Have you bought a new pair of Birkenstock sandals but found that you are experiencing problems as you wait for them to mold to your feet? Learn how to stop Birkenstock blisters and shoe bites with my handy tips.
Wearing Birkenstocks does involve a breaking-in process that takes a little time. Sometimes during this breaking-in period, you may experience blisters or mild foot pain as your feet adjust to the sandals or shoes.
The key to minimizing any discomfort is taking steps as soon as possible to address the problem. Here are some of the key things you can do if you are wearing Birks that are causing you problems.
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Why Do Birkenstocks Give Me Blisters?
So why do people experience blisters when wearing Birkenstocks? Well, the number one reason is that new Birkenstocks need to be broken in.
Birkenstocks sandals have a unique footbed that has raised sides to support your arch, further arch support on the footbed as well as raised areas to help with toe positioning. This unique cork footbed can take some time to get used to especially if you have been wearing footwear that doesn’t have the right support.
In addition during the breaking-in process, this footbed has been designed to mold to your feet. When this process is complete most people find that their Birkenstocks are some of the most comfortable sandals they have ever worn.
However, this break-in process does mean that you need to take to get used to your footwear. If you try and rush the process it can cause foot pain and the dreaded Birkenstock blisters.
The Most Comfortable Birkenstocks For Your Feet
If you are trying Birkenstock sandals for the very first time and are looking to find a shoe that is comfortable and is less likely to cause problems then you need to look at their amazing shearling sandals.
Birkenstock shearing sandals are going to be significantly less likely to hurt your feet even when you are breaking them in because of the lining.
The shearling lining is not just on the footbed but underneath the straps as well which means your feet are going to be cushioned and protected from most blisters.
Birkenstocks Hurt Your Feet When You Wear The Wrong Size
There is another factor your need to think about when contending with Birkenstock blisters and that is whether you have bought the right size of sandals in the first place.
When you buy new Birks you need to take into account the way your shoe fits into the footbed as well as the width of the shoe that you are buying.
The footbed of their sandals should allow your foot shape to sit firmly inside it. This means that your feet shouldn’t be crammed against the arch support sides. Your heel should fit perfectly into the heel cup and your toes shouldn’t be touching the edge of the front of the sandals.
If you find that your feet are not in the correct place then you need to size up or down.
Then you need to assess whether you have narrow feet or whether you need their regular fit sandals.
Birkenstock makes sandals in a narrow fit and regular fit sandals. The regular fit is actually suitable for most wide feet whilst many people with average size feet tend to size down to the narrow version for a comfier fit.
When you have the right size and width make sure you adjust the straps on the sandals to get the exact fit you need. Designs such as the Arizona style have two straps you can adjust making it easier for you to make adjustments to stop pinching or rubbing so the sandals fit your feet perfectly.
How Many Hours to Break In Birkenstocks?
If you do buy a new pair of Birkenstocks you have to understand that the break-in period for the shoe takes anywhere between one week to one month before you can walk in them for long periods of time.
Do not make the mistake that some people do of wearing them out fresh out of the box and expecting them to not hurt your feet. New shoes and sandals by the brand need to be worn for small periods at first before gradually increasing the time that you wear them.
A good way of breaking in new Birkenstocks is to wear them for the first few days indoors for around half an hour. If the sandals are not causing you any discomfort increase the time you are wearing them by half an hour.
When you are able to wear your Birkenstocks for a couple of hours at a time then you can wear them for short walks around the block. Keep on gradually increasing the time you are wearing them each day until your feet become accustomed to them.
If you do experience any foot pain or Birkenstock blisters in this initial breaking-in period you need to take action immediately to make them more comfortable.
Wear Socks To Help With Breaking In Your Sandals
If you start wearing new Birkenstocks and feel any rubbing, friction, or pain my first suggestion would be to start wearing them with a pair of thick socks.
Still keep the breaking-in timetable of 30 minutes a day (if you can) but see if a pair of socks make the process feel more comfortable.
Socks can help to cushion your feet from the footbed which initially will seem hard and inflexible. Of course, when you have been walking and wearing your sandals around the house for a while they will start to soften and start to take on the shape of your feet.
Birkenstocks have a range of socks that can be worn with their sandals if you want to try their brand instead of your own.
If your feet can start to tolerate the Birkenstocks with the socks then try and gradually reduce the time you are wearing the socks and wear the sandals in your bare feet.
You should find that over time you can ditch the socks completely (if you want to) and wear them without anything being on your feet.
How To Manage Blisters From Birkenstocks When Socks Don’t Work
If wearing socks doesn’t help the problem of Birkenstock blisters then the next way to resolve the problem is to address the area of the foot where the sandals may be rubbing.
As Birkenstocks have distinct areas where blisters can form the remedy for the hot spots will also depend on where the problem lies.
Typically Birkenstocks may cause problems in the following areas:
- The top of the foot.
- The arch area.
- The ball of the foot.
- The toes.
- The heel area.
Here’s what you can do to prevent blisters or foot pain in each of these areas.
If Birkenstocks Hurt The Top Of Your Foot
When you are wearing Birkenstocks one of the most common areas where your new shoes or sandals can hurt is at the top of your foot.
With the Gizeh sandals, it is possible to get rubbing or shoe bites underneath the leather section which extends from your toes or on the strap around your foot.
Whilst the Arizona sandals tend to rub underneath the two straps that sit across the top of the foot.
As discussed earlier your first step should be either tightening or loosening the straps to see if that makes the sandals more comfortable. Sometimes a simple adjustment is all it takes to make the hot spot vanish.
