Finding a good pair of shoes to wear when you have plantar fasciitis is absolutely key. What about Birks? Are Birkenstock shoes good for plantar fasciitis? Do they have arch support? Do they have enough cushion? Let's find out.
Birkenstocks are a classic, tried and true, shoe brand. Their current anatomical footbed design has been in use since the 1930's. Of all the orthotic shoe brands, Birkenstock has the longest history.
When I was diagnosed with plantar fasciitis, Birkenstocks were the first shoes that provided me relief from the intense flare-up I was experiencing. They have been a mainstay of my shoe choices ever since.
I'm not alone in my love for Birkenstocks for their comfort and support. Podiatrists and plantar fasciitis sufferers can't recommend them highly enough.
👣 Why Birkenstocks are good for plantar fasciitis
Birkenstock sandals, shoes and boots are good for plantar fasciitis for these reasons:
- Firm arch support - essential for recovering from a flare-up and providing proper support to the fascia in your foot, so you can prevent pain in the future
- Anatomical, orthotic footbed in all shoe styles - this consistency in shoe design means you have lots of style options. So, if Birkenstocks are comfortable and supportive for your feet, you can pick and choose the style you like the best (with a few exceptions).
- Cushion in the heel from natural cork, latex and jute materials used in footbed
- Soft footbed - additional cushion available in soft footbed styles from an anatomically shaped foam insert. This style of Birks is especially helpful to wear when experiencing a plantar fasciitis flare-up.
🩴 Best Birkenstock styles for plantar fasciitis
While you might be most familiar with the two-strap Arizona sandal that made Birkenstock's famous, they have hundreds of styles to choose from. Here are my top picks for plantar fasciitis.
- Arizona - two-strap sandals, available in classic or soft footbed
- Mayari - two-strap sandals, with thinner straps
- Madrid - one-strap sandal - I wear these as slippers in the house, since going barefoot at home can cause plantar fasciitis to worsen. They are also beautiful styled with summer dresses or skirts.
- Zermatt - shearling lined closed toe slippers that are excellent for cold weather. When you have plantar fasciitis, walking barefoot can make it worse. So, having slippers is key to providing your feet with the support they need, which can help prevent flare-ups.
- Waterproof EVA sandals in Arizona, Madrid, Gizeh styles - best for wearing by the pool, beach. Excellent for 1st time Birkenstock wearers, to get used to the footbed. Not ideal for continual, daily wear, as they don't provide enough arch support.
- Gizeh - one-strap thong sandal
- Milano - three-strap sandal, including an ankle strap to keep your foot from moving around
- Boston - closed toe clog, good for cold weather
- and more! Birks come in many styles and I can't list them all here. But, most of them (with a few exceptions outlined below) are supportive and comfortable for plantar fasciitis.
👎🏻 Worst Birkenstock shoes for plantar fasciitis
Most Birks are great for plantar fasciitis, however, there are some styles to stay away from if you suffer from plantar fasciitis, especially while you're having a flare-up.
Especially when having a flare-up, high heels or even mid-sized heels can cause more pain. So, it may be better to wait until the flare-up has passed in order to wear heels. Stick with flats that have strong arch support and cushion in the heels for most pain relief.
The styles that have minimal straps pull on your foot excessively while you walk and can strain your muscles.
I have a pair that are like the Mayari, with one toe strap, but no second strap for support. So, they pull on my foot like a loose flip-flop would. They are cute for around the house, but if I wear them too much, I have a flare-up. And, I can't wear them out.
Papillio, Tatami and Birki's
These specialty off-shoot brands, which licensed by Birkenstock, do not always have the classic Birkenstock footbed. Because of this, they don't have the same level of support that you'll find with the classic Birkenstock brand.
🛍 Where to buy
Authentic Birkenstocks are sold from many retailers. Be on the lookout for imitation Birks, though. They are often imitated by other brands, using inferior materials, will wear out much faster and do not have the features authentic Birks have.
Where can you buy Birkenstocks?
- Birkenstock.com - the most choices available on Birkenstock's official website and bonus! You get free shipping on all orders if you sign up for their email list.
- Amazon - free shipping for Amazon Prime members
- Whole Earth Provision - this is a great place to go try on Birkenstocks, since Whole Earth Provision usually stocks a wide range of sizes and styles. So, if you want to see the Birks in person or find out your size, head here.
- The Walking Company - another great place to try on Birkenstocks and other orthotic shoes that have proper support for plantar fasciitis
- Nordstrom Rack - You can sometimes find Birkenstocks on sale or discounted here
- Mercari - shop for new and gently used Birkenstocks at a discount
Do you find that Birkenstocks help your plantar fasciitis? Which style is your favorite?