Dr. Martens Sandals vs. Birkenstock: Which Is Better?

Over the past few years, the sales of chunky footwear from Dr. Martens have skyrocketed. This includes the brand's sandals! They have quickly become a fashion staple for most people because they work with almost every style. 

Given the demand for docs’ sandals, one might ask if they can possibly replace Birkenstock in the top spot. Well, let me help you answer that.

Dr. Martens’ sandals are definitely better than Birkenstock’s in terms of leather quality. However, Birkenstock gets the upper hand when it comes to a variety of aspects like style, comfort, sizing, pricing, and breaking in. Of course, choosing which is better can be relative since each individual has their preference.

In this guide, I'll be comparing Dr. Martens' and Birkenstock's sandals in detail to help you decide where to invest your money. Both brands don't offer cheap footwear, so you really have to know where your money's going.

Materials: Docs vs. Birks

Dr. Martens sandals

Dr. Martens Women's Blaire Sandal, White Hydro Leather, 8

Dr. Martens Women's Vegan Blaire Cambridge Fisherman Sandals

Dr. Martens' sandals are made of different types of leather, including Hydro, Brando, Vegan, and Patent. These are the same types of leather they use for their boots, so expect that their sandals are heavier than usual. For the sole, they use AirWay, but they also have pairs that feature lightweight EVA soles and others.

Wearing docs sandals for long hours would not be a problem because their footbeds are made of SoftWair memory foam. Moreover, docs uses Goodyear-welted lines that are heat-sealed and stitched using their iconic yellow thread.

Birkenstock sandals

Birkenstock Women's Arizona Birko-Flor White

Birkenstock Arizona Women's Sandals

Similar to Dr. Martens, Birkenstock uses high-quality leather for its sandals– suede, oiled, nubuck, and full-grain. They also use synthetic materials, including Birko-flor, Birko-flor nubuck, and Birko-flor patent, which is comparable to Dr. Martens' vegan line.

Birkenstock prides itself in its footbed, saying that it is the "heart" of all its sandal models. In fact, they coined the term footbed in the 1930s when they first developed the inner soles. 

Today, their footbed comprises five layers: first layer of jute, cork and latex footbed, a second layer of jute, suede lining, and foam insert. As for the outer sole, they use EVA molded, EVA lightweight, and the classic EVA sandal sole.

Styles: Dr Martens vs. Birkenstocks

Dr. Martens sandals

Dr. Martens Gryphon Sandal, Charro, 3 Regular UK (4 US)

Dr. Martens Unisex Gryphon Gladiator Sandals

Dr. Martens sandals only come in four styles (silhouette), and they are the following:

  • Voss sandals: The Voss sandals have two adjustable straps and a Pop color sole or Quad sole that features rippled thread.
  • Gryphon sandals: The Gryphon sandals are ultimately gladiator-inspired. It has wide straps, two buckles, silver stud rivets, and a signature heel tab.
  • Blaire sandals: The Blaire sandals have three adjustable straps and horseshoe buckles. They are lightweight as they use blown EVA soles.
  • Clarissa sandals: These are Dr. Martens’ classic gladiator sandals. They have three straps, adjustable ankle buckle, air-cushioned sole, and grooved edges.

Birkenstock sandals

Birkenstock Unisex Arizona Black 41 (8-8.5 US M US)

Birkenstock Arizona Sandals

Unlike Dr. Martens, Birkenstocks have 41 models or sandal styles! Some of the bestsellers are the following:

  • Arizona sandals: This is Birkenstock’s classic model– the two-strap sandals with two big metal pin buckles.
  • Boston sandals: Boston sandals have an enclosed upper and a single strap that comes with a pin buckle.
  • Mayari sandals: This model has a toe loop and uses thinner straps. They also come with two adjustable metal pin buckles.
  • Madrid sandals: This is probably the simplest Birkenstock model with only one big strap and buckle.
  • Florida sandals: This is a three-strap sandal that comes in cute colors! They also have three pin buckles.

Comfort and breaking in: Docs vs. Birkenstocks

Dr. Martens sandals

Dr. Martens Voss Yellow UK 3 (US Women's 5) M

Dr. Martens Women's Voss Hydro Fisherman Sandals

Dr. Martens sandals are really comfortable after breaking in. Remember that their footbed is made of memory foam, and their soles are air-cushioned! 

Most customer reviews state that they may feel rigid at first, but once you've tamed them, they'll feel like slippers. That is if the weight of chunky sandals doesn't matter to you.

Important: It takes three to five weeks to break in a pair of Dr. Martens sandals. Yes, you read that right! Almost the same as their boots. During this period, wear thick socks and only slip them on for a few hours a day. Prepare a pack of plasters in case there's persistent rubbing.

Birkenstock sandals

Birkenstock Unisex Professional Boston Super Grip Leather Slip Resistant Work Shoe,White,44 M EU

Birkenstock Unisex Professional Boston Super Grip Work Shoes

Birkenstock sandals are known for being comfortable because of their contoured 5-layer footbed. They do not need breaking in, so you can use them for long hours right after purchasing!

Note, though, that you may get blisters if you do not get a pair based on your foot size. This is why they have search filters on their website for foot width. You can either choose between wide or narrow.

Sizing: Dr Martens vs. Birkenstocks

Dr. Martens sandals

Dr. Martens Women's Clarissa II Sandal, Black Brando, 10

Dr. Martens Women's Clarissa II Sandals
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Amazon & Dr. Martens & Zappos

While Dr. Martens boots run true to size, it's an entirely different story regarding their sandals. Most people claim they run absurdly big, so you should probably go one size down. 

Nevertheless, the best way to choose the right fit for you is to visit the nearest Dr. Martens store and try a few. The feeling of tightness in terms of width is normal as long as you are not pinching or hurting your toes, especially if you own the gladiator style. 

Birkenstock sandals

BIRKENSTOCK Women's Mayari Sandal, Stone, 39 R EU, 8-8.5 M US

Birkenstock Women's Mayari Sandals

Birkenstock sandals run true to size! However, if you are eyeing the Mayari and Gizeh style, you may have to adjust your sizing in terms of width since they run narrower. As for the length, you won't have any issues at all. 

In this round of Dr. Martens vs. Birkenstock, the latter is undoubtedly the winner. They have a size converter for US and EU on their website, and you can also choose between wide and narrow widths.

Pricing: Docs vs. Birkenstocks

Dr. Martens sandals

Dr. Martens sandals are usually priced between $99 to $253. While some people might find this range pricey, the value you will get from this amount is twice as much. Docs are known for their durability and comfort. Thus, even after many years, your sandals will still be very usable.

Birkenstock sandals

Birkenstock Women's Mayari ICY Metallic Old Rose Birko-Flor EU Size: 36 - US Size: 5/5.5 Regular

Birkenstock Women's Mayari Sandals

The price range of sandals from Birkenstock is quite wide. Some models only cost around $15, but there are some that cost a whopping $1,022! Considering these amounts, you'll surely find a pair that fits your budget and needs.

Are Dr. Martens sandals better than Birkenstock? Here’s our verdict!

In this comparison between Dr. Martens sandals and Birkenstock, there is no doubt that the latter has more appeal to the general population. To sum up, here are the reasons why Birkenstock is considered better than Dr. Martens:

  • Birkenstock has a wide range of styles, and Dr. Martens only has four.
  • There is no breaking-in period for Birkenstock.
  • Birkenstock is true to size.
  • Birkenstock offers a wide price range.

Meanwhile, for those who are after leather durability, you won't go wrong with Dr. Martens because the brand is known to use only the best quality leather for their footwear.

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