2 millimeters as upper material.
Similarly, Oiled leather can also be recognized by its untreated surface.The only difference is that oiled leather has a slightly more durable and moisture-resistant surface.
Amalfi leather is a high finished, polished leather. Its smooth sheen gives any casual pair sandals a dressy edge - for a smooth transition from day to night wear, or casual to semi-formal.
Nubuck leather has a gently buffed surface with no grains. As with velvet, brushing the surface of nubuck leather displaces the fibers and leaves a visible mark. Nubuck leather is very sensitive to moisture and color, and it therefore needs to be waterproofed.
On the other hand, Suede leather is soft and flexible with light surface nap. Suede is also brushed to achieve a velvety effect, but rather than brushing the outer hide (as is the case for nubuck), it's the inner layer of hide.
Shearling is the natural wool of the sheep, still attached to the hide.
The Happy Lamb is a lining created by shearing the lamb and weaving the wool into a fabric liner. Both materials bring natural wicking properties offering a luxurious environment for your feet.
Birko-Flor with a patent leather-like finish is made of easy-to-care-for and hygienic PVC, which has been lined on the inside with a soft, breathable layer of felted nylon. This high-quality material is very gentle on the skin and comfortable.
Polyurethane, also known as PU, is a synthetic material ideally suited for use outdoors. The material is water-repellent and dirt-resistant and extremely easy to care for.
EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate) is a high-quality, very light, elastic material with extremely good cushioning. As a result, it smooths out slight irregularities in the floor and ensures that every step is softly cushioned.
The super-grip sole is comprised of two components: a nonslip, oil- and grease-resistant outsole made of rubber and a shock-absorbing midsole made of light, flexible EVA.