Birkenstock vs. Papillio: What’s the Difference?

Birkenstock is known for producing footwear that meets the shoe industry’s highest quality standard. To expand its market reach, the brand did not only nurture its original lineups but even introduced other collections such as Papillio.

Birkenstock has been one of the best sandal manufacturers in the history of shoes. Its pairs come with comfortable footbeds patronized by many. Its product brand, Papillio, was an extension and elevation. Papillio’s upper and heel designs are products of an independent creative team. Their pairs come with more heel height.

Almost everyone knows about Birkenstock, but only a few know about Papillio. So, if you’re intrigued and want to check out how different pairs under Papillio are from classic Birks, just keep reading!

In this article, I have discussed the similarities and differences between Birkenstocks and Papillio. Moreover, I have also distinguished which offers comfier and travel-friendly pairs.

Is Papillio the same as Birkenstocks?

Just think of Papillio as one of Birkenstock’s children. Birkenstock has created a sub-collection that consists of Papillio, Betula, and Footprints. They may have several similarities, but they do have distinct specific features.

Papillio is Birkenstock. The Papillio collection is made to cater to the needs and wants of a specific group of people: the fashionistas. Although only a sub-collection, Papillio still got that Birkenstock trademark comfort, durability, and quality.

The Papillio product brand screams pure versatility and fashion. Included are models with platform soles and heels as high as 4 cm. Despite this height, Papillio sandals are still comfortable thanks to the Birkenstock footbed.

Under this collection, classic Arizona and Gizeh Birks have platform alternatives. Other attractive designs, such as Cameron and Daytona, are originally included in Papillio’s lineup.

What are the differences between Birkenstock and Papillio?

We all know Birkenstocks and why they are the crowd’s favorite! Their uniquely designed footbeds, elegant upper straps, and overall appearance just suit everyone’s tastes.

To expand its reach, the brand included sub-collections in its catalogs. The parent brand produced an offspring that displays the insignia of Birkenstock but with a twist!

Although Papillio models retain several trademark features, they possess something different that makes them stand out. These are the things I have discussed in the following sections.


Similarly, Birkenstock classics and Papillio use leather and synthetic materials to produce their footwear. For most leather Birkenstocks, several leather types are being used: suede, nubuck, oiled, smooth, and Amalfi, among others.

Under synthetic Birks lineups, synthetic materials such as Birko-Flor and Biro-Felt are being utilized. Browse over this article’s sections to learn more about leather and synthetic Birkenstocks.

The creative team behind Papillio also uses similar materials in producing their pairs. However, they offer sandals that are made by combining different materials such as metal buckles, suede leather, and other accessories.

Classic Birkenstocks maintain the use of leather uppers and cork footbeds. On the other hand, to reach new heights, Papillio introduced out-of-the-ordinary combinations of materials but still retained the original footbed design.

Features & Styles

Birkenstock takes pride in being the pioneer in producing anatomically shaped footbeds that are orthopedic. The brand has integrated their specially designed insoles in every model they have released.

There are two types of Birks footbeds: regular and soft. The regular ones require to be worn in to become exceedingly comfy, while soft footbeds are already cozy even when they are newly purchased.

Papillio is only available in the regular footbed version but can instantly add a few centimeters to your height! To look more fashionable and feminine, Papillio features either platform soles or wedge heels. These are totally perfect for the shorties!

In terms of style, Birkenstock has a lot to offer. From two-strap sandals to clogs, you just have limitless options. Actually, the brand made over 400 Birks variations available in the market.

On the other hand, as per Birkenstock’s official website, Papillio only has 6 sandal styles. This is because Papillio is a new footwear line. Nevertheless, its pairs are still worth the try.

Colors & Availability

Birkenstock, the parent brand, has produced many offspring in the United States and worldwide. Leather and synthetic Birks are available in many colors, from solid to multi-colored.

Some of Birkenstock’s bestselling colors are black, white, brown, and taupe. If you’re looking for something fun and eye-catching Birks pair, there are also multi-patterned designs to check out.

You can’t find a multi-printed or colored sandal under the Papillio collection. However, if you are just searching for a basic and minimalist option that can give you additional height, a Papillio might be the one for you.

Papillio pairs can be obtained in limited colors only, such as black, eggshell, taupe, roast, white, purple fog, Fuschia tulip, and mocha. These colors scream versatility and pure elegance!

Another point of comparison is the availability of sizes. Papillio is only obtainable in narrow and women’s sizes. On the contrary, Birkenstocks are offered in regular sizes. Moreover, most Birks models are also unisex.

