Are Birkenstocks good for walking long distances or should you only wear their sandals for shorter walks only?
Birkenstock sandals certainly have a reputation for being some of the most comfortable and durable summer footwear on the market (once they are broken in) but does that mean they are great for wearing on really long walks or even hikes?
I regularly wear their sandals when the weather is warmer and I do so because I know that their unique design is helpful for my flat feet and tendonitis because of the arch support. However, would I wear them for long-distance walking?
In this post, I’m going to share my personal experience of wearing these sandals as well as discuss what some experts have to say about whether they are suitable for long walks.
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Are Birkenstocks Comfortable for Walking?
Ok, let me start by saying that once I managed to get used to the sandals and broke them in they molded to my feet and they were incredibly comfortable. I’m not going to lie and say that I loved them straight away but once I got over the breaking-in period they felt great.
They certainly were a huge improvement on flip flops which I tried to wear but which hurt my feet and rubbed in between my toes.
The fact is that Birkenstocks are much more substantial than flip flops and come with lots of additional features that increase their comfort such as:
- Adjustable Straps
- Arch Support
- A Deep Heel Cup
- A Contoured Footbed
All these features are far superior to those of standard flip-flops and so they enabled me to walk around doing errands or walking around the block without feeling any foot pain.
However, are Birkenstocks good for walking long distances? Well, that is when I would have to say that no their standard sandals are not what I would consider good walking or hiking shoes.
This isn’t because there is something the matter with Birkenstock sandals but because some people want to try and force their footwear to multi-task and that isn’t possible. Birkenstocks are great for wearing in your daily life but would I wear them on a hiking route or for hours of walking around? Hell, no and here is why.
Are Birkenstocks Good Walking Shoes?
The fact is that if you want to walk long distances then you need appropriate shoes that you can wear for long periods of time. These shoes need to have specific features so that your feet not only feel cushioned and comfortable but also are protected.
A Birkenstock sandal may have some of the features that you may need unlike flip flops but it most certainly doesn’t have everything and that is the crucial point.
Yes you can try wearing Birkenstocks for your long walks or hikes and you may get away with being pain-free if you are lucky but equally, you may run into problems and find that they are causing you problems or worse still creating foot health problems.
Why You Need Suitable Shoes for Walking Long Distances
If you are going to be walking for a long period of time then Birkstenstock sandals are missing some of the core features that are going to keep your feet supported, comfortable and pain-free.
If you choose to wear them for a long period of time you are putting yourself at risk of blisters, foot pain or hurting your ankles.
Here are some of the reasons why they aren’t suitable for long walks.
They Are Not Designed For Wet Weather
Firstly traditional Birkenstocks with a cork footbed are simply not designed for wet weather or even the beach.
This is because when the cork footbed gets too wet it can start to deteriorate and break down. Plus your sandals can start to get moldy or suffer from mildew from the dampness.
If you are long-distance walking you generally can’t guarantee the weather. Whilst the sandals might be able to cope with a short shower they are not going to hold up in the pouring rain.
Birkenstock does sell EVA sandals which can cope with wet conditions but they aren’t really designed for long walks.
They Don’t Work Well in Extreme Heat
As well as not being able to cope with wet conditions they also aren’t great in extreme heat.
So if you leave them on a hot beach the cork will start to dry out and the sandals will be prone to cracking.
By all means wear Birkenstocks for short periods in hot weather but don’t think they are suitable for when it is super hot.
They Have Minimal Cushioning
Birkenstocks regular sandals have a cork footbed which is supportive for the foot but this wouldn’t be sufficient cushioning for long walks.
They do have some sandals built with a softer footbed but again this is not in the same league as some of the hiking boots and shoes that are on the market.
Good cushioning acts as a shock absorber when you are walking and can help to protect your feet and joints.
The Traction Is Not Sufficient
When you are walking outside on all terrains your footwear needs sufficient traction to stop you from falling.
Whilst Birkenstocks have rubber soles they are not going to have sufficient traction for wearing in all weathers or types of terrain.
Good walking shoes will have increased traction to help your feet safe and secure no matter what ground you are walking on.
They Have No Ankle Support
Whilst ankle support may not be essential if you walk long distances on sidewalks or well-kept paths it does become important if you decide to travel on more hilly or rocky terrain.
Walking boots that have ankle support can help to prevent your foot from twisting on uneven ground which in turn can stop injuries that could put you out of action.
They Aren’t Suitable For Everyone
I should also state that when people ask are Birkenstocks good for walking long distances they don’t think about whether they are suitable for their particular feet.
No shoe works for everyone and certain foot conditions or problems may not work well in these sandals.