If that doesn’t do the trick you can do one of two things. Either apply some moleskin to the underneath of the strap to cushion your feet from the leather or alternatively use a leather conditioner to soften the material.
Using Moleskin to Stop Sandal Friction
Moleskin can either be bought in pre-cut shapes or as tape that can be cut to size. Decide what works best for you depending on the area and size of the problem area.
You can choose to apply moleskin to either the sandal itself or alternatively you can stick it onto your feet like a plaster. Either solution should work as the padding should solve the issue with friction and prevent any further blisters or shoe bites.
Using Leather Conditioner to Soften Your Sandals
Leather conditioner is a great product that you can apply to the leather sections of your sandals in order to soften them.
New shoes and sandals tend to have relatively inflexible and stiff leather which starts to become softer and more malleable with wear. This process can take a little time so leather conditioner is a great way of speeding up this process.
Just apply a small amount onto the problem area and rub it in with a cloth. When the conditioner penetrates the leather it should get much more supple and easy to wear. This should help to stop Birkenstock blisters.
If you are worried about the conditioner changing the color of your sandals make sure you try a small test area first.
Birkenstock Blister on Arch of Foot
What happens when Birkenstocks hurt your arch?
Well if you have flat feet it is only to be expected that it might take a little while for your foot to adjust to the new arches. If however, you are getting blisters or friction however then you need to try and shield your foot until your sandals are properly broken in.
Gel sandal insoles can work for some people to help cushion your feed from the cork footbed of the Birkenstocks.
The key to using insoles in Birkenstocks is to make sure they are not visible when you are wearing them and that they don’t offer more arch support.
The last thing your need is two sets of arch support making the problem worse so many sure any cushioning you use is flat.
Using a Hammer on the Arch
If the arch on your Birkenstocks is too high and cushioning is not solving the problem then it makes sense to try a more drastic approach rather than consigning your sandals to the bin.
This is where using a hammer on the arch could help. If you gently hit the arch section on the footbed of the sandals you can help to reduce its size and create more comfortable shoes or sandals.
The key to doing this is gently and slowly. There is no need to whack the arch and attack the footbed otherwise you will ruin the sandals.
Birkenstock Blisters on The Ball of Foot
Everyone’s feet are different and we all have different hot spots that can cause foot problems. I know that mine is often the ball of my feet where I have calluses which can sometimes cause blisters or friction pain.
One of the ways that I try and minimize this problem is to make sure I regularly have a pedicure to keep my feet in reasonably good shape. By regularly using a foot sanding device and a callus remover I can stop the problem but I also combine the pedicure with a couple of devices depending on the footwear I am wearing.
Metatarsal pads are my go-to whenever I buy a new pair of shoes or sandals.
These are just simple pads that you can pop into the ball of the foot area which gives great cushioning. In fact, I never wear any of my footwear without some of these being in place.
You can buy various variations of these either in fabric or gel materials depending on your needs to avoid Birkenstock blisters.
An alternative to the ball of foot cushions is callus pads.
These are highly rated by users and are great for stopping callus pain and blisters but you will need to change them regularly.
My personal view is that callus pads are great as a temporary measure but if you need something that you are going to be wearing every time you are wearing your shoes then the ball of foot cushions will work out cheaper.
Soothing Birkenstock Toe Blisters
Birkenstock Gizeh sandals are a little similar to flip flops in that they have a toe post. Of course, the rest of the shoe has a strap which flip-flops don’t but most people who have ever worn this style of footwear know the toe post can hurt your feet.
One of my most popular guides is on how to stop flip flops hurting between toes because this is a huge problem. Just because Birkenstocks are more expensive doesn’t mean the design of the Gizeh is any different.
The fact is that normally the skin between your big toe and second toe doesn’t get subjected to any friction, especially when wearing normal sandals and shoes. Birkenstocks with a toe post however are a different story because the post is housed in a place where the skin is soft and not used to rubbing.
There are plenty of things that you can do to stop this friction and make Birkenstock blisters between the toes a thing of the past.
Silicone Toe Guards
Silicone Toe Guards are one possible solution for minimizing any friction.
These are devices that are slotted onto the toe post. As they are made from a softer gel material they protect your toes from the leather toe post rubbing against your foot.
Anti-Friction Balm for Feet
My personal favorite that works for me is using an anti-friction stick to stop blisters in their tracks.
Anti-friction balm is thicker than a cream and it can be applied to areas of your feet when shoes or sandals are rubbing. The balm enables your feet to glide on the straps or leather toe posts rather than rub uncomfortably.
This version is small enough to carry in your pocket or bag and can be reapplied as and when you need it during the day.
Heel Pain From Birkenstocks
Finally the last area of your feet which may experience blisters or pain is the heel area of your feet.
If you are wearing Arizona style Birkenstocks then there is no strapping around the heel so the heel pain is likely to be from the deep heel cup on the sandals.
If you are wearing Birkenstocks slingback style sandals then it is also possible that you may get rubbing on the back of the ankle.
For the ankle pain the friction stick that I talked about earlier works well at preventing any friction.
If you have pain in the heel you can try these.
Silicone Heel Cups
Silicone heels cups are designed to help absorb any shock or pressure which you are walking.
As these are invisible when they are under your feet nobody will be able to notice them even when you are wearing sandals.
Just pop them into the heel cup area and see if they can help with any pain or rubbing which could cause blisters. Moleskin taped onto the area could also work but won’t provide the cushioning you might need.
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