Which produces the more comfortable pairs?

Without a doubt, Birkenstocks are incredibly comfortable. This is primarily because their cork-latex footbeds are anatomically contoured based on our feet’ shape.

Birkenstocks are known to be offering general correction for people experiencing certain foot deformities or problems. The brand ensures that what they produce is orthopedic and comfortable to wear.

Papillio pairs, inheriting the same footbed design and material composition, are also expected to be comfy and cozy. The sub-collection claims that the sandals are lightweight despite their elevated soles.

Like any other footwear, both Birkenstocks and Papillio requires an adjustment period. To experience a high level of comfort, you must break them in first. The process may be challenging but worth it!

Between Birkenstock and Papillio, which is the better sandal for travel adventures?

Many Birkenstock models are perfect for your travel and adventure needs! This is because they are made of high-quality materials which ensure great comfort and durability.

Birkenstock Arizona, Madrid, and Gizeh are highly recommended for people who love taking strolls along the city streets. Synthetic EVA versions of these models are also best for water-related activities because they are waterproof.

Papillio, although highly comfortable, has a heel height that is not preferable when going on trips. Thus, it can be said that Birkenstocks offer the most number of options when searching for travel-friendly footwear.

Which is more stylish?

Birkenstocks are once labeled as the “ugly sandals,” but look where they are now! Birks are topping shoe charts and are now worn by models on their runway. The brand even had collaborations with other luxury brands.

Many stylish Birkenstock models could complement or complete your overall casual to semi-casual outfit ensembles. But for the ladies out there, Papillio would look so much better to make your legs look longer!

Chunky platform sandals are now trendy. You can match them with wide-leg pants or even denim shorts. Short females out there should really score a Papillio pair. Apart from adding some height, they are remarkably comfortable and fashionable.

Top-selling Birkenstock Models

When asked what the top-selling Birkenstock model is, the answer is that there are too many to mention! But if you’re into the classic Birkenstock design, you should try to check out two of the all-time favorites: Arizona or Madrid Birks.

If you’re not into two-strapped slip-on because you’re too afraid that you might trip or the pair might fall off, you should try Milano or Yara. Milano comes with back straps, while Yara has ankle straps. These models can perfectly secure your feet!

Ethyl Vinyl Acetate (EVA), Vegan, and Birko-Flor versions of the said models are also in demand at the moment. One reason is that they are instantly comfortable upon first wear because they are made of synthetic materials.

Top-selling Papillio Models

The ever-popular Arizona design has a Papillio counterpart: the Arizona Platform. This is also one of the sub-collections best sellers. This model comes with two straps and a platform height of 25 mm, enough to make you look tall!

For an elegant closed-toe option, opt for the Boston Big Buckle, Fanny Teddy or Ebba. Similar to the Arizona Platform, Boston Big Buckle has a platform height of 25 mm. This version is distinct from Birkenstock Boston Clogs because its padding is made of warm lambskin and microfiber lining.

Fanny Teddy is a closed-toe wedge heel that has a height of 40 mm. Further, its upper material is shearling and comes with a microfiber lining, which gives additional comfort.

Lastly, Ebba is a wedge heel boot made of natural leather. No other material can beat that classic leather appearance on boots! Ebba also has a 40 mm wedge heel height and a microfiber lining.

Which is more expensive?

All Birkenstocks are expensive. Papillio is Birkenstock. Therefore, Papillio is also costly. The price range for Arizona Birkenstock is between $50 to $270. The Essentials EVA version is the cheapest Arizona variation, priced at $50.

While the most expensive Milano variation, which is pure leather, is worth a whopping $460, and the cheapest one can be bought at a hundred bucks. Yara is less expensive than Milano as its price ranges from $100 to $130 only.

Papillio’s price range is lower than Birkenstock’s. An Arizona Platform can already be purchased at $65 to $90, except for the genuine leather version, which is worth $165. Boston Papillio is priced at $190, Fanny Teddy at $165, and Ebba at $180.

Final Thoughts

The father-and-child relationship between Birkenstock and Papillio is evident. Papillio has inherited many of its parent’s distinct features, such as comfortable footbeds, durable uppers, and stylish-looking appearances.

Choosing only one between Birkenstock and Papillio would be challenging for some. I can advise you to follow what you truly desire and select the style that will best radiate your personality. If you’re into classic and minimalist-looking pairs that are versatile enough to match any of your daily outfits, go for a Birkenstock. However, if you want something untraditional and chic, I suggest you try on some Papillio.

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