Breaking In Birkenstocks (A Users Guide!)

If you recently purchased a pair of Birkenstocks or you are considering a purchase, then it’s really important to know how to break them in. 

Birkenstocks can take a little bit of time to get used to, so here we want to provide you with some details on how to get the best experience with your Birks early on and also over the long term.

It is very normal for people to fall in love with their Birks over time. Let’s first review some reasons why you should break in your Birks, then we can discuss the process to break-in your Birkenstocks so that you can enjoy them for years to come.

Why Should You Break In Your Birkenstocks

Many people love their Birkenstocks and the process of breaking in the sandals helps your feet to get used to them and for the sandals to mold to you... An analogy would be runners who love their sport. To prevent burnout and injury runners can’t just start running 10 miles or 20 miles a day. 

They must build up to those distances.  They would do rhythmic training—sometimes slow, sometimes fast, they would start with short runs and build up the distances over time.  The same philosophy applies to breaking in your Birks.

Giseh Birkenstocks

If you start using your Birkenstocks too much too early, your feet can get sore.  You can get blisters and you won’t enjoy them.  These sandals are designed to last a long time, therefore when new, they are sturdy.  You need to work them a little.  Bend them.  Use them but not too much.

The breaking-in process usually takes two to three weeks. Yes, it sounds time-consuming, but you will be glad you spent that time! You will be rewarded with a pair of sandals that are more and more comfortable as your wear and use them!

They will customize to your feet and eventually they will be your sandals of choice for any and all activities that you want to do!

Birkenstock Papillio Women's Lola Leather Sandals

Procedure to Break In Your Birks

So how do you break-in Birkenstock shoes?

Here is the detailed list of steps with explanations. Some notes and recommendations follow.

1. Check the size and width of the shoe. Wearing improper sized and wrong width sandal can give a painful foot experience. Constant rubbing or friction can cause blisters and corn. If your feet touch the edges of the footbed, then change the sandal

2. Take them out of the box and unhook all straps.

3. Flex the shoes a few times before loosening the cork. Bend it in an inward and outward direction. Before you bend the shoe, make sure you unbuckle all the straps. Flexing can reduce the break-in period.

4. Put your foot on top of the footbed. Thick socks will prevent rubbing and friction.

5. Close the straps for a comfortable fit. Adjust them. Have a sense of foot freedom. You should be able to have one finger slide between your foot and the strap.

6. Take a walk around the house to check comfort. If the shoes are too big or small, you may have to get a different size and width.

7. Make sure your feet can move around in the sandal.  The shouldn’t feel constricted. If you feel constricted, that defeats the purpose of the break-in, loosen the straps a little and try again.

8. Wear your sandals for about thirty (30) minutes to forty-five (45) minutes and take them off. If they hurt before 30 minutes, take them off.

9. Wear your sandals the following day for between one to two hours and take them off. If your feet begin to hurt before that time, take them off.

Boston Leather Birkenstock Clog

10. On the third day, take a little more time to wear your Birks.  Each day, add some time until you have increased your time in your Birks over two to three weeks. Continue until the Birkenstocks sandals feel comfortable.

By walking following this daily process, you will be able to walk with your new Birks complete comfort. I typically recommend only wearing your new Birks in your home for the first week, then after that you can start using them when you go outside.

You can walk through parks, gardens or parties. You can even exercise or trail a long walk. After a few days of regular use, you will see that your new sandals adjust to your foot movements and your foot shape. The initial footbed and leather strap rigidity will conform to your foot size and width over time.

Birkenstock Women's Mayari Sandal

Choose a Birkenstock with a soft footbed. If your current Birkenstock sandal is too rigid to break in, you can replace it with a softer footbed. The footbed must be comfortable and flexible. It is more relaxed and has a lesser break-in period.

You will feel the shoes custom-made after breaking-in. Also, you will not grow weary anymore. But, you have to commit.