Wearing Them Makes Your Feet Lazy
Finally, many experts feel that wearing Birkenstocks all the time can be problematic as they make your feet lazy.
The support that they give your feet can be helpful but at the same time your body gets used to it.
Plus feet can start to splay if you are wearing their shoes and sandals all the time. Therefore it makes sense to limit their use and wear other types of footwear as well.
Most Comfortable Birkenstocks for Walking
The best walking sandals that Birkenstocks makes according to the most positive reviews are their Arizona Soft Footbed Sandals. Birkenstock Arizona sandals are hugely popular and tend to have plenty of people singing their praises because they find them so comfortable for walking around in.
These are the sandals that people tend to buy time and time again to use as everyday footwear.
The fact that you can now buy them with the soft footbed has made a big difference because it makes them so much easier to wear. The soft bed has a latex layer which adds extra cushioning as well as the cork footbed, deep heel cup and a toe box which leaves plenty of room for your feet.
Although these are considered one of their most comfortable sandals it is worth noting that Birkenstock does have a large range of shoes and sneakers as well.
Whilst people often associate the brand with their sandals they do have plenty of other types of footwear for sale that is much better suited for distance walking
Are Birkenstocks Good for Walking at Disney?
I know that plenty of people think about wearing Birkenstocks at Disney. Their belief is that the sandals will give them comfort and support as they walk around the theme park all day and sometimes into the evening as well if you stay for the show but is this really a good idea?
Firstly it would never be a good idea to wear a new pair of Birkenstocks to any theme park because of the time it takes them to mold to your feet. If you did try it you would probably end up with blistered feet and a day of regret!
Even if your Birkenstocks have been broken in their design means that they aren’t the ideal footwear for Disney. Firstly because there are plenty of rides at Disney and other theme parks that involve water. Florida also is known for rain shower forecasts almost every day between June and October. Remember those cork footbeds do not like water.
You are also likely to be walking around or on your feet for up to 10 miles a day during your vacation trip. Birkenstocks are simply not designed for that amount of walking.
So what should you wear? Well, I recommend a good pair of sneakers such as New Balance Women’s Fresh Foam Roav V1 Sneakers which are built for walking all day. Wear them with socks for extra cushioning but bring a spare pair to keep your feet feeling fresh.
In addition, carry a pair of flip-flops to change into when you are on a water ride so you don’t ruin any of your other shoes. Flip-flops are lightweight, can cope with water, and are really easy to dry once they get wet.
Birkenstock Walking Shoes
Are Birkenstocks good for walking long distances? Well, they are if you don’t wear sandals and instead buy a pair of Birkenstock shoes or sneakers.
Birkenstock sandals are great footwear for casual wear and walking for short periods but look to their other products if you want to walk further.
Birkenstock actually has a huge range of footwear that they sell and whilst the brand is synonymous with sandals they sell plenty of other sneakers and shoes which are better suited to long walks.
Birkenstock sneakers work better for long walks because your foot is enclosed to give you better support and protection from the elements. They have a wide toe box so you have plenty of room for your feet. The only issue is that they still have the Birkenstock footbed which may not offer everyone the cushioning that they might need.
Can You Hike in Birkenstocks?
Not only are Birkenstock not good walking sandals if you are attempting long distances but they aren’t suitable for hiking either.
If you want to go on a long hike you need shoes that are robust and that will not only help support your feet but give them good protection from the surrounding terrain.
As hiking often involves walking on uneven ground, climbing over rocks or walking in slippery and wet conditions a Birkenstock sandal won’t be suitable for your needs.
Instead, think of purchasing something like these Columbia Women’s Newton Ridge Plus Waterproof Amped Hiking Shoes if you want to do more adventurous walks.
Birkenstock Hiking Shoes and Boots
Birkenstocks don’t have a huge range of hiking boots by any means but they do have their Jackson Boot which can be used if you are planning on walking on trails.
These are oiled suede boots to help protect your feet from bad weather and they are lace-ups that offer that much-needed ankle support.
The only thing I would say about these is that just like their sandals these needed to be broken in before you wear them for long distances. Breaking them in will help to make them more comfortable and mold them to your feet.
They are however not the most cushioned of boots which still can be problematic if you are looking for a really comfortable shoe or boot. The price is also relatively high when compared to other really popular hiking boots on the market.
So are Birkenstocks good for walking long distances? Their sandals certainly aren’t suitable but their sneakers and boots are much better alternatives. Whilst not everyone will love the cork footbed others find that once it molds to their feet they could walk for hours in their footwear without a problem.
More Information and Articles About Birkenstocks
Why Do Birkenstocks Hurt My Feet?
Can You Wear Birkenstocks To the Beach?
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