Footbed Differences

How many of y’all know that the Birkenstock family includes ALPRO, Birki’s, Footprints, Papillio and Tatami? How many of you know that there are differences in the footbeds?

Let’s start with the similarities. First and most important, all of the cork and latex footbeds are exceptionally good at providing support. (If you want to read why we think Support is an essential part of total foot health, click here.) In addition, any of the footwear with a cork and latex footbed use the same formulation. All, except for the Birki’s vegan styles, have a suede foot liner. (The Birki’s vegan styles have a microfiber foot liner.) Finally, Two widths, Narrow (U.S. regular width) and Regular (U.S. wide width) are available in most styles.

On to the differences. The Classic Birkenstock Footbed you know and love has very prominent lateral, metatarsal and especially medial arches. (If you want to read more about the three arches, click here.) The medial arch, in part, is so prominent because of the deep heel cup. The heel cup is deep to provide stability and control. Lastly, the footbed was designed with a unisex shape. When viewed from the bottom the Birkenstock footbed has straight sides. (The Birki’s, Papillio and ALPRO footbeds have more curviness to them. You’ll have to read on to get more information about those footbeds.) All Birkenstock sandals and clogs have a toe bar about half way between the metatarsal arch and the front of the footbed. The toe bar, like the heel cup, helps provide stability and control.
Birki’s, Papillio, and ALPRO footbeds also have exceptional lateral, metatarsal, and medial arch support. They are different from the Birkenstock Classic footbed in that the heel cup is not so deep and as a result the medial arch is less pronounced. The shallower heel cup makes you “sit on top” of the footbed a bit more than the Birkenstock. The Birki’s, Papillio, and ALPRO footbeds also have a toe bar for stability and control. When viewed from underneath, these footbeds have a distinct foot shape to them. The heel is narrower than the Classic Birkenstock and the toe box is wider. In between, the footbed curves in towards the medial arch area.

The footbeds used in the Tatami Oklahoma, Footprints Alton and Ashby clogs and Footprints Derby shoes are very similar to the Birkenstock Classic. They have the same lateral and metatarsal arch as Birkenstock Classic but with less pronounced medial arch. They use a less pronounced arch because the footwear is “enclosed.” They are either a shoe or clog that does not have spare head room. These footbeds also have a deep heel cup and toe bar for control & stability. All other Footprints shoes have the same features with the exception of the toe bar.

If you want to read more about getting the proper fit for your Birkenstocks, click here.

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