Yara Birkenstocks

Why does it take so long to Break In Birkenstocks?

It takes time to break-in Birkenstocks shoes because you need to adjust your feet to the straps.

Also, the cork footbed needs to soften over time and will form to your foot. Your body weight and repeated shoe bending will imbed to the natural shape of your feet.

Birkenstocks continue to get more comfortable over time.

Birkenstocks Florida Sandal (Women's)

Issues related to Breaking In Your Birks

You might ache your feet and sore your calves during the break-in process. Also, you might sore your legs. To address these issues:

1. Take off the shoes when hurt.

2. Wear the shoes for a shorter time.

3. Apply Band-Aids, moleskin, or white fabric tape to affected areas. It will prevent blisters.

4. Use socks the first few times you wear your shoes.

5. Adjust the straps. Loose and tighten it.

6. Add extra holes to the straps if needed.

7. Use a hammer to soften footbed hotspots like the toe bar.

8. If you have leather straps or hotspots or the top or side of your feet, sand down the problem area using sandpaper.

9. Soak your sandals with water. Use thick, reliable socks while soaking. The process will make those stiff straps and footbed softer and more flexible. Sometimes you can replace the thick socks with a wet cotton cloth while doing it. Once soaking finishes, you can start walk without the socks.

10. Use a hairdryer sometimes. Heat expands leather. If you feel your Birkenstocks are tight, then dry it with a hairdryer. To do this, wear a pair of dry, thick socks again and wear your new shoes. After this, heat the shoe at all angles. Focus on the areas that are stiff and rigid. Adjustable straps and footbed are the ones that need more attention.

11. Try moleskin padding rolls once in a while. Moleskin is a type of heavy cotton fabric material used to prevent friction. It softens the footbed and makes it durable. When the footbed is soft, you can avoid blisters. Moleskin padding rolls have special backing adhesives to reduce friction.

12. Moderate the application of rubbing alcohol. Overuse of rubbing alcohol can ruin and discolor the leather.

Milano Birkenstocks - Oiled Leather

The effort to break in your Birks is worth it

Breaking-in takes a lot of effort. But is it worth it? Yes. Ask anyone who own Birkenstocks. You would get the same answer. Many people prefer Birkenstocks to others because they hope for a comfortable walk.

Since break-in takes time and effort, don’t buy one for a vacation. Also, do not buy on the first day of the departure area. You will not be able to use it. Take your time before purchasing the shoes.

Arizona Birkenstocks

The comfort and support that Birkenstocks provide are from the unique footbed design. Birkenstock footbeds have grips, two different arch supports, and heel support. When choosing the right shoes, I recommend that you ask the Birkenstock retailer.

Owning a Birkenstock is not a regrettable experience. Many lives have changed for the better since wearing the shoes. For walkers and marathoners, it is a must-have. The feet, knees, and back issues are gone. Birkenstock shoes are reliable walking shoes because it conforms to each foot.

Zurich Birkenstocks

Brief History About Birkenstocks

Birkenstocks are German-made shoes, to begin. As time pass, they reached European, American, and Asian soil due to their quality and fame. Johann Adam Birkenstock started his company in 1174.

He popularized the cork bed. During his time, he patented all his shoes in Hesse as a master and cobbler. Training, innovations, and environmental concern drove it into success.

Madrid Birkenstocks

Descendant Carl Birkenstock even created the iconic Madrid model. Now, a lot of contemporary designers create modern Birkenstocks shoes. In 2014, it entered the licensing business.

In 2017, Birkenstock actually started making beds.  Let’s leave that discussion for another time! 

Ok, so why should you break in your Birks?

Amazon Search Link (Birkenstocks)


Once your feet left an impression on the footbed, you know your Birkenstock shoe has broken-in. At that point, you can wear it now.

Follow the steps, and you will succeed in the break-in process. Once you commit, your Birkenstocks will be the most comfortable shoes you have ever worn.

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