How Should Birkenstocks Fit?

If you are on the hunt for a pair of Birkenstock sandals and want to make sure you get the perfect fit, then you’ve come to the right place.  You are going to own these sandals for the long term so you want to make sure you get the fit right up front.  So how should your Birks fit?

To properly fit your Birkenstock sandals, you want to fit your toes, your heel and the straps.  Your toes should be an 1/8 to 1/2 inch (3mm to 13mm) from the top of the sandal.  Your heel will sit into the heel cup with similar distance to the edge as your toes.  The strap should have 3/8-inch (10 mm) space across your foot.

Making sure that you fit each of these 3 points (the toes, the heel, and the straps) will ensure you get the perffect fit. Here is an image of the sandals with these three points so that you have a better idea, visually, of how your Birkenstocks should fit.

Birkenstock Fit Guide

Before we dig into the proper fitting of your chosen Birkenstocks, it’s important to review the size chart below, so that you can choose the proper Birkenstock sandal for your feet.

Birkenstock Sizing

European Sizing Conversion Chart

Birkenstocks are sized using the European sizing system.  Here is a sizing guide to help you to convert if you are more familiar with a different sizing method.

Birkenstock US vs. UK vs. EU Sizing Chart

Birkenstock Width Options

Most Birkenstock sandals are available in either standard width or narrow width.  The majority of Birkenstocks buyers choose standard width, and these are fine for your feet.  If you have narrow feet, then you might be better with a narrow fit, therefore choose the narrow-width sandal instead. 

This image offers a Birkenstock fitting guide for regular vs. narrow Birks to proper sizing and fit to your specific foot.

Birkenstock Width Explained

The image above illustrates the difference between narrow and standard-width Birkenstocks in women's and men's sandals, sizing guide...

Evaluating the proper fit for your Birkenstock sandals

To evaluate the proper fit of your Birks, as mentioned above, you should take a look at 3 important points on your sandals (note for the Giseh sandals, you can also evaluate that strap anchor location too):

  • The front toe area
  • The heel area
  • The strap area

Additional methods to fit your Birks:

  • The strap anchor (for the Giseh Birks)
  • The toe bar fit

Front Toe Fit

The perfect fit for your Birkenstocks means that your toes are not to close to the end of your sandals.  There should be some space between the tip of your toe and the end of the sandal.  Look for 1/8th of an inch (3 mm) to 1/2 of an inch (13 mm).

Heel Fit

To fit your heel properly, your heel should sit comfortably in the sandal heel cup with approximately the same space to the end of the sandal as your toes would to the end of the sandal.  Therefore, look for 1/8th of an inch (3 mm) to half an inch (13 mm) distance from your heel to the end of your sandals.

Strap Fit

The strap should feel comfortable, there should be approximately 10 mm of space (3/8th of an inch) from the top of your foot to the sandal strap. 

Toe strap showing 3/16ths Inches (5 mm) space between the foot and strap
Upper Strap with 3/8ths inch (10 mm) space between foot and strap

Too much space and your foot will flop around, too little space and your foot will feel constricted.  This allows for movement of your foot in the sandal as you move and walkabout.

Gizeh Birkenstocks

Giseh Anchor Fit

For Birks like the Giseh, you will have a strap anchor that comes up between your big toe and first toe.  You will want to have some space between the strap and the fleshy part that connects your toes.

Toe Bar Fit

In addition to the above, you can also make sure you have the proper length Birks by checking the toe bar fit.  When you place your foot snuggly into the heel cup and roll your foot forward over the footbed, your toes should go over the toe bar allowing the bar to fit comfortably under the toe knuckle.

If your toes are sitting on top of the bar, the sandal is too long.  If your toes are too far past the toe bar, then the shoe is too short.

Click here to download and print a Birkenstock measuring guide.  Print the guide, then place your foot on top to determine the proper size Birks.

Another option would be to use or purchase a Brannock to measure the size of each foot.

Women's Salina Birkenstocks

Birkenstock Women's Mayari Sandal

Elements of the Birkenstock sandal design

This video describes the different elements making up the Birkenstock footbed. YouTube.

The Heel Cup

The shaped heel cup is shaped to support and stabilize your foot upon hitting the ground.  This gives the foot the correct orthopedic position

The Lateral Longitudinal Arch Support

The lateral longitudinal arch support is designed to support the area of your foot between the mid and rear of your foot.  It also helps to improve the proper position of your foot in the footbed.

Medial Longitudinal Arch Support

The medial longitudinal arch support underpins the arch of your foot to support your arch and prevent lowering of your inner foot edge. Effectively supporting your foot arches.

Traverse Arch Support

The traverse arch support is in the middle area of the sandal close to the toe bar, stabilizes the midfoot, and relieves the ball of the foot.

Toe Grip

The toe grip supports the natural gripping motion of your toes and promotes the natural extension of your toes while walking.  You’ve probably noticed how your toes tend to curl up when you wear flip-flops while walking.  This toe grip encourages your toes to stretch out rather than curl up.

Front Footbed Edge

The front footbed edge protects the toes and the entire foot.

Overall the design of Birkenstock sandals combining all of these components is designed to spread the weight evenly over the surface of your entire foot, rather than one part or area of your foot like other shoes do.

Birkenstock Sandal Selection

I've listed s number of popular Birkenstock sandals below. You can compare each pair of Birkenstocks.

Birkenstock Papillio Women's Lola Leather Sandals

Boston Leather Birkenstock Clog

Women's Boston Shearling Birkenstock Clog

Yara Birkenstocks

Birkenstocks Florida Sandal (Women's)

Kairo Birkenstocks

Milano Birkenstocks - Oiled Leather

Arizona Birkenstocks (Unisex)

Madrid Birkenstock

Zurich Birkenstocks


It is my hope that the information provided here can help to make sure you find the perfect fit for your Birkenstocks.  Your Birks should fit comfortably.  Birks are designed to last and when you own a pair of Birks that fit properly, they will mold to your feet over time and you will love them.

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