Hard vs. Soft Footbed Birkenstocks

Wondering what type of footbed is best suited for you? Birkenstock offers two footbed designs for specific kinds of persons and particular reasons. You have to be aware of these for you to decide what footbed you should go for. 

The original Birks footbed is also called the hard or regular footbed. It has four layers consisting of cork, jute, latex, and leather, which are excellent in providing arch support. In the 20s, Birkenstocks introduced their soft footbed, which is easier to break in than regulars because of an added layer made of rubber foam pads.

Similarly, hard and soft footbeds are made to give extra comfort to their wearer, most especially when walking long distances or traveling. However, both footbed designs have something unique to offer that you should know of. 

This article will enumerate those for you. Surely, after you finish reading, you’ll be confident enough to select the footbed that will give you what you’re looking for. 

What is the main difference between hard and soft footbed Birks?

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

Birkenstock Arizona Sandals

One of the main differences between hard and soft footbed Birkenstocks is their layer composition. The original hard footbed is composed of four layers. This design is considered by Birkenstocks as the heart of all their models.

Modeled with special support elements and a high level of comfort upon breaking in, the regular footbeds remain available after so many years after it was officially introduced. Birks’ footbeds are designed to exactly fit your foot’s shape.

Hard footbeds have a deep heel cup and elevated toe bars, which provide balance, stability, and traction. More so, its four-layered blueprint provides excellent arch support to its wearer.

On the other hand, what makes the Birkenstock soft footbed stand out is its additional layer. Just below the original suede lining, Birkenstock has added foam padding, which gives extra comfort and support. 

Due to this extra padding, soft-footbed Birkenstocks are a lot easier to break in. You won’t even experience some break-in blisters on some Birkenstock footbed designs. This was the primary reason why the brand invented this variation. 

What are the materials used for Birkenstocks hard and soft footbeds?

Birkenstock Tokio Super Grip Natural Leather Black Size EU 37 / US L6 M4 Regular

Birkenstock Unisex Professional Tokyo Super Grip Leather Slip Resistant Work Shoe

As previously mentioned, the hard footbed has four layers. The first layer is the footbed’s core, made of latex and cork. These materials are the reason behind Birks in regular footbeds being shock-absorbent and flexible.

Above and below the regular footbed’s core are two layers of jute fabric. These layers add stability and balance to the pair and make room for flexibility. Lastly, at the top of all these is a suede lining which is highly absorbent and soft. 

Birks in soft footbeds also have the same four layers. What makes them different is that above the upper jute fabric layer, it has an extra layer of foam with a rubber-like finish. 

Which type of footbed is easier to break in?

Due to its extra padding, soft-footbed Birkenstocks are less challenging to break in. They are actually so comfortable and cozy to wear even when worn out of the box. 

Although, it may still require a break-in period, just like any other shoe.  However, rest assured that it won’t consume a lot of your time in comparison to breaking into Birkenstocks in regular footbeds. 

If your pain tolerance is on a high level, know that breaking into a regular footbed is worth it in the end. After the hassles brought by the break-in period, your footbed will surely mold to your foot’s shape and will fit perfectly after some time. For breaking-in tips, try checking out this article.

How do hard and soft footbeds feel upon wearing?

When worn out of the box, soft-footbed Birkenstocks feel comfortable on your feet. That extra foam layer of soft footbeds really adds some magic. Regular footbeds may not feel the same when you have just bought a pair, but hey, they just need some time!

If you’re already used to wearing regular footbeds you may feel some discomfort and uneasiness when trying out soft footbed Birks, and vice versa. But don’t worry because both types of footbeds are good for your feet. You just need to be patient on breaking them in, most especially Birks with hard footbeds.

Once you are done with the break-in process, regular footbeds tend to adapt to the shape and size of your feet. This will make you feel like the pair is custom-made just for you. Sadly, soft footbeds do not possess the same feature.

What are the pros and cons of Birks in hard and soft footbeds?

Birkenstock Gizeh Vegan Watercolor Flower White Birko-Flor 38 (US Women's 7-7.5) Regular

Birkenstock Gizeh Women's Sandals

Birkenstocks with hard footbeds remain the same even after many uses. They are built to last and provide long-lasting comfort to their wearer, and many Birks users can attest to that.

Although more challenging to break in, Birkenstock in regular footbeds is best known for its premium quality and excellent arch support, perfect for people with foot problems such as plantar fasciitis. They are good for your feet.

Hard footbeds’ only disadvantage is you really need to have a strategy on how to break into them. You can’t use and wear them for a long time when they are just out of the box. 

Another drawback of hard footbeds is that they are not good for people who have feet that are flat. You may not find the hardness of the regular footbed suited to your feet type.  

On the other hand, you only need a little time and effort to break into Birkenstocks in soft footbeds because of their extra padding. You can already wear them while walking long distances even when you just purchased them. Best-selling Regular and Soft Footbed Birks.

Soft footbeds come with a cushiony effect which is also great for those with medical issues. Additionally, they are great for those who have low arches. However, unlike regular footbeds, they won’t easily mold to the shape and size of your feet.

What is the best type of footbed for you?

Birkenstock Women's Arizona Birko-Flor White

Birkenstock Arizona Women's Sandals

Now that I have laid down all the advantages and disadvantages of both footbed styles, what you need to do next is assess what type of footbed suits your feet more. Think about it and decide.

For first-time Birkenstock buyers, the break-in process of hard-footbed Birks would just be so difficult to get through. If you’re a newbie, opt for a soft footbed design to avoid getting break-in blisters.

However, if you are already used to wearing a regular footbed, just get another one. This is because your second hard-footbed pair’s break-in period would just be a piece of cake for you. Further, getting a soft footbed would just feel weird.

Moreover, if you want a pair that will perfectly fit your foot in the long run, hard footbeds are the one for you. They are good for your feet and will surely provide you with long-term convenience. 

On the other hand, if you have low arches and you just want an instantly comfortable pair, choose a Birkenstock style in a soft footbed. You will really benefit from their extra foam insert.

Birks Hard vs. Soft Footbeds, Final Thoughts...

You have to consider the above-mentioned factors to find the perfect fit for your feet. This article can’t decide what’s best for you but can only help you distinguish one type from another. 

At this juncture, I hope you’ll take your time to determine your foot type and the features you want your footwear to have. These are the main aspects that you should ponder about before you cast your order.

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