As the weather begins to chill, I’m beginning to think about my fall wardrobe, and one thing that always crosses my mind is whether or not I should replace my beloved Birkenstock sandals with a new pair. After spending an entire week wearing the new pair of Birkenstocks, I question their size. Wait a sec, are my Birkenstocks too big?
To know if your Birkenstocks are too big, measure the space between your toes and the front of the sandals. It should be no more than half an inch or 13mm. Then press your heel into the heel cup. If your toes can’t rest firmly on the toe bar when you do so, then your Birkenstocks are too big.
It’s much easier to determine if your shoes or sandals are too small. The sandals will be uncomfortable, your toes don’t fit and the straps leave marks on your skin.
Being too big, on the other hand, is a different ball game all on its own. It can be hard to tell until it is too late.
One more thing before we move on: When you buy Birkenstocks online or in person, always make sure you’re buying from an authorized retailer to ensure the authenticity of your product.
Tips to ensure your Birks fit perfectly
The space between your toes and the front edge of the sandals should range from half to one-eighth of an inch (3mm to 13mm).
To avoid foot chafing and allow your toes to fit snugly in the toe cap, leave a half-inch (1.27 cm) space in front of your toes and 1/8th (0.3 cm) inch at the back of your heels. Too much space on either side will cause your toes to hit the insole, causing discomfort.
If you’re having difficulty measuring this, place your fingers behind your heel, with your toes touching the tip of your sandal. If two or more fingers can fit behind your heel, then it’s likely that the sandal is too big.
Press the side of your sandal against a wall
Birkenstocks are made of tough material, so they can’t flex as much as other brands of sandals, especially when you’re wearing them. If the front edge of the sandal easily bends when you press it against a wall, then you need to get a smaller size of Birkenstocks.
The easy flexing of the sandal indicates that there’s far too much space between the front edge of the sandal and your toes. If the sandal were your correct size, it wouldn’t bend that quickly (if it bends at all).
Do your feet move around too much?
The best way to tell if your Birkenstock is the right size is to check how far forward you need to slide your foot in order for your toes to be inside the toe grip. If you can rest your heel on the heel cup while your toes sit on the toe bar, your shoe is a perfect fit.
But if you have to slide your foot forward just so that your toes can fit in the toe grip, then you may need a smaller pair of sandals.
The toe curl test
To check for the right fit, curl your toes in your sandals. If there is room between your toes and the front edge of the sandal, it may be a sign that the Birk is too big.
Do note that there shouldn’t be a large gap between the back of your heel and the back edge of the sandal during your toe-curling test. If there is, the sandal won’t adequately support your foot. You know what’s coming: the sandal is way, way too big.
Your feet are different sizes
Yes, you read that correctly. For some people, one foot is larger than the other. If you are one of these folks, it’s best to test your Birkenstock sandal on your larger foot.
Don’t worry if your smaller foot feels a bit loose in the second sandal—that’s normal. You can tighten the straps a little on your smaller foot to achieve a better fit.
Do your Birks feel right?
Your Birks should feel comfortable right out of the box. Before they are broken in properly, your feet may suffer a hella pain, but when you initially put them on, they should “feel right.”
While we are on this topic, let’s also talk about comfortability. Proper support is important, and if your Birkenstocks are too big, you won’t get proper support.
The Birkenstocks Footbed
People’s feet can be broadly classified into two widths: narrow and broad. Of course, Birkenstock came prepared, offering two types of footbeds: regular and narrow. If you have wide feet, you’ll want to choose the regular-width Birkenstock sandals. If your feet are slim, you’ll fare better in the narrow style.
How do you differentiate between the slim footbeds and the wider ones? Easy peasy. Check the foot icon.
Normal-width footbeds have their foot icon outlined, while narrow ones have their foot icon filled in. But if you’re ordering your Birkenstocks from a site that doesn’t use the foot icon indicator, like Zappos, you’ll find two boxes beneath the image of the sandals marked “narrow” and “wide.”
When you purchase a pair of Birkenstock sandals, you’ll likely find they are roomy. This is because the shoes were originally designed to provide support for the orthopedic needs of those who suffer from foot problems. What do you do, then?
Tighten the straps a bit. But, if, after tightening the straps to a humanly reasonable degree, your feet still have a lot of wiggle room within the sandals, you may need a narrower pair.
The trick to finding the perfect Birkenstocks is knowing your foot width and size. The standard numerical shoe size was developed to indicate the length of a person’s foot. That’s why most people who rely on it often mistake it as the basis for overall comfort.
If one foot is larger than the other, it’s safer to choose soft-footbed Birkenstocks. Luckily, there’s a printable Foot Measurement Template on the Birkenstock website just for you.
Check your sandal straps
When trying on sandals, tighten the strap as much as possible. If they still feel comfortable afterward, then chances are that they’re too large.
Stand up and try to walk in your shoes
Are your toes hitting the insole as you walk instead of resting on it? Do you feel as if there’s a heavy weight pulling down your foot? Does your foot slide inside the sandal like it wants to play tag? If your answer to these questions is “Yes,” your Birkenstocks are likely too big for your feet.
Assuming that the difference in size between your feet and the sandals is negligible, how do you optimize the sandals without falling prey to blisters and bruises?
Use your sandals a lot
Give your feet a chance to adjust to the new shoes by wearing them around the house and taking short walks.
Put on thicker socks
If you are having problems with your feet slipping around in your sandals, try pairing the Birkenstocks with thicker socks.
Use balled up newspapers
Not everyone likes stepping out in Birkenstocks and socks, which is why newspapers are here to save the day. Insert some crumpled newspapers or tissues to fill out the sandals, and no one will detect the difference!
If you’re shopping for a new pair of Birkenstocks, here are some tips to help you avoid purchasing an oversized pair:
Determine the Proper Size
It seems obvious, but for some people, it’s an essential criterion for choosing the right fit.
And although deciding on a size is the primary consideration for choosing footwear, other things should also be taken into account, such as:
Not relying on last year’s measurement.
As you age, your feet tend to grow larger. Teens and young adults tend to outgrow their shoes more quickly because tendons and ligaments in their feet lose their elasticity faster, making their feet longer and wider. However, foot growth occurs in older people too. In short, always measure your feet before you shop for shoes.
As we discussed earlier, the size of your shoes is determined by the length and width of your feet and sometimes even the shape of your foot arch.
To determine your foot size, use a Brannock device. It is employed by footwear specialists and manufacturers to measure the length and width of your foot. To utilize Brannock device, place your foot on the base of the device. Distribute your body weight evenly between both feet, so that the foot on the Brannock Device will neither be too tense nor over relaxed.
As an alternative, employ a regular ruler if you don’t have a Brannock Device. Refer to the Birkenstock size conversion chart to make comparisons easier. Also, check the soles of the Birkenstocks for the sandals’ widths (indicated in both US and European sizes).
The Bottom Line
Birkenstock sandals are a timeless classic. They’re comfy, quality shoes that will last for years. And since it’s one of the largest shoe companies, you can order almost anything you like without worrying about it being out of stock.
Most importantly, though, Birkenstock offers great customer service and a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee. If their products don’t fit your feet like a dream or aren’t to your liking in any way, they’ll take them back with no questions asked.
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- Can Birkenstocks get wet?
- How long do Birkenstocks last?
- Are Birkenstocks good for walking long distances?
- Breaking in Birkenstocks (A complete guide!)
- How should Birkenstocks fit?
- Should you wear Birkenstocks with socks?